Use caution with Las Vegas casinos' Players’ cards
August 27, 2013 3:00 AM
by Marc Meltzer
I try to stay away from talking much about casino Players Clubs for a few reasons.
First, they’re all different so what works to gain an advantage with one players club may not work with another. More importantly, I don’t like to talk much about casino players club comps because you should never gamble for them. Mentioning freebies often leads to people wanting to know how to get them.
I think it’s important to know about the comps you have access to after or before you visit the casino but not while you’re playing. Playing for comps typically is rarely beneficial financially or emotionally. All freebies should be happily accepted but not played for. Let’s step back for a minute and look at what a comp is.
Comp is short for complementary. A comp is a gift or reward a casino offers in exchange for play. That complementary drink you order at the table or machine has a value to the casino (wholesale) and to you (retail). Comps range anywhere from drinks to entire vacations.
Typically, the nicer the comp the more you’re spending with a casino. Comps are not free. You only get “freebies” when giving the casino money. Every game has a built-in advantage to the casino so they can afford to offer freebies. At the end of the day, the casino will make their 1% to 5% from the games we play in the casino.
While we shouldn’t play for comps, it’s important to know why comps are both important and unimportant to the smart gambler. Knowing comp rules allows you to more effectively manage your overall bankroll. If you’re getting a complimentary meal from the casino that would typically cost $100 you can manage your funds appropriately. While that “free” meal may be great, we shouldn’t play an extra $200 just to get a $100 dinner. It doesn’t make financial sense.
There have been countless times where a friend or I would hang around a blackjack game or slot machine just to get our complimentary drink. We’re not just sitting and waiting, we’re playing. That “free” drink has cost as much as $300. Not smart. Not really fun.
Yes, it’s good to know what freebies you have coming your way but it isn’t smart to play just so you can get those freebies. Look at comps as you would supermarket rewards – they’re just a perk of playing in a given casino. Comps are not the reason to spend money. You wouldn’t buy an extra $50 of groceries just to get a comp pack of gum.
Play your game, have fun and reap the benefits. They may be in the form of fabulous suites and steak dinners or a free Iced Venti coffee from Starbucks. All are nice in different ways but not a reason to increase your play
It’s important to know your odds and benefits from casino games but, for me, having fun is more important.
Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gambling and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Follow Marc on twitter @eastcoastgamblr. Check out his blog at www.AC2LV.com Contact Marc at MarcMeltzer@GamingToday.com.