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HOW AP'S CAN AVOID DETECTION

by Nicholas Colon

Nicholas Colon is a casino gaming expert, professional Advantage Player, and managing director of Alea Consulting Group, a player centric casino gaming consulting firm.

The goal of any Advantage Player (AP) is to maintain anonymity so they can keep playing and extracting funds from the casino. This is important because no matter what a casino executive, dealer, or pit boss tells you, casinos hate losing money, period. Moreover, this goes for any casino game that a casino offers. In cases when a player is on a hot streak, or has devised a system that yields consistent profits over time, the player must take measures to ensure the longevity of their playing days. In this article, I'll cover the methodology for avoiding detection in the online gambling world and the land based casino environment.

Online Casinos

It's long been known that online casinos can't compete with land-based casinos in areas of comps or amenities. In order to compete against their land based counterparts, the online casinos do this with free play offers. When you are comp hustling online casino bonuses, a good way to avoid detection is to mix up your play among several different games. Usually there is a wide selection of casino games to choose from. Craps, roulette, blackjack, and baccarat are all well represented, along with several different slot games and video poker. And because each of these games have different theoretical holds, the value of your free play comps will be greater because you are not just playing the game with the smallest hold percentage. In addition to playing different games, another way to stay under the radar to avoid being branded as a comp hustler, is to play a few rounds over the minimum number of hands required to cash out the bonus.

Once you exhaust a free bonus from one online casino you move on to the next online casino bonus. There are plenty of online casinos that offer great sign up bonuses and you will not encounter any shortage of them. Some of the bonuses will be better than others but the important thing is that you get free play. You should definitely keep track of the online casinos you have already played, and log into your account every few days and NOT play. The algorithms that the online casinos use to track play will see that you have logged in but not played and be more inclined to send out free play offers to your email. When the casinos want you to play they will be less inclined to label you as a comp hustler.

Land-Based Casinos

For land-based casinos, the first precaution the astute player should consider is to limit the playing time in a casino. Depending on what game you are playing and how crowded the casino floor is, this will vary. For a six- or eight-deck blackjack shoe game, where the player is using a large betting spread (greater than 1 to 10), you're best served playing no more than 60-90 minutes at a time. This means 60-90 minutes for every eight-hour shift at a casino. Moving between different casinos is also a good idea. Remember, it's much harder to hit a moving target. For a double- or single-deck blackjack game, you can halve the number of minutes of the shoe game; therefore, it's 30-60 minutes max on those games. Furthermore, during the shorter sessions with the single- and double deck games, it's best not to use your player's card.

Another key to longevity is to bet big on the first hand from a blackjack shoe. This will provide you with some cover because the pit bosses think Advantage Players only bet big when they have a big advantage. The game is essentially even on the first hand dealt of a multiple-deck game dealt from a dealing shoe so you will win as many hands as you lose over time, and with the asymmetric payout for blackjacks (player gets paid 3:2 when they have a blackjack and only lose their original bet when the dealer has a blackjack), you are doing a lot better than you think. Also, the pit boss usually only records your first bet, and a big first bet will give you a better comp rating. (Several additional tips for increasing your comp rating can be found at comp wizard, Max Rubin's website, and in his classic book Comp City.)

Spreading out your play on games where it's thought to be impossible to play with an advantage is another tactic. This is slightly more complex but has a lot of benefits other than providing good camouflage for the Advantage Player. To apply this to roulette and craps, you need a confederate. The trick is you both play the same amount (preferably greater than a 50 dollar bet) on offsetting bets. Pass and Don't Pass for craps and Red and Black for roulette. You will lose, on average, less than 15 dollars an hour between both players but each player will gain more than that in comps per hour. This makes it a net positive play.

Playing in a very crowded casino is also preferred over playing in a casino that is sparse in patrons. In the past, the only way to determine this was to personally actually go to the casino and evaluate the conditions. With modern technology, a player can evaluate social media postings at casinos and determine the relative customer density at each property. The more people there are in a casino, the more an advantage player can blend in with the crowd. The AP should also avoid red flags that trigger surveillance like repeatedly looking up directly at the security camera bubbles.

Another effective tactic is to mix up your appearance. This means sometimes you wear a hat, and sometimes you don't. Sometimes you wear eye glasses and sometimes you wear your contact lenses. Sometimes you dress up and sometimes you dress down. The goal here is to blend in with everyone else who is playing. The more you look like a conventioneer or a recreational gambler, the better offer you are going to be.

Lastly, use any free play that you get for slot machine play. The 1 or 5 dollar denomination machines works best. The free play is treated just like cash in the computer and the higher denominations games have a greater payback percentage to the player. Another benefit is that if a pit boss looks up your play and sees you play slots they automatically dismiss you as an advantage player.

These are just a few techniques a winning player can use to keep playing and winning at their favorite casinos. Avoiding detection by pit personal and surveillance should be the number one priority for the successful Advantage Player. The casinos take extraordinary measures to protect their profits; the least a player can do is employ the above techniques to protect theirs.

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