In gambling, as in investing, a statistical advantage is everything -- although the casino usually has it. But not always: Counting cards, if done correctly, gives a blackjack gambler a 1% advantage. Sounds small, but it's enough to give a precious few a full-time profession.

Now imagine if you could get a 3% advantage in investing.

Then you could be a full-time investor ...
Few folks seriously consider becoming full-time investors, but in a way, that's what you do in retirement. And even if clocking out isn't in your periscope at the moment (it should be), investing is at least a side job for you, a way to earn a little more money. Or else you wouldn't be reading this article.

Now, that 3% advantage sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? It isn't. Because that's the advantage that Wharton professor Jeremy Siegel demonstrated that high-yielding, dividend-paying stocks have over the rest of the market. This study -- one of many he's cranked out over the years -- showed specifically that the S&P's 100 highest-yielding stocks outperformed the overall index by three percentage points annually from 1957 to 2003. In the world of finance, that's huge!

So what are three dividend payers that could help you get started beating the market? Here you go:

No. 1
First up is Citizens Communications (NYSE:CZN), a telephone company that stacks its own odds by operating in rural markets, which are less competitive. Its whopping 6.9% dividend yield is almost head and shoulders above its S&P peers. In fact, Citizens earned high enough marks to be recommended in our Motley Fool Income Investor dividend investing service.

No. 2
Plum Creek Timber (NYSE:PCL) is the largest private landholder in the United States. This timber REIT throws off a current 4.6% dividend (remember, REITs are required to pay out 90% of their pre-tax income to remain tax-exempt). Though its 15 P/FFO might seem a tad rich, Plum Creek is solid as they come, with key management that's been on board since 1989 -- the year the company was formed.

No. 3
Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) has been churning out medicines since 1887. This stock has been the talk of takeover buzz from the likes of Schering-Plough (NYSE:SGP), Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE:SNY), and GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK). Bristol ousted its CEO a month ago, making a takeover seem all the more timely. A counterpoint is that Wall Street analysts aren't wild about the stock these days. While this situation has some uncertainty surrounding it, the company's 4.6% yield is attractive with or without a buyout premium to boot.

The Foolish conclusion
I'll be clear in stating that I'm not recommending these stocks as "buys." I'm not calling them unworthy, either. Still, waters that statistically turn up strong performers are a great starting point.

Can you get a little more specific than picking three stocks, advantaged though they may be? You bet. The Fool's own dividend newsletter fishes in high-dividend waters. It's paying off -- our Income Investor newsletter is beating the S&P 500 by seven percentage points from inception. Click here for a guest pass to check it out.

James Early owns no stocks mentioned in this article. GlaxoSmithKline and Citizens Communications are Income Investor recommendations. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.