Many land-based casinos offer high roller tables, or even completely separate rooms, for VIPs. These tables/sections allow high-stakes gamblers to place wagers among other elite company.
High roller tables often feature $50 or $100 minimum bets. In more-lavish casinos, gamblers may even need to wager over $100 per round to take a seat.
Of course, you don’t have to sit at a VIP table to risk big stakes. Instead, you can bet lots of money at any regular gambling table.
Most regular games let you risk up to $500 per hand/round. Considering this fact, you might wonder what the point is behind high roller tables.
Actually, several reasons exist behind why casinos supply these exclusive games. You can read more on the reasons below along with if high stakes gambling is ultimately worth the effort.
The Average High Roller Knows the Games Better
Most people who play table games understand the rules and etiquette behind whatever they’re playing. Those who aren’t in the know usually stay away to avoid looking stupid.
After all, who wants to sit at a blackjack table and continually touch the cards when the dealer warns them not to, or ask what splitting a hand means!?
Surprisingly, though, many people will take a seat even when they have no idea what’s going on. They’re usually goaded by friends or a significant other into playing.
Everybody deserves a chance to enjoy table games. Preferably, they’ll learn the ropes before they start playing.
This idea doesn’t always quite work out, though. Here’s a common scenario that happens in casinos:
- A roulette player walks up to the table with their significant other.
- They fully understand the rules and have no trouble playing.
- However, their partner is completely new to the matter.
- The newbie continually bumps into other people when trying to put their chips on the table.
- Out of ignorance, they also try placing chips on the table after the dealer yells “No more bets.”
- The experienced player does their best to help their befuddled significant other, but the couple still keeps disrupting the game.
Most gamblers are understanding in these situations. However, those who just want to concentrate on playing the game without disruptions aren’t always understanding.
The average high roller appreciates the opportunity to gamble with other experienced players. VIP tables usually only include others who are well-versed in the games.
Gamble Away From the Average Joes
Wealthy people have always enjoyed separating themselves from the pack in different ways. They buy Ferraris, designer watches, mansions, and more to show their elite status.
The same crowd also likes gambling away from the commoners. They appreciate special tables and, especially, separate gaming rooms.
Largely speaking, though, only richer players choose such tables. Most average Joes realize that they shouldn’t risk their $300 bankroll when the minimum stakes are $100.
Sometimes, players must be invited to special tables by the casino. If they’ve shown a tendency to play for high stakes in the past, they might draw the attention of a VIP casino host.
The latter works to tailor comps to a gambler’s liking. They can also invite the player to a private area to make them feel more valued.
More Space to Gamble
Tables get quite crowded at peak gambling hours. For example, many blackjack and mini baccarat tables see all seven seats filled during weekend evenings.
You can still concentrate on the game in these situations. After all, it isn’t like casinos seat baccarat players elbow to elbow.
Nevertheless, not everybody likes fellow gamblers on each side of them. They may especially feel crowded at a busy craps or roulette table—where there are no seats and things get quite hectic.
VIPs don’t expect to be put into these situations. They want casinos to place them on tables where there’s more breathing room.
This is the big reason why high roller tables are often located in roped-off areas. However, this scenario isn’t always the case.
Some smaller casinos don’t have special tables or areas for important gamblers. In this situation, they just reserve multiple seats, or more space on a standing table (e.g. roulette), for a VIP.
I’ve been in casinos where the latter happens. For example, I played in a craps game where half the table area was reserved for a local high-stakes player.
Certain gamblers may complain when this happens. However, casinos are gladly willing to give a high roller more room when their bets warrant doing so.
Some casinos don’t just save special tables for their VIPs. They provide entire private areas for high rollers!
You’ll usually find these on Macau’s Cotai Strip or in Las Vegas high limit rooms. They draw the kind of clientele that makes it worth their while to offer a VIP room.
Decorating and offering a fancy room is nothing when some high-stakes players bet $50,000 or even $100,000 per hand. Here’s an example on how much a casino figures to make off of such bettors:
- A high roller plays blackjack for $50,000 per hand.
- They’re facing a 0.5% house edge based on the rules on their skill level.
- Their table sees 80 hands per hour.
- 50,000 x 80 x 0.005 = $20,000
- The gambler will theoretically lose $20,000 each hour.
Of course, casinos usually offer as such players lavish comps that help reduce the theoretical losses. Even in these cases, though, they figure to make serious bank of the biggest gamblers.
Again, the cost of a high-stakes room is nothing when concerning this type of money. Popular casinos make much more than what it costs to develop and provide VIP areas.
More Casino Comps
High roller comps are the stuff of legend. Many gamblers are fascinated when they hear about the biggest players receiving penthouse suites, limousine transportation, and comped liquor.
Of course, the house always knows the math behind what they’re offering big players. They don’t feed a gambler caviar and drive them all over town in a limousine for free.
Instead, casinos calculate how much they can afford to give a VIP while still bringing in a healthy profit. Here’s an example using the previously discussed blackjack player who loses $20,000 per hour:
- The casino offers this gambler a 0.25% comp rate.
- The comp rate includes the sum of all perks (e.g. food, dining, etc.) that the player receives.
- 50,000 x 80 x 0.0025 = $10,000 in hourly comps
- 20,000 – 10,000 = $10,000
The casino will still make $10,000 off this player every hour. That said, they’re willing to shower the VIP with far more casino comps than they are the average player.
Of course, attracting high rollers is a very competitive industry. Another casino might even be willing to offer a 0.3% or 0.35% rate to steal the gambler from a competitor.
Negotiate for Better Rules
Not every gambler wants caviar and a Jaguar to drive around town. Instead, they simply want the best-possible chance to win.
In these situations, the house is willing to negotiate with the player to a certain degree. They may provide a gambler with special rules that they wouldn’t otherwise offer.
The most-famous case of this happening is when blackjack player and casino whale Don Johnson negotiated with Atlantic City casinos. He knew that Atlantic City was desperate for high rollers in the early 2010s.
Therefore, he came up with a special set of rules that lowered the house edge to around 0.2%. Normally, this edge would still allow the casino to win profits.
But Johnson also asked for a special 20% loss rebate that kicked in when his losses reached $500,000. The stipulation meant that he only had to eat $400k of $500k in losses before quitting.
Meanwhile, the casino was always on the hook for their full losses no matter what. Johnson was essentially able to trick Atlantic City establishments and win a collective $15 million in profits.
Of course, an occurrence where a high roller gains an advantage through rule negotiation is extremely rare. But Johnson’s story shows what kind of exceptions casinos will make when dealing with a big bettor.
Is Being a High Roller Worth It in the End?
Whether or not being a VIP gambler is worthwhile all depends upon your bankroll and net worth. You never want to bet such high stakes that you jeopardize your livelihood.
If you’re worth a few million dollars and don’t have much debt, on the other hand, then you’ll be perfectly fine with wagering four figures per round. You just need to know when to quit a session if things are going rough.
As you can see throughout this post, the rewards for risking high stakes are many. Here’s a recap of what to expect:
- More knowledgeable players at the tables
- Few/no average Joes at the tables
- More space to play and/or private rooms
- Lavish comps and/or better rules
Depending upon personal preferences, you may appreciate some of these benefits more than others. I personally would love to negotiate for better rules and/or have knowledgeable players around.
Again, everything just depends upon what you value most. You also need to consider if it’s worth risking the kind of money that’s required to earn such rewards.
You might be able to gamble for large stakes at virtually any table. However, only VIP tables ensure that you get most/all of the perks covered above.
The average high roller simply wants to be away from the crowd. They also desire the notoriety that comes with playing in exclusive games and/or private rooms.
These gamblers seek the special comps and perks that come with being a high-stakes player too. They often get comped at a better rate (e.g. 0.3% vs 0.1%) due to their status.
In summary, high roller tables exist for a reason—or rather multiple reasons. Assuming you have the bankroll to do so, you might consider playing in one of these games.