Beatable Casino Games
Some of the more intelligent or curious casino gamblers eventually get to the point at which they wonder if it is possible for a skilled player to beat casino games. Professional gamblers call this "positive expectation", or "+EV". We are also talking about beating the casino without cheating (i.e. to beat the game legally). The good news is that it is possible to develop the skills to beat casino games. The skills take a varied amount of effort to learn and the player still has to take a tremendous amount of risk while playing in a game that is beatable. Here is a list of beatable casino games:
Beatable Casino Games
- Poker - Since poker is played against other players, and not the casino, any form of poker is beatable. Out of all of the beatable games, poker is, by far, the easiest game to beat. This is simply because the opponents you are beating in poker (i.e. the losing players at the table) are putting in a lot less effort than your opponents in other games (i.e. the casino). Low-limit poker is a very beatable game given even just a few hours of instruction.
- Blackjack - Card counting has long-been known as a strategy to beat the casino at blackjack. Counting cards requires you to have above-average math skills, and the time and willingness to learn the counting process. This usually means practicing the basics of counting at home - and then doing it at a casino to make sure you can count cards at "casino speed". The difficulty of counting cards is compounded by the fact that you have casino security scrutinizing your play.
- Sports betting - Given enough skills and learning, sports betting can be beaten. It helps to either specialize in a particular niche so you can develop a good subjective judgment about a particular area - or become good at statistical analysis to uncover opportunities no one else has discovered yet. It is almost mandatory to be betting with a casino that has a low-vig - and having a good bonus or cash-back program helps also.
- Horse betting - Similar to sports betting, horse betting is a game that can be beaten with enough skill and knowledge.
- Craps - It is possible to beat craps using dice control. This is not an easy technique because it is a physical skill that requires a lot of practice. It will also be closely monitored by casino security.
- Pai Gow Poker - It is possible to get a positive expectation as long as you 1) try to be the banker as much as possible, and, 2) when being the player, bet as small as possible. It would take a very large bankroll to sustain the financial swings though.
- Any progressive games (video poker, slots, lottery) - Any progressive game with fixed odds of winning will eventually have a payout that is large enough to make it a positive expectation. The 3 main progressive games are: video poker, slots, and the lottery. With video poker, you have to know how to play perfect strategy. With slots, it is easier because you don't have to know any strategy. With the lottery (such as Powerball), you also do not have to know any kind of strategy, but you risk having to split the payout with other players. The difficult part of trying to beat progressive games is knowing when they are into the profitable zone of their progression.
- Some Tournaments - In tournaments, you are playing against other players, and not the casino. This gives you the potential for the game to be beatable. In order for the tournament to be beatable, there must be some level of skill involved in the game - and the player must learn the correct strategy to take advantage of this opportunity. If the game offers no skill factor at all, then the game is not beatable, since the "casino edge" is simply transferred and dispersed over the group as a whole. This may lead to the tournament becoming a breakeven game. The most popular type of tournaments are poker tournaments, but you will also find tournaments of other kinds.
Most gamblers are probably not interested in investing the amount of time and effort it takes to build the skills to beat a casino game. Even so, it is still possible to learn to play casino games good enough so that you can at least be a break-even gambler. This means that you won't theoretically lose money in the long-run.
Break-even Casino Games
- Blackjack - Even without counting cards, you can still turn blackjack into a breakeven game. All you have to do is play in a 1-deck game, and play perfect basic strategy. If you do this, you can lower the casino "edge" down to almost 0%. Outside of Vegas, single-deck games are not easy to find. Some casinos in Vegas offer them to attract gamblers. They usually won't have high limits, because the casinos know that players potentially have the edge (with card counting they could potentially have a sizable edge).
- High payout games mixed with high-comps. - If you play a high payout game (such as a slot machine or video poker machine with a 99% payout), and then mix in a 1% comp rate (for example), you can eliminate the casino edge.
January 1, 2014