The best part of producing the show and publishing this site is that I get to interact with other Vegas fans. So many of you have unique experiences and insights on the city we all love. One experience us low rollers may not connect with is the idea of getting comps from the casino. Some may think receiving significant comps may be out of reach when gambling at low limits. That, however, is not necessarily the case. Taylor, a listener from New Mexico and Vegas vacation veteran, recently returned from a trip and was generous enough to share some comp tips for us low rollers.
I really appreciate Taylor sharing his comp savvy. If you have any tips or advice you’d like to share, feel free to email at email@example.com. Below are Taylor’s thoughts, slightly edited for grammar and clarity.
How to maximize hotel comps:
Travels usually cost us in three areas: airfares, lodging, and food. Vegas trips add gambling money. However, the more you get your lodging and food for free, that frees up money for more gambling. However, don’t chase comps, meaning don’t gamble more than you usually do to get room offers in the future. But do gamble what you were going to anyway smarter to increase the chances of getting room offers. I’m a low roller. 95% of my play is $10 or $5 blackjack, $5 craps, and $0.25 Bonus Poker.
Here are some things I do:
1. Concentrate your gambling action. I like Downtown Grand (DTG) rooms and El Cortez cabana suites. So rather than gambling at both places for half amounts each, I gamble all at one on one trip, and at the other one on the next trip. For this reason, it’s important to find a casino that has all the games you want to play and the rooms you like. Also, as a low roller, I understand that I’ll get the basic rooms comped. So pick a casino with nicer basic rooms, rather than nicer expensive rooms (DTG over GN).
2. The key is to have higher daily average theoretical losses. Usually the casino day starts sometime early in the morning depending on the property like 4 am. Let’s say I am staying at DTG for two nights. I gamble both nights, but then before I leave for the airport around noon, I play some VP to kill time. I try not to do this because my gambling action is now divided by 3 days instead of 2 days. I’d either play without my card or with my girlfriend’s card for that third day. Also, I take shorter trips. Gambling $500 a night for 2 nights will get you better comps than gambling $200 a night for 5 nights.
What probably works:
3. Play some Video poker. Table games rating is a big unknown. However, if you enjoy playing video poker, rack up some slot points through VP. I’m not saying play through VP when you hate it just for slot points. If you enjoy playing VP, play some so that you have some idea of what kind of action you’re giving them. I play BP, which has decent returns, easy to find full pay payables, and low variances.
4. Repeat patronage. At first, you may not get free rooms for weekends. The casinos will probably start you off with discounted rates or Sun-Thu free rooms. This does not necessarily mean that you need to play more. It just may be that they want to see that you would be a repeat customer first. Play again at the same property a couple of times more and see whether your offers improve. My DTG offers started from Sun-Thu rooms to anytime deluxe rooms to premium rooms to a one-bedroom suite (which I think was a one time fluke), then back down to premium rooms, all within a year and half. Golden Gate started with 4 any nights then went down to 3 any nights, and has stayed there. El Cortez (tower rooms or cabana suites) started at the discount rates (comped if you play 2000 points for a weekday and 3000 points for a weekend night) to free rooms within 2 trips.
What may or may not work, but I like to think that it works:
5. I play some slots. I always wonder how detailed the slot club card information they gather is. Do they know how well I play VP? Do they know how fast I play VP? Do they know how many slot points come from each machine? After playing a few thousand coin-ins on VP, I like to run a $20 through a dollar wheel of fortune ($2 a spin) and another $20 through a $5 wheel of fortune (two pulls for the win!). I also find the Batman machine entertaining. This is more of a superstition to me. They started giving me better rooms after I started doing this at DTG. But who knows?
6. Related to the (5) is for table games. I like to start off at a higher denomination tables. I’d start at $10 table then move to the $5 table. This “superstition” is based on one instance when I moved from a $15 table to a $5 table. I was playing at $10 bets on that $5 table and asked to rate me at $10. The pit boss told me it was already at $15.
7. To maximize the daily average, I take one night off from gambling. This also has to do with my small bankroll. If I got comped 3 nights, I don’t gamble one of those nights. Maybe they like higher daily averages, or maybe they don’t like that I don’t gamble every night. Who knows?
Probably shouldn’t do this:
8. Your offers will dry out if you just run through your free play, take the money and run. Don’t redeem that $10 free play if you’re not staying at that casino or you’re not going to gamble beyond the free play.
Last tip: If your room is comped, you WILL feel obligated to give them your gambling action. If you’re going to gamble anyway, take the free room. If the room costs little and you don’t want to gamble, just pay for the room. You’ll feel much better having paid $70 a room than taking a free room and lose $300 that you didn’t want to lose because you felt obligated to give some action.
And ALWAYS ALWAYS be nice to the dealers, pit bosses, and cocktail waitresses. Tip well.