Imagine you are walking the Vegas strip with your buddies and stopping at casino bars along the way to have some $15 drinks. At your current stop you notice that the people playing bar top blackjack aren’t paying for their drinks. You look at the machine: it’s Game King BJ, $1 denomination.
You figure you might as well gamble the $15 and get a “free” drink, hoping to win, break even, or lose less than $15. At least there’s a chance of coming out better than you would if you just gave up the $15 without trying, right?
Now, these bar top BJ machines are usually terrible for the player, with a casino house edge of around 5 percent on average. Against a 5% house edge, if you play correctly and bet in $1 increments, you expect to lose just $0.05 a hand in the long run.
As long as you play fewer than 300 hands per $15 drink, this is a money-saving venture. You may not realize it, but this is an advantage play.
Example: You plan on drinking three drinks at a cost of $45. Instead of buying the drinks outright, you play $1 bar top BJ for an hour, during which you play 300 hands. In the long run, you will save $30.
$300 of bar top BJ at a house edge of 5% means you will lose $15 in the long run ($300x.05=$15).
If you already planned on spending $45 on booze, you essentially “made” $30 by playing for the drinks instead. Of course, you’ll have fluctuations where you win or lose more than $15, or even more than the $45 you originally budgeted, but in the long run your loss will be around $15 for every $300 you play through, and this will be less expensive than buying drinks without playing.
Whether on table games, video poker, slot machines, promotions, sports, or something more complicated, casino advantage play is essentially about finding hidden value. Casino advantage players look for unbalanced situations like the example above—usually where the payout is in cash instead of booze—and make a living doing it over and over again on a large scale.