Four Bonuses Casinos Offer to Table Game Players

What do you think are the best perks casinos offer to table game players? Some of you would say “free drinks”! Do the terms like “match play”, “promo chip”, “non-negotiable chip”, and “free play” sound familiar to you? Do they also sound confusing? Today we will explain the four common bonuses casinos offer to reward loyal table game players: match play, free bet promo chips, non-negotiable chip, and free play. These bonuses make up for as high as 70% of any casino’s marketing expenses. Why? Because these bonuses lead to hard cash out the door, compared to comped rooms and meals, which represent only a fractional cash value of their listed prices. Now, let’s dive deeper.

Match Play

The most common bonus is match play. As the name suggests, you have to put out a matching wager to play it. If the match play has a nominal amount of $10, you have to put $10 of your own money on top of the match play coupon into the betting circle. When you win, you get paid $20. When you lose, you lose your $10. Win or lose, the dealer takes away the match play coupon after the hand, but if the hand results in a push, you retain your coupon for a second try. Note that match plays can generally only be used on even-money bets. Even if you get a blackjack, most likely your own $10 will be paid at 3-2 but the $10 match part will only be paid at 1-1. Now you can see that you can still lose money with match plays, but if your chance of winning is around 50-50, you will either lose your wager or win double the amount. In math, the expected value of the match play is close to 50% of its nominal amount.

Free Bet Promo Chips

A second common bonus is the free bet, sometimes also called the promo chip. It might be a physical chip you get from the cage or rewards club, but it could also be a paper coupon. The nice part about it is you won’t lose money with it! You just put it in the betting circle, and you either win the noted amount in real chips if the hand wins or lose the chip, or the coupon, if the hand loses. No buy-in is even required, and this is exactly why casinos prefer offering match plays, because players have to buy in and risk their own money with match plays, and this might keep players at the table longer. However, the expected value of a free bet is essentially equal to that of a match play. 50% of the time, you win the minimal amount, and 50% of the time you end up with nothing. The EV is still close to 50% of the free bet’s amount.

Non-Negotiable Chips

The third type of bonus is the non-negotiable chip, sometimes called “play-till-you-lose chip”. When you bet these chips and they win, the dealer will pay you real chips without taking away the non-negotiable chips. If you hit a winning streak, the same non-negotiable chip could produce multiple times of profits, and this is how it got the name “play-till-you-lose”. If you will be playing anyways, the non-negotiable chips can give you a head start and their EV is about 100% of the nominal amount.

Free Play

The last type of bonus is the rarest to table game players, but very common to slots players. Yeah, you guessed it, the free play. They are common to slot players because when slot players play with a player’s card, the slots automatically track their play and send data to the marketing department. The data go into a set formula to calculate the free play rewarded to players. With table games, the process is less straightforward since it needs observation and inputs from pit bosses. That is probably why casinos usually just reward table players with match plays or promo chips with nominal amount of their average bet. Although they are rare for table game players, they are still very valuable. Mathematically speaking, free play is similar to non-negotiable chips that its EV is close to 100%.


I hope now you have a better understanding of these four great bonuses. However, casinos now are getting more cautious in offering these bonuses because sometimes they might get abused. Often times, these coupons require same-day use, or limit one coupon per day per player. While some casinos don’t monitor the usage closely, we encourage our listeners use them as they were designed, so both sides will be happy and all players can enjoy these perks.

So next time when asked what the best perks are at casinos, don’t say free drinks, because most free drinks offered on casino floor are diluted, but the four bonuses we talked about today could put some real hard cash into your wallet.

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