You may have heard some blackjack players talking about advantage play. This term is widely used to describe playing blackjack under conditions where the game can be beaten. Live and online casinos don’t really like advantage players, but there is little they can do to stop them. It is your right as a blackjack player to find an edge in the game and exploit it.
In this article we are going to explore what advantage play is and how you can master it in blackjack and other gambling games. Take this advice and you’ll soon be on your way to winning more at the game of 21.
What is Advantage Play?
Advantage play may be defined as finding a way to legally exploit weaknesses in a gambling game for profit. The advantage player may play table games, slot machines, or video poker. These players are also well-versed in maximizing the benefits that casinos offer such as promotions and comps. Advantage play means always looking for an edge and taking advantage of it in a legal way.
Here’s an example of how an advantage slot machine player took advantage of a live casino that added a new game. The game was called Blue Blazes, and it had a very confusing layout. Above the standard wheels of the slot machine was another set of wheels that the player could spin with bonus spins accrued during the game. The problem was that players often failed to realize they had bonus spins available. Many of them would then leave the machine, thinking they had lost.
The advantage player would watch the machine and wait for someone to leave free spins on it. They would then sit down, put a dollar in the machine, and collect the free spins without spending any money. There was nothing illegal about this, and one casino in the southern US lost thousands before they realized the flaw in the game.
But what about advantage play in blackjack? Can a player look for weaknesses in a blackjack game and use those weaknesses to their advantage? Of course they can. Many players make a decent living doing this very thing.
One way that advantage play is carried out in the live casino is to look for blackjack dealers that are weak in their skills. They may accidentally reveal their hole card on occasion. In one casino the uniforms that were required for blackjack dealers became a problem. When the dealer would look at their hole card, the sleeve of their shirt would sometimes catch the corner of the cards and invert them. This meant that the hole card was now on top and revealed. A smart player would have been able to notice both the original card and the hole card.
Of course, card counting is the most frequent type of advantage play that is carried out in casinos today. The card counter sits down at a blackjack table to play and waits for the deck to get hot before they up their bets.
The advanced advantage player is the greatest threat that is faced by casinos today. Many of these individuals have a large bankroll and are able to travel anywhere that an edge can be found. Some advantage players make a large living from their play, and many of these individuals are blackjack players.
Card Counting Advantage Play
Card counting in blackjack is not new. It has been around since the 1960’s when Thorpe published his book Beat the Dealer. Over the years, however, card counting has evolved. It is now used by the advantage player and combined with other strategies. In many cases, the principles of card counting are even applied to other casino games.
One of the new ways that players are using card counting as an advantage tool is in blackjack games that offer side bets. Some players have figured out how to apply card counting in games like Blackjack Switch to improve their chances to win a side bet.
There are even players today who are investigating how blackjack card counting strategies can be applied to games like baccarat. But the main difference between the player of today and the old school card counter is that the modern player sees counting as just one tool in a vast toolbox of ethical cheats or hacks.
Hole-Carding, Edge Sorting, Collusion
You may have heard the story of how professional poker player Phil Ivey was accused of edge sorting in a Las Vegas casino. Ivey won millions, but he was not allowed to keep any of his winnings after it was discovered that he had used an advantage known as edge sorting at baccarat.
Ivey discovered a weakness in the decks used by the casino for baccarat. By observing the edges of the cards he was able to determine the value of some cards by looking at the backs. Edge sorting also requires that the player use social engineering with the dealer to get them to cooperate. Ivey argued that he was not doing anything illegal, but he lost his case in court and was forced to return the winnings.
Hole-carding involves trying to get a glimpse of a dealer’s hole card as play is in progress. This can sometimes be done when a dealer is new or has weak dealing skills. Collusion is the act of conspiring with another player to beat the game. Collusion can exceed the definition of true advantage play by becoming an illegal activity.
It seems that each day there are new weaknesses to exploit at a casino. You could consider the advantage player to be the hacker of the gambling world.
Advantage Play in Online Blackjack
Is it possible for a player to use advantage play when playing blackjack online? While card counting is not possible in most online casinos, advantage play is. It mostly involves looking for the best deals that an online casino is willing to offer players in the form of rebates or bonuses.
Some online casinos will give you a matching bonus on your first deposit. Others will reward you with free cash when you play regularly. The advantage player can use these bonuses to boost their bankroll and win large sums of free money.
Would you like to become an online advantage blackjack player? Just take a look at some of our recommended online casinos to see what deals are available before you deposit to play blackjack for money. Take a look at and read the High Country casino review, Cherry Jackpot casino review, or Roaring 21 review to name a few.