Issue 136
April 21-27, 2003
Volume 3
page 3

Finding an Edge in Every Game
By John May

One of the ways to solve a problem is to look at related problems which have already been solved.

For gamblers looking for a new edge, there are a number of ways of doing this. The basic objective of the professional gambler is to win money. Professionals can draw inspiration from other classes of gamblers who share the same basic goal. The main classes of gamblers who may provide this inspiration are cheats and "voodoo" players.

If you look at several cheating techniques, it becomes apparent that a legal application of the same method exists. For example, card forcing (bending the deck open with the cut-card and fishing for an ace) at blackjack is illegal. However, alter the method slightly and you have card steering, which is legal, where you get a glimpse at the card at the back of the pack and cut some fixed number of cards from it, a very powerful method I wrote of in Get The Edge At Blackjack.

Similarly, "voodoo" players use techniques that, with some alteration, can interest the professional. A voodoo player is someone who thinks that he can win through the application of some mathematically fallacious method: be it progressive betting, trending or astrology.

That such players can be of interest to the professional gambler is somewhat controversial. Many serious gamblers think these individuals are best ignored. Often this is the case since these individuals often have little to contribute beyond tediously stating and re-stating their erroneous position. However, sometimes they may discover something of value purely by accident, partly because they are not bound by the rules of scientific discovery.

For example, many players believe that the shuffle has some kind of mystical properties which change player advantage. This is nonsense, but it leads on to the mathematically valid theory of shuffle-tracking, which is tracking clumps of aces and tens through the shuffle in the hopes of cutting them into play and betting big through these segments.

Also, voodoo players may inadvertently create methods which are excellent cover for a true professional. For example some progressive betting systems such as the D'alembert make excellent cover for the professional gambler who is using a technique that does not depend upon altering his bet size (for example, by playing online for bonuses). Such methods are associated with unsophisticated players but do not cost anything in terms of advantage. As such, they may make casino personnel think you are no threat.
One of the most important principles to remember is that you can learn something useful from everyone, including those who don't share your moral code or those who you may consider less intelligent than yourself.

John May' s Book

Get the Edge at Blackjack

Learn real strategies that not only the casinos don't want you to know, but that many of the greatest blackjack players would prefer to keep all to themselves. They are known as advantage-play methods because they give the player the advantage over the casino. They range from the widely-known through sadly little-practiced method of card counting all the way to the devastating methods designed to ascertain the rank of the very next card coming out of the deck or shoe!

Read more articles from John May;
Read other playing tips from our gaming gurus

Pot of Gold
Reno Hilton Casino, Reno, NV
May 28 - June 9, 2003
Call 775-789-9466 for more information

Million Dollar Blackjack Tournament
Las Vegas Hilton, Las Vegas, NV
Thru April 30, 2003

Call 800-732-7117 for more information


Northwest Iowa Poker Championship
Winna Vegas, Sloan, IA
June 6-9, 2003

Call Don Colbert 800-468-9466 for more information

Queen of Diamonds
Bicycle Casino, Bell Gardens, CA
May 5, 2003

Call 562-805-4646 for more information

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