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Thread: How I (mostly) comped my Vegas stay, while giving up very little EV

  1. #1
    Warning: This post turned out to be much longer than I expected and contains a lot of rambling non-sense

    So I was planning on going to Vegas April 1st - 8th with my friend and in fact already had my reservation at The Flamingo (yeah, we're big ballers). I've never been much of a pit game player. I play poker for a living, so when I'm in the casino I just focus on doing that. I'll play $5 blackjack occasionally if a non-poker friend of mine wants to go to the casino, but that's about it. So I decided I wanted to degen with my friend some in Vegas and wanted to find what the best game/lowest house edge would be. I found out in Craps there's a bet you can make that is exactly break even, with no house edge (odds bet). Of course there's a catch, you must first place a negative expectation bet (pass or don't pass) before you can place an odds bet, and you're limited to how much you can place on odds. Pretty much all the major strip casinos limit you to 3x-4x-5x odds, so if you bet $10 on pass, you can bet $30-$50 on odds (depending on what the number is). Some casinos offer more than 5x odds, and I found out all Horseshoe branded casinos offer 100x odds on craps which is the highest you'll find anywhere. This is great because I'm always playing at the Horseshoe Hammond.

    So naturally since the odds bet is 0EV the casinos don't want to give out comps for money you're placing on odds. But I wondered how closely it was really tracked, especially on a busy night. So I decided to test it out to see how good of comps they'd give me. There were some $5 minimum tables open, but they were far too crowded for me (I'm no a fan of crowds), so I went to a $10 minimum diamond-only table that was a bit less crowded (I'm a diamond from all my poker play). I put $3k on the table and started betting $10 on the pass line and $100-$200 on odds bets. I actually could have bet as much as $1,000 on odds, but I didn't want to withstand a huge swing. So the house edge on the pass line bet is around 1.4%, and I'm probably making this bet around once per minute or maybe a little bit more frequently. So every time I make the bet I'm giving the house $0.14 in expected equity, so around $10/hr. But I'm betting like $10,000/hr. So if they just mark that I'm betting $10k/hr and say the average house edge on a bet is 4%, then they might think I'm giving them $400/hr in expectation. I looked around and nobody at the table was just betting odds. In fact I don't think anybody was betting odds. Everyone else at the table was throwing money on all the nonsense bets (many of which I didn't understand since I had literally just learned how to play). This made me feel like I could just blend in more with the table. The supervisor was running around like mad because she was supervising several craps tables. My guess is this wouldn't work in Vegas because there's too many hustlers out there who would take advantage.

    So I played for several hours (I will admit, it was quite fun), and then took off. The next day I checked my RCs and they gave me a decent amount, definitely more than I should have received but nothing spectacular. So I figured that was that. But today I went to the Total Rewards site to see how much my room would cost if I were to book now (I was doing this like every week, since if the rate went down, I would cancel the previous trip and re-book). Well it said average price for Flamingo: $27.57. WTF, how could the average price only be $27/nt? So I looked at the price breakdown:
    WED 4/1: COMP
    THU 4/2: COMP
    FRI 4/3: $98
    SAT 4/4: $95
    Sun 4/5: COMP
    Mon 4/6: COMP
    Tue 4/7: COMP

    LOL, what a joke. They're going to comp me everything but Friday & Saturday. Keep in mind, they never let me know I could comp rooms, I just randomly typed this trip in. I went and looked to see if they'd give me a Caesars Palace or Paris comp, and unfortunately those were no-gos. Bally's gave me a similar comp. Harrah's was also partially comping my room. Their breakdown looked like the following:
    WED 4/1: $10
    THU 4/2: $10
    FRI 4/3: $66
    SAT 4/4: $66
    Sun 4/5: COMP
    Mon 4/6: COMP
    Tue 4/7: $46

    So it averages out to about the same as The Flamingo. But it's cheaper if I book 4/1-4/7 since they're not comping my Tuesday night stay at Harrah's. So I figured I could try to book everything but Tuesday and then try to book Tuesday separately at the Flamingo for free. It's a little annoying to have to switch properties for a day, but they're right next to each other and to me it's not a big deal. This way I'm only paying $142 for a weeks stay. I could really get nitty and book Wed/Thurs at Flamingo for free, then do Fri-Mon at Harrahs and then go back to the Flamingo on Tuesday and save an extra $20, but that's way too much work to save $20. So I tried just splitting off the last day, but when I went to book 4/7-4/8 for the Flamingo it said I already had a reservation at one of their properties for this day (even though my check-out at Harrah's is 4/7).

    So my question to you all is, can I call them up and ask them to book it for me at the Flamingo for free for Tuesday night? Or will they tell me I can't do it because they don't want me taking advantage of the system or whatever. My backup plan is to just go there and on the day I gamble in the pits ask for a free room for Tuesday (preferably at Harrahs' so I don't have to move around). This is a bit risky since my flight leaves Wednesday evening, so I don't want to be stranded without a room. Also, I'll probably look like a mad-man if a human being looks at my hotel transactions because I've cancelled and re-booked the same trip at least 6 times now, lol.

    Another question, I've never stayed at Harrah's or Flamingo so I don't know how the rooms compare. They both have similar locations, with Flamingo's being a little bit better. I plan on $20 tricking the front desk lady to get an upgraded room. From what I'm reading online the properties seem comparable, but Flamingo's rooms might be a bit nicer.

  2. #2
    Hi. Thanks for joining and for posting.

    I can't comment on your comp situation. You will just have to ask.

    I never heard of a "Diamond" table at craps.

    Placing "odds" behind the flat bet will not make you win. Too many craps players make this mistake. Odds Bets in craps are only paid at true odds, unfortunately, while the House does not have an advantage on the odds bet, the player does not have an advantage either. So over time it is really just "even money" and over time if you are lucky you will only break even on betting odds.

    Some casinos count the odds bets towards comps and some don't.

    The Caesars owned properties in Vegas have a formula for comping craps players: if you make the conservative bets such as pass line with odds and placing inside numbers you will get the lowest comps. Those bettors who bet hardways and field and horn numbers are in fact going to get better comps than you.

  3. #3
    PLOL is a member of my forum. That's how he found this one.

    Interesting story.

    I will say that I'm surprised your comp status changed so quickly based upon this play, as usually it takes some time (sometimes 2-3 months) for previous play to be "acknowledged" by the marketing/offer system. I believe that you probably got these comp days because the properties are selling poorly for those dates, and it's coming close.

    I would check again in 2 months, as you might start getting some nice offers including freeplay and meals.

    Anyway, let's put the reason for the comp rooms aside and discuss your question.

    CET does NOT like giving more than 5 comp nights in a row. Will they do it for a high or middle-high limit player who is actively gambling? Yes, but that will usually happen based upon ongoing play, and can't be booked in advance (unless you're a whale).

    So you're going to run into problems here. It also might not let you book all 7 nights as you entered it on the website. It might kick back an error message when you actually try. This is because, last I heard, you cannot have a comp room past the 5th night of a stay. So if you've been staying on any of their properties in that market for 5 nights (whether you're paying or not), they will not give you a 6th or 7th night comped unless a host gets involved. Perhaps they've changed this, or perhaps the system is letting you do it despite it technically being against the rules, but this isn't set in stone.

    Bottom line is that you're never going to get 7 straight comped nights at CET properties with your play history.

    Your best shot is to book the first two nights comped, then book the fifth, sixth, and seventh comped in a separate reservation. This will be allowed, as there are 48 hours in between "stays", which is their requirement.

    Then call Harrah's, ask for a host, and ask for 4/3 and 4/4 comped. He might not see that you are already staying at Flamingo. If he does, he won't comp you.

    If you can't get 4/3 and 4/4 comped, you should just stay at a non-CET property for those nights. Or if you are traveling with someone, have them book those two nights, so it appears you are "off property". It is not enough for you to simply offer to pay for those two nights and then get comped 4/5-4/7 again. Doesn't work that way.
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  4. #4
    Also, as Alan mentioned, you got lucky if your odds bets were given more credit than they deserved. They are supposed to look out for that, but didn't for whatever reason.

    Also, I should say that you were engaging in very high variance play. If you enjoyed it, that's fine, but I wouldn't utilize that method to earn CET comps, as the chance of getting clobbered in the process is too high.
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