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By John Grochowski on Monday November 1, 2010
comps, craps, gaming, gaming-strategy, tunica
I once was privy to a heated conversation between a table games supervisor and a craps player regarding comps. Actually, I should say the entire pit was privy to one side of the conversation, which involved a very loud, very angry player haranguing a supervisor who was trying to calm him down.
“How can I NOT have a steak house comp coming,” the player roared. “I’ve been betting three hundred bucks at a time. THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS!”
I couldn’t quite make out the supervisor’s end of the conversation, but I could guess. I’d been at the table for half an hour, and I knew the player’s pattern. He was betting $10 on the pass line, and following with two $10 come bets until he had three numbers working. And he’d back each bet with 10x odds — $100 in free odds backing each bet.
From the player’s perspective, he had $330 at risk on any given roll. From the house’s perspective, he was making $30 in bets on which the house had an edge, and $300 in wagers that are paid at true odds and have no edge for the house. Free odds bets pay 6-5 if the point is 6 or 8, 3-2 if the point is 5 or 9, and 2-1 if the point is 4 or 10. In the long run, the house pays out as much money as it takes in on those bets.
The casino’s theoretical win — the amount it expects to win as opposed to the amount it actually wins — decides how much it will give in comps. In the case of free odds, the house’s theoretical win is zero. Bigger comps go to players making bets with higher house edges, but those players also contribute more to the casino’s bottom line.