Aspects of Playing For Complimentary Gifts (Comps) From Casinos – Enhancing Player Expected Value

Casinos compete for gambler’s time and money by compensating them with complimentary gifts (comps). These comps involve free drinks, meals, free or reduced rate rooms, show tickets and extend to RFB (all costs for room,food,and beverage), airfare reimbursement or flyback certificates, and Super Bowl tickets. Comp programs are inherently designed to build customer loyalty and to foster return visits with the patron’s wallets and/or purses in hand. Customers do not have to be high-rollers to receive these incentives; many low-midlevel gamblers can and do receive a surprising amount of freebies and discounts. This is particularly relevant presently in part due to the current state of our general economy; in Las Vegas, visitor counts and gambling bankrolls have dipped significantly and this has increased comp offers from gaming properties in their attempt to encourage gamblers to enter their doors. On a recent (late October,2008) nine day stay in Vegas, my wife and I didn’t have to pay for a single night’s stay (all comped rooms) and we are absolutely not upper crust gamblers. Our gambling efforts involve blackjack at 10 – 25 dollar minimum bet tables and penny or nickel denomination slots and video poker with bets ranging from 40 cents to $ 2.00 per spin.

Comp awards are generally determined by average bet x hours played x bets per hour x expected house edge x % casino comp return to players (generally ranges 25 – 40% of expected win by the casino). For example, let’s assume you play a decent blackjack game (player favorable rule set and you play accurate basic strategy) and your average bet is 10 dollars per hand. If you play an “average ” 6-deck shoe game you can expect to see 60 – 80 hands per hour if the table involves 3 or 4 other players. Many casinos use 60 hands per hour and a house edge of 2% when figuring their expected dollar returns from players and resultant comp calculations. Most casinos will return approximately 40% of their expected win back to a player in the form of comps. For the above game, let’s assume you play 5 hours (hopefully at more than one table); a reasonable comp calculation would be $10 (average bet) X 5 (hours played) X 60 (hands/hr.) X .02 (house edge) X .40 (proportionate casino return to players). This means cumulatively you wagered approximately $ 3000.00 (surprised?) X .02 = $60.00 X .40 = $24.00 in earned comps.

A key tip to remember about comps while in Las Vegas or elsewhere…ASK for them..in a courteous manner. At some Vegas properties, you might be required to wager $15 or $25 per hand to even get rated for table game comps. Some off-strip Las Vegas casinos are more liberal with their meal comps than many of the Strip locales; on several different trips I’ve played for 2-3 hours at the Orleans with a 10 -20 dollar average bet and have never had a problem obtaining buffet comps for two when asked for appropriately. There is a huge variation in comp programs between casinos and corporate gaming entities. Players should determine where they like to play and avail themselves of comp program specifics at a given locale. Don’t be surprised if a player’s club representative / host is vague about precisely how they calculate earned comps; awarded comps can vary with season and any factor that increases patronage (weekends vs weekday, holidays, major events / conventions). Low to midlevel players will find it more difficult to get comped during these high traffic situations at times. It’s suggested that gamblers familiarize themselves with a slots / table games host that they are comfortable with; generally speaking, it’s a good idea to solicit a host of the opposite gender. Communicating with a host can lead to real dollar value for future visits (minimize losses / enhance winnings); part of a host’s job is to enhance the player’s experience while gambling. At many properties, pit bosses can award meal comps. Key elements for playing an enhanced-value comp game are to gamble within your prescribed bankroll, playing games with lower house advantage, know the property comp program, and ASK. On the other hand, “chasing” comps (ie playing too long just to obtain a meal) can lead to increased overall gambling losses, particularly if you’re losing hand after hand, dice roll after dice roll, or slot pull after slot pull. Common sense applies.

Blackjack is an excellent game to acquire comps due to generally lower house odds when compared to all other casino games provided players select games with player-favorable rules and learn accurate basic strategy for the specific game played. If a player avails themselves of these conditions and employs tactics that decrease the speed of the game (fewer hands played per hour), they have employed some basic tactics to enhance their comp accrual. Factors that can slow down a game include playing at crowded tables, talking with other players regularly while the game is in progress, extending decision times on hand plays, and taking frequent bathroom breaks or cell phone call breaks. Another tactic to enhance comp accrual at blackjack involves increased bet levels when pit bosses and / or table hosts are observing specific play; these should enhance your table play ratings and accrued comp levels. Bet levels can be reduced if desired when one is not being scrutinized by casino staff members.

Slot / video poker (VP) play tracking for comps requires that players have their player’s club cards inserted and inserted properly to accumulate points; always determine that this is the case and periodically check during sessions at a given machine. Video poker generally offers higher payback return percentages vs slot machines but comps for VP play are generally less for the same wagers / time played as compared to slots. It’s a standard casino tradeoff mechanism. If you find a casino that you like to play in, you enjoy the slots, and you have ample time, I believe it’s possible to identify some particular machines that exhibit a higher payback percentage than others (we know this is fact; the key is in identifying them). Generally speaking, the higher denomination machines have higher payback percentages (ie $1 slots vs penny machines); your ability to play these will depend on your bankroll and a money management scheme that involves common sense. There are wide variations in payback percentages even among penny slots; observation, common sense, and a willingness to play these games can lead to identifying some of the better paying machines. The key is to not get soaked for a huge loss expecting that next pull..and the next one..to result in a big payout. Regarding slot machines, we suggest a stop-loss approach. We always stop playing a given machine if we’ve reached 40 – 50% of the original buy-in amount (ie $20 -25 dollars credit remaining following a $50.00 original buy-in). Admittedly, the average slot machine will drain your bankroll but if players can identify the higher payback machines (by observation and actual play) these are reasonable alternatives for accumulating comps. Video poker with solid paytables (minimally 9/6 Jacks Or Better or Double Bonus; this paytable means the machine offers a 9 for 1 payout on a full house and 6 for 1 on a flush) is an excellent means to accrue comps (albeit slower relative to most slot machines at the same wager levels). It’s important to realize that the key factor is identifying the machines with greater payback percentages (ie “full-pay” machines or those with close to 100% payback over time, though individual sessions can and do still result in losses, of course).

While seeking out individual casinos to play any game, always seek out player’s club promotions (eg point multiplier days, blackjack enhancements) and use gambling coupons (blackjack match play and first -card ace coupons); use of these will enhance player expectation through increased returns / minimized losses while playing the comp game. The current economic climate in Las Vegas specifically, though generally down, is conducive to comp offer acquisition.

Good cards…

Chuck60 @ Frugally Vegas

Play Poker With Online Casinos

There is this inherent desire in every human being to earn loads of money and that too, as soon as possible. However, it is hard to refute that there is no shortcut to success. With the introduction of online casino games and poker, there finally seems to be a way to play online poker easily.

Why is online poker so popular?

Online poker seems to be the buzzword among both die hard gamblers and novices who are simply thrilled by the rising popularity of this game. In fact, most of the students in USA prefer playing poker rather than engaging themselves in summer jobs for their allowances. Although, online poker games might start as a hobby for most of the people, it soon goes on to become a source to earn some easy money instantly.

Most of the people seem to be welcoming the concept of poker games. However, critics slam it as a fraudulent and highly risky game which could backfire on the player at any point of time. Although a large number of professional players bet that their success rate is cent percent, another fact which needs to be understood is that playing poker with online casinos still hasn’t been able to receive legal sanction.

Are parents fine with it?

Most of the parents seem to be sceptical of their children who invest large amount of their time, energy and even money while playing online poker. However, certain parents are also completely comfortable with the idea of their children playing poker in order to provide their tuition fee themselves.

Though it cannot be ignored that there are mammoth amount of failure stories where people have lost huge amount of money while playing poker, winning is not fairly common. Professional players who play poker for a fee claim that it is important to learn certain gambling moves in order to master the game. One can only learn these moves when they have practiced the game again and again, therefore mastering it. It is advisable that novice gamblers who do not have a thorough knowledge of online poker should not risk investing too much amount while playing online poker initially.

On the other hand, professional poker players seem to be more cautious than any other kind of player. This is because these individuals are supposed to play on a limited amount of sum and claim their win as well. The best advice which can be doled out to any novice who is about to venture into the world of online poker would be not to invest their amount in one go. It is better to increase or decrease the amount of sum invested on the basis of their performance in them game.

Forget Vegas – Visit UK Casinos Online

Hundreds of thousands of people visit Nevada’s sin city every year. They come to Las Vegas from all around, near and far, continental residents and international guests. They dump billions of dollars into casino after casino after casino in hopes of winning big and being able to quit their jobs. The problem is in order to break even in Vegas you need to score big because if the casino floor doesn’t take your money the traveling, hotel and sites and attraction will. So in order to make what your trip costs in most cases if nearly impossible for most people.

The solution to this phenomena is easy, gamble online. Gambling online saves those extra expenses and thus gives you more money to play with. The big question on everyone’s mind is, is it rigged?

To these people I ask you to consider this, is there anyway you know one hundred percent when you go into a real casino that it’s not in fact rigged? The answer to this is that of course it’s not rigged if no one could win no one would continue to play. Most online casino’s use a one hundred and twenty bit encryption software making them impossible to crack.

This means that you don’t have to worry about cheating or someone else spending your money or getting your credit card number. Online casinos were made to cater to those people who don’t have a lot of extra money to go to Vegas. With being able to gamble online you can enjoy yourself at home.

As for being rigged however you have the same if not a better chance of winning from home then you do in an actual casino. Also when you play from home its easier to walk away and stop playing whenever you want . In a land based casino it’s harder to walk away or leave because you lose track on time.

When your sitting in your living room its easy to tell what time it is and how long you’ve been playing by what show is on, how dark it is compared to when you started, or maybe you just have a clock hanging on your wall.

Most land based casino are very limited in the amount of clocks they have because they don’t want you to know how long you’ve been playing because then you’ll lose track of time and continue to put money on the table until you get to exhausted to even move.

Land based casinos know that if you lose track of time you won’t get up until you can barely move because then you have to fight through all the people when you try to get out. They also know that it is human instinct for people to wait to leave till the crowd dies down and while your waiting yours still playing so your involuntarily playing while your waiting to leave, you don’t have that problem playing from home when your done your done and you just walk into your bedroom and go to bed there’s no pressure to continue to play.

Anger and Stress in Casinos

Casino employees are often vulnerable to a range of physical and emotional problems. Employees who work in casinos are expected to always treat customers with respect, smiles and dignity. Shelly Field, who counts “100 Best Careers in Casinos and Casino Hotels” among the 20 books she has written, said the 24-hour go-go atmosphere found in casinos piles stress on workers. “In the casino business you always have to be `on,’ and that adds to stress. Having to smile and be customer-service oriented on a constant basis becomes stressful in some instances,” said Field. The primary goal is to keep customers in the casino happy in spite of their attitude or behavior. Customers may often be intoxicated or angry over gambling losses. Employees are expected to tolerate rude and often insulting behavior. This can lead to stress, depression, hypertension, heart disease and anger. Since anger is a secondary emotion it is almost always preceded by frustration, stress or some other intense emotion.

Unrecognized and/or untreated workplace stress and anger can lead to an increase in sick day usage, accidents, interpersonal conflicts and poor morale. The resulting frustration experienced by the employee can trigger an angry outburst or employee burnout. According to an article published in CasinoDealers.net. Stress is extremely problematic among casino workers: 75% of casino workers identified stress as a significant cause of job dissatisfaction.50% of surveyed casino workers reported “a lot” to moderate stress.15% of medical claims among casino workers are reported to be stress related. Medical providers report that stress is a major contributor to most physical and mental health problems. Substance abuse, excessive eating and gambling are the principle occupational injuries of white collar and customer service workers. Stress indirectly costs employers $150 billion annually. Unfortunately, 25% of all surveyed managers believe that anger is an acceptable management strategy oblivious to the cost to the company as well as to employee morale. Stress is expensive emotionally, physically and financially for both employees and their employer.

Enlightened risk management and human resource consultants are aware of the business and legal exposure to organizations that ignore the need to address workplace stress, interpersonal conflicts, anger and person directed aggression. The average cost to an organization to defend itself against litigation charging workplace abuse, is $700,000. The introduction of anger management courses which include techniques for recognizing and managing stress, managing anger, improving communication and increasing empathy have been shown to effectively address workplace stress and interpersonal conflicts.

Research conducted at the University of South Florida, demonstrated that when an anger management program was introduced to students in one class, the entire school benefited. Similarly, a twelve month study conducted in one unit consisting of 16,000 employees in the U.S. Postal Service resulted in a savings of 1.7 million dollars. There was an increase in morale, increase in workplace performance, and reduction of sick day usage, a reduction in accidents and a dramatic decrease in workplace conflicts.

In addition to offering anger management to employees who exhibit problems managing stress, communicating effective and demonstrating emotional intelligence; anger management classes can be a cost saving intervention relative to preventing workplace conflict and improving employee morale.

A typical program can be implemented by providing brochures, or pamphlets explaining what an anger management class is and is not. Often, employees are reluctant to attend any program which may imply mental or emotional disturbance. Therefore, it is essential that the course be explained in simply language as a class designed to teach skills in managing stress, anger and improving communication and increasing empathy.

In order to address the stress and frustration often found among casino workers a good anger management program can provide the workers strategies to manage their stress and anger. In addition the essential components of a good anger management program should include skills to improve communication and increase empathy. This is not a program to deal with severe emotional problems and therefore employees should not experience any stigma associated with attending such a class. These courses are generally taught in small groups with approximately 20 employees with separate groups for management and line staff so that each can feel free to express themselves openly. Management staff often benefit from additional training on how to recognize signs of employee stress or depression in their work units.

Conclusion

Casino workers experience a high degree of workplace stress and anger based on the unique nature of their work environment. Like doctors, firemen and law enforcement officers, the stressful nature of the work is not likely to change. Instead, it is the employee who must be taught skills to manage his or her stress in ways that increase rather than decrease his job performance and team morale. The introduction of anger management courses are a cost saving intervention for business and industry.