3 Ways to Increase your Comps WITHOUT Increasing your Bets

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Editor's note: This is a guest post by Brandon, a high-stakes player and Vegas lover with a long track record of maximizing the theoretical value of his casino play (aka: getting the absolute most comps possible for his play). Follow his tips at the tables and you may see a nice bump in your casino offers and comps!

Intro

Theoretical loss (theo) is the magic number when it comes to comps.  Theo is what casinos use to determine your worth to them.  So as a knowledgeable player, one of the most important things you can do for your comps is find ways to get more theo for the same action.

In its most simple form, theo is calculated as number of hours X number of hands per hour X house advantage.  The number of hours is your choice.  But the number of hands per hour and the house advantage depend entirely on the particular game you’re playing.

However, the casino has hundreds of different tables in the house, so they can hardly be bothered to actually track every individual hand for every player. So they use standard numbers and rough estimates to calculate your theo.  They’ve come up with a standard multiplier for each game that they multiply times your average bet and time played to determine your theo.  And that is where a knowledgeable player can turn the system to their advantage.

#1 - Know the game you’re playing

Each game has both a different house advantage and is played at a different speed.  You’re not going to earn nearly as much theo for blackjack, for example, as you will with double-0 roulette.

Game

Theo earned per

$100 bet for an hour

Baccarat

$78

Blackjack

$52

Craps

$75

Roulette (single-0)

$91

Roulette (double-0)

$177

As you can see from the chart, the roulette player is going to earn over 3.5 times as much theo for the same play.  Baccarat and craps are somewhere in the middle.

Knowing these real-life numbers the casino uses and comparing them to the actual theoretical loss yields yet another interesting fact that can be exploited. Say, you choose to play blackjack, the game with the lowest advantage in the house.  The actual theoretical loss on a 6-deck game with the best rules for one hour of play at $100 per hand is $20. However, the casino uses their standard multiplier which takes into account many different rule variations and different types of players, which happens to be $51 in theo for one hour of play at $100 per hand.  That’s a 155% bonus, which is a great value.

At the same time it’s important to note that craps has one single multiplier even though the actual game has different bets that vary in house advantage from 1.36% up to almost 17% for some of the middle bets.  So the more you play the poor house advantage bets like the field, hard ways and everything else in the middle, the more you are risking without getting anything extra in return.

#2 - Know how the ratings process works

Ratings at most casinos are still done the old fashioned way. A pit boss writes down your name and player’s card number on a piece of paper and at the end of your session he writes in an average bet and time played.  In most pits on a busy night, a single pit boss will be responsible for rating several tables, each with multiple players, so he’s most certainly not watching every hand you play. That makes it all the more important to make sure that he sees what you want him to see to boost your rating.

He will typically watch the first bet you make and write it down. Depending on how long you play and how busy he is, that may be the only number he writes down the entire night. So if your first bet is $25, even if you play for the next 2 hours betting between $25 and $200, for a true average of around $90, in many cases, you’ll end up with a rating of $25 simply because that’s all he saw.

On the other hand, if the first bet you place is $200 and he writes that down, even if you have the exact same bets for the next 2 hours as in the previous example, you’ll most certainly have a much higher rating at the end of the night. And all it cost you was risking one larger bet on the first hand.

It’s also important to make sure they see when you make those larger bets during the course of the night.  If in that same example you put out a $500 bet one hand, make sure you call attention to it with the pit boss.  There’s nothing worse than pressing and playing huge one session and anticipating a great rating and then finding out the pit boss never saw any of it.

#3 - Take advantage of the human element

The one thing many people don’t know is that the pit boss has full discretion on the rating he puts down for you.  So now we come to the most important tip for maximizing theo: ask the pit boss at the end of each session what he has down for your rating.  One reason is to make sure you were rated at all.  On a busy night it’s not uncommon for rating slips to get completely lost.

But the main reason to talk to him is so that you can ask him to bump up your rating just a little bit.  Getting him to changing your average from $90 to $100 may not seem like much, but that’s 11% more comps that you will earn.  Or getting him to change your time played from 3.5 hours to 4 hours.  It doesn’t seem like a big change, but it means a 14% increase in comps.  Get him to boost both your average to $100 and your time to 4 hours? That’s a 27% increase in comps!

I estimate I’ve had a 90%+ success rate in getting my rating boosted, sometimes by as much as 30-40%.  And all it takes is taking the time to ask a simple question.

About the author: 

As a long-time high action gambler, Brandon developed a passion early for working the comp system in his favor.  He recently founded VegasBoards.com, an online community for Vegas enthusiasts to discuss comps and all things Vegas. Visit Vegas Boards for a chance to win a VIP High Roller Weekend in Vegas now through April 3.