The fundamental axiom of advantage gaming is that it is possible to gain an advantage while playing any game that a casino offers, given if the right set of circumstances. Many of these opportunities are dealer dependent. The world of advantage play is a dynamic one. Often times games will present themselves and the AP will play them for awhile and then they will vanish.


Usually when the casino determines the dealer weakness, changes the rules of the game or eliminates the game altogether. Think of the AP as a virus that attacks the host, in this case the particular game, and destroys it and then moves on. The AP must be keen in their observations and this exploration is intended to give the player some insight into what to look for when evaluating the games beat ability. The 5 top things to look out for are as follows:

  1. Is the dealers sloppy or tight in there procedures
  2. How often the dealer is sloppy
  3. Dealers physical implications
  4. Can a computer beat the game with the exploits
  5. Can a human beat the game

IS THE DEALERS SLOPPY OR TIGHT IN THERE PROCEDURES

The first thing to evaluate when scouting a game is the dealer. Is the dealer tight and well guarded or is the dealer loose and sloppy. Either of these two aspects gives the astute player an opportunity given other aspects of the exploitation process fall in line. A tight dealer is very precise in their movements. Every move they make has a purpose. In card games the cards are held close to the body and the cards clasped tightly. The hand shuffle is mechanical in nature with precise ½ deck grabs and perfect riffs. This type of dealer is very susceptible key card sequencing and shuffle tracking techniques. And these can be quite lucrative but sloppy dealers have their place as well. The dealer is usually highly experienced and usually works first shifts, but occasionally will work second shift on holidays and weekends.

Blackjack player scouting the casino dealer

HOW OFTEN THE DEALER IS SLOPPY

Rookie dealers are often sloppy and loose because they are not familiar with procedures. Here the dealer is awkward and unfamiliar with holding a deck in card games and making payouts and is still getting the feel for the game. Dealing is also awkward for them because they are so focused on dealing the cards to the right person (harder than it sounds) that they may expose their hole card as they are sliding it underneath the their face down card or may front load (exposing it to the player) the next card to be dealt, so the player can alter their strategy to whatever game they are playing. New dealers are often broken in late second shift (8pm -4 am) or early swing shift (4am -12pm), and usually in mid week. 

DEALERS PHYSICAL IMPLICATIONS

Also late shift dealers are not immune to being tired. Often dealers will not get the appropriate rest needed to be fresh for work. And after a few hours their crispness diminishes and they become sloppy. The player who gets appropriate rest prior to play will be sharp and on the lookout for dealer weaknesses.

Next a dealer does not have to be sloppy all of the time for the game to be exploitable. In some cases a dealer will only tighten up when the pit boss or floor manager is hovering or the floor manager or casino shift manager is looking in on things. Most of the time they are lazy, sloppy and really don’t care. This also goes for frontloading and exposing hole cards. Usually 35% efficiency is enough to give the player a substantial edge.

The physical attributes of a dealer also play an important role when considering potential exploitations. When rigid procedure is important to the play, as it is in key card sequencing or a shuffle tracking game; the player looks for a taller, middle aged man with large hands. The reason for this is because a middle age man at nicer resort indicates he has been dealing for several years and has sufficient muscle memory that executes a repetitive shuffle. When a dealer is tall and has large hands it means that the grabs are consistent and the riffs mimic a perfect interlacing of cards when they are shuffled.

Going in the opposite direction consider a petite women with small hands; she will likely struggle with the handling of the cards. Particularly holding Double Deck Blackjack hand dealt game and in the shuffling of a six or 8 deck shoe game. Small hands do not allow how the dealer to have a firm grasp of the cards and a card can peak-out and the player can catch a glimpse of the next card to be dealt. The player will alter their strategy to accordingly to give player the best opportunity to beat the dealer.

A blackjack dealer with 6 blackjack players around the table

CAN A COMPUTER BEAT THE GAME WITH THE EXPLOITS

Once the player determines how to take advantage of the game by exploiting either the rigid or sloppy procedures the player has to develop a strategy to see if the game can indeed be played to a profitable outcome. Determining this is complex and requires the aide of computers and a solid computer programmer. The coding aspect will take a week or so for a decent object orientated programmer; and the running of program will take no longer than a day. The computers give out a very complex strategy that is optimal but often times impractical.  This can included resizing your bankroll after every bet or making difficult calculations in your head and on the fly.

CAN A HUMAN BEAT THE GAME

Because of these rate limiting steps the player has to reduce to the computer based strategy to one that can be easily applied in a live casino environment. The casino environment is filled with distractions. Slot bells ringing, lights flashing and the cheers and jeers of winners and the more common losers all assaulting the players sense. The player has to make the approach as simple as possible so they do not make mistakes while executing the strategy. A complex strategy that gives positive results can easily turn into a negative expectation game when done with errors. This will surely cause the player to lose their entire bankroll.

SUMMARY

Every game in a casino can be beaten given the right set of circumstances. Here we have mentioned some things to look for when trying to figure out how to beat a game. It’s important to know that a game will eventually no longer be profitable; but not to worry, because new opportunities are always presenting themselves. Making money through advantage play is a pragmatic process. It’s dependent on observation and critical thinking, which is why those with advance intellect often engage in this endeavor.

About the Author
By

Nicholas is a 17 year veteran of the casino gaming industry. He is former player manager with the infamous MIT Blackjack teams and is a regular attendee of the Blackjack Ball, a gathering of the world’s top professional gamblers.

He is the Managing Director of the Alea Consulting Group, a leading gaming consultant company with a focus on gaming economics and, is a frequent contributor to world class business publications like Forbes and Entrepreneur magazines’ and over 15 gaming trade publications. He is also the founder of Casino Exploits a player centric casino gaming site.