In casino terminology, “comps” is short for “complimentary”. In other words, it’s free. Or is it? No casino will give you something for free, without expecting something in return. Not that it would be an obligation for you. But make no mistake, just about everything casinos do is to get you to lose more money.
Does it make casinos evil? Not exactly. They’re a business. They want to make their entertainment services more profitable. And they do this by making you more entertained, and giving you better value for money. I’m writing with the assumption you play in casinos purely for fun. Because professional players are generally not at all interested in “comps” because they can be used to track consistent winnings.
Types Of Comps Can You Get
The most common type of comp is drinks and food. If entertainment is only a goal, then it makes sense to maximize casino comps. Another common comp is accommodation. What you can get mostly depends on the casino and the facilities or services they can offer.
Should You Use Reward Cards?
Most of the modern casinos use reward cards in some manner. They are used to track your behavior throughout the casino, and sometimes even surrounding establishments such as restaurants.
In the case of comps, they are used to determine what casinos can afford to incentivize you with. Again essentially a comp is incentive for you to continue to be the casino’s patron.
If you’re a professional player, keep in mind, customer loyalty cards can and often are used to track your activity. If you are an undercover professional player, this is the last thing you want. There are still some cases where you can take advantage of casino comps, even if you are a professional player. For example, many comp cards are tied closely to meal discounts. It isn’t exactly a ticket to big bucks, but a penny saved is a penny earned. In such a case, this is more of a loyalty discount card – where the more you eat at a restaurant, the more you’ll save. Do not use such cards to get discounts, if credits are awarded from actual casino play.
There is an exception though. One of the ways a player will avoid detection is by openly playing a variety of casino games. This suggests to casinos that a player is a typical losing patron – rather than an advantage player focused on one type of game.
Can You Profit From Comps?
Yes, you can profit from comps. But it’s not going to make your fortune.
One simple strategy is basic card counting techniques can bring the house edge down to 0.5% for players. When casinos calculate how much they can pay you in comps, they are assuming you are a typical player. So they assume you are going to lose at the same rate as other players.
The average player in blackjack is subject to a house edge of about 3.5%. Therefore this is the value casinos will use when calculating your comps.
If for example the casino use this estimated house edge to calculate your value to the casino, they may come up with a figure of $10,000 per day. This would make you pretty much a highroller. But if the house edge is actually 0.5% for you, this means you’re getting far greater comps than you are entitled to. If you redeem your comps as accommodation and meals, you can even sell your comps to others on gambling discussion forums.
Hypothetically, your daily comp may be $1,000 worth of accommodation. But it only costs you $500 in losses at the tables. Therefore your profit for the day may be about $500. This is assuming you sell your comps to someone else, and assuming you get full price. Generally if you sell your comps, you can realistically expect half price. This means your profit would be $250 a day. This is at least in theory. But if you do it day after day, eventually the casino will catch on to what you are doing.
How To Maximize Comps
Some casinos will calculate your comps manually based on your behavior they observe. For example, they may not use loyalty cards. Their assessment may be based on the pit bosses’ observation of how large your bets are, and style of play. If you have inside information, you may know which staff are assessing your play for comps. Then simply bet large around them while they are assessing.
It isn’t as easy as you might think to fool them though. And while this approach does work, is arguably a lot of work for relatively little payoff – at least when you consider other opportunities in casinos.
Can You Profit From Casino Bonuses?
A casino bonus is typically when the casino deposits extra funds in your account, based on how much of your own money you deposit. Chances are you are familiar with the concept, but I’ll give a brief explanation of how it works.
Two times deposit bonus means if you deposit $100 of your own money, the casino will award you with a free $200 bonus. But like with all good things, it comes with strings attached. These are that you are required to wager a certain amount of money before you can withdraw any funds. So you can’t immediately take your $300 and run. Casino bonuses are carefully calculated to ensure you play enough to make the bonus profitable for the casino to offer.
It is entirely possible to profit from casino bonuses. But one problem is you require verified identification for each you account you create online. And you can usually acquire the bonus only once per person, per casino.
Even with the free money casinos give you, it doesn’t completely eliminate the house edge against you. Bonus money in your account has the effect of reducing the house edge against you, at least while funds last.
Casino bonuses have long been used to attract new players to especially online casinos. The size of the bonus is just as important as the wagering requirements. Very carefully read the fine print before accepting any bonus.
If you’re merely a gambler looking for entertainment, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t accept a bonus. That is unless of course the wagering requirements are particularly bad and unfair.
Generally speaking, if you’re a professional roulette system player, you won’t accept bonuses because they prevent you from withdrawing funds when you want.