How to Get Casino Comps

Background

Visitors to Cruzino.com often ask how to get more comps at Casinos. Obviously, everyone likes to get "free stuff". But its especially true when you are doing business at a Casino - you'd like to get a few perks for depositing your money there! In order to get more comps when you play, you need to understand the a few key factors about why casinos offer comps. There is definitely no exact science to guarantee that you'll be comp'd in your next visit, but this article hopes to illustrate some of the do's and dont's to get better comps.

What are comps?

The term "comps" is short for "complimentaries", or things that the House will give to its patrons for free in exchange for playing at their Casino. Comps come in all shapes and sizes. Examples of comps include:
  • Free room upgrades (from a standard to a suite, for example)
  • Free chips to play with
  • Free meals (breakfasts, lunches, or dinners)
  • Free gifts (keychains, pens, hats, cards, etc)
  • Free tickets to shows
  • Free drinks
Comps vary in size based on the individual player, the casino, the circumstances, the pit boss, and luck. The largest comp I've personally heard of was a casino gifting a free total stay at their casino for a week - including airfare, meals, and accomodations in their top-of-the-casino suite! And then there is the legendary incident with Larry Flynt (owner of Hustler Magazine) getting a $60,000 necklace comp'd for his wife. But Mr. Flynt routinely bets $80,000 per hand at Blackjack! These large comps are rare and usually reserved for those who gamble the most, however other types of comps are available to most everyone if you know how to get them.

Why do Casinos offer comps?

Casinos offer comps for basically one reason:
    They offer comps to make you come back and spend more money in their casino
This is obvious to most, of course. But it is important to remember. When you ask the casino for comps, if they don't think you are going to come back anyway, they are unlikely to just give you free stuff. Sure, they want you to be happy in their casino, but if a player isn't coming back, they are unlikely to offer comps.

Notice that I didn't say that you had to be a high-roller in order to get comps. The fact is that 75-85% of all comps go to "the little guys". That's great news for most of us!

Even more fascinating is that you don't necessarily even have to gamble in order to get comps. The casino industry is about all forms of entertainment. Casino revenues come from gaming, lodging, restaurants, sporting events, entertainment, and a host of other inflows. Visitors that stay at casinos will often receive comps via the mail after their stay encouraging them to come back for low prices and sometimes even for free. But those "mail-offers" aren't the fun types of comps. The rest of this article will deal with the "comps" that you get by requesting them from the casino while you are there.

Casinos recognize that there are lots of players out there that are just trying to get something for free. As long as the cost is small enough, the casino is likely to do it. But for any substantial comps, the casino has to think you are going to payoff. In other words, you need to be coming back.

There is one other circumstance where the casino will offer comps. That is to make sure that guests don't leave their casino completely irate. Many visitors to casinos chose the casino based on recommendations and referrals from friends, co-workers and family. As such, if a player walks away unhappy, even if they are never coming back, the casino may offer the player some comps. Mistakes are made everywhere, and Casinos are no exception. So, when major mistakes are made, some casinos will offer comps to placate the angry customer.

What is a comp card? How do I get rated?

To increase your chances of getting comped, the casino wants to know that you spend lots of money at their casino. The best way to do this is to allow them to track your gaming progress via a "comp card". Most of the major casinos offer comp cards. Once you have one, you are officially "rated" -- Congratulations!

Always use your comp card. If you gamble without using your card, the casino doesn't know that you are spending your money with them. Make sure you hand your card to your dealer whenever you play.

When you use a card in slot machines, the casino keeps track of exactly when you started playing, how much you won and lost, and when you stopped playing. When you use your card at a table, the casino basically tracks the amount of time you spend playing. If you do spend a lot with them, the dealer or pit-boss will manually mark that on your record. Make sure you get their help to recognize the amount you gambled before you leave the table. Note - because this is a manual process - if you just play for 5-15 minutes, you may not get anything marked on your comp card.

How are comps calculated?

Remember - comps are about making the player happy and making sure the player comes back...

Comps are calculated differently at all casinos. Roughly, the casino determines the comps based on the amount of time you played, the average amount you are betting in a hand, and the type of game you are playing.

When you play $5 blackjack for an hour at a casino, don't expect to be comp'd much. The casino has roughly a 2% edge in blackjack. Playing for about 1 hour, you can play about 60 blackjack hands. So you are gambling a total of ~$300. The 2% edge provides $6 to the casino. The casino is willing to comp you about 25-35% of that for that round of play.

Notice that when playing at the tables, its important to play for a significant amount of time. Don't expect to be comped well if you play for only a few minutes unless you are placing large bets.

Tips for maximizing your comps while playing

Here are some tips to keep in mind while you are accumulating "points" on your comp card:
  • Stay in the hotel at the same casino where you play most.
  • Try to stay for at least two nights.
  • Always use your comp card when you play.
  • Always be polite while playing.
  • When you sit down to play, stay for at least an hour.
  • Don't be greedy. Don't ask for comps prematurely.
  • Dress nicely.
  • Tip the waitresses and dealers.
  • Save your comp card for when you return!
  • If you use the restaurants, charge it to your room.
  • If you use other casino/hotel services, charge it to your room.

Tips for redeeming comps

Alright, so you've read everything here on Cruzino.com, you played for several hours at blackjack, poker, and slots. How do you redeem your comps?

First, understand that it tends to be more difficult to earn comps at the well-known mega-resorts since visitors are attracted to their casinos based on other factors. Further, the fancy casinos attract high-rollers, who receive more attention than the average player. In my opinion, your best bet for great comps is at the less-popular casinos.

Also, remember that comps are about enticing more money out of your wallet. If the casino Host thinks you are about to leave and never come back, he's not incented to help you much.

  • Always be polite. If you are rude the the Host, he's not going to be interested in helping you out. Make his life easier, and he'll make your life easier too.
  • Don't be greedy.
  • Don't feel intimidated. The casino staff are there to make your stay a happy one. They don't mind being asked for comps.

Good luck!

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