I’ll use the term success in its most liberal and artistic form… but I do feel that by factoring in the new angles of this post, my recent Failed – Hacking Vegas Comps becomes a LOT more viable. I know that many readers here are travel fanatics, as such some things I talk of are natural to pick up on, and others appear very strange in comparison, however, the Vegas comp gig is just another loyalty program, so we need to be able to understand inefficiencies and opportunities just the same.
In my original post I indicated that I didn’t approve of the strategy because the chance of loss was too high – you could easily lose a bunch of money if fate decided it wasn’t your time to be lucky. However, if we start changing the words ‘a bunch of money’ to ‘bankroll’ and then cap it, correlate it to bet, and set bet at the rate that creates a tangible ROI we start getting somewhere.
The fixed things we can look at are room rate, number of vacations desired, and what the house is looking for. Personally, when I was living in NYC I enjoyed having the Borgata as a weekend getaway, we could pop down there for free, stay in a suite, get top shelf booze and great food, and not really have to pay anything for it once status was established. I’d value a weekend there conservatively at $300 (it would cost often double that) and could pop down maybe 6 times times per year. So let’s say I value the comp trips at $1800. There are number of other sweeteners that I’ll get to shortly, but all told I could easily say I’d be happy ‘paying’ about $3,000 per year for what I get back out of my status there. As such, we have a number that we could ‘invest’ at the tables in terms of maximum loss.
What you need to know about Comps
The comp equation is simple: avg bet x hours played x house edge = Theo and Comps are a percentage of Theo kicked back to you. But there is more than just a quick kickback, and when we understand that aspect, the equation changes, again, value is subjective, but we will be able to create some tangible opportunities from this.
If you are a frequent flyer, you may have heard of “mileage running” – these folk buy a revenue ticket on an plane in order to earn miles. The generally accepted price for a Mileage Run is under 5 cents per mile. The Flight Deal is a good place to see such routes; one they just highlighted is San Jose to Boston (or vice versa) for $296, this would net you 5,992 miles at 4.9 cents per mile. The thing with Mileage Runs is that they aren’t really geared towards just buying the miles, so much as buying towards status. With airline programs you can redeem miles for award travel, but if you fly X number of miles on revenue tickets you also gain Elite Status.
The comp game in Casinos is the same thing. You should look at the comps earned through the Theo equation as ‘miles to be burned’ you’ll get some cash credit to use in the restaurant or bars, sometimes in the shops too (though not always at 1:1 ratio) and also consider the “Elite Status” aspect, it actually is far more generous than any Elite Status you will gain from an airline.
What makes them better
There is more than meets the eye from Loyalty programs. Here’s an example from the Borgata, where I have ‘Elite Status’.
In addition to what you see here I get 2 free nights 7 days week in a Suite at the Borgata, or a Vista room at The Waterclub. I also get a slew of other perks that aren’t really listed here, such as any month I go down they give me $50 to spend on food and beverage, plus “match plays”, slot dollars, free concerts, and goodies like cameras, luggage, every month. I also get an annual $300 -$500 holiday gift. If you find a place like the Borgata that offers $200-$400 in “match plays” I’d argue that you could have another such gaming session in the future with these with almost no chance of losing since they are money makers.
Once you get the Black Label card it is yours for a year, and you can get it in just a day of play. Now, if you go back to the failed model and work as a team and bet big enough and long enough (4hrs is the golden number) you might be able to get the card in a single evening. Here’s how you make it even better:
- Find a busy table, if it is busy the game moves more slowly, you get fewer rolls per hour and your risk reduces.
- Vary your bet. Craps has a constant monitor on the game (the Box Man) so you can’t completely trick them, but if you plan to bet $150 I’d recommend start by betting more, first few bets of $200 and then later reduce, remembering to pop up to par or above on occasion to obfuscate. If you always bet exactly $150 you will get that as an average, if you bet around it you might be able to manipulate it upwards.
- Partial sit out. If you are a three, you could have one person sit out, and the others can continue the betting strategy on a lower level, this further reduces risk, but if you drop out a roll or two it won’t impact your play, if you can have someone watch your chips,leaving them at the table while taking a restroom break will keep the clock ticking.
The three factors above influence each of the variables of loyalty rewards, you are stretching your dollar with every one.
Stacking and Racking
We talk a lot here about stacking bonuses when it comes to rebates and frequent flyer stuff, particularly on the Reselling side of things. Opportunities exist here also for stacking. One bonus that I see a lot in the Borgata is a Slot Dollar Multiplier. Slot Dollars are a similar comp opportunity aimed at slot players, and on occasion they will offer up to 10x regular earnings. An opportunity may exist for further stacking if you can find a casino that offers a slot dollar multiplier and that also offers a machine based game of craps.
If we look at the failed strategy with these new eyes, the next thing to do is to think about how we could stretch it out further, how to take just X hours and squeeze out every penny from it. For this I would recommend CET (Caesars Entertainment) the reason for this chain is that they have an affiliation with Norwegian Cruise Lines, so it is possible you could ‘parlay’ your play into a free or discounted cruise. Although our main plan will be to gain Elite Status with Caesars for free rooms and other perks.
Additionally, there are other places that will comp your entire trip for just holding status at another casino, similar to a status match, one of these just came up in The Forum which I think I might just go ahead and do, 4 nights at a top notch resort….
Please note, I am not advocating gambling here, its a waste of money, as is flying to places you don’t want to go in order to gain status. I am trying to show you how you could ‘mileage run’ a casino program. Featured Image Credit to http://www.geofffox.com/