The World of High Rollers

Play like high rollersHigh rollers are gamblers who bet large sums of money. In the world of casinos, they are also known as “whales.” High rollers have extensive influence in the gambling world, as you’re about to see.

Casinos go to a great deal of trouble to attract high rollers. Obviously, they try to attract these players with hopes of profiting off of their gambling losses. The complimentary, or “comp,” is the most common device used to lure these players. The comp is simply a freebie. Common comps include the best hotel suites, limousines, and even private jets.

Other ploys that casinos use to draw in high rollers include extending their credit so that they will keep betting, or giving rebates on losses or betting turnovers. Casino employees may also receive incentives if they are able to bring in whales.

When does someone officially qualify as a high roller? There is no standard answer to this question, but table limits are a good guide. A table with a very high limit will usually grant a high roller exclusive use of the table. In Las Vegas, the limits can run between US$150,000 and $300,000. In Australia, A$300,000 is common, while in Macau, the limit can be up to US$500,000.

As strange as it may sound, high rollers don’t account for the majority of action in the casinos. The lower and middle classes are responsible for most of the gambling activity. Slot machines actually account for over 50 percent of gambling income in Nevada. Who typically plays the slots? Members of the lower and middle class are the ones most often playing the slots.

What do high rollers look like? Their appearances can range from very fancy to very ordinary. Some dress to the nines, while others dress in very simple fashion. They’re not necessarily men, either. There are plenty of women high rollers. Some may appear highly intelligent, others not so. There does, however, appear to be one common thread: An air of confidence. If you’re trying to spot the high rollers, look for the players who are calm, collected, and calculating. They will likely be very focused on their play, studying every aspect of the game.

You might also look for a bit of swagger. Many whales enjoy the celebrity status that they have in the casino industry.

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