If you are spending time at online casinos, you must have heard at least once about advantage gambling. Advantage gambling or advantage play refers to practices players do to increase winning chances. Although many casinos and players consider advantage playing illegal, it’s not – it exploits innate game characteristics, so it’s not cheating.
Our guide below looks to introduce you to the most common types of advantage gambling such as card counting, edge sorting, and bonus hunting. We will also discuss betting strategies and the long-term consequences of using advantage play techniques to swing the ball to your court.
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Advantage gambling is an umbrella term that covers all legal techniques and practices players use within games to increase winning chances. However, it’s not to be confused with cheating, because advantage gambling is very legal, whereas cheating is not.
Advantage play can include a variety of practices made specifically to exploit the inherent nature of games being played. For instance, card counting is a frequent practice at blackjack tables at Las Vegas casinos. Edge sorting is often considered a baccarat-friendly technique, commonly used in land-based gambling facilities at baccarat tables.
But not all advantage techniques are tied to games! For instance, bonus hunting and comp hustling are not related to any specific gambling game, but rather to casino bonuses and loyalty programs. In the next section, we will introduce you to the most common types of advantage gambling.
Before you move to the most common types, we must first explain a key element of a successful advantage play routine – expected value.
Advantage gambling works only if you play against the house and have a positive expected value. Expected value refers to the game value you expect to win after you’ve wagered. For instance, if you wager $10 and win $20, you essentially won $10 (because the other $10 is a return on the previous investment – the bet). This is a positive expected value.
On the other hand, you can have a negative expected value if you wager $10 and win $5. Although considered a win, it’s still a loss of $5 (as you’ve previously invested $10).
It is important to understand that your goal with advantage gambling is to swing the ball in your court by turning the expected value into a positive value and lowering the house edge (the odds that the casino has against you).
By now, even the greenest amateurs have heard of card counting. Card counting is among the most controversial gambling techniques most players consider banned. But there are many other ways to influence the game house edge and increase your winning chances.
Here are the 6 most common types of advantage gambling techniques.
Card counting refers to keeping track of card values which have passed in the round to accurately predict the values coming up in the following rounds. It is mostly tied to blackjack, especially at land-based casinos. Card counting is an advanced technique not suitable for amateurs.
The practice of card counting is extremely controversial, and most gambling-themed movies resort to card counting to depict gambling at high-end gambling facilities. But here’s a kicker: many think card counting is illegal. But it’s not, not even close! However, the practice is frowned upon at many sites, mostly because casinos do not enjoy losing money. In online casino terms, it is difficult to count cards as online games are RNG.
The second practice on the list is edge sorting, a famous technique which involves keeping track of face-down cards. The goal of edge sorting is to try to predict as accurately as possible the values of face-down cards by inspecting their backs. Any detail which can help you distinguish the card from the shoe helps – from specks or dots or stains to lines or something similar.
Edge sorting used to be popular at land-based casinos, but it is slowly becoming obsolete. Part of the reason is that gamblers are slowly turning to online gambling and live casino broadcasts. In RNG mode, edge sorting is completely unavailable, whereas live casino tables have brand-new decks which are often replaced (leaving no room for the cards to get visible damage or alteration). Moreover, many brick-and-mortar sites use preventive measures against advantage players using edge sorting.
Shuffle tracking is yet another popular advantage gambling technique related to card games. This is literally what its name says – keeping track of the shuffle. This practice is related to card counting as both entertain the notion that it’s possible to predict the outcome by watching the cards which passed in the round.
However, a big important thing about shuffle tracking is that it is best used for games with infrequent shuffles. In other words, your prediction starts right after the shuffle. You can then form predictions – and if there is another shuffle coming right up, your entire prediction falls through. In most cases, shuffle tracking is used for blackjack games with more than 2 decks (like 6 or 8-deck tables) where shuffles are infrequent.
This one is tricky. Do you know how dice games are considered to be 100% games of luck and thus impossible to predict or strategise over? Well, dice control bypasses the notion and heads directly into controlled shooting theory. The basic premise of dice control is this: you can control the roll of the dice in dice games such as craps, ultimately affecting the game outcome.
We’ll leave it up to you to figure out whether you believe that’s possible or not. History has shown the chances of affecting the roll of dice are nearly impossible, but this hasn’t stopped many players to form schools for dice control where they teach fellow punters how to throw dice and secure a specific outcome. Dice control is split into pre-throw and throw activity, and there’s considerable mental and physical preparation for precise shooting.
Bonus hunting, along with comp hustling, has no ties to specific games, but rather focuses on the overall casino experience. Both are popular worldwide, with bonus hunting becoming a favourite pastime for online casino players. The essence of bonus hunting, or bonus bagging, is the act of browsing for online casino bonus offers which are easy to exploit. Please bear in mind that this is still not cheating, but we advise all our girly players to be careful with claiming unverified casino bonuses.
How do you know you’ve picked a good bonus while bonus hunting? Easy – the deal must have a higher expected gain than the expected loss. For instance, the amount you stand to gain is higher than the amount you are risking to lose while chasing wagering requirements. Wagering requirements, or rollover, is the most important aspect here as it dictates the type of bonus you should claim. Another key ingredient to consider is the wagering contribution. Not all games contribute towards the fulfilment of wagering requirements the same – it depends on the type of bonus in question.
Comp hustling falls under the category of bonus hunting, as comp points are a type of bonus reward players get at casinos online. However, there are differences between the two. For the most part, comp hustling involves scouting for casinos with good comp point loyalty programs, but the way players use the program is completely dependent on player preferences.
In most cases, players collect comp points and then exchange them for useful rewards, paying close attention to the maximisation of the number of comps received, as well as the reward produced by said points. The reason why comp hustling is not talked about is that not all casino websites offer comps. Many do, but the number is still low, especially compared to land-based sites. Comp points are more common on brick-and-mortar gambling floors.
And now, the million-dollar question: do betting strategies count as advantage gambling?
The answer is yes, betting strategies are advantageous gambling techniques.
In the sharpest sense, betting strategies do explore the traits of the games in question to generate the most advantageous outcome for the punter. Depending on the game, players will either develop a betting strategy of their own or adopt a proven one that yields steady results.
The three most popular games in which strategies for betting are employed on regular basis are roulette, blackjack, and baccarat.
Out of the three, only blackjack falls under the category of skill-based games, as both roulette and baccarat are luck-based games. And even though there are ways to predict the roll of a roulette wheel or baccarat draws, players are tenacious. Dozens of popular roulette strategies are used daily, including:
These are just a few of the biggest ones, there are dozens of obscure roulette strategies online. If you are a novice, we suggest starting with beginner-friendly strategies such as Martingale, and D’Alembert. You can then move on to other, more complex systems such as Tier et Tout, and Guetting Progression.
Oh, and keep in mind that betting systems are sometimes different for different types of gambling games. You might not be able to use the same betting system in baccarat and roulette and slots. What is more, slots don’t even have specific strategies – players rely on hot slot tips to advance in their slot-gaming careers. Therefore, it is important to explore different systems and narrow them down to one which fully suits your player preferences.
As we already explained, advantage gambling is legal in every jurisdiction which legalised gambling activity. You never have to worry whether what you’re doing could lead you to jail, but there are still things to worry about – especially if the casino dislikes how good you’ve gotten at advantage playing.
The main drawback is therefore a potential ban from the casino premises. The gambling site has the right to ban you from entering the site (or visiting it online) if you are caught card counting. The reason is that each venue reserves the right to allow/disallow punters from entering the game. Therefore, if you choose to partake in any advantage gambling activity, be prepared for rejection – as no casino enjoys being taken advantage of.
Betting strategies are not forbidden and are generally expected (especially from advanced players).
Another disadvantage is that most techniques do not work in online conditions. You cannot count cards or track shuffles in RNG mode, only live mode (and even then, it’s not guaranteed it would be useful).
In the end, the question stands – is it worth it? Are advantage strategies really advantageous?
The answer depends on the player because it is individual. Many punters enjoy using betting strategies, but only a handful would dare to try card counting. Moreover, most advantageous gambling techniques do not work in online casino conditions. They are perfected for brick-and-mortar purposes, with many of them failing once tried in RNG terms.
But then again, it seems nothing beats the appeal of advantage gambling strategies, even today. Regardless of the platform, table, and game type, every player wants to increase winning chances. And that’s precisely what the routines described above do. Stay tuned for more useful guides and articles from Casino Chick – and reach out if you have something to share with us!
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