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Thursday, December 13, 2001
All about Comps and the new Craps System
book Winning Gambling Strategies announced last week
has been received with good interest. People found the contents very informative.
It's suitable for any level of gambling and the information provided by Philip is indispensable. You can view the description of the book at: http://www.letstalkwinning.com/Flip_Nehrt/Flip.html and the contents
of the book at: http://www.letstalkwinning.com/Flip_Nehrt/thebook.html.
You'd better solidify your knowledge on
Craps rules, as next week a new Craps system will be announced. It's called DC-7 and
it produced 596 winning units as it was taken through the book "72 Hours at the Craps
Table" by B. Mickelson. It averages 8.2 units per hour of play with a margin of
error at 10% in either direction.
DC-7 can be used either with flat bets or with a slight progression. With flat bets,
it generated 463 winning units with an hourly average of 6.4.
It's the most solid system I have ever seen
for Craps. Stay in touch. It will be released on our next newsletter, December
20. It will add a lot of joy to your holiday season.
And now to this week's main subject:
All about Comps.
The comp determination process isn't really
as mysterious as you might think. Gambling games are designed to give the casino a
small advantage (unless you are using the DC-7 system, where YOU will have 4.34%
advantage). Over time, that advantage wins the casino an amount that's directly
related to how much you bet and how long you play. To ease the blow to the losing
players, the casino is willing to give back a portion of what it wins (usually around 40
percent) in the form of comps. It's a unique marketing technique - not a giveaway,
but a giveback. Or more precisely, a rebate on losses.
Though the particulars vary from casino to
casino, the equation is always some variation of the following:
(Average Bet X Hands Per Hour X Hours
Played X Casino Advantage) X 40 percent = Comp Equivalency (the amount the casino will
give back in complimentaries).
Just plug in the proper values.
Assuming a blackjack player bets $25 per hand at 60 hands per hour for 4 hours with an
estimated casino edge of 2 percent, the equation would read:
($25 X 60 X 4 X .02) X .40 =
In this example, the player
would be entitled to $48 in casino comps.
We also see comps of the
Dom Perignon delivered to
Jacuzzi suites. "King's Row" booths at the hottest shows in town.
Hundred-dollar entrees washed down with rare vintage wines. Fully stocked stretch limos at
your beck and call. First-class airline tickets. Unlimited golf on ultra-exclusive
courses. Seats next to the ring girls at world championship boxing matches. These are also
the images that rush to mind at the mere mention of the subject of casino comps. Getting
treated like royalty just for doing what you enjoy (gambling) is an exciting prospect,
even if it's only a fantasy for most of us.
But just because you don't
have a spare $10,000 to risk at the tables doesn't mean you can't get a slice of the half
a billion dollars in comps the casinos lavish on their deserving customers each year.
Fact is, the comp system is designed to reward gamblers at every level. Even if you
play the nickel slots or blackjack at $2 a hand, your action makes you eligible for
something in the grand comp plan. Free beer and soft drinks, snack bar meal chits, free
parking, line passes, and perks for paycheck cashing are all casino comps. The trick to
getting your share is to understand what you're entitled to.
What Gets What
The first step is to size up your gambling bankroll. The casinos are after your money, so
how much you wager is the dominant factor in determining what type of comps you get.
Careful here! The strategy is not to increase the amount that you gamble just to get the
comps you'd like. On the contrary, it's to stay at your normal level and let the comps you
qualify for enhance your result (by either cutting losses or augmenting wins). While
casino policies vary, the following provides a good overview of the compensation you can
At the lowest levels, you'll have to be content with the little comps, such as
complimentary parking and fun-book freebies. Of course, even the lowly nickel slot-
machine or minimum-bet table-game players can get free drinks while gambling; it's as
simple as flagging down a cocktail waitress.
By playing $1 slots or making $5 and $10 wagers at table games, you graduate to low-Ievel
comps. These include meals at snack bars, breakfasts in coffee shops, and a round of
drinks at the bar. Betting $10 to $25 per hand lands the best buffets, dinner in the
coffee shops, line passes to shows, and a little-known but valuable comp called the
"casino rate" on a room (a discount that averages 50 percent off the retail
rate). The secret to getting the low-stakes comps is simple. Ask for them. Bosses in the
table-game pits have what's called "the power of the pen," which means they can
give away inexpensive meals without having to answer to superiors. Ask, ask, ask - even if
you're winning. A popular belief is that you have to be losing to get comped. Not true.
And here's a little tip: women have an easier time getting comps than men, especially when
they hit up a male pit boss.
Bigger bettors get better comps. If you regularly bet between $25 and $100 per hand, you
can look forward to gourmet meals and showroom seats. At these levels, though, the
strategy changes. Now it's best to get "rated" by the casino, which means having
a boss watch your action to evaluate you for the better perks.
At the $100 to $250 level, you're in line for the main event - "RFB," meaning
room, food, and beverage. Now the whole vacation (except airfare) is on the house. The RFB
gambler gets most of the high-end amenities mentioned before (limos, gourmet meals,
full-scale room service). He has a private liaison called a "host," who tends to
practical needs like securing dinner and show reservations. Of course, the
$100-per-hand bettor is also responsible for whatever financial consequences result from
his high-risk gambling recreation.
Beyond the $250-per-hand level, the sky's the limit: private suites with butler service,
$500 rounds of golf, trips to the Super Bowl, Christmas gifts (the most imaginative I've
heard of is an entire side of beef), almost anything is possible. Many of the high rollers
who get this treatment have casino lines of credit in excess of $1 million. At these
levels, a strange symbiotic bond is forged between the casino and the gambler. The casino
is happy because its winnings far exceed the expense of hosting the gambler. The
gambler is happy because he considers the attention and status he receives a fair trade
for his losses.
You may have noticed that a prominent category did not appear in the overview: quarter
slot and video poker players. That's because a whole separate department attends to the
needs of these players - namely, the slot club. Plenty has appeared in these pages lauding
the benefits of slot-club membership, so I won't elaborate
on the point further.
You should understand, however, that slot clubs are an extension of the casino comp
system. If you don't relish dealing with the bosses face to face, the slot-club route is
an excellent, less complicated alternative for tapping into casino comps. Sign up, insert
your card when you play, and redeem your accrued points for cash and casino amenities.
Go Where They Want You
Two friends once played some blackjack at The Mirage. One of them bet $50 to $200 per
hand. The other one played black chips exclusively, about $100 to $300 per hand. After
nearly three hours at the table, they decided to cash out. They called a boss over and
asked what their three hours of black-chip play would get them. He grudgingly offered
"Dinner where?" they asked.
"Best I can do," he shrugged.
They took their action to the Rio. After playing (at the same stakes) for less than 20
minutes, a boss approached and offered each of them full RFB. They had gone from peons to
princes just by switching casinos. Depending on their size, facilities, and philosophies,
casinos cater to players with different gambling profiles. One joint's dream player is
another's yawner. It's up to you to determine where your action is coveted.
The best way to find out where
your player profile will be most appreciated is, once again, to ask. You don't even have
to do it in person. "Scouting" via telephone from the comfort of your home
or office will get the job done. Call several casinos you'd like to stay at, ask for a
host, and fire away.
"What kind of play do you need to comp me a room?"
"How about RFB?"
"Airfare reimbursement? Golf!" You get the idea. Scouting is important.
After comparing five or six casinos, you'll know where you're wanted.
The difference between the big comps that the big players get and the smaller comps for
the low rollers is obvious. Every once in a while, though, an enterprising casino brings
the two ends of the spectrum together and creates something memorable. These deals
tend to surface in Las Vegas where the competition is the most intense. Keep your
eyes peeled for opportunities like the following.
Vegas World VIP - The now defunct (but forever infamous) Vegas World VIP Vacation was
little more than a pre-packaged comp program. Players qualified by putting up the vacation
package fee, which was refunded in chips that had to be wagered in the casino. In return
for their action, participants were given a free room, shows, and drinks in the casino.
Maxim Beginner's Credit - One way to get initiated into the wild world of comps is to
establish a line of casino credit. The Maxim in Las Vegas ran advertisements
offering free meals, shows, or room nights to new customers who applied (and qualified)
for a small line of credit, either $500 or $1,000.
It was a great way to learn the ins and outs of establishing credit, and you never had to
place a bet to get the premium. If you see this program advertised again, the offer is
worth looking into.
Lady Luck Limo - Downtown Las Vegas' Lady Luck has made a career out of catering to $1,000
bankrolls. If you have $1,000 to deposit in the cage, you'll qualify for one of its
liberal comp programs which usually include limo service to and from the airport and
big-player treatment during your stay. A grand goes farther here than anywhere else I
know. Call the Lady Luck and ask for marketing for all the details.
Vacation Village's Nickel Comp
- This comp rates as an absolute favorite of all time. Las Vegas' Vacation Village
comps a hot dog and a beer when you buy $10 in nickels at the bar to play in bartop video
poker machines. That's right, a hotdog, and a beer to play nickel machines that have a
payout of nearly 98 percent (good for nickels). The expected loss for the player on this
action is eight cents, and the comp is worth $2.50.
Now that you know what the prizes are, you might be wondering how well you can learn to
play the game. Due to the complexity of the comp system, there are lots of loopholes
waiting to be exploited by savvy practitioners of the art. You need to learn the
details of the techniques used by "comp wizards" to beat the casinos at their
own game by getting a dollar's worth of comps for every dime they lose. Just asking
for meals, drink tickets, and line pass every time you play for moderate stakes is 90
percent of what you need to know, especially at the lower levels. Don't miss out on
CAPTAIN COOKS CASINO CHRISTMAS EXTRAVAGANZA
all the best,
Until next week,
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