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Best of Mark Pilarski

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Deal Me In: A little deeper into the comps topic

14 October 2011

Dear Mark: If one casino offers cash back for my video poker play, but another offers just free play instead, both offerings are of equal value, is there any difference in playing at Casino A over B? Charles P.

A free play offering is somewhat like a cash reward for your action, Charles, but the compensation must be used within the casino. That is the drawback of free play; you can’t take the money and run. With cash backs, there is no requirement that you play your cash reimbursement. Like winnings, it is your money, not the “house’s,” and you can always pocket it to use as you please.

All things being equal, I would rather have cash in hand that I can spend as I wish. Moreover, with free play, most players get something, but end up with nothing, because they play back their free play allowance before they cash out.

While we're on the subject, Charles, before chasing comps at any casino, comparing video poker paytables would be more crucial for your overall long-term return than comp offerings of equal value.

Dear Mark: In poker, what does it mean when a player had an Anna Kournikova? Carol S.

Anna Kournikova was a Russian professional tennis player whose celebrity status and beauty made her one of the best-known tennis players in the world, except, Carol, Kournikova never won a WTA Title in singles.

In poker, Anna Kournikova is a nickname for the ace/king. Pretty as they may be, seldom is it enough to win.

Dear Mark: If I am making an odds bet on a craps game, does the total amount wagered go towards comps? Dan P.

Casinos are no longer in the business of giving you something for nothing. It’s iffy at best, Dan, of you getting comps when combing odds with your pass line wager. The reason most, but not all, casinos do not count odds towards your average wager is that there is no profit in it for them. You may, though, find a casino that will rate odds at 25, or even 50 percent, and selected discretion for some regular customers (wink, wink). Your best bet, Dan, is to simply ask pit management what their policy is.

Dear Mark: Betting pass and don't pass simultaneously eliminates the gamble, but guarantees the house advantage. Betting $1/roll both for 50 rolls results in one "12" out of 36 rolls, about a $1.40 house win. I may tease players coming in and losing instead of gambling, but I definitely rate them for the full amount. Brad M.

Thanks, Brad, for the “doey don’t” follow up on whether a player is comp-worthy or not for betting the pass and don't pass concurrently.

Brad, who is on the floor at the Gulf Shores, states they do dole out goodies for that type of play. Once again, it doesn’t hurt to ask where you play.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “Casinos gave us quick access to economic freedom.” “To build a fishing industry that employs 1,500 people and funds our community, we’d still be working at it.” —William LeBlanc, Bay Mills Tribe. Steven Hepker’s Casinos of Michigan
Recent Articles
Best of Mark Pilarski
Mark Pilarski

As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.
Mark Pilarski
As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.