Video Poker Cheats & CheatersMonday, 04th September 2017
Video poker cheats try to get an unfair advantage over the casino by breaking the rules. Any responsible writer describing cheating at video poker will define “cheating” early in their essay, because definitions vary. For our purposes, we’ll look at what the state of Nevada considers cheating in a legal sense.
Nevada Gambling Laws Related to Cheating
The state of Nevada takes gambling seriously, and they take a hard line against cheaters. If you’re caught cheating in Nevada, then you’ll face felony charges. That’s right—it’s not a misdemeanor. It’s a felony.
That should be enough to discourage most wannabe cheaters right there.
But what constitutes cheating versus just smart play? After all, you can get a mathematical edge over the casino in some games just by using smart decision making. For example, in some versions of Deuces Wild, if you play well, you have an edge over the casino of up to 0.76%.
That’s not cheating, because you’re not physically manipulating the game. You’re abiding by all the rules of the game. You’re just making good decisions. That’s called “advantage play”. Casinos might dislike advantage players, and, in fact, some casino employees feel like advantage players are cheaters, but that’s not a legal distinction. It’s just a business opinion.
Examples of Cheating
Any of the following behaviors would be considered cheating. Some of them apply to video poker, but not all of them:
- Rigging a video poker machine by hacking into its random number generator or changing its payout schedule. (I don’t know how you’d pull this off, but if you did, it would definitely count as cheating.)
- Using any kind of device to aid you in playing the game. For example, if you used a computer to tell you how to play each hand in Jacks or Better, you’d be cheating. (On the other hand, using a strategy card isn’t cheating—that’s not considered a “device”.)
- Tricking the machine into thinking you’ve inserted money when you haven’t. This isn’t nearly as easy as it once was—in fact, it’s practically impossible. But never say never.
Examples of Legitimate Advantage Play Techniques
These are examples of how you can get an edge over the casino (or minimize the casino’s edge). None of these activities are cheating, but casinos retain the option of banning players who use them. Most casinos limit this to card counters. I’ve never heard of anyone being told that they were too skilled at video poker in a casino, but it’s theoretically possible.
- Being able to recognize a video poker machine with excellent payouts.
- Being able to make the right decision about how to play almost every hand at a video poker games.
- Counting cards in blackjack. This is cheating if you use a computer, but if you just think while you’re playing, then how is that cheating? Casinos have effective countermeasures to prevent this now, but they don’t always use all of them.
- Dice control in craps. I have my doubts about the effectiveness of this technique, but if it’s possible, it’s legal as long as you’re not using loaded dice.
Why Cheat at Video Poker?
I’m not sure I understand why someone would want to cheat at video poker. I guess the idea of money for nothing is attractive for people, but the reality is that if you’re clever enough to cheat at video poker, you’re clever enough to find the best machines and play them really well.
Even if you couldn’t find advantage play opportunities at video poker, you’d still have other legal options for making real-money while gambling. Counting cards in blackjack is an effective way to gamble with an edge over the casino. Learning how to play real poker with real opponents at an expert level is another way to gamble with a positive expectation.
And don’t forget the most profitable means of getting an edge while gambling—sports betting like an expert. The best sports bettors make far more money than any other kind of professional gambler, including card counters and pro poker players. If you’re interested in getting started in that activity, try reading Sharp Sports Betting by Stanford Wong. That will give you a good start on learning how to profit while betting on sports.
The risk reward ratio for cheating at gambling makes it a poor gamble, even if you have no moral qualms about the activity. You risk going to prison for years if you get caught, and casinos spend a fortune on surveillance in order to catch cheaters. That’s a horrible downside.
The upside includes the potential profits, but as I pointed out, you can make profits without cheating. The only other upside is the pleasure that you receive by getting away with something. I’d argue that you could take that same pleasure from legal advantage play techniques, but if you’re just someone who wants to break the law for the thrill of it, you probably won’t listen to good sense anyway.