In gambling, as in investing, a statistical advantage is everything -- and 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 that 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 on your radar at the moment (though it should be), investing is at least a side job for you, a way to earn a little more money. Otherwise, you wouldn't be reading this article.

Now, that 3% advantage sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? It isn't. Wharton professor Jeremy Siegel demonstrated that high-yielding, dividend-paying stocks have that very advantage 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 3 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 start beating the market? Here you go:

No. 1
First up is Citizens Communications, a telephone company that stacks its own odds by operating in less competitive rural markets. Its whopping 6.5% dividend yield is almost head-and-shoulders above industry peers such as Vodafone and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA). In fact, Citizens earned high enough marks to be recommended in our Motley Fool Income Investor service.

No. 2
Nustar Energy
is a master limited partnership (MLP) that operates more than 9,300 miles of pipelines from Texas to Minnesota. Spun off from refiner Valero Energy in 2001, the company pays a nice 5.4% yield. Similar to current Income Investor picks Oneok (NYSE:OKE) and National Fuel Gas (NYSE:NFG), Nustar is poised to make a killing off of inevitable surges in demands for energy.  Moreover, its asset base is diverse and its profit margins are excellent.

No. 3
(NYSE:GGB) is a Brazilian steel manufacturer that operates one integrated mill and more than 26 mini-mills across North and South America. It is also one of the lowest-cost steel producers in the world, in part because it can take advantage of Brazil's abundant iron ore deposits and its cheap hydroelectric power and labor supply. Unlike competitors Arcelor Mittal (NYSE:MT) and Nucor (NYSE:NUE), the company is regularly returning significant amounts of money back to shareholders with a currently decent 3.3% dividend.

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

Can we 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 10 percentage points since its inception. Click here for a guest pass to check it out.

This article was originally published on Oct. 18, 2006. It has been updated.

James Early is the lead advisor for Motley Fool Income Investor. He owns no stocks mentioned in this article. Citizens Communications, Oneok, and National Fuel Gas are Income Investor picks. Vodafone is an Inside Value pick. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.