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Comps: nothing’s easier, or more costly!

Jan 13, 2003 4:49 AM

If there’s one strategy in gambling that all video poker players are expert at, it’s getting comps. They know how to get them, when to get them, where to get them, why they get them, who to get them from, and just how easy it is to get them at any time.

But there’s one issue that many regular players have not yet learned to deal with in the slightest: Why they always feel they’re due much more than they’ve actually earned. And guess what? It’s the losers who react that way — which translates into most video poker players. And now guess what? The casinos know that!

Of course, the more a player loses the more they feel they should be given comps. But it just doesn’t work out that way. One player may walk in with $800 and lose it in an hour. Another may play with $500 for six long, excruciating hours.

Regardless of how they lost, each player’s interest then automatically turns towards points and comps earned — which in itself is a sad way to end a session.

Our first player may want a free dinner but instead gets a hot dog with mustard and a coke. But our second player gets the deal of the day: dinner and drinks for two at the Mexican restaurant, all for only $500. Terrific! He feels he’s hit the jackpot, and therein lies the genius in every slot club marketing program.

Winners who know what they’re doing could care less about comps, promotions, or slot club temptations. After all, isn’t gambling about the money?

I’ve seen several people write about how their play at one of the resorts is manufactured to be positive because of the cash back, the ambience, the professionalism of the hosts, and the gift-giveaway at year’s end.

Now that’s what I call slot club card brain washing at it’s worst. If, however, you think there are less than 1 percent of players who treat card use as wisely as you do, you have a common sense approach to casino gambling.

We’ve seen and heard so much about players who like to talk about or show off their collection of casino freebies, and then brag about the cash back programs they’ve "looted" from the casinos.

But if you’re feeling left out, don’t let it get to you. These "winners" know a lot more about the game than you do, they win with a type of skill that sees them outperforming and outlasting a perfect video poker computer by compressing infinity into whatever timeframe they choose, and they need little if any luck at all in accomplishing this amazing feat! But the best part has yet to come.

Because they always use their sacred slot club cards, each casino tracks their play in detail. Do you think any of them will be stopped from coming back for more free money and comps? Of course not, it’s a giveaway frenzy!

At some of the locals casinos in Las Vegas, the "expert" player is now complaining about some of the intangible discretionary comp policies. These are comps issued on the floor by hosts who do not remove points from a player’s account in doing so.

Because these players live by and for the comps, they think they can always get something for nothing. Yet if one property decides to hand out more discretionaries to this player and not to that player, the player denied immediately announces to the world that he or she is such a superior player that the casino cannot "afford" to do it for them or any other advantage player any longer. Okay, I’m a little harsh on the system, but there’s a reason. I teach people that they’re in a casino to win money. Remember?

Yet, suddenly they’re playing for comps and status rather than cash.

How do I know this? That’s a fair question, because when I play professionally I haven’t used a card since 2001, when I was severely restricted at several casinos for my win-and-leave method. But I do use a slot club card whenever I play for recreation (always low-stakes), and I continue to see what’s going on as well as chat with the casino hosts and management.

We all know we pay for what we get, and the anomaly in the casino business is that we pay dearly for that which is free. And it’s the easiest deal in the world. All you need is money.