Our initial Vegas Trip Tip outlined and encouraged player's club signup in every casino you enter. Gaming properties compete for gamblers time and money by compensating them with complimentary gifts (comps). These comps involve free drinks, meals, free or reduced rate rooms,show tickets, and extend to airfare reimbursement/ flyback certificates and even Super Bowl tickets (the latter two comps are usually restricted to the high rollers, of course). Sometimes the awarded comps are offered after you leave town (mailers. e-mail offers) in order to entice a return trip and future wagering of your cash. Comp programs are inherently designed to build customer loyalty and to foster return visits with your purses and wallets in hand. You do not have to be a high-roller to receive low to midlevel comps; low level gamblers can and do receive a surprising amount of freebies/discounts in Las Vegas. The current economic downturn in Vegas and everywhere else has casino marketing departments scrambling for patrons; my wife and I didn't have to pay for a single room night during our recent 9 -day stay in Vegas ... and we're absolutely not upper crust gamblers. Thus, the present conditions are conducive to generally better ROOM comps/ reduced rates than those even 6 months ago in our experience. The casinos need customers and providing reduced -rate or free rooms at least gets us in their doors.
Comp levels are generally determined by average bet X hours played X bets per hour X expected house edge X % casino
comp return to players. Let's assume you play a decent blackjack game (you know basic strategy and game rules are favorable) and your average bet is $10/ hand.If you're playing at an "average" 6- deck shoe game you can expect to see 60 - 80 hands/hr. if the table involves 3-4 players. Most casinos use 60 hands per hour and a house edge of 2% when figuring comps. Most casinos will return approximately 40% of their expected win back to a player in the form of comps. Let's assume you play 5 hours under these conditions ( hopefully at more than one table). The comp calculation would be $10 (average bet) X 5 (hours played) X 60 (hands/hr.) X .02 (house edge) X .40 (casino return). This means cumulatively you wagered approximately $3000.00 (surprised?) X .02 = $60.00 X .40 =$24.00 in earned comps. A key thing to remember about comps while on site in Vegas..ASK for them.. in a courteous manner. At some properties, you'll have to wager $15 or $25 / hand to even get rated for table game comps (ie MGM properties). Some off-strip casinos are more liberal with their meal comps than many of the strip properties; on several different trips I've played BJ for 2-3 hours at the Orleans with a 10-20 dollar average bet and have never had a problem obtaining buffet comps for two..I always asked and asked nicely. There is a huge variation in comp programs and many locals claim that the off-strip casinos are generally more liberal with their programs vs the strip properties. You have to determine where you like to play and then avail yourself of specifically what is required to earn comps at a given locale.
It's doubtful that a player's club rep/ host will tell you precisely how they calculate earned comps ...awarded comps can vary
with season and any factor that increases patronage (weekday vs weekend, major event /convention). Low to mid-level players
will find it's tougher to get comped during these high traffic situations sometimes. It's worth it to develop a relationship with a slots/table host if you gamble and expect to play the comp game. It can pay off in future visits and asking for/receiving comps is a means to minimize losses/ add to winnings while gambling . On the other hand, "chasing" comps (ie playing too long just to obtain a meal) can lead to disaster , particularly if you're losing hand after hand or slot pull after slot pull. Utilizing/ acquiring comps can lead to very significant dollar value over time so we'll reiterate the need to sign up for player's cards..everywhere. BJ is an excellent table game to acquire comps because of it's generally lower house odds vs. most other games; anything you can do to slow down the speed of the game is critical for playing the comp game. If you can reduce (play crowded tables, talk to the entire group at the table, take a long time to make decisions on hand plays, take frequent breaks, etc.) the number of hands per hour actually played below 60, you're ahead of the game from a comps standpoint. Slot play tracking for comps requires that you have your player card inserted and inserted properly to accumulate points. Video poker routinely offers generally higher payback/ returns vs slot machines but comps for VP play are generally less for the same wagers/ time played vs the slots. It's a standard casino tradeoff mechanism. If you find a casino that you like to patronize , you enjoy the slots, and you have ample time, we believe it's possible to identify some particular machines that exhibit a higher payback percentage than others. The key here is to not get soaked for a huge loss; you have to know when to quit at a given machine. If one is able to ID some of these higher payback machines, these and the video poker machines with the better pay tables (9/6) would provide the best opportunity to acquire comps when playing machines vs table games. The average slot machine will generally drain your funds but if you can locate them there ARE some with inherently higher paybacks that you can afford to play if you apply sound money management and common sense. Accumulating comps at these and the VP machines with solid paytables (minimally 9/6 Jacks or better or Double Bonus; meaning it pays 9 for 1 on a full house and 6 for 1 on a flush) are reasonable gambling alternatives. While accumulating comp credits, always seek out individual player's club promotions ( eg point multipliers) as these can ultimately reduce losses/increase winnings if applied wisely. Good luck.
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