Quick Guide to Casino Comps
“Comp” is the casino jargon for “complimentaries,” the
freebies that casinos give players to keep them loyal to
their establishment. Freebies include everything from free
meals to free show tickets to free play mailed to you by
casinos. And contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to
be a high roller to get your share of the over 1 billion
dollars worth of amenities that casinos give away annually
(that’s right a billion). You just have to understand the
system for getting them and then ask for one. Here are
1. Join a slot club. If your spouse also plays, sign him/her
up. All slot clubs are not created equal so be sure you
understand how much you need to play through the
machine (coin-in) to earn one point and the number of
points you need for specific comps (note: some casinos
base their comps on the amount you win or coin-out—the
difference between coin-in and coin-out is insignificant). It’s
also best to concentrate your play in a few casinos to
better understand the subtleties of their comping system
and to show the casino you are a steady, loyal player.
2. Virtually all slot clubs will rebate a percent of coin-in in
comps and sometimes cash back (same day or on a return
visit, the latter is known as “bounce back”). The rebate
percentage is not the same from one casino to another so
shop around. You often can find information about a casino’
s slot club via their web site or consult vpfree2.com or
3. Many casinos offer special promotions that double or
triple a member’s points during a specific day of the week.
If possible you should plan to play the slot or video poker
machines during these promotions since your points will
4. If you are a slot player, consider learning video poker
because you can get returns slightly under or over 100%
by learning the correct video poker playing strategies. Add
in the comps and/or cash back by using your player’s card
and you’ll be playing with a positive expectation (not
possible with slots).
5. For table players, get rated when you play. Phone the
casino and ask to speak to the casino marketing
department to find out how to go about getting rated and to
start the paperwork on establishing a credit line. Know how
much you need to bet and for how long in order to start
6. To get rated when you play, show the dealer your slot
(or VIP) card. The floor supervisor will observe the length
of time you play and your betting limits and then enters the
data into the computer’s player tracking system.
7. Table comps are based on what the casino thinks they
will win from your action. By betting and playing less then
the casino thinks or playing blackjack skillfully you’ll get
comps faster. Tips: play at full tables, take frequent
breaks, and play slowly. For more details on the art of
getting comps, read Max Rubin’s book, Comp City and
Jean Scott’s series of Frugal Gambling books.
8. Establish a relationship with a casino host because they
have the authority to issue you a variety of comps
(free/discounted/upgraded rooms, meals, show tickets,
transportation from airport, and more). Ask friends for the
name of a host that they can recommend, or contact the
casino marketing department for the name of one.
9. Contact the host before your casino trip, introduce
yourself, and let him/her know what games you play, your
betting level, etc. and when you plan to visit. Make sure
you meet your host when you arrive to begin establishing a
10. Table game supervisors and slot supervisors also have
the power of the pen to issue comps without debiting
points from your comp account. Treat them with the same
respect and try hard to build a relationship with them.
11. Lastly, don’t bet more or play longer for the sake of a
comp. Just play your normal game and then ask for a comp
in a polite and courteous way. When in doubt, always ask.
Henry Tamburin, Ph.D. is the author of the Ultimate
Blackjack Strategy Guide, editor of the Blackjack
Insider e-Newsletter (www.bjinsider.com), lead
instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course, and
host of smartgaming.com. For a free three-month
subscription to his blackjack newsletter, go to www.
bjinsider.com/freetrial. To receive his free Casino
Gambling Catalog, call 1-888-353-3234 or visit www.