Gambling Tips > Comps

QUICK & DIRTY GUIDE TO COMPS

By Henry Tamburin


Comps is casino jargon for “complimentaries”, the freebies that casinos give players to keep them loyal to their establishment. Freebies include everything from free meals to free show tickets to even cash in the mail. And contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a high roller to get your share of the over 1 billion dollars worth of amenities that casinos give away annually (that’s right a billion) You just have to understand the system for getting them and then ask for one. Here’s how.


  1. Join a slot club. If your spouse also plays, sign him/her up. All slot clubs are not created equal so be sure you understand how much you need to play through the machine (coin-in) to earn one point and the number of points you need for specific comps (note: some casinos base their comps on the amount you win or coin-out – the difference between coin-in and coin-out is insignificant). It’s also best to concentrate your play in a few casinos to better understand the subtleties of their comping system and to show the casino you are a steady, loyal player.

  2. Virtually all slot clubs will rebate a percent of coin-in in comps and sometimes cash back (same day or on a return visit). The rebate percentage is not the same from one casino to another so shop around. You often can find information about a casino’s slot club via their web site or consult these resources to find out who is offering the highest rebates: Slot Clubs and Promotion Guide by Charles Lund; Loadstone’s Comps page at www.vphomepage.com; and the Player’s Club Spotlight column by Jeffrey Compton that appears monthly in the magazine you are now reading.

  3. Many casinos offer special promotions that double or triple a member’s points during a specific day of the week. If possible you should plan to play the slot or video poker machines during these promotions since your points will accumulate faster. Use these resources to learn when these promotions are in effect: Slot Club Promotions page at www.lasvegasadvisor.com and the Players Edge column by Dancer and Compton in the Neon section of the Las Vegas Review Journal newspaper (www.lvrj.com). To find out about special casino promotions in other locations consult these resources: www.americancasinoguide.com and www.jackpotmagazine.com.

  4. If you are a slot player, consider learning video poker because you can get returns slightly under or over 100% by learning the correct video poker playing strategies. Add in the comps and/or cashback from your slot card and you’ll be playing with a positive expectation (not possible with slots).

  5. For table players, get rated when you play. Phone the casino and ask to speak to the Casino Marketing Department to find out how to go about getting rated and to start the paperwork on establishing a credit line. Know how much you need to bet and for how long in order to start earning comps.

  6. To get rated when you play, show the dealer your slot (or VIP) card. The floor supervisor will observe the length of time you play and your betting limits and then enters the data into the computer’s player tracking system.

  7. If you are a mid- to high roller consider depositing money in the casino cage or playing on credit. This gives the casino the perception that you are a player willing to give them a shot at your bankroll. See the casino host or VIP Department for details.

  8. Table comps are based on what the casino thinks they will win from your action. By betting and playing less then the casino thinks or playing blackjack skillfully you’ll get comps faster. Tips: play at full tables, take frequent breaks, play slowly, and make larger bets when the floor supervisor is watching you. For more details on the art of getting comps, read Max Rubin’s book, Comp City and Jean Scott’s Frugal Gambler.

  9. Establish a relationship with a casino host because they have the authority to issue you a variety of comps (free/discounted/upgraded rooms, meals, show tickets, transportation from airport, and more). Ask friends for the name of a host that they can recommend or contact the casino marketing department for the name of one.

  10. Contact the host before your casino trip, introduce yourself, and let him/her know what games you play, your betting level, etc. and when you plan your visit. Make sure you meet your host when you arrive to begin establishing a personnel relationship.

  11. Table game supervisors and slot supervisors also have the power of the pen to issue comps without debiting points from your comp account. Treat them with the same respect and try hard to build a relationship with them.

  12. Lastly, don’t bet more or play longer for the sake of a comp. Just play your normal game and then ask for a comp in a polite and courteous way. When in doubt, always ask.