Donkin's Blog

Seven Stars via

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I was excited to see my Total Rewards account rollover to Seven stars on Jan 7.

Accruing almost 80,000 Total Rewards points in 2015 only through online poker play on suggested to me that reaching the coveted Seven Stars level at 150,000 points in 2016 was not out of the question.

Though I intended at the start of the year to do the whole thing with online poker, it quickly became apparent that was not possible, at least not without playing too much poker and likely suffering for it with a lower earn rate – playing in bad games, playing while tired, etc.

By March, I had determined I could do around 100,000 points with and I’d need to make the rest up with casino gambling. Fortunately, help was provided by means of the Spring Tier Bonus as well.

At the end of 2016, my tier earning breakdown looked like this: 96,000
Spring Tier Bonus 20,000
Video Poker 29,000
Aspiration I / Year-end bonus 11,000


Reached Seven Stars point level but not yet upgraded. – 96k

After January, when I determined that playing 12.5k points per month on would not be the most profitable path, I focused more on playing in good games. While this hurt my points earning on, I believe it benefitted my profitability and greatly benefitted my life off the games. I was able to travel and focus on other things away from poker much more than if I played the whole year with only the Seven Stars goal in mind.

Spring Tier Bonus – 20k

From April to June, Total Rewards ran a promotion that would pay 50% of all tier credits earned in this period. I played an average of 10k points per month on and included some video poker during this period to receive a higher bonus. This helped immensely to get me to my goal.

Video Poker – 29k

Unfortunately, I ran badly on Video Poker losing about $4,000 during the year even though I kept my play strictly on high payout machines. I used a 5-play 9/6 Jacks or Better machine at Lake Tahoe to get a majority of these points. The machine had a 99.6% payout which should only have cost me $750.

The bright side is that the Seven Stars benefits will make up for the $4,000 lost and I’ve been receiving mailers due to my Video Poker play supplying free slot play and free slot tournaments.

I also was assigned a casino host after my first Video Poker play at around 70,000 tier credits. The host has been invaluable in helping me with free rooms and explaining the nuances of the Seven Stars program. I believe that while playing strictly online poker, no one would have noticed me. After playing Video Poker, they notice and they see the tier credits coming from online poker and treat me accordingly.

In 2015 when I earned almost 80,000 tier credits solely through online poker, I received none of these perks.

 Aspiration I / Year-end bonus – 11k

At the end of 2016 (and every year so far), players receive 20% of their tier credits earned Oct-Dec to start the next year. Additionally Aspiration I provides a head start of 5k points.

Seven Stars next year?

This is debatable for me. I intend to use every perk I can that comes from the Seven Stars program. However, I’m not at all happy about dropping $4,000 into Video Poker. I could easily run better at Video Poker in 2017, but there is certainly no guarantee… I could even run worse. I plan on traveling more this year outside of Nevada which means points earned on will suffer. points are truly free points and the most important.

However, I will get a 22k head start from Aspiration II and the year-end bonus from 2016. Lake Tahoe is sending me mailers worth about $300 so I could make a conservative attempt to put in points on Video Poker and just call it quits after burning the free play. If Total Rewards continues the spring tier bonus in 2017, that will get me to maybe 130k at the end of the year. It would certainly be agonizing to miss all the 7stars benefits by only 20k.

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