Last month CET lowered poker comps at their Atlantic City properties 2+2. This month they started charging 1,000 reward credits per trip to an AC Diamond Lounge unless you have "super" diamond status (25,000 tier credits). In theory, the food offerings will be upgraded. This is a major devaluation in poker comps.
1/2 NL earned 30 tier credits per hour. This meant it took 367 hours of poker to reach diamond status. With diamond status came access to the Diamond Lounges and free parking. The player also accumulated $367 of comps.
1/2 NL earns 20 tier credits per hour. This means it takes 550 hours to reach diamond status, a 50%! increase over 2010. The player will earn $550 in comps over the course of the year, but every time they hit up the formerly free Diamond Lounge for a quick meal they lose $10 of comps.
There are a surprising number of seven stars in AC that earned their status by playing poker as a full-time job. Seven star is 100,000 tier credits, so 3,333 hours of 1-2 in 2010. That works out to 64 hours/week. Admittedly, many of these players also mixed in some 2-5 that earned 60 tc/hr, but 2-5 does not always run. In 2011 it will take 5,000 hours of 1-2 to make seven star, or 96 hours/wk. That doesn't leave much time for doing anything but sitting at poker tables. 2-5 now earns 40 tc/hr. So it takes 2,500 hours of 2-5 to make seven star, or 48 hours/wk. I'm not sure 2-5 runs in a CET room 48 hours/wk, but it may be possible. In the end, I think CET solved their problem of having seven star poker players.
CET Plays Dirty Pool
I think a lot of players were burned by having these changes made in the middle of the year. I know I was. 99% of my play has been at CET rooms in AC, Chester, and LV at this point in the year because I was working on keeping my diamond status. I was more or less on pace to do so, having accumulated around 4,500 tier credits. At this point I thought I had to play 217 hours in AC or 232 hours in LV (Las Vegas properties award 28 tier credits/hr) to make diamond. Now I need 325 hours in AC, an increases of over 100 hours. I'm not sure where I am going to find an extra 100 hours in my schedule for poker. I'm sure I am not the only player these mid-year changes affects, and it I think it is really dirty of CET to pull this off. I'm sure there are disclaimers on the website / total rewards card that say they can change anything at anytime, so I don't think it is illegal, just dirty.
Is Diamond Worth It?
The main benefits I get for being diamond in AC are: (1) Free parking, (2) $10 buffet access at Diamond Lounges, and (3) shorter check-in line. In Las Vegas I have only used one diamond benefit ever, cutting the taxi line at Caesars Palace. All other diamond lines I have used in Vegas also accept platinum. So if I am not going to AC very frequently, there is really no benefit to diamond over platinum.
What's Next for Tarpie
I wrote the first draft of this article over a month ago. In that time I have remained loyal to CET. Although poker comps have been reduced and diamond status devalued, CET still provides me with heavily discounted or comped hotel rooms. That is a very valuable benefit that no competitor offers. So while I am annoyed at the reduction in benefits, I don't have anywhere else to go.
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