The first of these two Editorials with respect to Frequently Asked Casino Questions largely consisted of very general questions and not so many in the realm of Advantage Play. This second installment of this Editorial will be more angled towards answering questions that are both general and exist in the realm of Advantage Play.
With that said, if you see that there are any questions that you may have that have not been addressed in here, then please post them in the Comments! If the question requires a short answer, then I will respond in the Comments. If the answer to the question must be pretty long, then I will either answer privately, or perhaps, write another Editorial about it.
1.) Is It Easier to Advantage Play Online or in Land Casinos?
This is actually a bit of a loaded question that can have many answers that are largely situational. For one thing, if Land Casinos are a prohibitive distance from the person in question and the person does not have a ton of Free Time to go to them, then it is obviously easier to Advantage Play Online because of the availability.
Furthermore, it also depends on how much time someone has to Advantage Play. While conditions are getting tougher for straight card counters, and the percentages of Blackjack Card Counting are lower than the Expected Profit percentages in other forms of Advantage Play, Card Counting is something that can be started or stopped at any time. While many plays require return trips to the casino (ie. Mail) in order to maximize the value, Blackjack Card Counting is something that you can essentially schedule at your own leisure.
Also, most of the Online Plays involve Deposit Bonuses which, to a large degree, are best maximized when taking the largest Bonus possible. Many of these plays come with a large Expected Profit Percentage and are available anytime a person wants to do them whereas, when it comes to individual advantageous Promotions in Land Casinos that offer similar percentage Advantages, such Promotions are not only going to be rare but will require a large bankroll. With Online Casinos, essentially, a person can only stand to lose whatever the amount of their Deposit was, but Land Casinos are different in the sense that you have no idea how much you may lose if the Promotion does not go as Expected.
Many Advantageous single-day type Promotions at Brick & Mortar Casinos are often Jackpot Bonus Promotions. While the added value of the jackpots are what results in a value of over 100% on a play, it does require actually hitting a jackpot. We will briefly take a look at one such Promotion now:
Imagine that a casino is offering a Jackpot Promotion by which they will add 50% to the Jackpot amount up to a certain amount, but for these purposes, we will say that the Bonus can be up to $1,000 on a $2,000 Jackpot. While there may be many Video Poker games available for this Promotion, we are just going to focus on one for the purposes of this example. Let’s say the game is 8/5 Double Double Bonus with the following Paytable:
- Royal Flush: 4000
- Straight Flush: 250
- Four Aces w/ 2, 3, 4: 2000
- Four 2’s, 3’s, 4’s w/ A-4: 800
- Four Aces: 800
- Four 2’s-4’s: 400
- Four 5’s-K’s: 250
- Full House: 40
- Flush: 25
- Straight: 20
- Three-of-a-Kind: 15
- Two Pair: 5
- Jacks or Better: 5
The base return of the game would be an awful 96.79%, but if we imagine that the game could be played at the $2 level, then Four Aces with the Kicker becomes worth 2500 credits, a Royal Flush becomes 4500 credits, Four 2’s-4’s with a Kicker becomes 1200 credits as does Four Aces and the other hits are insufficient for a Jackpot still.
The new paytable becomes 100.25%, which might be a healthy enough Advantage combined with other factors such as Points or if you think it will bring some mail offers. I actually wanted to come up with a stronger Advantage for this example, but you could just say it is a 50% Bonus capped at $2,000 for the Bonus and that would substantially improve it. No need to show the effect of the paytable to get my point across on that one.
The point of the matter is that, when you are betting $10/hand (with the $2 example) if you run poorly and do not hit the premium hands (jackpots) at the Expected pace, it is easy to drop several hundred dollars all the way up to a couple thousand on the play. With Online Casinos, while looking at an individual play, the most you stand to possibly lose is whatever the amount of your Deposit is.
Furthermore, advantageous casino plays in Land-Based locations are available when they are available, so if hitting a multiplier day is part of your play, then you have to go during the multiplier hours. With Online Casinos, you can take advantage of Positive Expectation Offers literally anytime you want.
2.) If I get Free Play, am I missing out by not using it?
The answer to this is very much, ‘Not necessarily,’ if you are limited on time, then I would not suggest going to a casino and using your Free Play. Free Play offers, generally speaking, are largely based on a concept called, ‘Average Daily Theoretical,’ and what that means is that the computer will look at your action and determine how much you were Expected to lose on an average trip and assign Free Play offers accordingly.
If you go to a casino without playing your average amount, then your offers can theoretically go down. Furthermore, there are some casinos that will simply freeze your offers out if you go there and pick up Free Play without doing anything else a certain number of times.
With that said, there are some casinos that will actually continue to extend offers (that will decrease over time) even if you just pick up your Free Play and do nothing else. In some instances, if you only visit a casino one time and run certain amounts of coin-in these offers will meet or exceed your Expected Loss on that coin-in when combined.
Naturally, I am not going to identify any such casinos by name much less give the amounts that are required for things like this to happen. When it comes to information such as this, though, such information is often traded from one Advantage Player to another.
3.) How do I get Room, Food and Beverage (RFB) Comps?
The simple answer to this one is, ‘By playing,’ and when you do play, these Comps as with Free Play will vary according to your Average Daily Theoretical. Although, casinos will occasionally extend Comps for those who are on a terrible run and lose a ton of money quickly. Much the same, if you hit some kind of big jackpot, they might extend you some comps to encourage you to stay and lose the money back to them.
The exact numbers in terms of Average Daily Theoretical are often a closely guarded secret, so calling a particular casino and asking what amount of play will result in you getting x, y or z Comps will often not be met with a specific answer. In the best of cases, by speaking to a casino’s Marketing Department or to a Host, you may get a generalized answer in this regard.
It is also important to keep an eye on the Resort Fees for a particular location, as well as any potential Internet charges. On those occasions where a casino does comp your room upfront, they will often require some additional play in order to get those charges waived. In some cases, (Unless you are a very high level player) some casinos will refuse to waive the Resort Fees and/or Internet charges at all.
When it comes to Land-Based Casinos, there is no one size fits all formula or amount I could ever give that would be guaranteed to result in any kind of comps. Also, Land-Based casinos have vastly different Comp and Free Play structures. Caesar’s properties, for example, are usually pretty generous when it comes to room offers and with their Total Rewards Player’s Club, you can actually use offers such as Free Rooms across their entire line of properties rather than being limited to just one property. With that being said, it has been widely reported that the Free Play at Caesar’s sucks, though I am sure there are a few exceptions as individual properties have the capacity to do what they like in that regard, but generally speaking, you would want to avoid CET if Free Play is one of the more important things to you.
It should also be mentioned that not every corporation owning multiple casinos does cross-promotional type stuff. Of course, if you have a host at any one of the properties, then that might get you somewhere with respect to getting upfront offers at a different property in that chain. Other than that, though, many properties do not have offers that can be moved from one place to another or apply equally to all places. Hollywood Casinos are a pretty good example of a chain that has offers that are based on specific properties, but from what many people have said, the Free Play offers there are not always that great.
There might also be casinos owned by the same company even within a state that otherwise do not have anything to do with one another when it comes to any offers. Furthermore, just because you receive x level of offers for y level of play at a given property in a chain should not give you cause to assume that such will be consistent at every property within that chain. Some properties within a chain have entirely different offer parameters than others.
Generally speaking, though almost always true, the offers at a property for x level of play are going to vary largely predicated upon how, ‘High-Class,’ a property is relative to other properties. In other words, it’s going to be easier to get comp room offers at the El Cortez than it will be at The Venetian, just to toss an extreme example out there.
With that said, people should not necessarily play for the purpose of getting free rooms without first determining that the value of the room (to the player) exceeds the Expected Loss of what you are playing. Of course, this is often going to be a trial-and-error thing because, again, casinos rarely will tell you upfront how much play is required to get a room. However, there are certainly some people that frequent the Forum on this site as well as Wizard of Vegas that could give you a pretty strong approximation. For my part, I tend not to play for rooms and just consider it on a, ‘If I get one, I get one,’ basis. Furthermore, you can usually buy rooms from people (that they have for free) at a discount by stating that you want to do so and talking to a person on Wizard of Vegas Forums. Maybe I shouldn’t say usually, but I have certainly seen it happen.
4.) Should I always use my player’s club card?
There are many people who would say, ‘Yes,’ to this because a person may miss out on earning Points or Offers by not using it, but again, I think it depends. If keeping your offers consistent is important to you, then keeping your play consistent is also important. For that reason, if I saw some type of straight up machine Advantage Play but that play did not have a high enough expected amount of coin-in, then I might not be inclined to use the card unless I had already played with the card during that play day.
The reason for that is, to as great as extent as possible, I do not want to be put into the position of playing with a negative expectation just to maintain the consistency of my offers. I would much rather have something like a points multiplier day going that puts me at an advantage right off of the top and then use that when I need to churn coin-in. It is also important to realize that offers truly only benefit the casino if you are playing at a negative Expectation to begin with because they encourage you to continue to return to the property and play at an Expected Loss some more.
I would not suggest that I am unhappy with the fact that people do this, in fact, getting offers that can be used positively requires that other people are losing. It’s a very simple matter that a person cannot win unless someone else is losing, or there would not be a casino to begin with.
Furthermore, if you are there with someone, then it may benefit the two of you to switch from one player’s card to another at some point if you know where the offer levels are and you also know that you cannot really do much to benefit one card, but you could easily improve the offers, or maintain them, on a different card. This is a good way that both people can play at an advantage without, ‘Over-shooting,’ which is to say continuing to play a Negative Expectation game beyond the point where your offers are going to improve.
5.) What Different Kinds of Promotions Should I Look For?
Between here and WoV, I’ve written many Articles about individual Promotions, so I am not going to go into too much detail about each particular kind of Promotion for fear of repeating myself. With that said, though, here are some general Promotions to look for:
Free Play for Signing Up:
This is obviously one of the simplest forms of Promotions that exists, and all it entails is that some casinos will give you Free Play just for signing up for a Player’s Club card. However, it is important that you look for information as to whether or not the casino in question has ever offered more lucrative Promotions for new sign-ups. The reason why is because you, as an individual, can only sign up for a new card at a new casino on one occasion, so you do not want to waste that sign-up on something that does not have a very high amount of Expected Value.
These types of offers are similar to No Deposit Bonuses with the main difference being that you only have to play the amount of the Free Play through once and then you can either continue to play or leave after you have done that. The Free Play can often be played on any machine games in a particular casino, although some casinos do exclude Video Poker machines from being played on Free Play. If you cannot load your Free Play on a Video Poker machine at a given casino, then I would suggest trying the bartop Video Poker games because, occasionally, Free Play can be loaded on those but not the machines on the floor or vice-versa.
It cannot be emphasized enough that one should do one’s research on whether or not a casino has ever had anything better going on. Wheeling Island is an example of one casino that I would just take the $20 Free Play and $5 (total $25) for signing up for a new card because that has been the standing offer for approximately five years (maybe more) and I do not think they are inclined to improve upon it.
Jackpot Bonus Promotions:
We touched on these earlier, and they are simply that a person may get a Bonus on any Hand Pay ($1200+) or other hit of a certain amount. When it comes to taking advantage of a Promotion such as this, machine selection is of the utmost importance because you want to make sure that you are playing a game in which you have a sufficient advantage given the Promotion. To wit, there are still a good many machines that one can play a Jackpot Promotion and still be at a negative expectation.
For example, if you refer back to the Double Double Bonus Promotion that I highlighted above, there is no longer an advantage on dollars under the 50% Bonus parameters for the paytable that I stated above. That is also true for the $0.50 denomination because only the Royal would be a jackpot and anything lower than $0.50 would render a jackpot impossible with exception to some Variations such as Super Times Pay single-line nickels for which a jackpot would be extremely unlikely and not worth enough to bring the game positive.
One other thing that should be avoided is over-shooting on a particular jackpot, and that can happen when one is betting such that he/she no longer gets the same percentage value that he otherwise could because the jackpot would exceed the amount needed to result in the Bonus. When one takes into account the swings that often occur while going for these jackpots, then one realizes it is essential not to overshoot the target jackpot.
Finally, one must remember that there are a ton of machines at varying denominations that still cannot be played at an Advantage. Casinos are generally not going to roll out a Promotion that is advantageous for every player on every machine across the entire floor because they would lose all kinds of money if they did that!
Another machine Promotion that exists is one by which a person might receive a certain Bonus for hitting a particular hand. In some instances, casinos may have Royal Flush Promotions while others might be based on hitting one type of four-of-a-kind or another. These Promotions can often yield an advantage, but it is important to use a resource such as the WizardofOdds.com Video Poker game return calculator to input what is effectively the new paytable to determine how strong a particular Promotion is.
When it comes to percentages, once again, you want to ensure that you are maximizing the Promotion and the best way to do that is to not play at a denomination that overshoots the maximum value of the Promotion. However, when it comes to the basis of actual Expected Profit in dollars, one machine might enable you to receive a greater amount of a Bonus even though you are over-shooting compared to a lesser amount though you are getting a full percentage of the Bonus.
When this happens, you simply have to look at what your priorities are. It is a simple matter of whether you would rather take the greatest amount of money or whether you would prefer to just have the greater percentage expectation. Only you can decide what is better for you in that regard.
There are often other Promotions that have to do with other games such as achieving a certain result on Video Keno or achieving certain hands at Blackjack, or Points Made at Craps. Each of these Promotions must be looked at on a case-by-case basis in order to determine the value.
Loss Rebates are one of the most lucrative and somewhat more common Promotions that can be found out there. They are absolutely terrific and very simple to do even if one is not terribly skilled, they are all but impossible to play at much of a percentage disadvantage because you get all the money you lose back (to a certain point) on a 100% Loss Rebate.
One common way to play Loss Rebates is to, ‘Take a shot,’ which means to play an extremely high denomination machine in the hopes of hitting something. While I do not think this is the best way to play them, it is certainly strong enough for a novice player to do it that way. If you can find some sort of advantageous slot play to combine the Loss Rebate with and use the Loss Rebate as a fail-safe in terms of getting your money back if it doesn’t go well, then all the better.
Of course, Loss Rebates are not instant and can often require multiple trips back to the casino in question in order to pick up the Free Play. That involves the use of both time and resources, so it is very important to know how many times you might have to return to the casino if you lose the maximum amount to collect all of the Free Play. If you call the casino, most of the people there are not going to have the answer, but if you are persistent, you should eventually be able to speak to someone who does even if it requires going all the way up to the Marketing Department with your question.
Online Casinos also offer Loss Rebates or partial Loss Rebates sometimes, so it is important to realize that these differ a little bit in that there is often some kind of playthrough on the Rebate involved that effectively makes cashing it in similar to any other Bonus. Sometimes the playthrough requirements are so significant that these Loss Rebates offer nearly no advantage whatsoever and are essentially not much different than just playing straight up...it will just take longer. I also think that they are sometimes referred to as, ‘Cash Back,’ if you lose rather than Land-Based Casino terms such as, ‘Loss Rebate,’ or, ‘Play On Us.’
Either way, these Promotions are almost fool-proof and the only thing that a person can generally lose is whatever the difference between 100% and the Expected Return of the Free Play is. However, if it can be played on Video Poker, Wizard has written a page on the Wizard of Odds site highlighting Optimal stop points given what the Rebate amount is and what denomination is being played.
While these will result in a strong play, there are even better ways, in some cases, for Loss Rebates to be played. In some cases, these will come on slot games, and in other cases, there are some other games upon which they can be played. To discover these, it is really important just to consider what exactly a Loss Rebate entails and think outside of the box on the possibilities that different games present.
Drawings and Slot Tournaments:
In order to play a Drawing at any kind of Expected Profit, it is important to understand how the drawing entries are distributed, to be able to have an educated guess on how many entries there will be compared to how many you have and to look at all of that compared to the prizes to determine your equity in the drawing. While the possibility of winning any drawing adds value to whatever you are doing, that value will often be insufficient to turn Negative Expectation Play into Positive Expectation Play unless you are playing at an advantage to begin with.
This is also the same when it comes to Slot Tournaments. Once again, if you are playing something at which you are at an Advantage anyway, then the tournaments just add value. Aside from that, you just have to look at the prizes, the cost associated with getting an entry into the tournament and the probability of getting one of the prizes in order to determine your equity. Unfortunately, this is often not an easy thing to do, and as with the Drawings, will often require some guesswork.
It is different in tournaments that are played on designated machines for which there are a finite number of drawing entries, but it becomes a little more difficult with, ‘Floor-Wide,’ slot tournaments in which the slot tournament game in question is played directly from the machine that you are already on. It is essentially impossible to get an idea of what one’s equity in such a tournament is because there is no reliable way to know what the equity each play in a tournament gives you.
Everyone is aware of Deposit Match Bonuses, but occasionally, casinos will offer a Match Play Promotion (usually for small amounts) by which if you play a certain amount of coin-in, then you will get exactly that amount in Free Play. In other cases, you might have to earn a certain number of Points in order to get a specific amount of Free Play.
Similarly, there may be a Wheel Spin or Pick-A-Card type Promotion in which certain amounts of Free Play will be given for earning Slot Points. What is nice about any of these Promotions is that it is easy to arrive at an Expected Profit amount based on your coin-in and what you are getting in Free Play.
When it comes to Promotions, it is important to try to combine them with other Promotions, multiplier days or your regular Free Play offers to whatever extent is possible to be getting the most value out of your play at any one time. Besides that, doing so also increases your Expected Profits on an hourly basis, as well.
6.) Are There Any Money Management Techniques You Recommend?
When it comes to Negative Expectation Play, the best technique is to simply not lose more in a visit than you both intend to and can afford to lose. While that may seem like an easy thing to do, people will often get in over their heads and chase losses hoping to get some of it back. People with this mentality will often lose even more money than they intended, or in some cases, will win some of their money back only to go on to lose it anyway.
There are many things people playing at a Disadvantage can do to limit the amount of money they will lose, though. It is important to clarify that nothing is going to affect the House Edge of a game or the Expected Loss based on the coin-in, but they may help in the long run. For example, many people will leave their Debit/Credit Cards at home otherwise they may feel inclined to withdraw additional money in the event they run out. Furthermore, these people will also leave any cash that they are not planning to possibly lose at home or in the car.
This works for many people who require a degree of separation from the casino, otherwise they will just keep pumping money in until all of the money is gone. Some people might suggest that others should have a better degree of self-control than that, and it would obviously be terrific if they could, but some people simply do not have that degree of restraint. Really, some people that fall into this category should not necessarily be in the casino to begin with.
Another thing that people sometimes do when playing a Negative Expectation game is to, ‘Restart,’ at the amount of money they started with in the event that they get ahead by certain increments. In other words, someone starting with $100 might cash out every time they hit $105 (or more) and then put the, ‘Original,’ $100 back into the machine and repeat the process in the event that they lose that. This works well for some people who have the discipline never to put anything other than the, ‘Original,’ $100 into the machine. On most games, someone will usually be some amount ahead at least once, but in the long run, the person will be expected to lose to the tune of the House Edge on whatever coin they put in.
Other people still like to avoid using large bills and instead might put in $5 at a time and, in the event that the $5 increases by some amount that they have pre-determined, they will cash the ticket and stick a new five into the machine. When all of the fives are gone, then they are done playing and will cash out all of their tickets. Of course, this can be done with any bill denomination, it does not necessarily need to be restricted to fives.
One solid money management plan could be to play to a certain Expected Loss (if one has the bankroll) rather than worrying about actual win and loss amounts. That way, if the person sticks to the plan, there is no subjectivity in terms of, ‘Playing up,’ or, ‘Playing down,’ to a certain amount. They will simply play a pre-ordained amount in coin-in that results in said Expected Loss and, having done that, they stop playing for the day.
The vast majority of people who like to gamble are not addicts and do not have any addictive tendencies, but most people who go to casinos with any kind of regularity have lost more money than was intended on at least one occasion. If you would like to avoid being one of those people, then one of the above tactics might help you in that regard.
When it comes to playing at an Advantage, it is important to understand how your bankroll compares to what could possibly be lost if you, ‘Run bad,’ on a particular play, and that is a mistake that I have made on more than one occasion but likely have the discipline to avoid now. It does not matter to your bankroll what was Expected to happen on a play if you lose your entire bankroll, the best thing you can do is seek out like-minded Advantage Players with whom you might share an investment on a particular play.
Having to start all over again from nothing with respect to your bankroll sucks, trust me, I know.
Beyond that, sometimes when doing plays that involve getting Free Play back in the mail, a person might spread himself too thin by doing different casinos or running worse than Expected on the coin-in such that they may not have enough money available when it comes time for a future opportunity. It is certainly unfortunate when things like this occur and an opportunity cannot be taken advantage of because your money is, ‘Held up,’ but it happens sometimes. The best way to avoid that is to look Online at the beginning of every month to determine if there are any upcoming Promotions for which you will need the better part of your bankroll.
When it comes to Money Management at Table Games, all I can say is that you might use one of the above techniques for Negative Expectation Games that will apply equally, but the fact that you are playing at a disadvantage (at least short of any points, mail or Promotions) is immutable so no money management technique is going to change your overall Expectation on your total amount bet.
With all of that said, losing more money than you could afford or intended to is a sure sign of the potential for addiction, as is not being able to stop playing a Negative Expectation game when you hit the point, whatever it may be, that you intended to stop. Obviously, a person in this situation may do well to seek counseling to determine whether or not they may be forming an addiction, but at a minimum, the person should go some lengthy period of time without gambling to make sure that they can stay away from it.
7.) What Are Your Favorite Games?
Strictly speaking, nobody has really asked me this yet, but with enough Article comments, I imagine that someone will sooner or later.
When it comes to Negative Expectation games, I am a Video Keno junkie, but knowing the tremendous House Edge against me, I will only play it for very small amounts.
I would like Cleopatra Keno more, but the seven out of ten doesn’t pay enough for my liking and nor does the six out of seven. Cleopatra is a game that can eat you up pretty quickly unless you are hitting Free Games (which are often worth 15x or less the initial bet) at a better than expected pace. The seven out of seven usually pays somewhat comparably to other games, but the only real way to win frequently, even in the short run, is to hit a bunch of Free Games within a short number of plays.
Fireball Keno is a fun game in which, much like Cleopatra, if you hit the last ball on a winning result you will get Free Games. However, Fireball results in five Free Games in which 25 balls are drawn instead of the regular twenty with Cleopatra. Once again, this is a game that can result in a quick loss unless one is hitting Free Games at a better than expected pace, but the seven out of ten pays decent compared to some other Video Keno games that invoke some sort of feature.
I really like Caveman Keno and prefer either a seven, eight or ten spot game because being able to break even on three out of eight is pretty good and the seven out of ten and six/seven out of seven pays reasonably well even if you do not hit two or three eggs for the multiplier.
There is also a game on the Scientific Games units that I cannot remember the name of, but the premise is simply that a last hit on a winning combination results in getting double on that particular result and I like the way the pays are set up for the seven, eight or ten spots.
Finally, I like Triple Power Keno which is a game that results in a player getting three extra numbers if they match the last number on a winning combination. Of course, the seven out of ten pays next to nothing on that game, so I generally stick to either a seven or eight spot if they eight spot pays 1 for 1 on the three of eight.
When it comes to Table Games, the only one that I really enjoy presently is Craps and I will occasionally play that for small amounts. While any, ‘Center Action,’ type bet is a sucker bet, I am a sucker at the Craps Table because I do not like losing my entire Pass Line Bet on the Come Out roll. As a result, I will usually bet $5 on the Pass Line with a $1 Crap Check and Take 2x Odds while occasionally playing the Place 6 and/or Place 8 for $6 each. My Craps sessions are very short because I will usually only buy in for $40 and, if I have an overall loss on the first hand that I get to shoot, I generally quit right then. If I have an overall win on my first turn with the dice, then I rinse and repeat and usually stop playing as soon as I have had an overall loss with my turn with the dice. That’s obviously a good cost-saving measure on a Negative Expectation game that I technically shouldn’t be playing to begin with!
There are not very many slot machines that I enjoy at a disadvantage, but if you really put it to me, I would say that I like just about any variation of a, ‘Quick Hits,’ game. While there are many that have Free Games that work differently or even different types of Free Games, I still like the first version where you pick boxes and end up with something between five and twenty-five Free Games. You can lose money on these games in a serious hurry if you are not hitting Free Games at the expected quip, so I tend to stay away from these machines at a Disadvantage as much as I may like them.
When it comes to Negative Expectation Video Poker, other than single-hand Deuces Wild or Joker Poker (Kings) the only Variation type games I really like are either Spin Poker or Multi-Strike Poker.
When it comes to playing at an Advantage, I usually prefer Deuces Wild Video Poker or Joker Poker (Kings). I also like any slot machine that can be played at an Advantage, although, I find the vast majority of them intensely boring because there is no decision-making process.
One might say there is no decision-making in Video Keno, but I play silly little systems that have no hope of doing anything but losing at the Expected Loss based on my coin-in simply because they have a lot of entertainment value for me. I also like to switch between seven-spot, eight-spot or ten-spot games based on certain unnecessarily complicated and useless parameters for no other reason than I find them entertaining.
8.) Why Do You Write About Advantage Plays?
The first reason that I write about Advantage Plays is because, with most of the stuff that I am writing about, I do not believe that any real harm can come from it and that very few, if any, casinos are going to change their offerings based entirely on what I have said. It is certainly true, however, that I do not write about plays that have been told to me in confidence, and most importantly, I do not necessarily write about all of the plays that I personally know because I would obviously not want to compromise my own plays or those of my friends. It is for that reason, other than Online Casinos, I usually do not speak much about specific locations.
The second reason is that I think people looking into the potential of becoming Advantage Players, either recreationally or professionally, should at least have some basic information to serve as a launching pad for them. Even with much of the information that I write about, there is still a steep learning curve to become a successful Advantage Player, and I certainly do not know everything there is to know about it or even 25% of all of the angles that are out there. There is some information out there when it comes to some tactics on Table Games such as Card Counting, Hole Carding or Edge Sorting, but many of these forms of Advantage Play involve having a substantial enough bankroll to be able to weather the Variance that such people face. To wit, many card counters have said that they have had entire years that did not yield a positive result, so it is difficult for a low bankroll player to generate enough money to even make it worth doing...and there is a ton of risk, even in the short-term.
Most of the plays that I like to write about do not involve necessarily having a tremendous bankroll, though some will require that a person have access to more capital than other plays. Either way, I believe that I write about enough plays that a person can be able to grow a bankroll slowly and eventually move onto doing Advantage Play entirely if they are disciplined and learn enough of the kind of stuff I would not write about on their own.
Furthermore, Card Counting, in my opinion, is fundamentally more difficult than much of the stuff that I write about. Most of the plays that I write about involve understanding how to look at Promotions and opportunities mathematically and being able to think outside of the box to be able to identify Positive opportunities. Furthermore, Card Counting also comes with the risk of being backed off from certain casinos if one is too successful at it and either plays longer than the House is willing to permit or is obvious, (showing your full bet spread multiple times in a session) and also, if a player becomes known to a specific House such that, ‘Skill checks,’ end up being applied on them.
While some of the plays I write about invite the opportunity to be trespassed from a particular house, and that is particularly true when it comes to multi-carding, many of the plays that I write about are safe for a person to do on their own and will generally not result in adverse action being taken against an Advantage Player.
Anyway, while I do not think that everything should be shared and that certain specific information should not be publicly disseminated, I think that people should have access to enough information that they have a chance to get started if that is what they choose to do. While the availability of this information might result in the casino making less money if more people employ it, I think that most people (even people who read) are not going to end up doing it and the bottom lines of casinos will not be affected substantially enough that every single opportunity is going to dry up just because myself and a small handful of other people are writing about it. Furthermore, I REALLY don’t believe that the number of winners will be so substantial that the number of losers will not end up offsetting them and then some.
Many of my Articles have not made other Advantage Players happy, but by way of trial and error (at least based on what other Advantage Players who I am friends with have said) I have found a pretty good balance between sharing information with people without getting into too many specifics, recently.
The most substantial reason, of course, is because I enjoy writing about it. To the extent that casino gambling is both a hobby and an additional source of income for me, I enjoy talking with like-minded people, meeting new friends, and learning any number of new tips and plays that I did not previously know.
9.) Should Casinos Be Considered, ‘The Enemy?’
This is a question that will result in a wide range of answers amongst Advantage Players. There are many Advantage Players out there who consider casinos to be a predatory enterprise and not only wish to take money from them, but some claim that they are a fundamentally corrupt business that they would just as soon have rendered non-existent.
However, that does not reflect my Philosophy at all. In my opinion, casinos are nothing more than a business who are engaged in the business in order to make money. They are a provider of jobs of all different levels and generally have offerings aside from all of the games. In that sense, they operate not only as casinos, but also as restaurants, hotels, resorts and any number of other things.
Furthermore, I have yet to see the casino that has gotten away with putting a gun to individuals’ heads and forcing them to go in there and lose all of their money. While I do wish that more casinos would take attempting to identify problem gamblers and push them towards getting treatment, (or trespassing them) they are certainly not required to do so and that does not outweigh the reasons that I personally enjoy casinos.
Also, to the extent that an Advantage Player wins money from a casino, my position on that is that the casino simply acted as a middleman and effectively moved money from the losing players to the winning ones. Advantage Players who win in the casino could not have done so if there was no money to win, which means that on the other side of it, someone else had to lose. In my opinion, if a person states that they truly hate casinos and actually means it, I would suggest that the person could make his point more effectively by simply not patronizing them, whether or not that person be at an Advantage.
Far from being an apologist, I will be the first to admit that there are some problems with the casino industry. For one thing, I do not like that they charge ATM fees and especially not because the ATM fees they charge are often many times greater than those a person would pay at a gas station or at a bank ATM that is not at the individual’s own bank.
Furthermore, as I have stated, I think that casinos could do more to identify and eliminate problem gamblers from their premises. In addition to that, I do not think they go far enough to identify and remove people who are actually on self-exclusion lists, at least, not in all cases though some casinos do. They essentially get a partial Free Roll on those people who are still playing games for which a Hand Pay is possible because they don’t have to pay them!
In any event, I consider them a business like any other and there are many different types of industries, both legal and illegal, that make money off of people who develop addictions.
Another thing that I wish casinos would do is, as with Video Poker (if someone actually bothers to look up the paytable on Wizard of Odds) would be to advertise the Return-to-Player on the slot machines in a clear way. It is pretty obvious why they do not do so because many slot players would not play certain games if they realized that they were losing something around ten percent of their money. In any event, I do think that most slot players understand that they have the worst of it by a pretty healthy margin and choose to play anyway.
Ultimately, though, I do not consider casinos the enemy in the sense that some Advantage Players do, I think they are simply businesses who, as with most businesses in any industry, have positive elements and some areas in which they could improve and be more upfront with their guests.
10.) Will Advantage Play Be Viable in the Future?
It has been well-documented that Video Poker paytables have declined substantially compared to years past and there are fewer opportunities to play, ‘Straight up,’ at an Advantage without working some sort of angle. Furthermore, as with Blackjack, game Rules and paytables are getting worse in other regards in the overall sense, so some might consider Advantage Play harder than it once was.
I have certainly not done it long enough to be able to say whether it is harder now or then, winning Online is definitely harder due to increased Wagering Requirements compared to what was available in years past, though. With that said, whether it be in Land-Based Casinos or Online, Advantage Play is certainly different than it once was.
However, one thing that casinos try to do is to create the perception, not that everyone is Expected to win, but that anybody can win. In order to continue to have that perception, though, I think it is necessary that some people actually do win. I have often maintained that casinos make more money off of people who attempt to count cards and fail compared to the amount of money they lose to people who count cards successfully. Also, many people who are aware of various Advantage Plays will often more than offset their Expected Wins by way of Expected Losses on Negative Expectation Gambling.
Therefore, while it is possible that it is not true, I think there will be opportunities to win in the casinos for at least the next several decades, if not forever. It is just that those opportunities will be forever changing and sometimes result in the necessity for thinking even more outside of the box as casinos (both Brick & Mortar and Online) seem to be plugging up their most substantial holes.
The potential for, ‘Skill-Based,’ slot games to occasionally yield an Advantage is also out there, but those types of games are relatively young, so it remains to be seen whether or not there will be very many opportunities there. When combined with mail, promotions and other elements, however, even a game that pays less than 100% (by itself) with highly skilled play may be the best play at a particular time. Also, it remains to be seen whether or not these Skill-Based games are ever going to seriously take off, so they may fall flat and that won’t even be a consideration.
Table Games are undoubtedly becoming more difficult to beat straight up due not only to Rules changes, but also increased game security, dealing procedures, and rigorous analysis when it comes to the countability of games other than Blackjack or of side bets. In that respect, with exception to certain Promotions on Tables that are run from time to time, I think that the bulk of the money is going to come from machine plays for Advantage Players and I do not expect that to change, but you never know.
Those are the other ten fairly common questions that I could think of, but if you have any you would like to add, please Comment and I will either answer here, by private message, or perhaps write a separate Article if the question requires a long answer. Also, if you have any other ideas for Articles, let me know!