HOW TO EXPLOIT CASINOS: Casinos are very good at exploiting people, but a lot of people don’t realize it’s possible (it’s not necessarily easy, but it’s possible) to exploit them right back. Via FWF, we found a website called BJ21.com full of advice on how to tip the odds in your favor. A sample of the site’s philosophy:
…Since the casino’s actual edge over the payer is so small, if a player can inform him/herself as to how to improve one’s odds, oftentimes the tide can be turned. Blackjack, video poker, poker, progressive slot machines, sports betting, horse betting, and casino tournaments can all be beaten if the player really learns the mathematical principles behind playing these games. Not to mention, money can be made off casinos in other ways, such as receiving free dinners, show tickets, hotel room, and even airfare, and by taking advantage of coupons and promotions that casinos are offering. Some people play an even-money game, and let the casinos pay for their entire vacation.
If games of chance appeal to you, there’s a lot of good stuff here.
30-SOMETHINGS POORER THAN THEY USED TO BE: There’s an interesting article over at Atlantic Cities discussing how the young ‘uns these days are worse off than they used to be. A couple of charts worth looking at shows that net worth has plummeted, in large part due to the housing market:
…while student loan debt has skyrocketed as well:
The whole article’s worth a read.
GASOLINE ARBITRAGE: Some interesting stuff from Venezuela:
In Venezuela, some of the fuel largess leaks across borders. Regular gasoline in next-door Colombia costs about $4.70 a gallon, more than 100 times the Venezuelan price at official currency exchange rates, and more than 400 times under the widely prevailing informal exchange rate.
The result: Every day at the Venezuelan border town of San Antonio del Táchira, thousands of cars, buses and motorcycles freshly loaded with gasoline head to the bridge over the Táchira River into Colombia, spending hours in traffic jams to get across.
Once in Colombia, they have their fuel siphoned off by freelancers known as pimpineros—from the word for gas can—who pay them about $2 a gallon and resell the gasoline or diesel fuel to Colombians for a few cents more.
Many of the cars crossing the bridge are big 1970s and early-1980s models like Ford LTDs and Chevrolet Caprices. For a car carrying 20 gallons, it is a quick $40 profit.
In Cúcuta, a bustling Colombian city of 630,000 near the border, the sale of contraband fuel is part of society’s fabric, employing thousands. A pimpinero who goes by the nickname Camuro makes about $25 a day trading fuel, enough to feed his family. “We depend a lot on [Venezuela],” he said.
Instead of bank-subsidized gift cards, it’s government-subsidized gas. If you know any of these guys, tell them to get in touch with us–we’re trying to staff our Caracas bureau right now and they’d fit in well.
BP’S NEW LOYALTY PROGRAM: Speaking of discounted gas, BP has launched a new loyalty program, called Driver Rewards, which will give you a slight discount on your gasoline purchases. Following every two or more transactions with a minimum of 20 gallons purchased, you’ll get a discount of 5 cents per gallon on your next purchase, up to a maximum of 20 gallons. In other words, it’s a dollar off every three fill-ups. We can’t see any loopholes to have fun with, but if there’s a BP station you already frequent, this might be worth your time.
MMMMM… STEAK: Thanks to some stackable promotions, Fleming’s Steakhouse is offering $145 worth of food for $50. Here’s a summary:
1. Get an offer for a $50 statement credit when you spend $100 at Fleming’s by logging in to your Amex account and/or doing the Amex Sync offer via Facebook.
2. Fleming’s is also awarding a $20 dining card (valid ONLY from 5/13/13 to 7/15/13, it’s not quite as nice as a gift card) when you buy a $100 gift card. So you’ll want to buy a gift card, then use the gift card to pay for your meal.
3. If you have an Amex Blue card, there’s another promotion at Amex Blue Savings that will give you a $25 Fleming’s bonus card when you spend $100 at Fleming’s.
We recommend buying your gift card in a restaurant, not online, to ensure you get all the bonuses.
And it gets better: Fleming’s is part of a company called Bloomin’ Brands, which also owns Carrabba’s, Outback Steakhouse, and Bonefish Grill, so your gift cards should work at those restaurants as well. Bon appetit! (H/T: Slickdeals)