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Casinos have always been wary of players who seem to score big wins based on their abilities to gain an edge based on specific strategies. There are legal and ethical implications to using these techniques – known as “Advantage Play” – to win casino games.

Frankly, advantage play can be tricky and complicated but you don’t have to be a VIP club casino patron to “game the system” a bit.

About Advantage Play

Advantage play refers to legal methods that casino players use to gain an advantage over the casino during their gambling events. Advantage play isn’t cheating because it involves legal methods of exploiting a game’s innate characteristics so that the player has an advantage over the other players and over the house.

Brick-and-mortar casinos ban gamers that they suspect are engaging in advantage play but they don’t catch everyone. Online casinos don’t rely on human error – dealers – and are more technologically advanced but if an advantage player is plying his trade online, it’s hard to catch him.

The term “advantage play” is generally used to refer to house-banked casino games like poker, craps and blackjack but there are those who believe that it’s possible to compete at slots using advantage play techniques.



Some examples of advantage play include:

  • Poker – If you’re playing at a land-based casino, advantage play techniques might include bluffing and hand-reading while both online poker and brick-and-mortar casino poker advantage play could involve understanding probabilities.

    Online poker platforms may have measures in place that would detect and prevent different types of cheating but simply understanding what the probabilities are of your success based on the likelihood of success based on the hand that you’ve been dealt and the chances that you’ll be able to outplay the house are techniques that can be easily used both online and in-person.

  • Blackjack – card-counting has been in the news lately, especially after the publication of Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions and the movie 21 about the same series of events.

    Card counting involves determining whether the player or the dealer has an advantage on the next hand based on the cards that have already been dealt. The card-counting player simply calculates the odds of building the strongest hand based on the knowledge of which cards are still in the deck.

    Land-based casinos routinely exclude players that they suspect of counting cards but that’s not something that can be determined for online gamers. However, if an online casino sees that a specific gamer is consistently winning, more than is statistically probable, they may exclude that person. There’s nothing, however, to stop that player from hopping from one online casino to the next.

  • Slots – There are online “advisors” who claim that, for a price, they will teach players how to exploit flaws in the random number generation algorithms of slot machines.

    Players should be aware, however, that the slots are completely automated and both online and land-based casinos use sophisticated software and algorithms to prevent this type of exploitation. One system that may be helpful in enjoying more slots payouts is to look for slots with the highest Return to Player percentages.

    These machines pay out the best long-term payouts on a consistent basis which makes them the most favorable slot machines for players. RTPs for slots range from 95% to 97.5% so the more machines that you pick with the 97.5% RTPs, the more you can assume that you’ll win.

  • Bonuses and Promotions – it’s not unusual for casino patrons to try to exploit the casino’s bonuses and promotions by taking advantage of welcome bonuses, cashback offers and other casino give-aways.

    Today’s casinos are savvy to this type of attempt at gaining an advantages and have carefully crafted Terms and Conditions in place to prevent bonus abuse. Casino advisors do suggest that players shop around to find the best promotions packages before signing up for a casino account.

  • Betting Systems – There are many different types of betting systems including the Martingale System, the Paroli System, the Labouche system and the d'Alembert system. In different ways, each system involves altering the size of the wagers based on the outcomes of previous results.

    Researchers have found that these systems may actually increase the odds of results in the short-run. However, the longer you use a system, the more it’s likely to fail. So don’t rely on such a system for too long!

  • Roulette – Advantage play with roulette is simple – you simply choose to play at a casino that offers European roulette, alongside American roulette, and choose European roulette every time. The reason is something that many roulette aficionados don’t know.

    European roulette, the original version of roulette, has 36 colored and numbered pockets plus one zero pocket. That means that you have a 1 in 37 chance of hitting the pocket on which you’ve bet. American roulette, which was developed later, has 36 colored and numbered pockets plus TWO zero pockets.

    So, in American roulette, you have a 1 in 38 chance of hitting the pocket on which you’ve wagered. The additional pocket brings the house edge score from 2.70% (European roulette) to 5.26% (American roulette). European roulette’s fewer pockets gives you a huge boost when it comes to winning.

Casino games are designed to make sure that the casino makes a profit but that doesn’t mean that you can’t play the system to achieve a more successful gaming event!


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