Getting Maximum Comps By Playing Blackjack
"Comp" is short for complimentary. It's the nice perks that casinos give you just for playing. Depending upon your betting level and how long you play, you could get comped to a buffet, a café, a gourmet room, a hotel room, a suite, even air fare. And by playing blackjack you can get the most in comps compared to other casino game.
First let's make sure you understand how casinos determine how much your action is worth. Action is defined as the amount of money you risk over time. Assuming you are dealt 60 hands per hour, your average bet at blackjack is $10, and you play for 3 hours, your total action is 60 hands x $10 per hand x 3 hours = $1800. In your 3 hours of play you've given the casino $1800 worth of action.
Casinos use the following formula to calculate how much of a player's action they expect to win.
Action x Casino Advantage = Players Theoretical Loss
Since pit bosses can't watch the play of every individual blackjack player to determine their skill level they general will estimate that there advantage over the masses of blackjack players to be 2%. This means they expect to win about $36 in the above example ($1800 x 2%).
Most casinos will give players comps worth 30 to 50% of a player's expected loss. This means the above player can expect a comp worth about $14 ($36 x 40%).
Now here is how a blackjack player can get more in comps then theoretical loss.
By learning the basic blackjack playing strategy you can reduce the casino's edge to 0.5%. This means in the above example a basic strategy player's expected loss is only $9 ($1800 x 0.5%). Your expected loss is only 25% of what the casino thinks they are going to win from you. So instead of a theoretical loss of $36, your expected loss is only $9 and the casino gives you $14 worth of comps. Not a bad deal.
You can even do better than this. If you slow down your play so that you are betting on only 40 hands per hour (instead of 60) your expected loss drops to $6 and you are still getting $14 worth of comps. If you play in very favorable games it's possible to reduce the casinos edge to virtually 0 and by learning card counting you can actually gain the advantage. Your theoretical loss in this scenario is 0 and the comps you earn will be gravy.
The point is that it is possible in blackjack to get more in comps than your theoretical loss. If you add the value of the comp to the 99.5% return you can expect by playing perfect basic strategy, then it's possible to gain a slight monetary edge over the casino. But you must, at the minimum, play perfect basic strategy and always ask the pit boss for a comp (don't expect them to hand you a comp, always ask).