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I Don’t Need a Host, Do I?

Yes, you do…And here’s why

A correspondent sent me the following e-mail: “My wife and I are quarter players and we get all of our rooms and food comped through the slot club. Why do we need a host?”

Until fairly recently, we could have asked this question ourselves. A couple of months ago, I wrote about the mistakes Brad and I made over the years. That we didn’t use the host system all the time we were quarter players was one of our biggest. It was only when we started playing at the dollar level and enjoying the services of hosts that we discovered this amazing truth: Although, on our own, we became experts on how to stay and eat free in a casino, we could have gotten even more comps, and with a whole lot less effort on my part.

In the good old days before electronic player-tracking systems, a host’s primary duty was to keep the high-roller table players happy. As time went on and casinos realized that machine players were making the bigger profits for them, the casinos made the specialized services of slot hosts available to almost all who played the machines, including the formerly “lowly” quarter player.

To be considered a valuable customer doesn’t depend on the denomination of your bet. It depends on the total amount of money you place at risk. The quarter player who puts in a 12-hour day risks the same money as the dollar player who plays for three hours. And thanks to the new multi-coin nickel video slots, the casinos are no longer ignoring nickel players. Slot hosts are starting to add them to their “valuable-customer” lists.

Keep in mind that although comps are awarded according to your level of play, I can’t tell you what level you need to get any specific comp. Every casino has its own comp schedule, but it’s rarely a neat little printed list that they’ll give you. It takes time to learn about each casino’s comp system. I find that a polite, non-aggressive attitude work best. Most hosts respond willingly and cheerfully …