A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Dave and Busters

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Hello.  I have had many people ask me just exactly how everything works at a Dave and Busters store location.  They want to know things like:

  1. What is a Power Card?
  2. What do I have to do in order to go and play games there?
  3. What are "chips," "tickets," and "tokens" used for?
  4. How do I get a card from one location to work a different store?
  5. How do I get tickets put on my card?
  6. Can't I just pay cash for a certain prize at the store?
  7. What's the big deal about registering my card(s)?
And then everybody ALWAYS wants to know if there are any tips or tricks to having a better experience or to save money or win more tickets.

It is my goal to answer these questions for you so you can have a reference manual, especially for those of you who are thinking about placing a bid on something I might be selling that is related to Dave and Busters!
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Let me start from the very beginning and assume that you have never been to a Dave and Busters location before or you don't have any cards or tickets or anything at all.

First of all when you walk inside, you will go to the front desk.  At the front desk is where you can purchase a regular Power Card. 

The clerk will ask you how many "chips" you would like to put on your card.  "Chips" are basically credits that allow you to swipe your card and play games or get tokens or use on anything that has a card swipe machine to activate it.  They should have a sign that shows you all of your options.

The dollar amount for the chips range from $10 to $100, and the higher the dollar value you purchase, the better value you get for your money.  For instance, $10 gives  you 48 chips, $20 gives you 100 chips, $75 gets you 550 chips, and $100 gets you 750 chips.  At these rates (and these are typical rates that should be the same at almost all locations, but there may be exceptions), you can see that if you bought $10 worth, the chips are actually costing you about $0.21 each.  Whereas if you purchase $100 worth, the chips are costing you just over $0.13 each.   So for the best values, the $75 and $100 amounts give you the most chips for your money.

Most stores also have promotions where you can "Supercharge" your card for a few dollars more and it will give you extra chips.  (To my knowledge you can only supercharge cards valued up to $50. )  Additionally, some stores have programs where you can purchase a meal-card combination that allows you to get either a $10 or $20 card plus a nice meal for a really good deal.  These are very popular offers, especially if you were planning on eating there already.  If so, I recommend that you ask if they have this offer and then buy it.

Okay, now that you have made your choice as to how much money you want to spend putting "chips" on a card, you have two main options at this point:

  • If you do NOT already have any kind of card, you have to also purchase a card as part of your deal.  The cards cost $2 at just about every location (except Times Square in New York where they supposedly cost $3).  So if you bought a $10 card, the price would actually end up being $12, but they DO PUT EXTRA CHIPS on your card to make up for the extra cost!
  • If you DO ALREADY HAVE A CARD,  just give it to them.  They will swipe it to make sure it is working at that location.  (If not, I will cover this situation later on in the guide.)  Then just purchase however many chips you want.  In this case, let's say you purchased $20 worth--then it would only cost you the $20 since you already had your own card.
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Now that you have your card loaded up with some "CHIPS," you can head on down to the games section.  When you approach a game, you will see that it has a card reader on it, and it will probably have two sets of prices on a little green screen.  The  price is the number of chips it will cost to play one game with a Power Card. 

So if you have enough chips,  just swipe your card and play the game!  Once you swipe your card, the green screen should show you how many chips you have remaining on your card.

A lot of the games are called "redemption games," and these are skill type games that give you tickets whenever you win.  If you win tickets, the tickets will come out of a ticket dispenser usually at the bottom of the game.  (If they ever get stuck or run out of tickets, DO NOT WORRY!  The machines are built to remember how many tickets they owe you so you won't get cheated out of anything you won.  Just call for one of the game technicians and they will fix it for you and you will get your tickets.)

Some of the games require TOKENS to play, and some games have token dispensers built into them whenever you play, or else you have to find a token changer and swipe your card and it will give you out a certain number of tokens for a certain number of chips.  (Usually it works out to about 1 token per chip.)  Once you get your tokens, again the little green screen should show you how many remaining CHIPS you have left to spend on your card.

Now that you have played some redemption games and have won some tickets, what do you do?  Somewhere in the game area is a place called the "Winner's Circle."  This is where you can redeem your tickets for prizes.  Here is what you have to do for this to happen.

BEFORE YOU ENTER the prize area, you have to approach the reception area where an employee has a scale to measure how many tickets you have.  The employee typically places your tickets into a plastic container and then weighs them (the weight of the container is factored into the final weight, and if there is ever any error in the number of tickets it says you have, it virtually ALWAYS errs on your side, thus showing that you have a few more tickets than you actually may have had--so don't even think that it might be scamming you.  You can count  out your tickets beforehand if you are paranoid, and  then make sure that you are getting at least that amount when it is weighed.)

Once your ticket total is weighed, the employee will ask for your card.  He/she will then swipe your card at a terminal and then it adds all of those tickets onto your card.

At this point you can just walk away and go win some more and keep repeating this and they will just keep adding your new tickets onto your card, or at any time you can go inside the Winner's Circle and find something that you want to purchase with the tickets you have on your card.  The Winner's Circle DOES NOT ACCEPT CASH for any item they have.  You have to use the tickets on your card to redeem them for a prize.   Get the item(s) you want and proceed to the checkout station.  The employee will scan your card and then scan the barcode(s) of the prize(s) and it will subtract their value from the total amount of tickets you have on your card.  If you don't have enough tickets, the terminal will not let you purchase that particular item.  (If you are there with several friends and everyone has their own cards with tickets on them, you can use more than one card to redeem for prizes.  It will take whatever it can off the first card, and then it will take the rest off another card you may have.)

That is pretty much the basics of buying cards, chips, and earning tickets and spending them.  If you have a very specific question, the employees there should be more than happy to answer it for you.

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Here is a little information about a Rewards Gold Card:

For people who may have previously earned a Rewards Gold Card, unfortunately Dave and Busters has discontinued (or is in the process of doing so) this program.  You can still use your Gold Card just like a Power Card, except you will  no longer get discounts on any games.  They have replaced this program with a program that gives you a $10 reward back on your card for every 100 dollars that you spend on that card, or whatever your local store's promotion is.

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Okay, here is the answer to question #4 at the beginning that asked, "How do I get a card from one location to work at a different store?":

Let's say you are close to more than one Dave and Busters location, or you travel a lot and want to keep using your same card wherever you go.  In order for you to do this, you must do something at the front desk BEFORE you can use the card-----

Tell the front desk clerk that you want to "ROAM THE CARD OVER TO THIS LOCATION."  (Use those same words and they will know what you are talking about.)  The clerk will then take your card, swipe it on their terminal, press a few buttons and then hand it back to you.  It has then been "roamed" over to that particular location.

You can do this as many times as you wish, and at as many different locations you desire.  (I personally live close to TWO different stores and I do this all the time.  One day I will play at one location, and the next time I want to go to the other one, but I have to "roam" the card over to whichever location I am currently at in order for me to use that card and to have access to any chips, tickets, or whatever I may have on it.

"ROAMING" a card over to a different location is an EXTREMELY IMPORTANT thing you HAVE to do if you are given a card by someone who used it previously at a different location, or if you purchased a card from someone on eBay that has tickets and/or chips on it from another location.  Unless you "roam" the card over to your location, you will never have access to what is on the card!

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Okay, now on to the importance of registering your card!  Let's say you have won a LOT of tickets or you have a LOT of chips on your card and you accidentally lose it or someone steals it!  What can you do?!  If you had already registered your card, you just let them know at the front desk what your card number was, or you call a number they will give you and report that it has been lost or stolen.  If you registered your card, they will issue  you a free replacement card that has everything on it (tickets, chips, etc.) at the time you reported it lost.

It is the best insurance plan you can have, and it is FREE!  At some stores they have a little kiosk or machine where you can register your card right there while you are there at the store.  Otherwise, you will have to go to the following website to register your card:

https://www.daveandbusters.com/rewards/profile.aspx#joinToday


Just fill out all the information and your card will be registered!  Now here is the BONUS for registering your card--Dave and Busters will send you an email (usually withing 24-48 hours) with a coupon for FREE $10 of game play!  Also, throughout the year, they send out other valuable coupons to your email (including more money coupons and even coupons for free food)!  And on your birthday they usually send you ANOTHER coupon for another FREE $10 of game play! 

All this for simply registering your card!  It is REALLY WORTH IT!

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Okay, now we are at the end of the guide and I hope that you have learned a lot about Dave and Busters and hopefully your questions were answered or clarified. 

FINALLY THE MOST-ASKED QUESTION:

Are there any tricks or tips to winning more tickets?


Well, the biggest tip I can give anyone if they are truly dedicated and determined to win a lot of tickets is REPETITION, REPETITION, REPETITION!  Allow me to explain:  the typical player will go around from game to game and play it a few times and then get tired or upset that they aren't winning a lot and then just move on from game to game until they have spent all their chips and don't really have many tickets to show for it.

Instead--pick a game that you think you will be good at and STICK WITH IT!  You will lose a lot at first, but if you keep playing the same game over and over, especially each time you come, eventually you will start getting much, much better at it and will start winning a LOT MORE TICKETS!  This is what I have done with several games--I played them over and over (hundreds and hundreds  of times) until I learned it well and could win the jackpot on it often.  Then if I wanted to, I  would go and learn to play a different game I liked and kept at it until I got proficient at it as well.  As of right now, there are 5 or 6 games that I know how to play really well, and out  of those, there are a couple that I am an absolute MASTER at winning--and it is all because I never gave up!

Another tip I can pass along is to be sure to use any coupons you get in your email because you can get great savings when you use them. 

Also, if you see someone who is consistently winning a lot, don't just stand behind him/her and stare and them.  It gives people the heebie jeebies when they know someone is standing right behind them staring at them!   Instead, be polite and ask if you may watch, and if you are polite enough, the person may even pass on a certain tip or two to you.  But trust me, if you are standing behind ME for a long time just staring at me and not saying a word, it creeps me out and can even throw me off my rhythm.  I would much rather you spoke to me and made kind remarks and asked questions, but particularly ask them when it won't interfere with the current game I am playing!  That common courtesy usually will go a long way with a fellow player.

One last tip:  If you are good at math, you can figure out which games are more cost-effective for you to play, and which ones will pay out more tickets per the game price.  For instance, if you play a game that costs 9 chips per play for a slim chance of winning a jackpot of 500, it may be wiser to play an easier game that costs 4 chips or less and you may not win the jackpot, but you can win more tickets for your money.  So do your math and figure out which games are worth playing to you, and you will earn more tickets just by taking the time to figure this out.

You see, Dave and Busters tries to lure players into playing the enormous, fancy, bright-lights games with the huge jackpots, but these games usually cost the most to play, and the jackpots are very, very difficult to win.  Do your math and you will find this to be true, and then just pick some games that you have figured to be your best value for your money!

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If you appreciated this informative guide, PLEASE check the box saying that you found it useful.  It took me hours to accumulate all this information for you, and it will only take a second to say thanks.

Thanks for your time, and I hope you have lots of fun at Dave and Busters!


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