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Advantage Play, It Ain't For Everyone

24 July 2011

Advantage play was once confined to mathematically gifted computer programmers moonlighting as blackjack card counters and slovenly dressed, greasy-haired nerdy poker players with an unnatural ability to instantly calculate odds and probability. Today "Average Joes" are taking the casino's money in a variety of games.

There are advantage players in video poker, in slots, Pai Gow poker and craps. These players are currently using their skills in most casino venues in the United States. The explosion of advantage players is most likely a result of the internet providing easy access to information and networking opportunities.

Dice control or dice influencing, once the domain of a select few, often ridiculed by so-called gambling authorities, has exploded in the few years. There are now accomplished and also wanna-be dice controllers in most of the top casino towns. Some players are self-taught, either by trial and error or guided by one of several dice control books or websites that are around. Some players have invested in classes. The available classes range from professionally organized schools with well researched curricula [such as Golden Touch] to freelance Johnny-come-latelys giving lessons in their parents' basements.

The newest blackjack systems are so simple, they can be learned in an afternoon and mastered in a few days.

A dedicated video poker student can learn the proper way to play every possible hand. With perfect play they can then get a return of over 100% when playing some "full pay" machines.

Even Pai Gow Poker has a little known, but exploitable strategy. Believe it or not certain slot machines, under the right circumstances, give the player a mathematical advantage over the house. [See Frank Scoblete's Slots Conquest: How to Beat the Slot Machines!]

Naturally a person that desires to become an advantage player should try to obtain the best training available. However, training is only part of the equation for success. They also must have the natural ability to be a long term success.

When assessing a person's ability to succeed at advantage play, you have to determine what is required to complete the task and whether or not the person has the skills set to meet the challenge. So with that in mind let's examine the issue.

What are "skill sets"? A skill is an ability to perform an activity in a competent manner. There are three main sets of skills:

  1. Transferable skills: Actions taken to perform a task.
  2. Knowledge-based skills: Industry-specific information or technical knowledge required to perform a specific task or carry out a procedure.
  3. Personal traits/attitude skills: Work ethic and a personality that contributes to an organization and the ability to work with and to meet project goals.

Skill Sets and the Advantage Player

A transferable skill would be the ability to flawlessly count down a shoe in blackjack. Or the ability to influence the outcome of a roll of the dice by setting the dice and tossing them in a particular fashion. Or the ability to "read" your opponent in poker.

Knowledge-based skills would be the ability to discern the difference in blackjack games based on the rules, e.g., 3:2 pay out for BJ as opposed to 6:5, the number of decks used, or whether surrender is offered, etc.

In craps, the advantage player is aware of the payoff on every bet to ensure he or she is being paid properly. The player is also aware of high house advantage bets and sucker bets such as the Big 6 or Big 8.

In poker an advantage player would know the odds of making each hand. Knowing what to hold and what to discard in a game like Double Bonus in video poker is crucial. They also know the comp system and use it to obtain free rooms, food and beverage. The top players can get airfare or even cruises.

As for personality traits/attitude skills, an advantage player in BJ would have to play and interact with the dealer in a manner that does not get him barred. The player must be affable; he has to play as though he does not have a care in the world. He cannot appear to be counting.

In craps the dice influencer has to try to be as "low key" as possible. He must quickly set the dice and toss them without bringing attention to himself. When things are going well, he cannot alienate the crew. He has to try to have the dealers on his side. Bets "for the boys" are always appropriate. Interaction in the form of a joke or a compliment to the dealer also helps.

In the poker room the sharp player assumes a table personality that hides his true thoughts and does not reveal any information to his opponents.

Before you undertake the process of learning to be an advantage player, be truthful with yourself. Only you truly know your abilities and your weaknesses. Take the time to assess yourself. No one knows better than you if you have the necessary skills to meet the challenge of your chosen game.

Scan
Scan works in a top-secret government agency and he is therefore not allowed to reveal his real name or show a picture of himself. We’ve used a clip-art drawing to indicate his nature. Needless to say, he is an extremely bright guy. He is an active member of the goldentouchcraps.com private members-only Web site where he posts his thoughts and gambling theories on a regular basis.
Scan
Scan works in a top-secret government agency and he is therefore not allowed to reveal his real name or show a picture of himself. We’ve used a clip-art drawing to indicate his nature. Needless to say, he is an extremely bright guy. He is an active member of the goldentouchcraps.com private members-only Web site where he posts his thoughts and gambling theories on a regular basis.