Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Advantage Gambling: Pros and Cons

Staff Writer in Casino Strategies 12 Oct 2018


When we talk about casino games we always talk about luck. However, a number of games you can play at casinos, whether they are land-based or online, require mastering certain skills. This simply means that players can learn strategies and use them to reduce the house edge and get an advantage over the casino. Advantage gambling refers to methods players use to lower the house edge and finally beat the casino.

The term is typically used for playing games like Blackjack, Poker or Craps at land-based casinos. Players who practice this style of gambling are called advantage players as they can exploit features and rules of games to gain an advantage over the casino. What they do is not illegal, yet they are not perceived as favourite guests by casinos as they can rake in large amounts of cash. In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of advantage gambling.

How to Become an Advantage Gambler

To become an advantage gambler one has to master a certain strategy and apply it religiously when playing a particular game. Advantage gamblers are not cheaters. On the contrary, they are skilful players who can understand gambling mathematics and statistics and know how to make use of them. Techniques like card counting or shuffle tracking in Blackjack are examples of advantage play. While they are not illegal, players who use them are frowned upon by casino staff and in most cases, get banned from further playing.

Advantage gamblers are those players who beat the game in the long run. It has nothing to do with luck as they have specialized for exploiting the odds by using well thought out techniques and strategies. Hole carding is one of the techniques used in Blackjack or Poker games where some of the cards are hidden from the player. What a player who practices hole carding does is trying to learn which cards are hidden. Of course, that doesn’t involve using devices like a mirror or any forbidden actions. Instead, they try to spot the face-down card when a negligent dealer checks it or slides it under the face-up card. Clocking the Roulette wheel is also one of the techniques advantage players use to beat the game.

While games like Blackjack and Roulette are played against the house, in Poker you play against other gamblers. This simply means that casinos won’t prevent you from advantage play as you don’t threaten them, which makes the game of Poker attractive to advantage players. Watching other players’ reactions and facial expressions when bluffing can help you make decisions and further moves.

Pros of Advantage Gambling

When you are an advantage player, you can benefit from special offers like cashbacks or negotiate the game rules to increase your odds. Since advantage play goes hand in hand with high deposits and stakes, these players can enjoy various perks like loyalty schemes and comp points. While loyalty schemes grant VIP treatment to high rollers, comp points can be exchanged for bonuses or cash and used for further betting or even withdrawn.   

One of the most famous advantage players is Don Johnson, a Blackjack player, who earned a fortune playing at Atlantic City casinos. Instead of collecting comp points, Johnson negotiated more favourable rules thus increasing his odds. He always played the game using a 6-deck shoe that was hand-shuffled. Other rules that helped him gain an advantage over the house included the dealer standing on a soft 17, a natural paying 3:2, splitting up to four hands and doubling down on any hand. In addition, Johnson was allowed to play a maximum bet of $100,000 and get a 20% loss rebate on losses of $500,000 or more.

Cons of Advantage Gambling 

When it comes to the reasons why one should not become an advantage gambler, there is a list of them. One of the reasons is the stress that such a playing style may cause. Such a player is a constant risk to be banned from further playing. Once they are spotted by the casino staff, advantage players won’t be allowed to play at the same casino for too long. This simply means that as an advantage player you may need to travel a lot to find new casinos offering profitable games.

Mastering techniques takes a lot of effort or time and money, to be precise. One can end up losing large amounts while practising. Although it may seem tempting to win big bucks while playing your favourite casino game and having fun, the life of an advantage player is not an easy one. However, if you seek excitement and you are ready for life-long learning, you may consider pursuing the career of a professional gambler.


Staff Writer



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