CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Best of Henry Tamburin

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

Comps 101

6 July 2012

What is a comp?
A "comp" is an abbreviation for complimentary. They are the free goods and services provided by the casino to its players. Comps can range on the low end to free drinks and free valet parking all the way up to free room, food, beverage and transportation.

What are the requirements to get a comp?
The only requirement is that you gamble. Most casinos require that you bet at a certain level and play for a specific length of time in order to qualify for a comp. The more you bet and the longer you play, the higher the level of comp you can expect.

I thought comps were only for high rollers?
That's one of the misconceptions about comps. You don't need to be a high roller to get a comp. Yes, we all know the stories about high rollers that get shuttled to and from Las Vegas on a private jet, picked up in a chauffeured stretched limo, given a luxury suite twice the size of your home, and dine in ultra-swank gourmet restaurants "on the house." However, casinos also offer valuable comps that include free meals, free or discounted rooms, and free show tickets to low rollers.

Why do casinos give player's comps?
Casinos need steady customers and they know there is a lot of competition for players. Therefore, they offer comps to loyal players as a reward for their business. Comps also have a way of making players rationalize their losses so they return to the same property. Comps also stimulate players into betting at higher levels and for a longer time because most players mistakenly believe that when they get a comp they are getting something for nothing.

Do I have to lose to get a comp?
This is another misconception. Comps are not based on how much you lose (or win) but on the total amount of money you've wagered (known as the amount of "action" you give the casino). All the casinos want is a shot at your money at their tables and machines.

How do I get a comp if i play the machines?
You need to sign up for a Players Card and keep it inserted into the machine's card reader while you play. The casino's computer will keep track of how much money you play through the machine. Always make sure your card is registering properly so you get credit for your play. Also check at the Players Club if you are entitled to any freebies just for joining (casinos often have promotions to entice players to sign up).

How do I know how long to play the machines to get a comp?
Casinos used to be secretive about how they rewarded comps. However, nowadays the majority of casinos have brochures that tell their players how many dollars they must play to earn a point and how many points are required to get a specific comp. You can also find this information on most casino websites. (You can also sign up for a players card and keep track of your points on some casino websites.)

Why should I bother with a casino host when I can get my comps through the players club?
Hosts have much more discretion issuing player comps than the employees who staff the Players Club do. They also open a lot of "comp-doors" that most player's don't know about, such as an invitation to a special event or getting you a room on a busy, sold-out weekend. Hosts add a personal touch to the comp experience and you should try to establish a long-term relationship with them.

How can I reward my host for a job well done?
Hosts are not allowed to accept cash or expensive gifts from players. However, they can accept nominal gifts (max. $25 is a good benchmark) such as a gift certificate to a restaurant, a bottle of wine, or bouquet of flowers. A thank you card also goes a long way to cementing a relationship with a host. Another way to show your appreciation is to send the host's boss or the casino manager a note stating what a good job your host does for you. Sending a host new customers is also another way to show your appreciation.

Can I carry over my earned comps from one trip to the next?
Most casinos allow players to accumulate their comp dollars and then spend them on one big meal or event. However, others do not (you must spend your earned comp dollars during your current trip). It's best to get the specific casino requirements on earned comps from the Players Club literature or from a casino host.

How do I get a comp if I play the tables?
You must ask to be "rated" when you play in the pits in order to be eligible for a comp. Getting rated means the pit boss or floor supervisor will keep track of the hours you play and your average bet size. In some casinos you can use your Players Card to get rated while others issue a different rating card for table players. If unsure, just inquire at the Players Club or ask a casino host. When you sit down to play, just slide the card to the dealer with your buy-in and the dealer will hand it to the floor supervisor, who will begin the rating process (in some casinos the dealer has a device on the table that she uses to swipe your card to initiate the rating process).

If I'm a table player, how much do I need to bet and for how long to get a comp?
Each casino has a different policy when it comes to giving comps for table players. Some casinos that cater to high-end players require a minimum of $25 bets (or more) to even be considered for comps, while other casinos will gladly rate nickel players. My advice is to first call the casino's marketing department and speak to a casino host about table game playing requirements for rating and comps. This way you'll know the casino's requirements and there won't be any surprises.

Does the amount of my buy-in and whether or not I win or lose have any bearing on my comps?
Even though floor supervisors on table games will record that information on a player's rating card, they do not enter into the equation for comps (see Comp Equations). However, more than one casino supervisor has added this caveat. If a loyal customer has a disastrous session where the losses far exceed the casinos the (or theoretical loss), the player is often given an additional comp above what the comp equation would compute for his play. In addition, casino managers look more favorably on players who buy in for say $500 rather than $100 simply because they perceive that they have a shot at a larger amount of the player's money.

Should my spouse and I get a joint account or separate accounts?
If you're a low roller, it's best to get two cards on the same account. This way your play, and that of your spouse, will accumulate points faster toward a comp. If both partners do a lot of playing, then it's best to get a slot card in both names (both will earn separate comps).

Besides comps what else should I expect from the casino for my play?
It depends on the casino but besides comps you might get mailings offering you free show tickets or even an entry into a tournament or other special event. Many casinos also reward their slot and video poker players with cashback (or bounce back). Cashback is cash that you can get immediately after your play and it is based on a percentage of your action (see comp equations). Bounce back is a coupon you'll receive that will allow you to receive cash on a subsequent visit. In lieu of giving a player cash directly, some casinos will give a player credit on a slot or video poker machine (via a PIN) that the player must play through (known as free play).

What can I do if I don't have enough points for a comp?
If you don't have enough play for a free room, you should ask for a discounted rate (known as the casino rate, which is usually 50 percent of the published rack rate for a room). Likewise, if you don't have enough play for a buffet comp, ask for a line comp. This will allow you to go ahead of the line of folks waiting to get into the buffet, café, or Show Theater. This is also a good time to speak with your casino host to see what other options you might have.

Can I use the points accumulated at one casino property at another property owned by the same company?
In most cases, yes. Big companies like Ceasars and Stations Casinos, to name a few, have Megaclubs. As more casinos become owned by the same company, this trend will continue.

Are there any tricks of the trade to getting more comps faster?
Yes. Two good books to help are More Frugal Gambling by Jean Scott and Comp City by Max Rubin.

Are there any downsides to comps?
Most players are envious of other players who get "comped." These players play right into the casino's hands because by betting more and longer then they intended in the pursuit of a comp, most players will end up losing more then the comp was worth. Never play longer or bet more for the sake of a comp. Just learn how to use the system to get your fair share of comps for your normal play.

Recent Articles
Best of Henry Tamburin
Henry Tamburin

Henry Tamburin is the author of the best-selling book, Blackjack: Take The Money and Run, editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter, and Lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course. For a free 3-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter with full membership privileges, visit www.bjinsider.com/free. For details on the Golden Touch Blackjack course visit www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 866/WIN-BJ21. For a free copy of his casino gambling catalog featuring over 50 products call 888/353-3234 or visit the Internet store at www.smartgaming.com.

Henry Tamburin Websites:

www.smartgaming.com

Books by Henry Tamburin:

> More Books By Henry Tamburin

Henry Tamburin
Henry Tamburin is the author of the best-selling book, Blackjack: Take The Money and Run, editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter, and Lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course. For a free 3-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter with full membership privileges, visit www.bjinsider.com/free. For details on the Golden Touch Blackjack course visit www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 866/WIN-BJ21. For a free copy of his casino gambling catalog featuring over 50 products call 888/353-3234 or visit the Internet store at www.smartgaming.com.

Henry Tamburin Websites:

www.smartgaming.com

Books by Henry Tamburin:

> More Books By Henry Tamburin