Don’t Get Tripped-Up

A cautionary tale based on personal experience. Back in the day when TI was Treasure Island and “Ultra Club” referred to an expensive golf club rather than a place that serves ridiculously over priced liquor, I made a costly comp faux pas. For several years, like clockwork, I had been getting nice slot tournament offers from Treasure Island. Then abruptly, they stopped. When I called casino marketing to ask why my offers had stopped, they responded that my play level on my last visit was dramatically less than on previous trips and that I no longer qualified for their slot tournaments. I found that hard to believe, since on my previous visit I had gambled the most of any of my visits to Treasure Island. What was the explanation of these seemingly incongruous events? Upon further investigation I discovered what Treasure Island viewed as my last trip. After I had checked out of my hotel room, I had about a half hour to kill before heading to the airport, so I decided to play a little video poker at the bar, bad idea. Treasure Island viewed this as a separate trip and judged my play accordingly, ouch!  I was  inadvertently tripped. Which meant no more tournament offers.

Theo is Important, but so is Daily Average

Las Vegas casinos view your visits in terms of trips, even if you play at that casino for only a single day, while they give you comps based on your daily average play. To maximize your comps, you need to understand how ‘Trips’ and ‘Daily Average’ work together. An example is the best way to illustrate.

Manny, Moe, and Jack

Let’s say three people, Manny, Moe,  and Jack stay at the Big Tuchus Casino for three days and they play the following amounts, or to use the Vegas Vernacular; they give The Big Tuchus the following action: Manny plays $15,000 each day; Moe plays $20,000; $2,000; $2,000 while Jack plays $20,000; $0; $0.

______________Manny       Moe              Jack
Day 1                $15,000    $20,000    $20,000
Day 2                $15,000    $2,000       $0
Day 3                $15,000    $2,000       $0
Total                 $45,000    $24,000    $20,000
Daily Ave——      $15,000    $8,000      $6,667

Let me explain in a little more detail what those numbers $20,000 and $15,000 represent. They are the levels of play you are giving the casino NOT the amount of money you bring to the casino, and more importantly, not the levels of risk you are assuming on any single bet at the casino. It is really a matter of recycling your winning and push bets through the slot or video poker machine. In the long run a phrase that will oft be repeated in discussing comps and gambling results, you will be able to put through the reciprocal of the casinos house advantage times your bankroll. In other words, if you play a game with a 1% house advantage and start with a $100 bankroll, you get 1/.01 x 100 = $10,000 of gambling action. If we increase the house advantage to 5% the amount of action is cut to $2,000, while if we cut the house advantage to 0.5% we would expect $20,000 of gambling action.

Who will get the best offers from the Casino Marketing Department,  Manny, Moe, or Jack?  Manny played the most, a total of $45,000 and a daily average of $15,000 while Jack only played one day, hence his total play and daily average play are equal, at $20,000 and finally Moe played a total of $22,000 but had the lowest daily average, $8,000. Jack who played the least in total dollar amount, but had the highest daily average will almost assuredly get the best offers in the mail.  Believe it or not, those zero play days are usually not held against you. Poor Moe, he played through a higher dollar amount than Jack, $22,000 versus $20,000, but will almost assuredly get the worst offers in the mail.

The Difference Between “A Little Play” and “Zero Play” Can Be Huge

The key is for it to be zero and not, a little bit. Those “little bit” days really wreck your daily average. If you are not staying at a casino’s hotel and just stop by their casino, to play a little bit, you will get tripped, and that too will destroy your daily average at that casino. Unfair, right?  That is why it is important to learn how to play “The Comp Game” Some relatively small changes in your style of play can have a large impact on the comps you receive from casinos.

For a good forum on casino comps check out the Yahoo Group Casino Comps.

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