Las Vegas: The Advantage Player
“‘Cause yesterday I walked out of the joint after losing four years of my life and you’re cold-decking “Teen Beat” cover boys. [pause] ‘Cause the house always wins. Play long enough, you never change the stakes. The house takes you. Unless, when that perfect hand comes along, you bet big, then you take the house.” Danny Ocean (George Clooney) in the movie Oceans 11.
If there is one thing that Las Vegas Casinos hate is thieves. If there is one thing they hate even more is cheaters. The one thing they hate even more then that is the Advantage player. Actually, I have no idea if Vegas hates anything. They may just hate the guy throwing up in the lobby or the gal who accidently sets an elevator on fire more. I don’t know. I do know that they are not overly fond of people who take their money, much like any other business. I guess because I said Vegas, we think they hate it more.
In Las Vegas there are the bad guys who want to take over everything for their own personal gain. Vegas has a black book. Well it is actually silver and it lists those people who are not allowed into Las Vegas. EVER. Most of them are people who happened to mobsters and gangsters. That is how the book originated; it was an effort to keep organized crime out of town. There are no exceptions not even for the big time stars. There is a story that Sinatra let the notorious Mobster, Salvatore “Mooney Sam” Giancana stay at his hotel and casino in 1963. Nevada promptly revoked the famed singers gambling.
Although Vegas has its Black Book, they still have their cheaters. Tommy Glenn Carmichael comes to mind. For decades, he figured out ways to cheat the slot machines and then sold those cheats to the other slot cheaters. He had such devices with names like Light Wand , the Monkey Paw and the Kickstand to name a few. He cost many a casino many dollars and remained elusive to security. Las vegas don’t like him much.
Yet even those mentioned above, while cause for concern, have nothing on the Advantaged Player. The definition of a an Advantage Player is : Advantage play is the act of legally exploiting procedural or structural weaknesses in some aspect of casino games or operations in a way that generates an edge over the casino.
That is why Vegas don’t like it. It is players who are not doing anything wrong but figured out a way to make the game more profitable for themselves and not the casino. You have heard of some of them, such as counting card during a game of 21 . That is why there are multiple decks being played by the casino now. Makes it harder to count. In craps, it is a way of holding and shooting the dice to get the numbers you want to show more often. In poker, they talk about the “Tell” of other players, those things that the players do unconsciously do when they have a good or bad hand.
There are also times when people become accidental Advantage players. Such as the mini Baccarat players who realized that the cards being played had an definite pattern. They upped their bets from $10 dollars to $5000. It seems the casino had paid for pre-shuffled cards and they got unshuffled cards. There was a lawsuit when the casino refused to give the players their 14 million dollars in winnings, saying that they players had cheated. Recently a court ruled that Players did not get to keep the winnings. In the ruling, the judge said the games were illegal under state law because they didn’t conform to gambling regulations specifying the way each game must be played.
There is a lot of controversy over whether or not an advantage player is cheating. The casinos say yes. Counting cards is cheating the say, figuring out that the slot machines with a high progressive amount will give out bigger jackpots and then blanketing the machines with your friends is cheating according to the casinos. In fact, according to them looking or an opponent “tell” during poker is wrong. Guess those casinos don’t want to give up their advantage.