Casino comps (or complimentary) are given out by casinos to encourage players to gamble. The amount of comps that a player is given usually depends on what game they are playing, how much they are betting, and how long they have played. Most casinos have hosts who are responsible for giving out free items and contacting players to bring them back to the casino. Pit bosses can also award comps at table games such as blackjack. In my experience, the best comps can be found in Las Vegas. When in doubt if you are eligible for a casino comp, just ask. You will be surprised how easy it is to get a free buffet when playing blackjack in Las Vegas.
Typical casino comps in Las Vegas are:
- Alcohol (or other beverages)
- Restaurant Meals
- Show Tickets
- Limousine Rides
- Airfare Reimbursement
- Free Play (slot machine credits or table chips)
- Tournament Entries
- Offers in the mail for any of the above
Players Club Card
The first step to receiving casino comps is signing up for a players club card.
To get your slot club card:
- Find the players club in your casino of choice or ask a casino employee where the slot club is.
- Show your ID to the employee at the players club booth (sometimes you’ll need to fill out a short application).
- Make sure that you give the players club your correct address including e-mail. This is what they will use to send you free offers in the mail.
- The employee at the booth will enter your information and issue you a card on the spot.
How to use your players club card:
When playing table games, hand your players club card to the dealer when you sit down at the table. The dealer will hand it to someone in the pit who will track your play. Make sure that when you change tables that you hand your players club card to the dealer at the new table so that the pit knows you changed tables. When playing slot or video poker machines, insert your slot club card into the card reader attached to the machine.
Free Drinks in Las Vegas
The first comp (or complimentary) that most blackjack players receive are free drinks (including alcohol). Playing at a blackjack table in Nevada you will most likely be offered free drinks by the cocktail waitresses. Tipping is always appreciated and will encourage the waitress to stop by more often. You should, of course, watch your intake of alcohol, but if you are going to consume alcohol you should get it for free. I never pay for alcohol while in Las Vegas. Neither should you.
How much do these Free Drinks cost you?
You already know how to play basic strategy and how to calculate your expected loss per hour. Let’s assume you are playing a typical blackjack game with a house advantage of 0.50%. You are betting $5 per hand and will, on average, play 60 hands per hour. That is $5 * 60 in action for a total of $300 per hour or an expected loss per hour of $1.50 ($300 * 0.50%). Keep in mind that this is your average expected loss, your real loss each hour will vary considerably over time, but will average this amount over the long-term. Also, don’t forget to hand the dealer your players club card when you start to play. You probably will not earn much in extra comps playing $5 per hand, but it never hurts. Who knows you may get on their mailing list and receive a discount room offer in the mail.
What Value should you place on Free Drinks in Las Vegas?
If you value free drinks at $2.50 each and consume 1 drink per hour, you are actually earning $1.00 per hour ($2.50 drink value - $1.50 blackjack loss). So instead of paying for drinks, you are getting them for a $1.00 discount. This is one of the ways that I originally built my blackjack bankroll. I deposited into my blackjack bankroll $2.50 for every drink I consumed for free. This more than offset the real loss from playing blackjack. I will discuss more about bankroll management in the future. The value you place on free drinks is up to you, but I feel that $2.50 is appropriate. A good way to come up with a value for free drinks is to think about what you would pay for a drink at your local pub or bar.