The Advantage Play of a Lifetime

Now that I have moved on from Deadwood and the advantage play is dead I figured I would share a story on how I crushed a casino.  In August 2009 I stumbled upon a Shuffle Master video blackjack machine.

I’m a sucker for a video blackjack game.  Typically multi player blackjack machines have the same if not better rules than the table games.  On top of that they are faster, less crowded, you don’t have to tip the dealer and don’t have to listen to how much they hate their job.  On this game you could surrender, something you couldn’t do at any live blackjack game in Deadwood.  The machine also allows double after split and pays 3/2 on dealt blackjacks.  It hit a soft 17 and you won on a 7 card charlie.  If the dealer had a 7 card charlie you would automatically win if you had not already busted.  The game had a payback of about 99.6%.

When you played this game it gave you .4% in cash back when you had your player’s card inserted.  On Mondays and Wednesdays you got 3x points so you got 1.2% cash back.  This meant that if you played on Mondays and Wednesdays you got paid 100.8% payback on the game.  On top of this I got free buffets, rooms, $250-$350 a week in free play and after a short time got invited to private parties with five course meals and $400 worth of free play just for showing up to the best meal in Deadwood.  Needless to say I was killing the game.

One day I got a 7x points day in the mail.  This made the game payback 102.4%.  I arrived at the casino right at midnight and played until the early afternoon.  Although I fell way below expectations I had a decent win with the cash back.  I let a friend in on this machine and another local caught on.  After I left that day everything went wrong.

These two players drew attention from the floor.  Without telling the players they cut the cashback in half, or so they thought.  Instead of making it a 3.5x cashback day they made it 350x by accident. When this was done the players received $1.20 in cashback for every $1 they wagered and this was on top of the actual 99.6% expected payback.  Apparently this went on for an hour.

Eventually the casino fixed this error.  The cashback was put back to .2% which meant that triple point days were only 100.2% after cashback but before the weekly and monthly free play.  The 7x days became 6x days which still paid back 100.8%.  Then after a year of the best advantage play in the world the casino removed all multiplier days from this machine and cut the cashback down to .1%.

There will never be another advantage play like that one.  Most of the machines in Deadwood are terrible.  Even with a player’s club they are unbeatable.  I’m just glad I lived to see such a profitable advantage play.

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