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rec.gambling.misc FAQ: General

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Archive-name: gambling-faq/general

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
General Frequently Asked Questions

This is the General section of the rec.gambling.misc Frequently Asked Questions
(FAQ) list.

Changes or additions to this section of the FAQ should be submitted to:

Page last modified: 4-07-95

I wish to thank Frank Irwin for helping to compile much of the information that
appears in this list. I also wish to thank those who contributed information,
as well as those who spent countless hours running blackjack simulations in
order to help answer many of these questions.

Table of Contents

Section S: Spare us!
     S1 Martingale betting systems -- just double your bet until you win
     S2 The Inevitable Monty Hall
     S3 How much would you pay to play this game?

Section G: General Gambling Topics
     G1 What casino game has the best odds?
     G2 What are comps?
     G3 How do you get comps?
     G4 What is the Casino Host Department?
     G5 What comps are available?
     G6 How do I get a casino credit line?
     G7 How are "markers" used?
     G8 A walk through on getting comps.
     G9 Where can I get casino quality chips?
     G10 Are chip colors standardized?
     G11 What are matchplay chips
     G12 What are "pit critters"?


Section S: Spare us!

These questions come up occasionally, causing a lot of heated discussions and
wasted bandwidth. The rec.gambling regulars are pretty sick of seeing these
questions, and they would appreciate it if you just didn't ask them. If you do
ask, we'll probably just say "see the FAQ list".

Q:S1 Martingale betting systems -- just double your bet until you win
A:S1 (Frank Irwin, Steve Jacobs)

From: "The Eudaemonic Pie" by Thomas A. Bass

     The word comes from the French expression "porter les chausses a la
     martingale," which means "to wear one's pants like the natives of
     Martigue," a village in Provence where trousers are fastened at the
     rear. The expression implies that this style of dress and method of
     betting are equally ridiculous.

The betting scheme merely states that you would want to double your bet after
each loss. Beginning with one unit, you would bet two units if you lost the
first. Then four, then eight, until you win a bet. You would then revert to a
one unit bet. The theory is that with each win you will win all that you lost
since the last win, plus one unit. The reality is that you will quickly come to
a betting ceiling, governed by either your bankroll or the house limit, above
which you may not increase your bet. After 9 straight losses (it's happened to
me) you would be betting 512 units.

In practice, a lot of people get sucked into betting this way because it gives
the illusion of really working. This is because most of the time, you will end
a string of bets with a win. However, on those rare occasions when you do lose,
you will lose a lot of money. So, the end result is that you win a small amount
almost always, but when you lose you will lose more than all of your little
wins combined.

The important point to realize is that most games simply cannot be beat in the
long run. In games such as craps, roulette, and non-progressive slot machines,
it is mathematically impossible to gain an advantage over the house.

Q:S2 The Inevitable Monty Hall
A:S2 (Steve Jacobs)

You are a contestant on "Let's Make A Deal", and Monty Hall offers you your
choice of three doors. One door has a prize, and the other two doors are empty.
Monty knows in advance where the prize is, and no matter which door you pick,
Monty will open one of the other doors to show you that it is empty. Monty then
offers to allow you to trade your door for the other unopened door. What should
you do?

My best advice is to grab Monty around the neck and strangle him :-)

The short answer is that you should switch doors, because it increases your
chance of winning from 1/3 to 2/3. The odds are not 50/50, because the
probability that the prize is behind the door you originally picked is 1/3, and
this probability never changes until the prize is revealed. This can be seen by
considering what happens if you decide to *never* switch doors -- in this case
you will win one time in three, since you will win only if your original pick
is correct. So, if you *always* switch you will win 2/3 of the time, since you
win whenever your original pick was wrong. Since Monty can (and will) always
show an empty door, it is as if he is saying "you can keep your door, or you
can trade it for BOTH of the other doors, and to confuse you I will show you
that one of the other doors is empty, even though you already knew that".

Some of you won't believe that this is correct. You will say "after Monty opens
a door, there are only two choices so you have an equal chance of winning
whether you switch or not". This is wrong. The fact that there are only two
choices does NOT imply that the two choices have equal probability. Still not
convinced? Suppose there are 100 doors, and only one prize. You pick a door,
and Monty shows you 98 empty doors (he can always do this, since he knows where
the prize is), and offers to let you switch. The chance that your original pick
was right is 1/100. If you never switch, you will almost always lose.
Therefore, if you always switch you will almost always win.

Not convinced? Try it yourself, but try playing the role of Monty in order to
help see how it works. Don't ask rec.gambling, because we'll know you didn't
really try it yourself.

The confusion caused by this question shows that probability problems often go
against human intuition. This question appeared (several times) in the "Ask
Marilyn" column of the "Parade" insert that appears in many Sunday newspapers
in the United States. Many people with Ph.D.'s in mathematics claimed in wild
disbelief that Marilyn's answer [2/3] was wrong, and that it was a sad
commentary on the American education system. Indeed it is, because the
mathematicians were wrong. [Note: there has been some discussion as to whether
Marilyn phrased the question correctly and/or unambiguously in her column. This
report is based on (possibly flawed) memory. Slight changes in the wording of
the question can result in much different answers, which obviously adds to the
confusion. --SRJ]

Q:S3 How much would you pay to play this game?
A:S3 (John P. Nelson)

     I flip a coin until it comes up tails. If it comes up tails the first
     time, you get $2; if the second, $4; if the third time, $8. That is,
     if I flip the coin N times, you get 2^N bucks. [How much would you
     pay to play this game?]

The problem is, of course, that the "expected value" of this game is an
infinite series that does not converge: The "expected" win appears to be
infinite. However, in any REAL implementation of this game, there would have to
be an upper limit to your liability: It would be unreasonable to expect you to
really pay off a win of trillions of dollars.

If you put an upper limit on the number of flips, then the expected value of
the game converges, and it is quite easy to calculate the "break even" wager.
If we limit the game to N flips, and you pay me $2^M if tails comes up on the
M'th flip and if N flips occur with no tails, you pay me 2^(N+1), then the
expected value of each game is simply N+2. (A variation on the rules: If you
pay me 0 if N flips occur with no tails, then the expected value of the game is

This is fairly easy to calculate: On each independent trial, the chance of a
tails is 1/2. Clearly, the chance of a tails on the second trial is 1/4 (1/2
chance of heads on the first trial, times 1/2 chance of tails on the second
trial). The odds of a tail occurring on the Nth flip is 1/(2^N). The payoff at
that point is 2^N. So we have the series:

1/2 * payoff-1flip + 1/4 * payoff-2flip + 1/8 * payoff-3flip


  $2     $4     $8      $(2^N)
  --  +  --  +  -- ...  ------
   2      4      8      $(2^N).

Given a maximum of N flips, the expected win is 1+1+1..., N times. Given a $0
payoff on N heads in a row, that is the total expected win: N. If you pay off
2^(N+1) after N tails, the final term is

    ----------  = 2

Which explains where the +2 in (N+2) comes from.

Section G: General Gambling Topics


Q:G1 What casino game has the best odds?
A:G1 (Steve Jacobs)

In general, blackjack is the most favorable game in the casino. The house edge
for blackjack ranges from about 0.15% to 0.45%, depending on the house rules
and number of decks. Occasionally, single deck games can be found which give a
slight edge to the player. The house edge for other casino games is listed
below. In games involving skill, these numbers assume that an optimal betting
and playing strategy is used. Note that many forms of video poker are favorable
to the player, although these machines are often difficult to find.

     Video Poker (Jacks or better): 0.5% to -0.7%
     Video Poker (Deuces Wild): 4% to -1.7%
     Progressive Video Poker ("8/5" payoffs): 2.2% to -2%
     Craps line bets with single odds: 0.8%
     Craps line bets with double odds: 0.6%
     Baccarat "bank" bet: 1.06%
     Baccarat "player" bet: 1.24%
     Red Dog: 2.8%
     Roulette, double zero wheel: 5.26%
     Roulette, single zero wheel (rare): 2.7%
     Keno (estimate): 20% to 25%
     State Lottery: 50% or more


Q:G2 What are comps?
A:G2 (Carla Regon)

A comp is a reduced room rate or a meal. Sometimes it is a free stay in the
casino's hotel. A comp that is described as RFB means that the casino is giving
you free room (R), food (F) and beverage (B).

"Comps" or complimentaries should be looked at as if they were intangible
discounts. Comps are not gifts. Can you picture a casino giving you a gift? Get

A comp usually takes the form of a chit that you take to the coffee shop or the
buffet and hand to the hostess who gives it to the waitress. The comp shows
them that the casino is paying for your meal and one or two drinks. By the way,
a comp is always for two people, at the minimum. A comp never includes the tip
("toke" in Vegas language) so don't forget to leave one or you risk a lap of
coffee the next time. If the casino is comping you to dinner in the gourmet
room or the show room they will make the reservation for you and they will
deliver the chit directly to the Maitre 'd. Oh yes, if you are comped you go to
the "casino guest" line and don't have to wait around with the peons.

A comp is given to you because the casino wants you to play in their casino.
They are not given to you because they like you. They may, in fact, like you,
but, and I'm sorry to burst your bubble, they like, and want, your money more.
So, if you are comped look on it as a reward for your play at the tables and in
anticipation of your future play. If you budgeted $500 for the weekend for you
and your wife as follows: $300 room, $200 food; and the hotel gave you casino
rates (one-half off), which is a type of comp, a chit for lunch at the coffee
shop one day ($25) and the buffet for dinner another ($25) think of it as
having received discount certificates for $200. It's just like those super
market coupons that you get in the Sunday paper.

The game of comps is just like looking for a super market that gives you double
coupons. (Double coupons? Guys, ask your wives or girl friends.)

Q:G3 How do you get comps?
A:G3 (Frank Irwin, Abdul Jalib M'hall, Dave Everett, Carla Regon)

The first thing that you must remember about casinos is that there is NO free
lunch. If you want to get a comp, any kind of a comp, you must gamble at the
casino and then ask for a comp. Come on don't be shy - ASK!! Also, ask before
you are ready to leave the casino. Do you really think the casino will pay for
your room as you are wait ing to check out, suitcase in hand? Of course not.
They'll tell you all about what they'll do for you the next time you are there,
but, oh, so sorry, not this time. So you must guide yourself accordingly.

Second thing that will make your quest for comps easier is to remember that
anyone can get a comp, from the dollar slot player to the thousand dollar a
hand baccarat player. The only difference is the amount of the comp. A two
bedroom suite versus a single room with bunk beds or a coffee shop breakfast
versus a champagne dinner in the gourmet room. So don't think that just because
you are betting three dollars on the pass line you can't get comped. In the
next section, What Comps Are Available, there is an excellent chart showing the
differences based on casino gambling action.

The prerequisite for getting comped is to let the casino know who you are and
how much you are betting. This is called "getting rated." You let the casino
know who you are and how much you are gambling by telling the pit floorman or
pit boss that you want to be "rated." To do this you should have a handy form
of identification such as a slot club card or a marker privilege card (more
about these cards in the sections below on casino credit and markers). Your
driver's license will also do.

When you arrive at the table just tell the floorman that you'd like to be
rated. If your buy-in (the amount of money you initially put down on the table
in exchange for chips) or your action (the amount you bet) is high enough, he
will fill out a rating slip on you. Sometimes, the floorman will approach you
and ask you if you want to be rated. Always say "Yes." Heck it's their computer
and you may want to get some comps later that day. The rating slips are
compiled at the end of the day and the information entered into the casino's

In many casinos, you give the floorman a card, much like a credit card, as you
approach the table. He will either just fill out a rating slip, as in Vegas, or
he will swipe the card through a reader. When you leave, ask for your card

The floormen will keep track of your buy-in, your initial bet, your average
bet, and your win/loss ratio. Notwithstanding anything that you have heard to
the contrary a casino does NOT care if you leave a winner. Happy winners tell
their friends and return to lose their winnings. So, really, don't bother
trying to hide chips from the dealer, it's a waste of time and only shows that
you are not that sophisticated in your gambling. If you don't believe what
you've just read let me give you a good example. If you win a super jackpot at
a casino they will comp your room and give you a big dinner in the gourmet
room. Sometimes they will fly you home in the casino's private jet. Why?
Because happy winners TALK and talk is called word of mouth publicity. You are
happy and you will return with your friends. So stop trying to hide your
winnings. It will not effect your comps. The comps will be offered anyway. If
you're a winner the casino will comp you because they want you back. They want
you back to lose what you have won. If you play in the afternoon and get a comp
for dinner it is the casino's hope that you will play after dinner and lose
what you won during the afternoon or continue to lose if you were doing so that
afternoon. Besides that, the casino knows exactly how much you've won, they
simply can't be fooled.

The amount of your comp worth is generally half of your average bet per hour.
In most Las Vegas casinos (except places such as the Mirage and Caesars) you
are expected to play for 4 hours a day at an average $25 bet to qualify for a
room. A sample comp chart, from the Stardust Casino, follows.

[The amount of the comp is worth some constant fraction times the average bet
per hour, that constant depends upon the casino management's evaluation of
their advantage per decision, and the number of decisions per hour. Half is
high. A quarter is more likely for blackjack out of a shoe. --Dave Everett]

The value of your comps depend not only on your play, but on the casino where
you are playing and whether you have credit there. In a later section I'm going
to walk you through a complete weekend's procedure for getting comps the very
first time, whether you've been rated or not.

To get a comp, after you have followed all the above, you must ask a casino
host or the floorman in the pit where you are playing for a comp for lunch in
the coffee shop or dinner in the buffet. He'll check your play, i.e., rating,
and either give it to you or say that he can't. If you get a "no" don't get
angry. Just put him on the defensive. You'll be surprised how quickly a "Fine,
I can go next door tonight" will work. By the way, that will not work too well
if you are only playing dollar chips.

If a casino floorman or host comes by to introduce himself and asks you if
there is anything you want, ask him, right then and there, for that lunch or
dinner comp or a reduced rate for your room. Don't take "no" for an answer. If
your action has stimulated their interest they are already prepared to comp
you. Go for it. Learn not to let them off the hook. If they have approached you
don't let them do the "later" routine. Get your comp right there. Most casino
floormen have comping authority for the coffee shop or the buffet. The gourmet
room or the hotel room may take a pit boss or higher to approve.

After you have played at a few casinos you will learn the worth of your action
and be able to gauge the value of the comps you deserve.

A side note - If you ever call a casino or ask an employee for something, be it
a comp or whatever, and he says something like, "Let me see if you rate that,"
stomp all over him. It is insulting and degrading to be told by anyone that you
don't "rate" something. Just remember that casino employees are notoriously
under paid and this may be that person's way of getting one-upmanship. Bull

Q:G4 What is the Casino Host Department?
A:G4 (Carla Regon)

One of the casino departments that you should get familiar with is the Casino
Host Department. They have employees called, obviously, Casino Hosts. There are
table game hosts and slot hosts and even a keno host in one hotel. Their job is
to get your name and address, make you comfortable, see that you enjoy yourself
and get you to return. They can and do pass out comps. Get as many cards of
casino hosts as you can. Give them your card. Say hello to them when you see
them. Get them to remember you. It is their job and they will do so. Get one
host in particular that you like and stick to her. Ask her when you want a

Use casino hosts for your return trip. Make your reservations by calling the
host department and asking for your chosen host. She will assist you and you
will often get more then you deserve in the host's hope that you will play more
then the last trip. Hosts make their career by cajoling nice players into good
players and then up to great players or by finding and keeping good players.

A good casino host relationship should always guarantees a fruit basket in your
room when you arrive. Also, if the casino does not have a host, then use your
favorite pit boss for the same services.

Q:G5 What comps are available?
A:G5 (Frank Irwin)

The following is a listing of the comp schedule for the Stardust Casino in Las
Vegas, Nevada. This can be considered typical for a Las Vegas casino (casinos
such as the Mirage or Caesars may require more action). In the table below,
"Player line" is the player's established line of credit, and "Front money" is
money deposited in the casino cage against which the player can write markers.

  Player Line or    Average     Hours       Complimentaries
   Front Money        Bet       Played         Extended

                        $25       4         Comp. Room
                        $50       4         Comp. Room,
                                            Limited F & B

  $5,000                $75       4         Room, Food
                                            & Beverage
                       $100       4         RFB & $150
                                            Airfare Reimburse

  $10,000              $125       4         RFB & $250
                                            Airfare Reimburse
                       $150       4         RFB & $400
                                            Airfare Reimburse
                       $175       4         RFB & $575
                                            Airfare Reimburse
                       $200       4         RFB & $750
                                            Airfare Reimburse

  $20,000              $250       4         RFB & $1000
                                            Airfare Reimburse
                       $300       4         RFB & $1200
                                            Airfare Reimburse
                       $400       4         RFB & $1500
                                            Airfare Reimburse
                       $500       4         RFB & $1500
                                            Airfare Reimburse


  A.  These requirements are based on four hours play per day.  Excess playing
      time reduces the average bet requirement and higher average bets reduce
      the playing time requirement.  For Example:  A $200 bet for 2 hours is
      equal to a $100 bet for 4 hours.

  B.  Airfare reimbursements are based on a minimum of 12 hours playing time.

  C.  Complimentary food and beverage are to include the player and one guest.

  D.  Size of bet in dice is the sum of all flat, place, proposition, field,
      come and buy bets.

  E.  Excessive RFB usage reduces airfare reimbursement amounts.

  F.  Please let our friendly floor staff know who you are when you initiate
      play at any table.


Q:G6 How do I get a casino credit line?
A:G6 (Frank Irwin, Carla Regon)

This is easy. Just call up one of the casinos and ask for the credit department
or a casino host. Tell him that you would like to set up a line of credit.
Either he'll ask you some questions, or send you to someone who will. They just
take down your name, address, phone number, place of business, what you do and
a bank account number. You can ask for any particular credit line, but what
they give you will depend on how much you have in your account. If you have a
savings account that contains more than your checking account, give them both

When you apply for credit the casino will also check your past history with
Central Credit, the TRW of the casino industry. By the way, if you ever stiff a
casino you will be marked a bad risk with Central Credit and will not be able
to get credit at any casino in North America or the Caribbean. So, as a side
point, no matter what your beef is with the hotel or the casino always pay your
markers. PERIOD! Also, casinos are required to comply with Federal law on
credit approvals, but they never do so don't expect a notice with your past
credit history. The way they get around complying is to issue credit for $10.

You can also ask them to send you a credit application which you can fill out
at home. When you get it and fill it out return it with photo copies of your
driver's license and a check from the account you are using as a reference.
That will save you time when you get to the casino because they will want to
make copies of these anyway. It will also make you appear quite experienced.

No matter what the casino's cover letter to you may say, most casinos will not
notify you about your credit so I suggest calling about two weeks after you
have sent in the application to see if your line was established.

Your application will also be noted in the files of Central Credit so if you
have $25,000 in your account but apply around town in eight casinos for $5,000
each you may not get what you request because you are showing a total potential
loss of $40,000 and have only $25,000 available. As you get more experienced
this will not be a problem because the record will show your gaming and payback

Q:G7 How are "markers" used?
A:G7 (Frank Irwin, Dave Everett)

At the beginning of your first trip to a casino after establishing credit, you
will be required to go to the cage to sign some papers and let them copy your
driver's license. You will also indicate how you wish to pay for any
outstanding markers upon your departure. If it's your first trip, they may want
you to settle before you leave. Later, you may be able to work our some sort of
payment plan.

When you walk up to a table, ask the floorman for a marker. He'll get your name
and go away for a little while. When he comes back, he'll give you a bank check
to sign. This is a counter check, which is a form of bank draft, and has the
legal force of a regular check. They may take money out of your account on this
check. Additionally, these markers may require manual intervention and
attention when presented to your bank for processing. If you don't want your
banker to know where your money is going, don't leave behind a marker; pay it
up with a regular bank check.

If you win at the table (and don't squirrel chips away :-), the floorman may
ask you to buy back your marker. This is exactly what you do; you give the
dealer chips equal to your marker, and the floorman gives you your bank check.
In many casinos, markers are not redeemed at the table, but the player must go
to the cashier's cage to buy back the marker. In order for you to establish a
credit line, Atlantic City casinos commonly have you sign a statement in which
you agree, more or less, not to "walk" with chips when you owe them money for a
marker. This also means that you are not supposed to convert chips to cash
while they hold your marker. This is usually not interpreted as being on a
daily basis, but rather on a trip basis. That is, if you've signed markers for
$1000, and have 7 black chips in your possession, they do not want you to cash
the 7 chips, and walk with their $700 while you owe them $1000. They want you
to turn in the chips, and owe them $300.

Q:G8 A walk through on getting comped.
A:G8 (Carla Regon)

OK - You've read the above advice and have decided to go to Las Vegas and see
how many comps you can get. I'm going to walk you through a complete weekend
and the preliminaries. The following always assumes you and another person (a
friend, your wife, girl friend, man friend).

I'm going to assume that you are a complete novice at obtaining complimentaries
so for you more advanced players, please bear with me. Heck, I hope that you'll
all learn something. Also if you've already been rated at the casino I'll
discuss your procedure which is a bit different from the unrated player.

You decide that in about six weeks you want to go to Las Vegas. As you've read
rec.gambling.* and the FAQs you know about comps and you decide that you want
to get comped as much as possible during your trip.

Pick a half a dozen hotels where you feel you can be comfortable remembering
the value of your play will determine how many comps you get. Then write down
the following:

   * Your gambling budget,
   * Your average bet,
   * Your average time playing.

Let's see what you get - A budget of $2,500, an average bet at black jack of
$10 to $15 a hand and up and you usually stay at the tables 5 hours a day. Your
realistic approach will let you know that you are not going to get comped at
Caesars or the Mirage. So why not try the following hotels: Downtown: Lady Luck
and Fitzgeralds; Off the Strip: Palace Station and the Rio; Near or on the
Strip: Maxim and the Aladdin. A note - A $25 a hand and up blackjack player or
a $75 a hand crap shooter should be able to get full RFB comps at any of the
better hotels. Not the Mirage, of course, but the other better hotels.

With your list in hand and the telephone numbers from the FAQ start calling.
Ask for the Casino Credit Department. Ask the person who answers to send you a
credit application.

Now recall the casino and ask for the Casino Host Department. Ask for a host.
Some casinos give the preliminary introduction to a clerk, but ask for a host.
When he or she gets on the line introduce yourself and ask him what their comp
arrangements are. He'll ask you if you have a line of credit and have you been
rated before. In other words he's asking you if he should look you up on the
computer to see your history.

If you've been to the casino before and have been rated tell the host that you
were there on such and such a date and did ask to be rated. He'll look you up
on the computer and tell you something like, "Gee, Jack, I can get you in on
casino rates. If you play four hours a day at $15 a hand I'll comp the coffee
shop and the buffet too." You might want to ask him what he will comp for $25
or $50 a hand just to see the way they pass out comps. Tell him thank you and
you'll check on the dates your (wife, etc) wants to go and will call him back.
Now check all the other choices until you find a deal you like. No, they do not
compare notes over drinks that night.

Now, if you never been rated then call, just like above, and say you've not
been rated. You'll get an answer like, "Jane, I can give you RFB for $25 a hand
with four hours of play." Thank him and check the others.

OK, now that you've got a feel for the way comps are offered, remembering that
you are actually testing for single or double discount coupons, make a choice.

Take that credit application you received for the casino you chose, fill it
out, copy your driver's license and a blank check on one page and return them
together to the casino in the envelope supplied. I would suggest that you fill
out credit applications for one or two casinos to start and then fill out more
as your gaming progresses.

Check about two weeks later and see how much credit they authorized. A tip -
Don't bother asking for $1,000. You can get that anywhere. Be realistic and
remember that the higher your line, the better your initial offer of comps will
be, i.e., a $25,000 line will guarantee you a suite on the strip but you should
be able to play at that rate.

OK, let's assume that you've been approved for a line of between $5,000 and
$10,000. Call back the casino host at the hotel you chose. Remind him that you
spoke before. Tell him when you want to visit. Tell him how much you line is.
He'll make the reservation for you. By the way, if you don't have time for a
credit check you can bring funds with you and deposit them in the cage (front
money) against which you can draw markers.

If you see advertised specials in your newspaper you can get the host to bring
you in on one of these, but with a better class of room. Sometimes these
specials are much less then casino rates.

If the trip is your first you may get a reservation under a "will qualify"
theory. That means that you will be comped only if you play up to the agreement
that you made with the host, i.e., you must qualify for the comps. Just charge
everything to your room as instructed and read the rest of this section.

OK, you arrive. Go to the cage and get your credit finalized by proving that
you are you, signing a couple of ledger pages and getting your ID card. Find
and meet the host. Glad hand him - He'll glad hand you. If you haven't had
lunch he'll give you a starting comp. Now, whenever you go to a table show the
floorman your card and make sure you are being rated. They will do it
automatically if you take a marker, but you should ask. You'll be amazed how
quickly they will recognize you and start calling you, "Hey, Miss R, How are

Charge everything to your room. Breakfast, lunch and room service. Ask your
host to make reservations (use the word "reservations") if you want the gourmet

Remember that tips are NOT included in comps. I always sign the check and pay
the tip in cash directly to the waiter. That way the total of the room bill
does not include tips.

At the end of your trip you should find your comps deducted from your statement
at check out time. If it is not immediately call for your casino host. If he's
off insist on a casino representative. You will find that your play is on the
computer so any host or shift manager can get your comps straightened out. Be
nice. If they stonewall you, well, you've been the subject of a group of jerks.
Write the casino manager, threaten to write to the travel editor of your local
paper. You will probably find a credit forthcoming. No casino wants to be
marked as a bunch of crooks. If it is your first trip to that hotel I suggest
that you try to check out with time to spare just to avoid a last minute
hassle. Also see Carla's special recommendation on comps below.

Now some hints:

   * About the middle of the second day check with your host to make sure you
     are getting what he promised. Also, remember this - If you win, keep on
     asking for markers and getting rated even though you've got the cash to
     pay them back immediately. That way you show your playing time in the
     casino. If I win I deposit the money in the cage for two reasons. I don't
     want to carry the money with me and it pays back already drawn markers.

   * If you have never been seriously comped before, why not start at one of
     the less exclusive hotels and casinos where you don't have to play like a
     Maharajah. Try the Lady Luck or Fitzgeralds down down or Sam's Town or the
     Maxim. They want your action and they will comp you at $10 or $20 a hand
     black jack. That way you can learn how its done before you move up to
     Bally's or the Sahara.

   * The way to never get a comp again is to take advantage. Don't order a
     bottle of 25 year old scotch and expect the casino to comp it. Don't take
     your cousin and his three kids to lunch and expect the casino to comp the
     check. Be realistic and remember what your discount includes.

   * Play at the casino. Sure, you can go elsewhere, but remember that you have
     an obligation if you want to get comped.

Carla's Special Recommendation: I really hate having to beg for comps so I
refuse to do so. My gimmick is to tell the host at a casino I am not known at
that I have specific requirements and I don't give a flying folly for their
policy. I insist on being picked up at the airport and a suite with a few
amenities in it waiting upon my arrival. Though I look forward to meeting the
host I will not seek her out when I'm going to depart. My comps are not a
subject for discussion or argument. I expect the casino to credit my account on
the night before my departure with what my play warrants and I let them know
that I know exactly what my play does warrant. In other words I expect the
casino to treat me like a pro. This works for me and for others that I know.
What it does is avoid that little scene where the host tells you all he can do
for you is comp the coffee shop when you thought you deserved the gourmet room
and then you start begging and whining. I will neither whine nor return if I am
treated shabbily.

Gourmet room tips: If you are comped in the gourmet room it is expected that
you will tip at a higher rate then if you were in the coffee shop. I hate
tipping the waiter, the captain, the wine steward, the maitre d', etc.,
separately so I have devised a way to leave one tip. I call over the captain
and tell him that my tip, in cash, covers the whole room. Most captains
understand this. In the gourmet room I always tip 25 percent of a comped meal.
I thank the maitre d' and tell him that the tip I left includes every one. It
works for me.

Carla's few special words for the ladies: Most gamblers are men, most high
rollers are men, most people getting comps are men. So, ladies, please, do
yourselves and all of us a favor, do not get pushed around in Las Vegas. If you
are playing with your money, and I don't give a flying fig how you got it,
demand to be treated well. Demand the same comps the men get. Don't put up with
rude dealers and floormen and casino hosts who don't have time for the "little
lady." If you stand up for your rights by giving your complaint directly to the
shift manager or the casino manager you will be surprised how well you will be
treated. Remember that your money is as good as a man's money. I have walked
out of hotels and casinos and been called by the casino manager apologizing. I
take a hard attitude and I get away with it. I insist on being picked up at the
airport by limousine, I insist on a one bedroom suite (never a "junior" suite),
I insist on a fruit basket and beer and wine in the room (I'm now also getting
a bottle of Irish whisky).

Sure, I'm loud and a bit brassy, but I expect to be treated like a lady all the
time. I demand it and I get it. I insist on having my chair pulled out for me
when I arrive to play baccarat or for dinner. I once stood by a chair in the
baccarat room until the floorman asked if I needed something. I looked over at
him, smiled, and said, "Why, yes, an employee of the casino who is gentleman
enough to pull out my chair for me." He huffed and walked over, pulled out the
chair, I sat down, stood up, smiled at him and told him I was walking until he
learned some manners. I got an apology from the room manager within ten
minutes. Truthfully, ladies, they won't learn unless we teach them. So, please,
don t get pushed around.

Well, I hope that you will now be able to start on your career as a full
fledged Las Vegas schnorer. Enjoy yourself!!!

Q:G9 Where can I get casino quality chips?
A:G9 (Abdul Jalib M'hall)

  ================= ============== ============== ============== =============
  The Poker Store    Stanton, CA   (714) 895-3783  ?               $55/100
  Paul Son           Las Vegas, NV (702) 384-2425  $.35/each       $.40/each
     "               ???, NJ       (609) 348-8771  $.35/each       $.40/each
     "               Reno, NV      (702) 786-2465  $35/100         $40/100
  Bud Jones Company  Las Vegas, NV (702) 876-2782  ?       1 color:$25/100
     "                "                            ?       2 color:$40/100
  Gamb. Gen. Store   Las Vegas, NV (800) 322-CHIP  ?               $40/100

Note that the chip prices above are for CASINO QUALITY, which means they're
heavy clay and thus rather expensive. The suppliers also have lighter clay
chips and cheap-o plastic chips.

One reason you might want personalized chips, other than for vanity's sake, is
to have dollar amounts put on them. Several places said they can put your
initials on one side and the dollar amount on the other, which is kind of neat.
For their unpersonalized chips, you had a choice of a starburst or a horseshoe
insignia. Paulson was the most flexible, since they'd let you order any
quantity (not just multiples of 100) with no minimum order. All of the
suppliers had a wide variety of colors. Bud Jones Company had solid one color
chips as well as the two colored chips that many casinos use.

Q:G10 Are chip colors standardized?
A:G10 (Dave "4" Everett)

Yes and no.

In the United States, almost all casinos use red for $5 chips, green for $25,
and black for $100. In Las Vegas, other denomination chips can be any color
whatsoever, though $1 chips are generally white or blue.

In Atlantic City, they use the Munsel Color Code system, and is a matter of
regulation. In addition the "inserts" or edge marks used by each casino must be
different in color(s) than those used by all other A.C. casinos for the same

  chip value              color           Notes
  $0.50                   mustard         Never issued.
  $1                      white
  $2.50                   pink            Used for paying blackjacks
  $5                      red
  $20                     yellow
  $25                     green
  $100                    black
  $500                    purple
  $1000                   orange          larger diameter than those above
  $5000                   gray            same diameter as orange chips

Foxwoods and Turning Stone use the same scheme, though neither uses yellow.

Q:G11 What are matchplay chips
A:G11 (Chuck Weinstock, Dave Everett)

A matchplay chip is a non-negotiable chip, usually given by the casino to
induce play at their tables. The chips are good at any table game, but only for
even money bets. Thus you can bet them on craps (line bets), blackjack,
roulette (odd/even, black/red), but not, for instance, the field at craps. When
you play a matchplay chip you must match it with a chip of your own (hence the
name). For the Bally offer I understand the chips have a value of $5.00, so you
must play each one with $5.00 of your own money.

If you lose the bet, you lose your $5.00 and the matchplay chip. If you win
your bet you win $5.00 on your $5.00 and $5.00 (real money) on the matchplay
chip. However, even if you win they take the matchplay chip. (I'm not sure if
this is universal, but it certainly is typical.) I'm not sure how they pay off
Blackjack (which pays 3-2). [ They always take your matchplay chip, win or
lose. Blackjack pays even money on the matchplay chip. - FAI ] [Most casinos
don't take the match play chips on pushes and do pay even money on the match
play portion of blackjacks. Some casinos (e.g. Four Queens) pay 3:2 on the
match play portion of blackjacks. -- Abdul Jalib M'hall]

If you are playing in an even expectation game, you would expect to win half of
your bets. Thus the $200 in matchplay has an expected value of around $100. Of
course this is only an expectation, and you could win or lose much more than

There are also such things as match play coupons. They work just like match
play chips, but they are coupons, printed on paper. It is typical for match
play chips and/or coupons not to be allowed on games where the payout odds are
other than 1:1. In most casinos, a bet consisting of a $5 regular chip and a $5
match play chip will result, if it wins, with a payout of $10 and forfeiture of
the match play chip. If a blackjack occurs, the payout will generally be $7.50
for the regular chip and $5 (even money) for the match play chip, for a total
of $12.50, not $15. At some casinos, they _do_ pay that blackjack as though it
were a $10 bet, and it gets $15.

Another aspect of match play chips/coupons is whether their face value counts
toward meeting the table minimum. At some casinos it does, and at some it does
not. At some casinos, a $5 regular chip and a $5 match play coupon played
together will be considered a $10 bet and will qualify for play at a $10
minimum table. At other casinos, the match play value must be played in
addition to the table minimum in regular chips.

Q:G12 What are "pit critters"?
A:G12 (Steve Jacobs)

Casino personnel who are responsible for supervising the games and dealers are
often "affectionately" referred to in rec.gambling as "pit critters". The
various species of pit critters are described below:

     the lowest level of pit critter, and the most likely to be encountered by
     The floorman is usually responsible for only a few tables.

pit boss
     the next level of pit critter, responsible for several floormen and their
     This pit critter supervises one "pit" in the casino.

shift supervisor
     the head pit boss during a particular shift.

casino manager
     the mother of all pit critters [and usually the owner's son. -- Blair

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM