Savy Seph gave a good account of advantage players. "The advantage players have an edge over the house given that they tend to win more than they lose. While cheating at casinos is a criminal activity, advantage players use legitimate means to beat the house. Since they play by the rules, they deserve to pocket their winnings. The casinos may frown on the advantage players but they are not able to use legal means to throw advantage players in jail. This shows that the law recognizes advantage players to be a different kettle of fish from the unethical cheaters." Card counting, a form of advantage play, was used by Ben Affleck at the Hard Rock Casino in Vegas to win $800,000 in May 2014.
Sky News had a few interesting quotes from Affleck in their 18 Sep 2014 article. "That is a true story. I mean, that took place. I took some time to learn the game and became a decent blackjack player," he said. "And once I became decent, the casinos asked me not to play blackjack. I mean, the fact that being good at the game is against the rules at the casinos should tell you something about casinos."
Blackjack is the only casino game that is vulnerable to a good system. The casino is a spoilsport and they will reject your patronage. "They don't even want you to have a sporting chance, really. There's a lot of hospitality, backslapping, when they think you're gonna come in and dump money, and if they think you might leave with some money, it's like, 'You know what? Why don't you try craps or roulette?'."
Affleck dispelled the rumors surrounding his visit to the Hard Rock Casino in May. With respect to being kicked out of the premises he said, "I wish I could say they were afraid of me in every capacity, but they only said, 'No blackjack'. That would be awesome [if they threw me out]. 'Get him outta here! He's a magician!' Unfortunately, they just came up and said: 'We can't let you play blackjack. But we have other table games. We have Chinese poker'." Affleck also rejects reports that his blackjack playing was affecting his marriage to actress Jennifer Garner.
Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) has approved the use of pre-shuffled cards in the state's casinos. It made me reflect on the unshuffled cards causing a casino millions and Brogata accusing Phil Ivey for collaborating with the card manufacturer to mark cards to be used in play. While the unshuffled card at Golden Nugget Atlantic City may be a one in a lifetime affair, Brogata's wild accusation could possibility become a regular affair with this new regulation.
Dealers would spread out all 312 cards in the six-deck stacks to carefully inspect before use. "It can take 30 minutes to get the first table going and up to 90 minutes to get all six tables going," said Tosha Tousant, Horseshoe Cleveland’s director of table games. With such procedure to ensure fairness, casinos need to cut down the red tape as the Horseshoe Cleveland uses a total of 16,000 decks a month. Hollywood Casino uses about 20,000 decks a month, the Columbus Dispatch reported on 16 Sep 2014.
I get an annoying amount of email from people asking me how to gamble like I used to. The truth is that what I used to do isn't profitable anymore. It was a right time, right place sort of scenario. Although I'm not a professional gambler anymore, I have been spending time studying and improving at poker (I'm a break-even or slightly profitable player), and I have friends who are pros. There are surely several different paths you can take to make a living gambling; this is the one that I'm aware of and is feasible for someone of above average intelligence.
Despite offering a rough guide to making money gambling, I don't necessarily recommend that you do so. I gambled professionally for seven years. During that time I made a lot of money and enjoyed my life. One morning I woke up and all of my money was gone. The story behind that is complicated, but the gist is that "they caught on". The strongest emotion I felt was a sense of relief. Gambling is fun, but it's not "big". It doesn't contribute in a meaningful way or leave you with a body of work.
Most casino games have a house advantage ranging from 2-5%, assuming "perfect play". That means that if you play perfectly, you can expect to lose, on average, about 2-5% of the action you put through a machine. Perfect play for slot machines is simply to bet the maximum amount of coins (the jackpot is skewed heavily in favor of maximum coins). For blackjack you need to memorize what to do for every combination of player hands vs. dealer hands, specific to each set of rules (hit on soft 17, resplitting aces, etc).