Advantage Gambling Techniques to Avoid

By in Casino & Gaming on
7 Minute Read

Advantage play gives skilled gamblers an opportunity to win serious profits. Card counting and hole carding, for example, are two of the best ways to make profits in casinos.

However, not all proposed advantage gambling methods are worthwhile. Some are either completely worthless or outdated.
I’m going to discuss several advantage play techniques that either don’t work or are past their prime. You’ll do well to avoid getting involved with any of the following strategies.

Wheel Bias

Wheel bias is a legitimate way to make money with gambling or at least it was. This technique involves watching a roulette wheel and recording results.

The goal here is to find a wheel that favors certain pockets or sections. Upon finding such a biased wheel, you’ll be able to wager on the relevant sections and win profits.

Several gamblers throughout history have won millions of dollars playing real money roulette. Joseph Jagger, Billy Walters, and Gonzalo Garcia Pelayo are among those who’ve become rich with wheel bias.

Therefore, you should theoretically be able to join these players in winning big. Unfortunately, wheel bias no longer works in today’s gambling world.

The biggest problem is that casinos use more modern wheels that are less likely to experience wear and tear. Invented in the 1980s, the Starburst wheel has dramatically reduced the number of advantage play opportunities.

A Starburst wheel features metal frets and pockets that are less likely to wear down. Therefore, you have very little chance of pulling off wheel bias today.

Advantage Slots Play

Slot machines are typically viewed as pure luck. In fact, they feature some of the lowest RTP in land-based and online casinos.

Nevertheless, you can gain an advantage with certain slots at brick and mortar casinos. The two main ways that you can develop an edge include:

  • Mystery progressive slot machines
  • Bonus accumulator slots

A mystery progressive slot features a jackpot that grows by small increments with every bet. Unlike with regular progressive jackpots, though, these prizes pay and an exact amount.

For example, you might win the jackpot when it reaches exactly $500. You can hold a long-term advantage by consistently playing these machines when they’re near the payoff point.

A bonus accumulator slot features a meter that determines when a bonus hits. Once you completely fill the meter, then you’ll unlock the feature.

Slot Machines

Like mystery progressive machines, bonus accumulator slots are more rewarding when you play at a certain point. You can swing the odds in your favor by playing when the bonus meter is close to being full.

Advantage slots play sounds great in theory. You simply look for opportunities and take advantage of them. The reality, though, is that there are other gamblers with the same idea.

Some people hang out in casinos all day looking for chances to make money off bonus accumulators and mystery progressive jackpots. You’ll face heavy competition to the point where you may not find it worth your time.

Controlled Shooting

A craps roll is supposed to be totally random. You toss the dice down the table and attempt to hit the backstop.

Controlled shooting (a.k.a. dice control) is a method that allegedly lets you control your dice tosses. It sees you hold the dice in a certain way while using a smooth rolling motion to produce desired results.

The method for gripping the dice (a.k.a. setting) varies depending upon which results you want. You expose the desired numbers while hiding the unwanted combinations.

The “V” set is popular among many controlled shooters. It involves doing the following:

  • You begin by making a six or eight place bet.
  • You grip the dice so that the threes are facing upward (i.e. V shape).
  • This grip exposes numbers that are more likely to produce a six or eight.
  • It hides numbers that are likely to produce a seven.

After developing a set, you need to practice to roll the right numbers. For this, many dice control advocates rig craps tables in their garages or basements to practice.

The end goal involves developing a smooth tossing motion that hits the backstop with the least amount of force possible. With enough practice, you’ll supposedly roll desired combinations with more consistency.

The reality, though, is that craps is still a totally random affair. You can’t toss dice 10 to 14 feet through the air, hit a pyramid-patterned backstop, and produce consistent results.

Unsavory gambling experts, who write books on and teach controlled shooting, are the only real proponents of this strategy. They claim to enjoy unparalleled success with dice control.

If this is the case, though, why don’t casinos throw out controlled shooters like they do card counters? The answer: Casinos know that dice control doesn’t work.

Video Poker on +EV Machines

Video poker is like the slot machine for skilled gamblers. It gives you an opportunity to use your skills to influence the outcome.

You can even win long-term profits with certain machines. Deuces Wild (100.72% RTP), Double Bonus (100.17%), and Double Double Bonus (100.08%) can all offer over 100% payback under the right circumstances.

To achieve over 100% RTP, you must use near-perfect strategy and find the right variations. After all, pay tables for any of these games can differ.

You need to find the “full-pay” versions to get the highest RTP. Unfortunately, few of these games exist around the world.

Casino Gambling

Casinos don’t like willingly surrendering their edge. With that said, they no longer supply many video poker machines with positive expected value (+EV).

The majority of +EV machines are based in Las Vegas. You’ll find some of these games sprinkled throughout the rest of Nevada too.
Even when you do find these machines, though, you’ll only be able to bet up to $1.25 (five $0.25 coins) per hand. In the past, some casinos allowed up to $5 bets per hand.

With such a thin edge and low bet sizes, you can’t make much through real money video poker. At best, you’ll earn between $7 and $10 per hour.

The latter rate is only if you play at a fast rate and don’t make many strategy mistakes. You’re better off getting a second job that pays minimum wage at this point.

Comp Hustling

Land-based casinos used to be more generous with loyalty rewards. They’d offer 0.3% comp rates, or higher, on slots and video poker.
Assuming you were comped 0.3% on full-pay Deuces Wild, then you’d essentially be looking at 101.06% RTP.

Some gamblers used these generous comp rates to earn solid profits from video poker. Even if they didn’t get on a full-pay Deuces Wild machine, they could still make more profits with Double and Double Double Bonus.

Jean Scott wrote a series of books about hustling for comps. As explained in Frugal Video Poker (2006), Scott and her husband combined great rewards with expert video poker strategy.

Sadly, these days are long gone. Casinos no longer offer as generous of comp rates for slots, video poker, or any other games.
Most gambling establishments feature a 0.1% comp rate. The latter is three times lower than the previous standard.

You should still take advantage of loyalty rewards when possible. However, you can’t expect to make profits through a combination of comps and high RTP any longer.

Edge Sorting

Normally, you have no idea what a card’s value is when it’s face down. All card backs pretty much look the same in this position.
Edge sorting seeks to identify small imperfections on card backs. With this knowledge, an edge sorter can conceivably determine a card’s value before it’s flipped over.

Surprisingly, many casino decks do have slight imperfections on the card backs. Most commonly, some cards in these decks feature half-diamond patterns—instead of full—on the long edges.

Assuming you can figure out which card values have half-diamond patterns, then you’ll have more information before betting.

For Example:

You may figure out that all high-value cards have half-diamonds. In this case, you can determine the first card’s value before wagering.

The problem, though, is that seeing card backs from a few feet away is difficult. Therefore, some gamblers ask the dealer to rotate certain cards 180 degrees.

They make this request for superstitious reasons. Of course, they’re really just trying to make it easier to spot the cards’ long edges.

Edge sorting can result in a large advantage over the casino. Unfortunately, the gaming industry is well aware of edge sorting.

As a result, most dealers know better than to rotate cards 180 degrees for you. Even if they’re not fully aware of this measure, they can ask their supervisor for approval beforehand.

The supervisor is likely to deny the request. You’ll find it nearly impossible to locate a casino that’ll blindly offer the perfect conditions for sorting edges.


The gambling world still offers some opportunities to gain an advantage. As mentioned before, you can count cards or using hole carding to win.

But you also need to be wary of the fake and/or outdated advantage gambling methods. After all, these techniques will prevent you from winning any serious money.

You might even end up losing lots of cash. Controlled shooting, for example, gives you a false sense of confidence that results in larger losses.

In summary, you should do your homework before embarking on advantage play. The last thing you want to do is waste time and money chasing something that doesn’t work.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for since early 2016. ...

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