Ten Ways to Score Comps

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Go ahead and ask the casino to give you something for free. If you’re too shy, the casino can’t say yes. The person you ask varies, depending on the games you’re playing, but usually, a pit boss, floor person, or host is the person to approach. You may only qualify for a comp T-shirt or hat, but, hey, it’s free and better than returning home empty-handed.

Impressing the Boss with Club Card Mileage

Always use your casino club card and ensure that the pit boss is aware of your presence. Your club card is the casino’s way of tracking your time and the total amount wagered at the tables or slot machines. Most casinos tabulate the total amount of time you gamble, factor in your average bet, and then tabulate those calculations into points. You can use these points for comps (such as meals, shows, rooms, and so on) or, in some cases, converted into cash.

Finding the Weakest Link

Video poker and blackjack are the casino’s weakest links. Video poker has far more favorable odds than slot machines and can be an excellent choice for minimizing your losses and maximizing your comps. Blackjack is easy to master (at least in basic strategy). The casino has difficulty discerning whether you’re a good player or a clueless weekend warrior who relies on hunches for playing decisions. If you stick to a basic strategy rather than guessing, receiving more in comps than you lose over the long run is possible because of the slim house edge in video poker and blackjack.

Betting More When the Boss Is Looking

Siegfried & Roy weren’t the only ones to use the power of illusion to their advantage. If the pit bosses think your average bet is $25 (when it’s closer to $10), then you receive more than twice as many juicy comps during your gambling visits, which can be magically delicious.

Betting Less When the Boss Isn’t Looking

Betting less when the pit boss isn’t watching you is in the same category as taking out the garbage when the wife is watching. After all, what’s the point in doing work if you’re not going to get credit for it? If you’re increasing your wagers to get the pit boss’s attention and earn yourself some comps, then you certainly want to decrease your chances when she isn’t watching. To counter that initial big bet and subsequent big bets you make when the boss has her eye on your game, bet less when the boss isn’t around.

Making the Bathroom Your Second Home

The comp meter usually keeps running whether you’re playing in the game or not, so take as many breaks as possible. The point is that you want to reduce your financial risk (which increases when you’re actively gambling) while you grow your comp potential. Frequent trips to the restroom may seem like a curse to senior citizens — but those breaks can be one of the best techniques for scoring more comps with less financial risk.

Looking like you’re losing

One way to look like you’re losing is by deftly hiding chips every time you play (put them into your pocket or purse). Uncomfortable with being deceptive? Think about sports or other games. Proper strategy in football, poker, or chess is to make moves that fake out your opponents and trick them into misreading you. Trying to score comps is similar; the most successful players aren’t afraid to act a little bit or exaggerate their losses.

Greasing the Wheels

A small token of your appreciation to a pit boss goes a long way in getting you an inflated comp rating. There are several ways to do this, and most of them don’t involve monetary gifts. Casino employees are real people, just like us. Their jobs are often very demanding, so kind words, a thank-you card, a sincere compliment, or a letter of praise to their supervisor can create a ton of goodwill. And if hosts or pit bosses like you, it often influences how they rate your play.

Never Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth

An excellent general rule is never to turn down a free comp. The house is bound to remember you as an appreciative guest and perhaps offer you other comps. However, if you’re a picky player, the casino likely labels you as tricky and — especially if you’re not a high roller — turns the stream of comp gestures off. When the casino offers you a comp, smile broadly and offer your thanks. But if you really can’t use or give away that comp, politely ask for a different but comparable one. For example, if you can’t stomach sushi, see if the casino can switch the comp to a Chinese restaurant.

Behaving with Courtesy and Respect

Although some people say that sports build character, my experience has taught me that sports show your personality. The high-stakes drama of a big game strips away the veneers and facades that many people wear, unveiling their natural, raw emotions.


Likewise, the pressure-packed arena of casino gambling seems to bring out the worst in many people. Winners can become obnoxious, preening prima donnas. Big losers are transformed into rude whiners who blame everyone around them for their bad luck. The best approach is to remain friendly and polite, regardless of the cards. Nice guys don’t always finish last; sometimes, they end up dining on caviar and drinking Dom Perignon. Meanwhile, the boorish jerks often wind up with nothing.

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