What is ‘Advantage Play’?
‘Advantage play’ is a general term used in gambling to describe any player who is able to improve their chances of winning through legal, though not necessarily honest, methods and tactics. Betting systems, card counting techniques, exploiting game faults and manipulating dice are all forms of advantage play, and there are an almost limitless number of ways in which advantage play might be used. The term is also used sometimes as a euphemism for cheating: a player accused of ‘advantage play’ might be abusing the system in some way.
‘Advantage Play’ Explained
There are many different forms of advantage play in gambling, and most use legal methods to get around fixed game rules. In almost every form of gambling, there is a house edge to contend with – an advantage given to the operator, to ensure they make a profit from the games. Most advantage play aims to reduce or remove this house edge and level the chances of winning. Occasionally, the term can describe players who break the law and cheat at their chosen game, but more often it implies somebody who is technically sticking to the rules.
One of the most common forms of advantage play is the betting system. Some simple systems involve raising and dropping bet amounts depending on the current win streak in roulette, or betting only when certain strong poker hands are seen.
More intricate advantage systems include card counting, where players track card values and bet at times when the advantage swings to their favor, and card reading, where players look for faults and manufacturing marks that identify cards within the pack.
Players can also gain an advantage by manipulating the game themselves. In craps, some players will seek to change their odds in their favor by using dice rolling techniques that favor certain numbers. Slots players often look for machines that have been filled by an unsuccessful player, knowing their chance of a jackpot is increased. While advantage play is not usually against the rules and it can be used to make huge profits, it rarely goes down well with casino operators – or with the other players!