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Gaming Guru



11 December 2011

Casinos want your money. No question about it. They can advertise that they are the luckiest casino around, maybe the friendliest, or they treat you like royalty, but the bottom line is everything they do is designed to separate you from your bankroll. If they could take your ATM and suck the cash directly from your bank account they would.

When they introduce a new game or modify a rule on an existing game, you can be assured it is to increase their advantage, not yours. In recent years Atlantic City and Las Vegas have changed from standing on soft 17 to hitting soft 17 at most of the games. This increases the house advantage 0.20%. Not a big deal you may think, but over hours of plays and hundreds of hands it eats into the player's bankroll.

This is why you as a player should include maximizing comps in your overall advantage-play plan.

The comp game is a bit science and a bit art. Admittedly, a lot of this article reflects the art and is based on my beliefs and experiences.

Here are a few strategies for your consideration:

Size does matter!

Let's start with the basics. This is a simple strategy. Say you want to risk up to two hundred dollars in a session. If you buy in that small many casinos will not even rate you. So, buy in for $500 and play only up to $200. You are not a prisoner of the table. If you hit your loss limit, walk away.

Credit where credit is due!

Casino credit is an interest-free loan from the casino. If you establish a line of credit, the casino sees you as a serious player. I suggest starting with a credit line of around $2,000 - $3,000. Let's say your session stake is usually $500. When you play at the table ask for a
marker of $1000. Then play your usual game. Do not play beyond your usual $500 stake.

In your next session, at another table, take another $1000 marker. Again only play to the
limits of your usual bankroll. If you play a third session at another table, do the same

As you can see, the casino would have seen you as a $1500 player but now they see you as a $3000 player with a potential of being a $5,000 player.

Remember: As a disciplined advantage player you must not be tempted to go beyond your usual limits.

Please see my previous "Gaming Gurus" article of "Casino Credit Q&A" for more credit-related information.

The Macy & Gimbels Strategy

Let's say you had a BIG WIN in the Borgata and you are pushing your chips across the table to color up. Someone from the pit will be standing by monitoring the transaction. Say in a loud voice for him/her to hear, "I would love to keep playing, but I a dinner reservation over at Harrah's." The idea of your bringing their money over to Harrah's is anathema to the casino. The pit has the authority to offer you a meal comp to keep you there. If they offer take it.

Tipping is not a city in China

The dealers work hard. They are paid very little. Like waiters or valets, they rely on tips to make a living. The dealers like players that tip. The truth is, if players did not tip there would be no casino table games. Most of the floor people were once dealers. They understand the dealers' reliance on tips. Therefore, they want generous players to receive
offers that entice them back to their casino.

I believe that if you are fair with your tips, the pit takes that into consideration when rating you. I am not saying give away your bankroll. I am saying to tip smart. Some
people tip at the end of their session. Not me, I believe in tipping while playing. It shows the dealers that you are a "George" and you will get great service. Plus I think that if you are a trained dice influencer, you will get a little more leeway while tossing the bones.

When tipping, the most import thing is you want your tips to be noticed. Place a chip right next to your pass line bet, and let them know if is for the dealers. If you have a weakness for the hardways, throw two chips and in a loud voice say, "Two way hard six, I control it!" This tells the casino that you are making a bet for you and the dealer and if it hits the dealers bet will stay up until you take it down. If things are running well, it has the potential for a nice payoff.

Step right up...It slices it dices

Make sure you are familiar with all the recent casino promotions so you can take advantage of those that interest you. If you primarily play in a certain venue, make sure you have a source of info for the latest promos. Personally, I have absolutely no interest in getting a free hat, towel or a food chopper, but if you like that, then by all means take advantage of it. Hey, maybe your blender just conked out and you needed a new one and some casino may have freebie blenders. Different things interest different people. There are casino promotions where if you have a premium card from casino X you can bring it to Casino Y and they will upgrade you to their premium card. The premium card may entitle you to a free room, access to their private lounge or free slot play.

A Room at the inn

A room in a nice AC casino hotel on a Saturday in August could sell for in excess of $500, if you can even get it. They are not going to give that away for free unless they expect some serious money from a player. However, if you are flexible, getting that same room free or for a low rate is very possible. Naturally, a weekday room is easier to come by. If you visit "off season" lots of rooms are available.

The cold weather in December, January and February results in the slowest time for many casinos. The weather ends visits by the beach-and-pool crowd. But if you are coming for gambling, dining, shows and relaxation, who cares if it is 5 degrees outside. The casino is always 70 degrees. Plus it never rains in the gorgeous indoor pools of the upscale hotels. Christmastime in Las Vegas is one of the biggest values of the year. There are plenty of deals and free room offers for players.

Asses in the seats

Shows can be some of the easiest comps to get. Some of the less popular shows in LV have lots of empty seats every night. The more popular shows have last minute cancellations and no show ticket holders. If you speak with a host and let them know you are interested, if anything opens up, you may score some freebie tickets.

Don't ask, don't get

A friend of mine (I will call Mr. X) is a low-limit player in AC. Mr. X told me this week that he and his wife had a comped room in Harrah's on a pretty busy Saturday night. I was shocked because I know he only rarely gets offers and usually only for Monday to Thursday rooms. He said he had gotten that type of offer, but he took a shot and called the casino, late in the week, and asked if he could get a room Saturday night. To his surprise, they said, sure, come on down.

The economic troubles of the day have greatly affected casinos. They desperately want and need people to play and visit the restaurants. So if something was out of your reach in the past...give it another shot.

You look marvelous

When you go to the casino, do not wear the clothes you do your gardening in. Your appearance is important. People want to be around people that look good. It makes them feel better. No one wants a slovenly dressed, greasy haired, body odor-reeking dreg playing next to them, and neither do the casino employees. I believe your appearance is reflected in your rating.

If you have any tricks, tips of suggestions please share them. You can send them to me at Perhaps I can include them in a future article.

Scan works in a top-secret government agency and he is therefore not allowed to reveal his real name or show a picture of himself. We’ve used a clip-art drawing to indicate his nature. Needless to say, he is an extremely bright guy. He is an active member of the private members-only Web site where he posts his thoughts and gambling theories on a regular basis.
Scan works in a top-secret government agency and he is therefore not allowed to reveal his real name or show a picture of himself. We’ve used a clip-art drawing to indicate his nature. Needless to say, he is an extremely bright guy. He is an active member of the private members-only Web site where he posts his thoughts and gambling theories on a regular basis.