If you have a high Theo at a casino it doesn’t mean that you’re smuggling a soprano chipmunk named Theodore, it means that your Theoretical value to the casino is high which puts you in line for potential comps. Even if you win on a regular basis the casinos know that over time they have the advantage so it is in their interest to offer free rooms, food, etc to bring you back as often as possible.
The basic calculation for your earnings are based on the average amount you bet x the length of play x the odds advantage to the house. This is why heavy slot and roulette players tend to earn more rewards since their games have better odds for the casino.
Those of us who play blackjack earn less since the odds are closer to even. For someone like me who tends to play in short bursts of an hour at a time, even though I may bet a decent amount on every hand my comps don’t add up very quickly since I keep my time variable intentionally low to give me a better chance of winning.
For example purposes my current level of play – $1000/day budget at $25 blakcjack tables – earns me 2-5 free nights every month and invites to special events at almost every Harrahs property. I also earn enough comps to pay for lunch, souveneirs, or dinner from time to time. If I had a job that allowed me to play more than once every month this would likely increase beyond rooms and I could spread my play around to other properties to increase my rewards and options.
I don’t play the comps game very aggressively so I’m likely missing out on some additional opportunities by not talking up the casino hosts who email me offers and working the system when I’m on property. Winning money and getting more comps are not mutually exclusive, but I put my energy into playing winning blackjack rather than getting a few extra perks.
My advice, play to win, get the rewards card wherever you play, and take advantage of any free offers you can so even if you lose on the tables you’ll come away ahead in some way.