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Comps Part Two: How to Stretch Your Comps16 June 2005
True story time. I played three days at a very nice Las Vegas casino, just a cut below Bellagio, where I was RFB, which meant I was a big shot and got everything "free" - gourmet restaurants, room service, shows, limos, and a big, big-shot suite with two bathrooms, a Jacuzzi, a living room, dining room, four televisions, a huge bedroom, and a stable for my polo ponies.
When it was time to leave, I checked out my "screen" and asked my host if the casino would pick up the airfare for me and my wife, the beautiful AP, and he said: "That would put you way over the return we can give you based on your theoretical." I looked at the screen and next to my "room" was $1,500! Yep, that's what they "charged" me for the suite - per night! So $4,500 of my comp return based on my "theoretical loss" was eaten up by the big-shot suite, which I basically slept in, showered in and did a couple of unmentionable things in. So I asked him how much a regular room would have been "charged" to me. It turned out to be $250. And he then volunteered the information that I would have gotten the airfare "no problem" had I taken a regular room.
So right there, I learned a very valuable lesson. Did I really have to stay in a suite if not doing so would allow me to have our $700 airfare covered? In good Vegas hotels all the rooms are good, by definition, and I really don't do much in a big-shot suite that I wouldn't do in a regular room.
Here's another little trick. When you ask for a comp for the café for two don't let the floorperson or pit boss write it out for the "normal amount," say $50 for two, because often they take that whole $50 off your comp allowance even if your meal came to $30. If you know what you're going to eat, or if you know approximately what you're going to spend in the café, when you ask for a comp say, "Make the comp for two for $37." This way you only use up the actual money you spent.
SECRETS OF THE UNDESERVING ONLY I KNOW
Now I'm going to share with you the secrets of getting much more than you deserve in comps. Most of these secrets are only known by me and anyone that I've ever talked to about comps. But some of the following secrets are actually being revealed here for the first time because that's the kind of guy I am - a blabbermouth!
If you are a tipper, and you should be because if you don't tip the dealers, they will hate you, then always tip on top of your bet, not next to it or in front of it or wherever the casino wants the bet placed (like directly in the dealer's bank account). Let us say you are still that $25 blackjack player, still solvent, alive and kicking, and you want to give the dealers a $5 tip. If you put it in front of your bet, two things happen: The dealer is happy that you made a bet for him and if it wins the bet is taken down. Here's what doesn't happen - the bet is not counted as a part of your bet. Now, if you put the bet on top of your $25, and say to the dealer, "You're riding on top," then three things happen: The dealer is happy that you made a bet for him; if it wins it stays up and might win some more for the dealer with no extra risk for you; and, more important, that $5 will now count as a part of your bet. The floorperson will rate you as a $30 player. Hey, every little bit helps.
Craps players can try a classic ruse that I invented when I saw someone else do it. You can put your Place bets on the numbers during the come-out roll but keep them off! That's right. If you are a Place bettor, going right up on the numbers gets you noticed right away, rated right away, but with no risk. Even better, if you are, say a $30 bettor on the 6 and 8, you might just go to $60 on each during the come-out roll - accompanied by much fanfare ("Give me a $60 six and eight. Did you hear me, I SAID A SIXTY DOLLAR, SIX-O, SIX AND EIGHT!" and in a whisper: "Off on the come-out.") - and, here's the sneaky part, when the shooter establishes his point, you take those two bets down to $30 each. You can't do this too much but a few times during the course of a session will help pump up your average bet rating at no extra risk.
Craps players should also look to play in casinos that count the total spread (a $30 six and eight means a $60 rating) and the odds as a part of the average bet.
Here's a nice ploy for those of you who are in the nether world between RLFB, which means you get a free room but limited food and beverage, with no gourmet fare, and RFB, which means you are a big shot, the big kahunaman, where everything is free. Often when you are RLFB/RFB borderline, you'll be told that you can charge your food to your room and at the end of the trip, "we'll take a look at it and see what you deserve." Do that and you will get what the casino thinks you deserve.
However, there is a way around this that sometimes works wonderfully (and sometimes fails miserably). I discovered this super-secret technique in the mid-1990s during my stays at the old Wynn properties and, when I'm in the RLFB/RFB nether world I always employ it. When you want any non-gourmet fare such as the café or buffet, ask a floorperson for it. Some floorpeople will give you the comp no questions asked because of your average bet, rating, etc. Others will ask if you are staying in the hotel. They'll say to charge it to your room. Don't lie if they ask you that, just tell them that you prefer to get the comp upfront. I once invented a story that I didn't want my wife to know I was having an extra meal because I was on a diet. The floorperson, a portly fellow, sympathized and wrote out the comp.
So why "comp upfront" as I call it? Because, when your stay is over, there is chance that none of your comps-as-you-went will show up on "the screen." Everything that you charged to your room will be there, all those gourmet dinners where you ate like a pig, uh, I mean, like a king or queen, will be there, but none of your "little" comps will, hopefully, register. Your host, who has allotted you "X" amount for food will now subtract that "X" from your gourmet fare. Had you put all the "little" food expenses on your room, that "X" would have probably covered them and you'd be charged for the gourmet meals.
As I said, this doesn't always work. Sometimes some floorpeople, thinking they are spending their own money, are obstinate and you'll be given no choice but charge it to your room or starve. Also, sometimes, the "little" comps will show up on the "screen" when your host looks. So what? You'll at least get what you deserved and, at most, get a heck of a lot more than you deserved.
Given a choice between casinos where floorpeople rate you by hand on a piece of paper or those where they rate you by swiping your card through a computer, if all other things are equal (the games, amenities, stables for your polo ponies), then go with the pen and paper. Tradition counts! Also, those who have to rate you with pen and paper will, if they like you (tipping the dealers helps them like you), add some points to your rating at the end when they put it into the computer. This can't be done when they constantly enter your bets into the computer after every round.
I've played in places where I have been rated much higher than my actual betting would warrant, largely because I was related to the floorperson doing the rating - just kidding; largely because of my tipping of the crew and the fact that I was a regular and an easy player who made no demands or intemperate remarks, win or lose.
The flipside of the pen and paper is also a possibility. I recently had the floorperson-from-hell rate my average bet at a level that was two-thirds less than what every other floorperson in that particular casino rated me. I wasn't betting any differently mind you. I was just perceived differently. The guy probably took an instant dislike to me (those of you who know me must find that impossible to believe) - and my rating plummeted.
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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