Five Incorrect Craps Beliefs

Craps is a wonderful game where the player has a great chance to beat the house.  Craps is simultaneously a horrible game where monstrous house edges eat away at a player’s bankroll until it exists no more.

How can the same game be both glorious and forbidding? Because craps has so many different bets, some few which are good but most which are bad, that many craps players, not understanding or appreciating the math of the game and its impact on their bankrolls, will jump into the deep end of Lady Luck’s pool without a life jacket. None of the following are advantage bets:

Stupid Craps Strategy # 1: See a Number bet that Number!

Unfortunately unwary craps players, sadly adhering to foolish schemes such as numbers predictably getting hot promulgated by craps know-nothings, will go up against edges in the double figures. Such Everest-like edges are as great as or greater than slot-machine edges!

So why do craps players, many of whom are bright in their non-casino lives, make such foolish bets as the one-roll Horn bet (the numbers 2, 3, 11, and 12) after seeing a Horn number appear? One answer has to do with how the house edge actually works. In the short run play of the game certain streaks will happen that can blind the player. One or several Horn numbers might have just hit and the player thinks, “This is a streak that will continue!”

The player in this case is absolutely wrong. The streak might continue or it might not continue. In a random game there is no predictability, only probability. The Horn numbers have six ways of being made, which is about 17 percent of the time. In the long run that 17 percent give or take a fraction will be how often that Horn appears. And the house will take a nice fat cut when the Horn actually does appear. How much of a cut? Well, 12.5 percent. So if you bet $100 on the Horn every time a Horn number has just appeared you can expect to lose $12.50.

But players see a “winning hit or a winning streak” and have no idea that the house is grinding them down slowly but surely. The best way to think of gambling edges is to realize that every time you make that Horn bet you are losing 12.5 percent of your bet – whether you win the bet or lose the bet! The house edge works on the total amount wagered, not this or that win or loss.

So a player buying into this stupid strategy will lose. If he bets a Horn every time he sees a Horn, given a craps game with 120 decisions per hour, our bettor will see a Horn number appear 20 times and then bet on half of them. If our bettor dumps $10 on those 10 Horns his expected loss is $12.50 per hour. That’s too heavy a loss indeed.

Stupid Strategy # 2: Place Bets are Better Than Come Bets!

After the shooter has established his point and the player wishes to get up on other numbers, there are two ways to do this – he can make Come bets, where he puts his wager in the Come box and waits for the number to be established by the shooter’s subsequent throw or he can simply Place the number directly.

Many wacky gaming “authorities” believe that Place bets are better than Come bets because you can go up on whatever numbers you like, whereas the Come bet’s destination is solely in the hands of the shooter. Unfortunately the Place bets have such high house edges that selective betting does not overcome the low house edge of the Come bets.

Let’s see how this works.

A Come bet has a house edge of 1.41 percent. The Placing of the 6 or 8 has a house edge of 1.52 percent. The Come bet will lose a $10 player 14 cents each and every time he makes it. However, the player who places the 6 or 8 must place these numbers in multiples of six dollars. Thus, a $12 Place bet will lose the player 18 cents.

From there it gets worse. The placement of the 5 and 9 comes in with a four percent house edge. Our $10 Place bettor will lose 40 cents on each of these numbers. The placement of the 4 and 10 comes in with a whopping house edge of 6.67 percent so our player now loses about 67 cents for such placements.

Would you rather lose 14 cents or would you rather lose 18 cents, or 40 cents, or 67 cents?

In a random game, Place betting is far worse than Come betting; which is the end of the story.

What about the idea that you can take down your Place bets and that makes them superior? Sounds good but I have never seen a player take down his or her bets enough times to make Place betting superior to Pass and Come betting.

Stupid Strategy #3: Bet with the House and Beat the Game!

 There are some misguided players who believe that they can actually beat a random game of craps by betting the “don’t” or Darkside of the game. Here a player is betting that the shooter won’t make his point or number and will seven out – in which case the Darkside player wins.

Unfortunately, you cannot beat craps by betting the Darkside either. The very first placement of the Don’t Pass or Don’t Come brings the house edge hammering on your head because you will lose this first placement eight times and win it only three times. While the Don’t Pass and Don’t Come are actually good bets, the stupid notion is that somehow these bets are making you play on the casino’s side, guaranteeing a win.

Not so – the casino doesn’t need you as a partner, doesn’t want you as a partner, but prefers to take your Darkside money too.

Stupid Strategy #4: Increase Bets When the Table Gets Hot!

 Let me put this in flaming terms: The table never gets hot. Now in icy terms: The table also never gets cold. The table is just a table. Random shooters who have just hit 100 numbers without the appearance of a 7 have a 17 percent chance of hitting that 7 on the very next roll. They also had a 17 percent chance of hitting that 7 on the first roll, the second roll, the 40th roll, and the 73rd roll and with every other number up and down the line.

Every time you increase your bet because of what you just saw a random shooter do is simply losing you more money. If you had a Place bet of the 6 for $12 and you increased that bet to $24 because a 6 just hit a couple of times, the casino is going to extract 36 cents from that $24.

One more time: It is the total amount you bet that the house edge works on – whether you win or lose the bet is irrelevant! Therefore, increasing your bets into a random shooter will just lose you more money in the long run.

Stupid Strategy #5: In the Short Run All Bets are the Same!

 No, they aren’t. The following bets will give you a much lower chance of winning on any given session: the Any 7 (16.67 percent house edge), the 2 or 12 (13.89 percent), the Horn (12.5 percent), the 3 or 11 (11.11 percent house edge), Hard 10 or Hard 4 (11.11 percent), Any Craps (11.11 percent), Hard 6 and Hard 8 (9.09 percent) and on down the line it goes.

If you want to be a smart craps player then limit yourself to the good house edge bets like the Pass and Come or Don’t Pass and Don’t Come. Take the maximum in odds behind these bets and you will be giving the house a tough game – and giving yourself a decent chance of coming home a winner.

Even in the short run, bad is bad and good is good. Keep that in mind the next time you think of making a stupid craps bet.

Frank’s latest books are Confessions of a Wayward Catholic; I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps, and I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack. Available from Amazon.com, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, e-books and at bookstores.

 

 

 

 

A Husband and Wife Talk Craps

 

They have totally different views about gambling. She doesn’t love it but she plays a little; he loves it and he plays a lot! His game is craps.

HIM: I make no bones about it. I love playing craps and we both go to the casino once a week.

HER: I do play the slots for one hundred dollars and no more. He plays craps all day. If I lose that hundred, I am done. That’s my limit. I play the nickel machines and keep the amount I bet very low on each decision so I can last.

HIM: We get everything for free. A great suite; free gourmet meals. My play is rewarded by the house.

HER: His play is rewarded, if you call losing a lot of money over the fifteen years we have been playing. I have lost. I admit that. I’ve lost a little. You really can’t beat the slot machines but his craps play is off the wall.

HIM: I am what they call an “action” player.

HER: That’s one way to say it.

HIM: I like to really get into a game. I will bet the Pass Line but I enjoy my other bets much more. I place the six and eight for one-hundred fifty dollars each and I usually go with the five and nine for one-hundred twenty-five dollars each. I buy the four and ten for one hundred each. I don’t necessarily go up on all of them at once but if I take a few wins, then I go for it big time. I am in the game to make the most money I can and the only way to do that is to bet big and go with the flow. I do believe there is a flow to the game.

HER: Oh, yeah, the flow is usually his money going across the table to the casino’s tray.

HIM: Hey, I’ve had some big wins!

HER: He’s not telling it all. Action player means he makes some of the stupidest bets at the game. Come on tell them…honey.

HIM: Okay, okay, she is right. I love to bet the Hardways and occasionally I will throw out the two or twelve, but only for ten dollars each. I go twenty-five bucks on the Hardways. They have good payouts and if you get hot on them, you can really bring in a lot of cash.

HER: I know the percentages of these bets because I did research on them. The Pass Line is good, maybe too the placing of the six and eight, but those others? Phew!

HIM: Those others are where the big payouts are. You hit a two or twelve and you get paid a lot.

HER: He works twelve-hour days and he is very successful in his business. He would never approach business the way he approaches gambling. He is very conservative with his money but in the casinos he lets it all hang out, in the worst way.

HIM: I play to have fun. I don’t consider this a business. I’m letting off steam; once a week is my steam-letting-off time.

HER: Steam? I think it is fun to have a decent chance of winning. What steam is let off by losing? He rarely wins, and when he gets those big wins he wants, they aren’t anywhere near enough to be ahead or even close enough to being even in his playing career. How is that a loser of steam? I would think the steam builds up even more. If he just played the Pass Line and maybe a Come bet or two, he’d have a better chance of coming home with some money much more frequently.

HIM: She doesn’t understand the craps player’s mentality. The game is fast and the players are really into it. Most of the players are rooting for the shooter to hit numbers and to make his point – the players who aren’t rooting for the shooter are pains in the you-know-what if you ask me – and when the shooter gets hot, there’s nothing like it. It is like a jolt of lightning going through your body. I mean you really feel it. I used to play blackjack but in that game there is no electricity shared by all the players.

HER: I think if electricity like that happened the players would be electrocuted. They are kind of electrocuted during the game if you ask me.

HIM: I look at it this way too. She is right that I work hard and earn good money but I also want the chance to spend that money as I see fit. If I played craps the way she suggests it wouldn’t be as much fun. That I can tell you for real; the game wouldn’t be much fun to me. I don’t tell her how to play those slot machines.

HER: I have very strong money management tools. That means I use a little amount to play with and I stretch that money out over time. Most of the time I do not lose much money at the machines based on the way I play.

HIM: Her way would kill me. I play it safe in real life but at the craps table? Come on. The casino is telling you to come and get it – and I am coming and trying to get it! I recognize that I play a high risk way –

HER: Of course, he’s an action player after all.

HIM: But the reward of that risk is that I am having fun. What’s so wrong with having fun? She wants me to have fun her way. I want to have fun my way.

FRANK’S VIEW: In my opinion the wife has the better gambling strategy. Yes, the husband can play anyway he chooses with his money but his choice of bets is lacking an understanding of how fast and how much money he will lose even over a relatively short period of time.

Frank Scoblete’s latest books are I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps, Confessions of a Wayward Catholic and I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack. Available from Amazon.com, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.

A Night from Hell

FROM ROLLO: Help me Frank! I was on a cruise ship for seven days and played craps each night. I was playing with a bunch of “shakers and fakers” as I like to call the ones throwing the dice everywhere and making Field and Hard Ways bets. Then at the end of the table stood the Darksider, making Don’t Come bets and pressing all the Odds. His tray grew large while everyone else’s grew small.

Not even the mighty 5-Count could help me on this dark trip; by the last night his side of the table was betting dark bets.

Please tell me there are other ways to win at a game I truly love when this situation is placed in front of me besides joining the dark one? It seemed like everyone sevened out at around eight or nine just in time for me to get a couple Come bets out there.

This was a trip from hell.

FRANK RESPONDS: You certainly did experience a trip from hell. I’ve been there too. If people are sevening out on the eighth or ninth roll, the 5-Count can’t protect you. I wish it were a perfect method but sadly in casino gambling there are no perfect strategies. Losing for seven straight nights can mess with your head. I’m glad you didn’t decide to jump overboard.

As for going on the Darkside, keep in mind that the streak you experienced does not predict what will happen next. You could have switched to the Darkside and suddenly seen the Rightside go on a winning rampage. If that were to happen you might feel that you were cursed.

You might consider betting less or merely going to one Come bet with Odds until you won a few times. I wish I had some magic formula to help you. I don’t.

FROM BIG BOY: I dispute your craps theory that Come bets are better than Place bets. The thing with Place bets is you get to pick the number AND you can take your bets down whenever you want to. That seems to make these the better bets in my honest opinion.

Okay, go ahead, defend yourself.

FRANK RESPONDS: What you’re saying is true. You can pick your numbers and you can take your bets down at any time.

Now for the bad news. So what if you can pick your numbers? Only the 6 and 8 come in with a decent house edge of 1.52 percent; the other Place bets are awful. You face a four percent edge on the 5 and 9; and a 6.67 percent edge on the 4 and 10. Why would you want to ever place bets with those house edges?

In a random game you can’t outguess the dice. There is no predictive factor that would allow you to know what streak is coming next.

Now, as for taking down Place bets; yes, you can do that at any point. But you’d have to take these bets down about 80 percent of the time. I have never seen a Place bettor do that in my quarter century of play. I have seen Place bettors take down or turn off bets but I’ve never seen one ever get to 80 percent.

I think your arguments, while they sound good, just don’t cut it.

[Read Frank Scoblete’s books I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack, I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps and Confessions of a Wayward Catholic! All available from Amazon.com, on Kindle and electronic media, at Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.]

 

Naked in the Bathroom

He was naked. In the handicap stall. In the men’s room. Sitting on the toilet. At Bally’s in Atlantic City. You could see in the stall because the door was not flush. He was Asian. Naked.

The great dice controller Jerry “Stickman” and I were on our Odyssey in Atlantic City. The Odyssey is a single day where we pool our money, and go to all the casinos on the Boardwalk (now just five of them as opposed to the 12 in AC’s glory days), where we play one hand of Pai Gow Poker, two hands of blackjack, two hands of mini-baccarat, $40 in a $5 slot machine (one credit per decision) and we each take the dice two times at the casinos whose tables fit our criteria — we have to get our spots and we want 12-foot, standard-bounce tables. If we can’t get that we skip playing craps.

Naturally, except for craps, we are not playing with an edge at any of these games. We don’t wait for high counts in blackjack or find tables where we can get the edge banking at Pai Gow Poker and there is no way to beat mini-baccarat. We don’t bet much at these games, just $25 on each decision. Obviously, there is no edge to be had at $5 slot machines. So in games where no edge is to be had, our tactic is to play very, very few decisions and pray.

At craps we go with our normal bets, obviously far bigger than the bets we make at the other games. This trip we ended at Tropicana where we had a great meal at Carmines. This Odyssey also allows me to scout out the various casinos to see what’s what.

Did we win? Yes. Just barely at the games where we had no edge thanks to a hit on the last slot machine we played. That’s short-term luck. And the power of prayer.

In craps we both had consistently good rolls so skill won out on our Odyssey.

In fact our almost-week in Atlantic City saw me shooting damn well, consistently hitting repeating numbers (which is a wonderful thing). We basically played at 6 am and 9 am with a break in between for breakfast. We did not play evenings or afternoons (except once each when a table was open).

And what of the awesome Stickman, the great, amazingly great, the dice controller with the perfect throw? He wasn’t as consistent as I. Poor lad. All he did was explode several times for monster rolls tickling the 50 mark! It was a dream trip, that’s for sure. Up from the first session and building each session from there. (Let me caution you: It doesn’t always go that way.) Great games; great conversations; great meals. A player’s dream trip.

And then there was this naked guy in the bathroom at Bally’s.

The moment we entered Bally’s from the Boardwalk, there on the stairs leading to the casino were three drug (heroin) addicts, two guys and a girl. I knew them (generically) from my life in New York City. Droopy eyes; sneers from the guy who was most awake; with the girl — totally zonked leaning on his belly — with the second guy blinking to stay awake.

Jerry “Stickman” recognized them too — Memphis had been good schooling for him in this world peopled with the zoned-out dregs of society.

In the casino, which was somewhat crowded, there they were, leaning against the walls, maybe every hundred to two hundred feet apart, the “salesmen.” The druggie would go to a salesman, tell him (they were all men) what he wanted, and then pay the salesman who would use his phone to call the “distributor” who was somewhere else in the building or outside the building.

The salesmen were throughout the casino. In the lobby too and in the portico where you crossed over into Caesars – brazenly standing right there – yet we saw none of these guys in Caesars.

It was then we headed for the restroom; going through the lobby which was empty except for a salesman waiting for orders. In the bathroom was a maintenance man trying to fix a stall door.

Inside the bathroom, we talked:

“Trump Plaza has moved here,” said Stickman.

“Yeah,” I said. “The outer world is closing in on the Boardwalk casinos.”

“Will the casinos last?”

“I really don’t know,” I said. “Resorts looked pretty crowded.”

“Bally’s is becoming the dumping ground from the Trump Dump.”

“Except Bally’s casino is bright and inviting; although some of the wrong people have accepted the invitation,” I said.

Trump Plaza had become known as the Trump Dump and it was always inhabited by the druggies. Its closing was cheered by many casino players who would no longer play in a casino where so many hazy creatures slithered along.

Then I saw the naked guy in the bathroom. He was in the handicap stall; just sitting there. He was Asian and he stared down and then lifted his head and stared straight ahead, then down, then straight ahead — over and over.

I didn’t know if Stickman had seen him. He was at the urinal and I tapped him on the shoulder.

I whispered, “There’s a naked guy in there.”

He whispered back, “Yes. Let me finish peeing.”

“Sorry,” I said and headed out of the bathroom. I passed by the maintenance man who was feverishly trying to fix the stall door.

“That was weird,” said Stickman as he left the bathroom.

“What do you think that was? He loses not only his shirt but also the rest of his clothes?”

“I don’t know. This place is really bringing in the wrong crowd,” said Stickman.

“If this were Vegas they might be able to throw out the drug crowd. I don’t know if they can do that in Atlantic City.”

Stickman nodded. I shook my head.

My God, a naked guy in the bathroom of a casino that had so many of the wrong types seemingly thriving.

That might be more of a herald of Atlantic City’s demise as anything else.

[Read Frank Scoblete’s books I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack, I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps and Confessions of a Wayward Catholic! All available from Amazon.com, on Kindle and electronic media, at Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.]

 

I Miss Them

Over 25 years ago I took up casino gambling. At the time, I was an actor (and producer and director and teacher) about to perform a great role the dimensions of which baffled me. I was playing a degenerate craps player although I knew nothing about craps; in fact, I knew nothing about casinos or casino gambling. It was an alien world to me; a landscape I had never walked.

Since I had never been in a casino or played craps, I knew I had these great monologues about my great good fortune on a single night at the tables and I had no idea what the words meant. I would be emoting about – what? What did what I was saying mean?

So my co-star and I decided to go to Atlantic City to discover what this play, The Only Game in Town, was all about. My co-star was the Beautiful AP who would several years later become my wife and for 10 years my playing partner in the world of blackjack advantage play. We’ve been together now for three wonderful decades.

We went to the Claridge where I was lucky to learn everything there was to learn about craps and, by extension, casino gambling from the greatest craps player of all time, the Captain. He took me under his wing and I flew through the casinos from that first night for over 25 years. By the way, I also did a fine job in the play once I understood what I was saying.

The Captain had a Crew of 22 high rollers, men and some women, accomplished in life and joyous in gambling. Yes, almost all of them were losers, many were big losers as they were orange chip players (an orange chip is $1,000 and worth a lot more back then than it is now). The Captain had developed certain techniques of play, including rhythmic rolling (today called dice control or dice influence) and the 5-Count, a method for reducing exposure to the house edge.

I’ve written about all of these ideas in my books, the new one being I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps. The Crew? Except for “the Arm” who was the greatest dice controller I ever saw, and Jimmy P. (and later me and Satch), they just didn’t even notice that the Captain’s trinity were way ahead of the house.

There are now only two of us left of that great Captain’s Crew, Satch and me.

I look back at those times with great nostalgia. I fondly remember the Crew. I’ve written about them in my new book. They were a fun group; a boisterous, east coast, New York, Brooklyn, fun group; in short, a whole other world.

None of today’s dice controllers can match the Arm but the best of today’s group is the great Jerry “Stickman” who writes for CasinoCityTimes.com. I enjoy going to the casinos with him. I wish he had known the Captain, the Arm, Jimmy P. and the Crew; he would have fit right in.

I miss them; I do; I miss them all. They shine bright in my memory.

[Frank Scoblete’s new books are I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps and I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack. Both available on Amazon.com, kindle, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.]

Should You Place the 5 and 9 at Craps?

There’s been a lot of debate in craps circles about the placing of the 5 and 9, some of it quite intense between the camps that say do and the camps that say don’t.

Well I am now going to settle this thing once and for all – or at least for the next few minutes while you read this. I am dealing with controlled shooters now, not random rollers. No random roller should ever consider placing the 5 or 9 as that four percent house edge is just too darn much to have much of a chance of being ahead in the near future. It might be so near as to be tonight.

If a shooter is reducing the appearance of the 7 he is obviously increasing the appearance of other numbers, maybe not all of the other numbers but certainly some of the other numbers.

Now a controlled shooter has just hit a few 5s (or 9s) in short order. Do you place the 5 in that case? The answer, startlingly, is yes…and no.

Let’s take the “no” first. Is the appearance of those 5s enough to warrant a place bet against that large four percent house edge on a 5 (or 9)? Here is the unexpected answer: Forget that the shooter just rolled those 5s, the question you should ask yourself is this, “Is that shooter’s past results indicative of an ability to overcome a four percent house edge in the future?” The answer to this is usually “No, he isn’t good enough from this point on to overcome edge on the 5.”

It doesn’t matter that he just hit some 5s, you have to look towards his future prospects based on the wealth of his past performance, not based on a few rolls that just happened.

For most dice controllers that settles the issue. DO NOT place bet the 5 and 9. The edge is too high, period.

Now too many novice and intermediate dice controllers have a bloated concept of how good they are. They think, erroneously, that they can overcome the house edge on the 5 because the 5 just showed a few times.

Now let me go to the “yes” place-the-5-side of the argument but first an absolutely important preface:

Kids selectively listen to what teachers say. Take the sex talks that now seem de rigueur in public schools. Teachers say the following, “You shouldn’t have sex but if you are going to have sex use a condom.”

What the kids hear is this: “Have sex.” The rest of the sentence is forgotten.

Craps players also have selective memories. They look for ways to continue stupid betting practices by scrounging around for trend systems, usually the repeating number  system, and other systems that essentially make them losers even if they have developed a controlled throw.

So what I write now is NOT to be selectively remembered. Remember it all or don’t read it.

So unless you are at the tables with a true master of dice control who is getting into a real streak, not an imagined one, then DO NOT place bet the 5 or 9.

And do not selectively remember the above to think it gives you permission to follow the advice of new or intermediate dice controllers or systems advocates. “Have sex” this ain’t!

There is one more point that is somewhat profound. Advantage craps really shouldn’t be looked at in the short run where numbers are appearing and disappearing with great frequency. It should be looked at globally over thousands, hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions of rolls. When it is looked at that way, almost all controlled shooters will make much more money on the 6 and 8; on Come and Pass line bets, than they will on attempting to hop onto short term fluctuations happening now.

So my advice is this: Do not place the 5 and 9. If you wish to go with other numbers use the Come with a minimum of 5X odds. This formula is tried and true. This formula is truly the “keys to the casinos’ money.”

[Read Frank Scoblete’s new book I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps! Available from Amazon.com, kindle, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.]

Mr. Negativity

He was tall; he was overweight; he had a ponytail as many men who are losing their hair do. I guess the philosophy is to grow the most hair where you have hair and take away the fact that you have the least hair where you have the least hair. You can control the most hair but the least is problematic.

Maybe he was 50-years old; maybe more, maybe less.

The great dice controller Jerry “Stickman” and I were in Atlantic City for a week. We like to play early in the mornings when a few, a couple or one or no players are at the tables. Mondays and Tuesdays are the best days to get the type of table we like.

This day that man was at the end of the table. There were two other players at the table.

“Mr. Negativity,” said Stickman to me.

“He doesn’t seem happy,” I said. He did indeed have a sour look on his face.

He cashed in for one thousand dollars, not an overwhelmingly large sum yet he proceeded to make green ($25) and black ($100) bets — most of them on Crazy Crapper propositions with exceedingly high house edges.

He went through his money fast enough. In fact, he took out another thousand dollars having run out of money rather quickly.

I was up next to get the dice. I was standing at my normal spot, SL1 (next to the left arm of the stick man) and I put up my Pass Line bet.

“Who’s rolling?” he asked the dealer.

“Frank,” said the dealer. The dealer nodded at me.

I established my point, a 6

“Hard eight for one hundred dollars,” he said.

He glared at me. That was weird. Why would the guy glare at me when he was betting on me?

I took the dice; set them in my 3-V, aimed, swung my right arm slowly and released. The dice hit the wall then settled a few inches away.

“Eight! Eight the hard way!” said the dealer.

“Let it ride,” growled Mr. Negativity. He now had $1,000 on the hard 8. A win would mean a whopping $10,000 in his pocket.

“I took the dice; set them, aimed, swung my arm, released the dice. They flew slowly through the air, bounced on the layout, hit the back wall and died.

“Eight! Another hard way eight!” said the dealer.

“Down on my hard eight,” snickered Mr. Negativity. His upper lip curled somewhat.

The dealer pushed $10,000 in orange chips to him; he scowled at me and walked away.

“Pleasant guy,” said Stickman. “Glad he left. Man is he Mr. Negativity.”

Later that morning, after a delicious and relaxed breakfast, Stickman and I checked out the craps tables. Mr. Negativity was at the end of the table with two “reserved” signs on either side of him. He was betting big money now – probably based on his 10 thousand jackpot of the early morning.

When he saw me he snarled; I swear, he snarled. He threw a few times; hit some of the Crazy Crapper bets he was on, sevened out, took his chips and stormed off the table.

“At what point does Mr. Negativity lose his money?” asked Stickman.

“Late this afternoon,” I laughed.

“I say tomorrow morning he’ll be cashing in for a thousand,” said Stickman. “What a rotten attitude he brings to the table.”

We didn’t see Mr. Negativity the rest of the week. I am guessing this guy is an addicted gambler and one who enjoys the awe other players show him when he bets huge amounts.

Mr. Negativity was a sad and angry man. There was no joy whatsoever in his play.

Frank Scoblete’s new books are “I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps”; “Confessions of a Wayward Catholic” and “I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack.” All available from Amazon.com, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores. Visit Frank’s web site at www.frankscoblete.com.

The Captain Invented Modern Dice Control

The Captain of Craps, the Atlantic City legend, was responsible for discovering how to beat the modern casino game of craps with controlled shooting – which he used to call “rhythmic rolling” as well as “controlling the dice.” He applied this technique to beat the casinos from the late 1970s through 2007 – almost 30 years of constant play. Yes, he won millions.

Since 1998, some writers have tried to take away the dice control laurels from the Captain and assign them to other people who merely tried to build (sometimes incorrectly) on what the Captain had created. These pretenders to the throne are many, of course, since a good idea is always worth pilfering.

In 1993, my book The Captain’s Craps Revolution! was published and in it the Captain addressed the issue of controlled shooting – long before any of the pretenders came out of the woodwork to try to take credit for this brilliant technique and his brilliant ideas. Here is an excerpt from the above referenced book:

The Captain: “I don’t need to guess. I know that some people have trained themselves privately or at the tables to control the fall of the dice. ‘The Arm’ has had remarkable success fixing [setting] and controlling the dice. ‘The Arm” consistently has major rolls. Recently at the Sands casino in Atlantic City, during a Sinatra weekend, with the place packed with free-wheeling high rollers, and then several days later at the Claridge right across the street, ‘The Arm’ had monster rolls of positively legendary proportions. This isn’t coincidence or merely fluctuations in randomness. ‘The Arm’ controls the dice! [Bold lettering mine]

“Does it mean that every time ‘The Arm’ picks up those cubes, a big one is coming? Of course not. There are times when she isn’t at the right spot on the table or the throw is a little off. Having played with ‘The Arm’ for years, I can recognize the signs of an off night. So can she. But if the groove isn’t there, just like a pitcher, ‘The Arm’ leaves the game and does not roll.

“When we talk about fixing and controlling the dice, we aren’t looking for perfection. Pitchers don’t pitch perfect games every time out. In fact, each separate roll of the dice to a player who can control them is like a pitch in a game. The good pitchers will consistently throw strikes and have good games, not every time out, but enough that you can say this isn’t just randomness or luck. Also, you have to define what you mean by a good roll. My definition is simple: a good roll is one where the seven doesn’t show long enough to make me money or one where I can make a good profit because there is a rapid succession of repeating numbers. Fixing and controlling the dice has more to do with certain numbers being repeated than it does with monster rolls. You don’t have to have monster rolls to win. I’ve seen rolls by ‘The Arm’ where the four will come up four or five times in a row, followed by some other numbers, then another string of fours before sevening out. It’s a wonderful feeling to be up on only one number after the 5-Count and have that number hit repeatedly in rapid succession. People who can control the dice will tend to have certain faces of the dice appear more often than these faces would otherwise by chance.”

In the book, the Captain then continued about how one should practice to actually get control over the dice; how many rolls one should do to see if such control was actually there. He mentioned that he sometimes had control but other times he didn’t, but he denied he was very good at it. He thought of himself more as a rhythmic roller which is, I guess, the equivalent to “control light.” I also guess that assessment of himself was his humility talking because in my over dozen years of steadily playing with him (and ‘The Arm’) in the late 1980s and 1990s, he was damn good and had the prototypical roll that works best for most controllers. He was aware that using the word “control” meant a high degree of accuracy with the dice – so he considered himself more of an influencer. This coming from a man who rolled 100 times in 2004 and 147 times in 2005 before sevening out – the only player I know of who has had two hands of over 100 rolls!

To me the use of words such as dice control, rhythmic rolling and dice influence all mean the same thing. The shooter has the capability to get an edge over the casinos.

Unlike today when you can find controlled shooters in greater numbers, in the Captain’s early days they were few and far between. But they were there and the greatest of them was ‘The Arm’ and the most brilliant of them was the Captain.

The Captain was the first to fully understand dice control and its ramifications, and no amount of taking his words out of context or trying to give the laurels to someone else can take these achievements away from him. All the current vocabulary of dice control; all the analogies to baseball or golf or other sports; all the talk about being at the right spot on the table; all of our understanding of when to leave the table; the knowledge that repeating numbers can also be the way to win money even without monster rolls – yes, all the modern parlance of the dice control world come from him.

The Captain was the MAN then; he is the MAN now; and he will remain the MAN forever.

[Read more about the Captain in my book I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps.]