Advanced Advantage Play

AAP_Cover_Small_H200Please help support this FREE website and my efforts to uncover, analyze and shed light on the full spectrum of advantage play opportunities by buying my new book: Advanced Advantage Play: Beating and Safeguarding Modern Casino Table Games, Side Bets and Promotions. 

For more information, please visit: advancedadvantageplay.comNow available at

Heads-Up Hold’em Hole-Card Play: One Dealer Card and One Flop Card

Heads-Up Hold’em (HUH) is just Ultimate Texas Hold’em (UTH) with a 3x pre-Flop raise and a bad-beat payout on the mandatory “Odds” = “Blind” wager. Its analysis in every case follows the same logical structure. As a consequence, it only takes me about 15 minutes to convert one of my old UTH programs to an HUH program to analyze the same vulnerability. The programming is easy. The hard part is that, just like UTH, it takes about 4-8 days (depending on the situation) to run a cycle. Because HUH is not yet widely available, I am going to call it quits after this analysis. Of course, if you want to know a result, just ask and I’ll run that as well.

Continue reading

Mississippi Stud: What’s Going On With Those Ante Bets?

I just received an email from an AP in which he told me about a play he has against Mississippi Stud (MS) that is almost beyond belief. He told me that the dealer does not collect his Ante bet if he folds pre-Flop. The dealer does collect the Ante if the AP makes a Flop wager, so from the Flop on, it’s just MS played the normal way. But, there’s more. This AP also told me that he can see the Flop hole-card! That is, not only is he allowed to fold pre-Flop without losing his Ante, he also knows the first card that’s going to be exposed! Could it get any better?

Continue reading

Join the Strip Club!

If you’re expecting naked people, pictures of Las Vegas, or paint being removed from a house, this post isn’t for you. If you’re looking for a good time, read on!

Recently, there has been a spate of Ace sequencing going on, coast-to-coast. These trackers are looking for six-deck games with a hand shuffle that does not include a “strip.” And they are doing quite well! The following video (one take with no script … and it shows!) describes Ace sequencing, how it is done, and how to create a safe shuffle. Just as a “Turn” is the kill move for edge sorting, the “strip” is the kill move for sequencing. So, join the strip club!

Production issues: dogs barking (Rosey and Daisy) and TCEC noise in the background, not sitting in the center of the frame, ending too quickly, awkward hesitations, crappy riffling. Outright errors in what I say (you get to find those!).

Good stuff: nice haircut.

Heads-Up Hold’em Hole-Card Play: One Dealer Card

Heads-Up Hold’em (HUH) is a novelty game with rules very similar to Ultimate Texas Hold’em (UTH) (see this post and this post). There are three differences: (1) HUH only allows a 3x pre-Flop raise; (2) the Blind bet is called the “Odds” bet; and (3) the Odds bet also pays when the player’s hand is a straight or higher and loses. Because of their similarity, they have the same physical vulnerabilities to hole-card play. However, because HUH only allows a 3x pre-Flop raise, those situations when the player sits very strong against the dealer cannot be leveraged as much pre-Flop. For this reason, I expected going into this analysis that the edge for seeing one dealer hole-card in HUH would be slightly less than that for UTH.

Continue reading

TCEC Chess Engine Competition Happening Now

I was a very active chess player in my younger years, maxing out with a USCF rating of 2138 sometime around 1994. That’s 20 years ago. Though I stopped playing in tournaments for good in 1997, my interest in the game hasn’t ever gone away. If you have any interest in chess, the very best chess played in the history of planet earth is now taking place here: Top Chess Engine Championship

Continue reading

First-Carding the Dragon Bonus Baccarat Side Bet

The Dragon Bonus (DB) baccarat side bet is by far the most popular baccarat side bet in the domestic market. Internationally, I have not seen it that much in my travels, but maybe I just haven’t been to the right places. I considered card counting DB in this post, where I concluded that counting was useless. Recently a reader posted a comment asking about the edge he could get against DB if he knew one of the cards in the Player hand before deciding whether to make the DB wager.  “Phil” wrote:

I understand that counting the dragon bonus is useless and I completely agree, however, what if I have the knowledge of a hole-card for Player or Banker, will it give me an advantage worth exploiting?

Continue reading

Heads-Up Hold’em Basic Strategy and House Edge

Heads-Up Hold’em (HUH) is a relatively new poker variant that seems to be gaining traction. Its rules are nearly identical to those of Ultimate Texas Hold’em (UTH) (see this post). I am surprised this game even exists. That said, HUH appears to be one of those rare games that has a real chance for success.

Recently a reader wrote to me via the contact form on this site and asked about hole-carding HUH.  Because of the similarity between HUH and UTH, the programming I already did for hole-carding UTH is trivial to adapt to this new game. That makes a big difference to me given my current lazy streak. Continue reading

Response to “Casinos are ‘The Enemy'”

Recently a reader “Rob” wrote an extended comment to this post explaining his opinion that casinos are “the enemy.” Rob made some points that are core to many AP’s defense of their “enemy/evil” maxim towards casinos.  I am going to take this opportunity to respond to Rob’s arguments, as well as the “casinos are the enemy” doctrine, directly in this post.

[Note added 08.12.15. Great comments by some APs and some in the casino industry. You will pardon me if I don’t respond in the comments. I know there is a lot to respond to, but I’ve got a lot of other projects going on right now. I appreciate all the well-presented arguments for both sides. Thank you. Good stuff!]

Continue reading

Ultimate Texas Hold’em Hole-Card Play: Two Dealer Cards

Ultimate Texas Hold’em (UTH) must surely be the most widely available and profitable opportunity for hole-card play right now. Over the last few months, I finally took this challenging game to task and wrote a series of articles about various hole-carding situations the player might encounter (a list of my posts on UTH is here). I thought I had covered it all until an AP recently contacted me and asked about the edge he could get if he could see both dealer hole-cards before acting.

Wow! Is this stuff for real? Are there really dealers out there exposing both of their hole-cards at UTH?

Continue reading

Guest Appearance on House of Cards Radio, 07/22/15

House of Cards Radio is an interview program hosted by poker and gambling expert Ashley Adams. In the podcast below, I discuss my new book, Advanced Advantage Play, along with several topics about advantage play.


You can tune in to House of Cards Radio either in your local radio market or via podcasts.  For more information, visit House of Cards Radio at