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Thread: How Comps are Calculated

  1. #1


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    How Comps are Calculated

    I recently had my father (I didn’t want to show myself asking this question) ask player services how comps were calculated while playing blackjack. They told him it’s based on frequency of play and not amount bet or skill level. In other words, and he posed this scenario to them, a player who bets $100 a hand and sucks at blackjack gets the same amount of comps as a $5 better who plays perfectly if they play at the same frequency. The response was, “yes.”

    Are they BS’ing him or is this a possibility? In hindsight, I should have had him ask a pit boss rather than a player service’s worker. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2


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    I have never understood how this works and therefore join this question. Many books mention comps but IMHO don't explain how the throughput of a player's wagers, or his skill level, could be calculated or at least estimated, unless every bet and hand play is tracked like in MindPlay tables, which would be total surveillance and not desirable for APs.
    Last edited by PinkChip; 11-12-2019 at 06:33 PM.

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    That does not make any sense. Just the fact that I don’t think I can ever ask Pit Boss for a free meal at a $5 min table.

    Calculation cannot only based on frequency....

  4. #4


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    Just about every casino I played at the answer to how comp values are calculated for table games is always the same. It is average bet value times length of time played.

    My gut feeling is they told you wrong.

  5. #5


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    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Player View Post
    Just about every casino I played at the answer to how comp values are calculated for table games is always the same. It is average bet value times length of time played.

    My gut feeling is they told you wrong.
    This was my feeling as well. I am also aware of an element of skill that gets added to the evaluation of your play when they take your card. I’ve read that it’s based on a 1, 2 and 3 point system in which you get paid more if your skill rating is worse. Do you have any knowledge of or experience with this? I’ve read that if they do rate your skill, big decisions they look for are 16 vs 10, Soft 18 vs 9, 10, A, and whether or not you insure your naturals. If this is true, I could just use these as low cost cover plays to boost the rating.

  6. #6


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    Ian Andersen suggests these cover plays in his Ultimate Gambit, amongst others like Stand on 12 vs. 2 and 3. But my question is still: who is "they" and rates you? The pit boss, the dealer, the EITS? But the pit boss is not always at your table, and the dealer is too busy to rate you. How do "they" get your average bet? They must observe all of your bets over a period of time. Or do they just have a short glance and when you at this moment have your max bet out, you are rated higher than when have your min bet out? Neither of these would be your average bet.

    (I ask this because in Europe, there seems to be absolutely no rating or comp system. In contrary, if you want to play some hands, you are not rewarded but often punished since they charge an entrance fee of about 10 Euros just for entering the casino, plus showing your ID is mandatory "for legal or state law reasons"; even if you are way over 21 and have no baby face. Sometimes there is also dress code, if no tie then at least a jacket, so Ken Uston would have no chance to get in as a dirty worker for cover. Being or appearing drunk is likely not tolerated, either).
    Last edited by PinkChip; 11-13-2019 at 04:55 AM.

  7. #7


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    Quote Originally Posted by RatherNotGiveMyRealName View Post
    How Comps are Calculated
    First, it is not a one size fits all. For background check out the book "Comp City" by Max Rubin. It is dated but willl give a look at the thought process.

    Next, understand those systems like total "Total Rewards" have over 45 million people in their system and anything played on a machine in their network can be recorded and analyzed in detail. Others are only dealing with their own customers. Spent lots of time and money to determine comp program from TR and I can tell you they are generally the same but tailored to the local store.

    Table games are more of an average bet times number of rounds (hours) times a percentage (hold, edge). You are likely assigned a percentage of your value for comps but that does not mean you automatically get the money. Most systems require you to ask (beg) for the comp.

    FInal point is that these systems are mostly unique to the store and you have to seek out the answers. A good way to get the answers is to become "friends" with your host and they can answer many of your questions.

    As for blackjack, few floor personnel are qualified to "rate" your play, most of this will occur from surveillance when asked by the floor. Again, local knowledge at your store is critical.

    Since most counters blatantly move their bets with the count, the floor is looking for this type of action, especially easy to see in double deck.

    If comps are your target, then there are ways to "juice" them with plays like cross betting craps (requires multiple people to execute). Using blackjack to get comps is difficult and the comps will be modest. Better results occur for other table games and machines.
    Luck is nothing more than probability taken personally!

  8. #8


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    Quote Originally Posted by PinkChip View Post
    Ian Andersen suggests these cover plays in his Ultimate Gambit,
    Just a clarification: "Ultimate Gambit" can be found as a chapter in "Burning the Tables in Las Vegas". I'll leave discussion of the substance to the experts.

  9. #9


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    Quote Originally Posted by PinkChip View Post
    Ian Andersen suggests these cover plays in his Ultimate Gambit, amongst others like Stand on 12 vs. 2 and 3. But my question is still: who is "they" and rates you? The pit boss, the dealer, the EITS? But the pit boss is not always at your table, and the dealer is too busy to rate you. How do "they" get your average bet? They must observe all of your bets over a period of time. Or do they just have a short glance and when you at this moment have your max bet out, you are rated higher than when have your min bet out? Neither of these would be your average bet.

    (I ask this because in Europe, there seems to be absolutely no rating or comp system. In contrary, if you want to play some hands, you are not rewarded but often punished since they charge an entrance fee of about 10 Euros just for entering the casino, plus showing your ID is mandatory "for legal or state law reasons"; even if you are way over 21 and have no baby face. Sometimes there is also dress code, if no tie then at least a jacket, so Ken Uston would have no chance to get in as a dirty worker for cover. Being or appearing drunk is likely not tolerated, either).
    I actually read Burning the Tables and this is what I’m basing my knowledge off of. Great book.

  10. #10


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    Quote Originally Posted by RatherNotGiveMyRealName View Post
    I actually read Burning the Tables and this is what I’m basing my knowledge off of. Great book.
    Yes, very interesting ideas, but probably not so useful for red or green chippers, since he describes high-stakes play (with presumably juicy rules like fewer decks, S17 DAS LS. Also, the book dates from a time when 6:5, 8 decks and H17 were not so widespread).
    Last edited by PinkChip; 11-14-2019 at 06:14 PM.

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