Due to the saturation of casinos, rooms are generally fairly cheap in Las Vegas. As an AP, though, they can easily be almost free.
In Vegas, it’s usually not a good idea to stay where you plan on playing, or even to play rated in your real name if you’re hitting tables for any kind of substantial profit. Of course, players may sometimes find it profitable or necessary to stay and play rated at a particular casino. For this post, I’m talking about typical table games APs, whose anonymity is generally worth more than the value of a comped room. This is especially effective in Las Vegas, where competition is high and casinos are everywhere.
The key to staying on the cheap without compromising your identity is to obtain a comped room somewhere you don’t plan on earning much EV and that doesn’t come with a risk of having your real name and face being shared with other casinos. Think smaller, independent casinos where the locals tend to play.
This doesn’t mean you can’t gain any EV; you can easily fly under the radar earning a small amount of EV with a comped room and food as a bonus. Although there are many ways to do this, the safest, in my opinion, is by playing video poker. Unless you hit a jackpot, there’s practically no interaction with casino personnel, and comps are commonly given at a rate much higher than the actual EV loss of your coin-in.
For example, I recently played $10K coin-in on video poker at a 4-star, off-strip casino, for an expected loss of around $75. A month or two later I was sent a mailer good for two free nights, $75 in free play, and two free buffets valued around $40-$80, depending on which day I redeemed them. Since my negative EV on the play was only around $75, this was a positive play.
Although this is a terrible way to try and earn a profit, it sure beats paying the price of a hotel room. With a little bit of play, the room is essentially free, and the two buffets are an added bonus. In addition, many of these mailer offers will repeat for a few months, or even longer if you do a little maintenance play during your stay.
Without naming any specific casinos or chains, I’ll say that, in general, Downtown and off-strip properties are much easier to get comped at. I’ll also add that MGM properties are generally stingy when it comes to “low rollers,” or to people who play their good blackjack or video poker games without any serious coin-in. You’ll need to experiment a little to find the right property for your purposes, but once you do, you’ll be staying for free, without needlessly jeopardizing your identity.