Those comps may be easy, but not cheap

Jan 8, 2002 2:57 AM

I don’t know about you, but I don’t mind getting something for nothing. The problem is, in video poker that “nothing” equates to embarrassing amounts of money for more than 99 percent of all players ”” including those who give the perception that all they do is go around town collecting their freebies. Chances are if you’re a video poker player, you’re reading from the same sheet of paper that I am.

One of the attractions of playing video poker is that it offers the most benefits of any casino game when using the slot club card. A player may blow into town for a couple of days of blackjack with a thousand dollars, go home without a dime, and he might get invited back for a comp room with a couple of buffets during the slow season. The video poker player, however, will likely go home broke while playing for large jackpots, but he or she can be sure the offers will come rolling in soon. The real question is who’s about to pay the bigger price for this type of freedom?

Video poker players who feel they are knowledgeable about the game can be a stubborn bunch when it comes to the pros and cons of comps. I’ve spent the better part of last year on a forum arguing with its die-hard believers who think playing strictly to math models will net you a long-term profit of some sort as well as unlimited free rooms, food, and gifts as long as they played. But after all was said and done, the feeling I came away with was that each of these players were hopelessly caught up in the euphoria of receiving comps for their play ”” no matter what the cost. It was like the amount of money they took to gamble with was already accepted as lost, because the real plateau they were always after was the one where the freebies were. That, my friends, is what problem gambling is all about.

I fully understand the enjoyment of receiving something for casino loyalty, but players have to realize that casinos did not become spectacular sites by giving away things for free. And attempting to follow the lead of anyone who publicly brags about what they receive should come with the understanding that the only way this is accomplished is by paying a price that is far beyond the range of most regular players. Likewise, scheduling your play sessions around casino promotion deals only means you are unable to “just say no” and are doing exactly as the casino expects you to ”” and when they want you to. Some players think they are being invited in for free money. Tell me, whenever you respond to deals that are designed to rope in more and more players, how many times do you wish you had stayed at home or simply went out to dinner instead?

No matter how often we see certain “experts” talk about easy-to-obtain comps in magazines, on the Internet, or in the live media, it’s not difficult to understand the irreparable prices that are paid for these things. Think about it. If you were truly taking the casinos to the cleaners, would you be announcing to everyone where you did it, how you did it, and the fact that you did it all the time? We are all intelligent human beings, and we can all figure out that nothing is free from the casinos. Sure there’s times when players win and get everything for free ”” and you can be sure the famous names are the frontrunners in getting these few times out into the public eye for their craved recognition and attention. But the true bottom line is how often that happens vs. how often the huge deposits are made ”” disclosed or not. Playing winning video poker requires a special set of skills not readily apparent from those who intermittently toot their horns. After all, what casino manager wouldn’t mind accepting $3,500 as payment for a dinner for two? Comps can be fun, but free? You tell me.