Casinos are like any other business, with an interest in keeping their customers coming back to spend their money at their slots and table games. They have their own loyalty programs usually called Player's Clubs, where they offer "comps" (complementaries) in the form of a reduced room rate or a meal. Sometimes it is a free stay in the casino's hotel. A comp that is described as RFB means that the casino is giving you free room (R), food (F) and beverage (B). When you consider the value of these promotions, they can actually be factored into your bottom line and could mean the difference between having a winning or a losing weekend.
How Casinos Determine Their Comping Decisions
Comps are based on your average bet plus the number of hours played on the table games, or how much you put through a machine. Casino comps are not based on how much you win or lose but rather on the "action" you give the casino. This includes your buy-in and your betting minimums. Playing at a $50.00 minimum table will accrue comp points faster than if you play at a $5.00 minimum table. The casinos base their comping decisions on a theoretical figure of your worth to them in profitability, which is based on your average bet multiplied by the amount of time you play (average bet x play time). They then calculate in the odds of the game you play (either slots or tables). This total is called a "Theoretical Casino Win," and it is from this figure that the casino will decide how much you are allotted in comps.
How to Get Comped
This is where the casino's loyalty program comes into play and allows you to get "rated." This is why it is so important to sign-up for a Player's Card and use it every time you play! Hey, you're going to gamble with your money anyway, so you might as well get credit for it, right? If your game is slots, insert your Player's Card into the card reader and from that point on, all money in, bets made, size of bets and time played will be recorded and placed into your player account. At the table games, be sure to hand your Player's Card over when you buy-in so you can receive proper credit and they can begin recording your rating. They will then record your average bets and the time you leave the game.
Membership has its Privileges
I have been a member of a few casino loyalty programs for only a short time, both locally at Black Hawk and in Las Vegas. And not surprisingly, I have only received deals from the casinos I have actually played in. Local promotions have ranged from a coupon for $20 in cash, to a "buy one scoop of ice cream, get the second scoop free" coupon. Meh. (Sal received a deal for a free room. What's that about? They don't like The Poorman?)
Las Vegas casinos have sent me sweeter deals. With only a couple of gambling sessions with a modest buy-in, The Four Queens has sent me offers for a $25 room rate for a Sunday-Thursday stay (nice!) and they have invited me to a slot tournament with a special tournament room rate of $25 Friday and Saturday with Sunday night free. (Woo-hoo, I feel like a high roller!)
Gaming for Comps
Casinos base their comp decisions on your average bet size and how long you play. While I don't expect a casino to ever fly me in on a private jet (well, maybe someday), I have learned a few tricks that even with my modest budget will sweeten the deals the casinos offer me. Here are three strategies to use when trying to get the best comps if your game is craps.
This requires a gambling buddy. Pool your money with a partner at the beginning of a gambling session. The idea is to bet opposite each other, so that if one person loses, the other will win. You will need to limit yourself to Pass and Don't Pass bets without odds so that there isn't a disparity between the money you put at risk. At the end of the weekend you pool your money and divide the winnings. I have read about people who use this technique successfully to increase their comp rating.
There are betting strategies that put a lot of money on the table, but with a lot of hedges, so that a seven-out won't be devastating to your bankroll. It basically requires betting a large Don't Come wager that will hedge your Come bets. This will boost your "action" rating by the casinos. Even though you have a lot of bets in play (the "action"), because of your large hedge, you win a lot of money back when the seven-out appears. This is a very interesting strategy that I'm excited to investigate further.
This third strategy may not rack up the rating points like Strategy 2, but it is certainly the easiest to pull off. The idea is to buy-in with a large amount of money, but only play with your regular limit. In one example I read about a player would buy-in for $1000 but only play with $500, his regular betting limit. He would put aside the other $500 and not touch it. That amount of buy in may be impractical for some people, but adjust it according to your own finances. For me, the next time I take a gambling trip I plan to buy-in for $500 but limit myself to $100 to play with. I'm curious to see the quality of promotions I receive after I try this strategy. Incidentally, I am planning to try this at a local casino with the best hotel. Hopefully I'll get at least a free night at the hotel out of it.
Do you have a strategy for increasing your comp rating? What are the best comps you have received from a casino? Please post your comments below.