Maximize Your Casino Comps


If you're a regular player at a casino, you know you can get bonuses from time to time, like a free coffee mug with the casino logo on it, a free meal, or even a free room for the night or weekend. These are referred to as comps, and the complimentary things casinos give out are based on how much you play and at what level. This practice has been around for a long time, and casinos still love to give comps as a way to bring back customers. So how do you maximize what you get? There are a few basic strategies, and we'll look at them one by one, starting with the simplest...

Find the More Generous Casinos

Not all casinos run their programs the same way and some offer immediate benefits when you sign up for their player's club or whatever they call their customer loyalty plan. You might get a free dinner or $20 in free play for signing up. You can do some research online to find casinos that offer the best comps at the moment.

Try Online Casino Games

If it is legal where you live you might want to consider play online casino games. Online gambling establishments do not generally have ongong points programs for getting comped, but the initial signup bonuses are often better than anything you can get in Vegas or Atlantic city.

Use That Card in the Slot Machines

To get comps from playing slot machines it's important that you keep the card you receive in the appropriate slot in every slot machine you play at. In fact, if you are there with a friend or family member who does not have a card, let them use yours while you take breaks, so you get the points for their play. You can check to see if this is okay with the casino. Some do have rules forbidding this, but the play is real, so they may not mind if you get a few points from your wife's (or friend's or brother's) play while you eat a quick snack or go to the restroom. Also, be sure that when you insert the card it registers. You should see something on the video screen to indicate that your card is properly registered. If not, you won't get any points.

Take Advantage of Special Promotions

Watch for promotions that give you more points. Sometimes a casino will offer double points for certain machines, or they will have tournaments that are actually a good deal, and open them only to those who have the loyalty cards.

Stick to One Casino

You might want to try several casinos near you to start. In that way you might even get a fair amount of those signup bonuses for joining their card programs. But once you identify the best casino for you, comp experts say you should stick to one place. The idea is that it's tougher to accumulate enough points for decent comps if you spread your play out among several different casinos.

Become a Comp Hustler

There are tricks you can use to increase the comps you get, especially at the table games. People who do this routinely are called comp hustlers. To understand the basic approach you need to know a bit about how comps are figured. What you get is not based on how much you lose on any particular visit, but on your total theoretical loss. Suppose, for example, you're playing roulette, betting $10 per spin and there are about 30 spins per hour. The casinos edge is 5.26%, which means over the run they will keep 5.26% of what is bet. So if you play for three hours you will have bet about $900 ($10 x 30 spins x 3 hours). You might be up or down, but your theoretical loss is $47.34. If the casino gives back roughly 20% of losses in comps, you've earned approximately $9.47 in freebies. And if that's not clear, just remember this: Comps are based on how much they think you have bet.

Comp hustlers have tricks to make their theoretical loss look greater. For example, you can play games where you can get an edge, like blackjack. If the casino is figuring you for a 2% loss on your play, but you learn how to count cards and so get a 1% edge on the house, you not only make a profit, but you also get some comps based on theoretical losses you never suffer.

Another trick is to make it appear that you are betting more than you are. I'll describe a basic routine used by comp hustlers. You scope out a pit to determine who the regular pit boss when he or she is relieved each hour (usually they get a fifteen minute break). Then you sit down just prior to break time and let the pit boss know you are there. They usually take your players card so they can credit you for the time playing and level of play they see. Let him see you place a large bet, and then bet smaller when he is busy on the other side of the pit. This makes him estimate your level of play too high. Then, when he goes on break you take a break. Take smaller breaks from time to time when he is there, but not long enough for him to think about it.

In the end you might bet $600 over the course of two hours. If you played the scheme correctly the pit boss could estimate your total play as $2,400. You get credit for a theoretical loss that is three times as much as it should be, so you get more comps.

To get started, find a list of casinos in your state. Call the ones near you to see what they offer. Good luck and maximize those comps!

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