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Comps and craps16 July 2009
While I don't advocate playing casino games just to get comps — come on, you and I know that comps are really not worth the losses at casino games because it is far cheaper to just buy your food and not play any casino games — but I do realize that many craps players really have little idea of how their action is being rated or why they get the comps they get. The comp world becomes a magical mystical matter for many players.
I've received several letters recently from craps players wanting to know why they got what they got from the casinos they just played in. Universally, these players felt that their comps were much lower than what they expected — but they didn't know why.
Here is a brief primer on how a craps player could be rated. In some casinos there is a three-pronged rating system for craps:
1. "Good" players are those who make bets with 1.5% house edges, or less, and do not make any high-house-edge bets. These players are rated on a 1.5% loss of the total they wager and the return is anywhere from 30% to 40% of their theoretical loss. So if this player is expected to lose $100 during his playing time, the comp value will be between $30 and $40.
2. "Average" players are those who make the above bets plus bets with medium to somewhat high house edges between 1.5% but under 10%. The rater will estimate what this person averages based on viewing the bets and the return in comps will be between 30 and 40% of the player's theoretical loss. So the rater might rate this person as playing against a 5% house edge. If his loss comes to $500 in four hours, he will receive between $150 and $200 in comps.
3. "Action" players ("action" is a casino definition, our definition is ploppy!) will bet everything, even the worst bets at the craps table. These players will probably be rated as losing the most, perhaps 10% or more of their total action, and get 30 to 40% of their theoretical loss back in comps. So if they are going to lose $1,000 in four hours, the casino will comp them between $300 and $400.
Now, keep in mind that when you receive a free or discounted room from a casino, or a show, the cost of that room or show is subtracted from your comp totals. A free or discounted room or a show ticket is based on your past play, obviously. That money counts. The room isn't actually free nor is the show.
However, rather than doing a three-tiered system, some casinos merely manipulate the betting averages while giving the same percentage to all players. So if you are betting $60 on the 6 and 8, which is $120 in total action, instead of rating you at 1.5%, they merely use $60 or $30 (or whatever) as your average wager but they will give you a higher loss percentage on it (it will come out to almost the same thing as using 1.5% against $120).
One aspect of the comp game that eludes some players is the fact that the comps are not usually based on your real wins or losses in this or that session, this or that trip. The actual money you won or lost is not the same as your theoretical loss. The theoretical loss is based on math over the long haul of how you bet; it is an expected loss, not an actual loss. After all, players don't always lose when they go to the casinos or no players would ever go; any short-range play will usually be far different than your theoretical.
However, the theoretical works itself out the more you play. For the casinos, a given month on their floors will be close to the theoretical because of the millions of decisions that have been made at their games. Although a given individual's wins or losses might not be close to a theoretical in a given stretch of time, that is really no problem for the casino because the average of all those players conforms to exactly what the casino expects. You can't fool the math.
So what is the bottom line for craps players? If you are a "good" craps player don't expect the kind of comps that an "action" craps player gets. But look on the bright side. You will, in the long scheme of things, lose far less money than the "action" player whose comps can't come anywhere near what he loses in the casinos.
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at email@example.com.
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