If you ask someone why they play blackjack they will probably tell you that they play blackjack to win money. Some of them might say they play because they love the game or enjoy the thrill of gambling, but winning money is what it’s really all about. There is another reason, however, that you might want to think about. Earning comps and rewards from a live or online casino can actually factor positively into your overall winnings.

What is a Comp?

comps at casinosStrictly speaking, a comp is a perk given to players by a casino as a reward for the time they spend playing blackjack or another casino game. In most cases today comps are automatically given based on a rate of play, but in the old days a pit boss or casino manager might hand them out at their discretion.

In the live casino comps are usually tied to a player reward card. The more blackjack hands a player plays, the more rewards they can earn. Free hotel rooms, meals, show tickets, and more are often awarded to the players that earn points.

In the online casino environment things are a little different. Most comps come in the form of sign up bonuses or other bonuses given for frequent play. In fact, some online casinos will reward you with a bonus just for registering an account. In most cases you will need to satisfy a play-through requirement in order to claim the bonus—this means you will need to make a certain amount of wagers before you can cash the bonus out. Some online casinos also offer a matching bonus. In this instance the online casino will match your deposit with an equal or even greater amount of money. Once again, this money is usually not available for withdrawal until you have made a certain number of bets.

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Should You be Playing Backjack for Comps?

Before the days of the online casino the answer to this would have probably been no. The goal of the blackjack player should always be to win money, not a free hotel room or meal. If the rewards come as a result of your play, that’s great, but playing blackjack hands just to earn a comp is not a very good strategy, especially if you aren’t a skilled blackjack player and lose. The casino will never give you rewards greater than the money you lose at the blackjack table. If you lose $200 in a blackjack session and receive enough points for a trip to the buffet, that is a pretty expensive meal. Enjoy it.

Online casinos and online blackjack have changed things, though. You could make an argument that playing online blackjack for comps is a viable strategy. The reason for this is claiming the big bonuses we mentioned earlier. In order to receive those bonuses you have to play-through a certain amount of money. In that situation you will actually be focusing on breaking even or making a small profit each session while minimizing your losses. The idea would be to satisfy the comp requirements while keeping your original deposit intact.

To simplify what we are talking about, let’s take a generic example of an online comp or bonus. In this case the online casino rewards you with a $100 sign up bonus. You make your opening deposit—let’s also say $100—and are ready to play. Your account will show that you have $200 in wagering money, but only $100 of that can be withdrawn. If you want to put that $100 bonus in your pocket you have to satisfy a minimum amount of wagers. This amount can vary from online casino to online casino. In some cases you might have to bet $1000 or more to fulfill the play-through requirement.

That sounds like a lot of money, but every hand of blackjack you play counts toward the comp requirement. So, let’s say that you take the $100 that is your opening deposit and play blackjack for $1.00 per hand. Two hours later you have played 100 hands of blackjack. That means you have wagered $100 (it could be more if you doubled or split some hands). After this session you have an overall loss of $15. So, now your original deposit is down to $85 but you have satisfied $100 of the bonus requirement. In your next session you play 50 hands and wager $50. In this session you win $10. Now your original deposit is back to $95 and you have satisfied another $50 of the bonus requirement. Please note that these numbers are just an example and that most online casinos only credit you with a portion of each wager made, not the entire amount. In other words, when you bet $1 only $0.10 might be applied to the bonus requirement. Be sure to check the terms and conditions of the bonus offer you receive.

Can you see the advantage of playing blackjack for a comp from the online casino? In the above situations your goal is not really to win money in a single session. It is to make wagers in order to play-through the bonus requirement while keeping your original bankroll intact.

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