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