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Comp City

You Don't Have To Be a High Roller To Get the Perks from Vegas Casinos--You Just Have To Act Like One
Michael Konik
From the Print Edition:
Linda Evangelista, Autumn 95

(continued from page 1)

The pit boss hesitates for a millisecond. "Sure I can."

"'preciate that, pardner." As the pit boss shuffles off, Rubin, dropping the Texas drawl and drunken slur, turns to me and smiles. "Got 'em!" he says, picking up his chips. "Is this a great town, or what?"

With $900 worth of prime-location fight tickets in hand, we shamble to the MGM Grand Garden Arena, where, along with Bruce and Demi, Arsenio and Montel, and thousands of other glittering VIPs, we'll see George Foreman slink away with one of the most undeserved victories in recent heavyweight history. And thanks to Max Rubin's knowledge of the casino business, it won't cost us more than a few dollars.

Nor do the limos, the suites, the gourmet meals, the show tickets, the booze or the afternoon of golf. It's all comped.

Max Rubin (a pseudonym) is the author of Comp City: A Guide to Free Las Vegas Vacations (1994, Huntington Press, 800/244-2224 or at any Borders Bookstore) the first book to reveal the inner workings of the Las Vegas comp system, a widely known but little understood marketing tool the casinos use to lure premium players to their tables. A former casino executive, Rubin saw firsthand how the casinos doled out over half a billion dollars in comps per year, solely to encourage their customers to gamble (and lose) more.

"The gambling business is a cat and mouse game," Rubin says, as we cruise down the Strip in our complimentary limousine. "Guess who's the mouse?"

Comp City is helping to change the game into one of cat and dog--and the dogs are beginning to chase the kitties up a tree. "The book contains information the general public was never supposed to find out," Rubin remarks. "These are the casino industry's most guarded secrets."

According to the author, the casino complimentary system is designed to give back to the player approximately 40 cents for every $1 in gambling losses. His book shows how to exploit numerous loopholes in the comp system to earn $1 back for every 10 to 30 cents in losses.

Casino expert Steve Forte (see Cigar Aficionado, Spring 1995), says Comp City is the most important gambling book to be published in the last 10 years. "I've always thought the subject of comps would make a great book, and nobody knows more about them than Max. Anybody who regularly gives casinos their action should read this book first."

Heeding Forte's advice, I devoured the 294-page book in two sittings and was surprised at how generous--and how vulnerable--the casinos can be with their freebies. Using a technique Rubin dubs ACES (Advanced Comp Equivalency Strategy), clever comp hustlers--those who can play a solid game of blackjack, convincingly represent their ability to lose a lot of money and have no fear of asking for unearned rewards--can enjoy the fabulous perks most people believe are reserved exclusively for the superrich.


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