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, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, e-books and at bookstores.





The World Outside My Windows


My office is in the back of my house. It faces my neighbor next door (to my left) and the neighbor behind me. I live in a corner property so I do not have a neighbor to my right.

My office is three fourths windows so I have a great view of these two houses’ backyards, as well as my own, and also of my deck and side yard and yards in the distance. I have to say that working here is delightful as I can look up from my computer and see massive trees, innumerable bushes, and various fences.

Still, the highlight of my day is when I see the various birds and animals that frequent our properties.

I have three totally squirrel-proof bird feeders (called Sky Cafés) in my backyard. In all seasons these feeders attract hundreds of birds and dozens of different types too. I have my binoculars next to me!

Here are just some birds I’ve seen (when she can my wife, the Beautiful AP watches the birds with me – I charge a small fee for that):

Black-capped Chickadees, Dark-eyed Juncos, Mourning Doves, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Tufted Tit Mice, Downy Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, House Finches, House Sparrows, Starlings, Goldfinches, Wrens, Song Sparrows (other Sparrows too), Robins, Grackles, Crows, Purple Finches, Mockingbirds, the occasional Gull and New York’s ubiquitous Pigeons. We still haven’t seen a Hummingbird.

Years ago we saw an owl way up in a towering tree about three hundred feet in the distance. It was there for several weeks and then disappeared. It is conceivable that it was a Great Horned Owl, the number one aerial predator. At the time we saw it, I had no idea of the various owls. I have since learned that there are lots and lots of owls. This guy (gal) was pretty big.

Right now at the snow-capped feeders (it has snowed three times this week with a fourth slated for tomorrow night – I’ve fallen out of love with snow) are a brilliant red , his plainer Mrs. Cardinal, a bunch of Mourning Doves, a slew of various types of Sparrows, a Blue Jay sitting on a fence looking at the feeder and, I imagine, figuring out which one he wants. When he lands on a feeder most of the other birds head for the air. Blue Jays are fierce birds.

And there are animals too. Yes, the squirrels are everywhere, up and down the trees, racing along the fences, burying nuts (and whatever else they bury) and even mating (really fast coitus). The squirrels come in different sizes, from young ones to big, fat older ones.

The food from the feeder will fall to the ground and the squirrels and birds will chow down on that. We have grey squirrels, black squirrels (these are beautiful!), and rust-colored squirrels (these are somewhat rare) and, one sighting only, of a white squirrel. I wonder if the white one was an albino.

We have lizards (little ones that live under the deck) and chipmunks.

We have possums (they come out at night); a family of raccoons (these mostly come out at night to devour the acorns – I did see one during the day climbing way up a tree); mice (annoying little things that occasionally show up in my house in the fall), and cats – both domestic and feral.

Now those cats can be a problem. They are truly hunters. The feral ones are sleek, fast and sneaky; the domestic ones are fatter, attempt to be sneaky, and sit out in the sun in full view of all the birds. I never see the sleek feral ones lounging in the sun. They may do that – I am guessing they do – but in private areas where no one can see them.

The only bird I saw killed by one of the feral cats was a Blue Jay that was on the ground munching away at the fallen seeds. He let his guard down. The feral cat was behind a bush coldly eyeing his prey, still as a statue, and then zoom! The cat leapt on the bird and tore it apart, feathers flying in the air and onto the ground. All the birds at the feeder, and the birds and squirrels under the feeders, flew or fled fast. None wanted to mess with the cat.

A word to the concerned: Feral and domestic cats kill over a billion birds a year. If you have a cat, keep it indoors. The feral cats have to be neutered (those females!) so their numbers decrease. And do not under any circumstances leave food out for the mob of cats that will descend on it. If you do, you are a willing participant in the slaughter of birds.

Over the years cats have replaced cats. The same ones will come around for a while and then new ones take their place. This holds for both domestic cats and the feral ones. Do they die? Go to other hunting grounds? Maybe both. Occasionally I will see a dead cat smeared on the road.

My office gives me a front-row seat for suburban nature. It can be beautiful and ugly just as is nature in the raw.

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, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, e-books and at bookstores.

GUPGATE: Uncovering Sexual Harassment in the Workplace


I have a confession to make; a confession about an awful activity I watched that, although done without malice and intent on my part, makes me a part of the sexual harassment and abuse epidemic being revealed at all levels of our society. I am sorry; from my heart I am so truly sorry.

I did not engage in these activities knowingly but innocently. That I swear. I never wanted any of the females hurt. But I did watch it all. That I did, willingly. I did not try to stop the males; I just watched…with fascination.

It happened in my home office where 15 females were subjected to unspeakable sexual crimes against them—I never raised a finger to help. I kept the lid closed on this situation.

You see, I have three male guppies that for some time now have not had a female in their 20-gallon tank; three lonely males, two magnificent colorful fancy males and one plain one without much in the way of colors or fins. He was the low-life in the crowd.

I was concerned that this arrangement of the males was unnatural. I asked Weh Yah, a Middle Eastern acquaintance of mine and fish expert, what I should do. He said, “It is not good for a male to be alone.”

He told me that in order to make them happy each needed about five females. In this way they would not torture any one or two weak ones. His advice was for me to buy 15 females in total so each male had his full fill. He said guppies exist within a strict polyguppoly social structure.

So I bought 15 females and after acclimatizing their water with my tank’s water I released them from their plastic bags. It was a horror show.

The three males went berserk trying to copulate with the females, especially the plain male, who seemed out of his mind with lust. They would rub against the females and chase the shy ones throughout the tank. Most of the females sped in and out of the various decorative structures to avoid the brutal attention of the males. A few of them were shaking in terror, especially when the low-life was after them.

The males showed that they were the bosses of the tank and the females just had to take what the males were doing to them. The females had no one to turn to. It was, I admit, so, so very unfair.

It is now three weeks later. All 15 females are pregnant. Does the female’s condition stop the males? Absolutely not. The males, especially the low-life, are still going after them maniacally.

I am not an advocate of such disgusting behavior. Polyguppoly should be outlawed. I have now stopped believing in Weh Yah’s advice. It is fishism at its worst.

Read Frank’s book Confessions of a Wayward Catholic! Available on, kindle, e-books, Barnes and Noble and at other bookstores.

Attacked by Satan! The Roy Moore Story

Attacked by Satan: THE ROY MOORE STORY


Starring Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman, Jeremy Piven and Ben Affleck

Produced by Harvey Weinstein

Executive Producer: Andrew Kreisberg

Directed by Bryan Singer and Brett Ratner

Screenplay by Roman Polanski and Woody Allen

Music conducted by James Levine

Photography by Terry Richardson and Anthony Weiner

Action Sequences by Steven Seagal

Rave Reviews!

You should lock yourself in your office and watch this movie with great care. — Matt Lauer, TV anchor

There is no spin in this movie except with the little girls that is. — Bill O’Reilly, TV anchor and author

This movie speaks to me. — Garrison Keillor, author and radio host

Roy Moore could teach us all a lesson in success! — Charlie Rose, TV anchor

They tried to destroy Roy Moore, just like they tried to destroy me. I can rise to the occasion even at eighty-eight years of age. — John Conyers, Congressman

I think this movie speaks to all of us who have been unglued by hits from women who want to chain us up and treat us like dogs, especially if we pay them to do that!” – Eliot Spitzer, former Governor of New York

This movie is no joke. Why the hell did I resign? — Al Franken, comedian and Senator

Make sure you have plenty of tissues…and those aren’t for crying! — Louis C.K., comedian

This is a literary masterpiece of a man misunderstood. —Leon Wieseltier, former editor of The Atlantic and New Republic

Really wish I had directed this film. It is a credit to everyone involved! — James Toback, director and writer

The Story of Roy Moore gives all of us food for thought. — John Besh, celebrity chef

This movie is not a joke. It is a masterpiece! — Bill Cosby, comedian

An astonishing job! — Michael Oreskes, vice-president Associated Press

A worthy addition to your movie library. — Mark Halperin, MSNBC contributor and author

David Cop-a-feel! Ha! Ha! I am jumping out of a plane next week. What are we talking about? — George H.W. Bush, former President of the United States

I did not have sex with all those women and I did not rape anyone or do anything wrong. I am just a warm person like Roy Moore! — Bill Clinton, former President of the United States

Roy Moore took my advice and grabbed them by the pussy. How can you not support a great guy like that? See the movie before the fake media destroys it. — Donald J. Trump, President of the United States


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, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.





Cute and Unafraid


I am having trouble with the Beautiful AP and this has been going on for the past 32 years, 25 of which we’ve been married.

I am not ashamed to admit it. I cannot handle her. I cannot get her to be obedient. Even at the first of our weddings (we married each other three times, one wedding of which we were our own ministers) I wanted her to say, “Love, honor and obey.” She wouldn’t. Instead she changed “obey” to “cherish.”

When she heads for work she says things like, “Now, Scobe, I want you to put the laundry in the dryer and when it is dry I want you to put it in the basket and bring it to the bedroom. Make sure you do the dishes in the dishwasher and put them away. Also, bring in the recycling bins. Make sure your spot in the living room is neat and clean. And…”

“You know I am writing all day,” I whine.

“You can take a few minutes off to do a few little things,” she says and heads out to her beloved library job.

But she is not in charge of everything in our house. We have two parrots, Augustus and Mr. Squeaky. They control her. From the moment we all wake up at 5 AM to the moment they go to sleep (Augustus at 4 PM, Mr. Squeaky at 8 PM), the Beautiful AP is the servant of those damn birds—and the master of me!

How is that possible? She cleans their cages every single day; feeds them in the morning; hugs and coos to them when we all watch television together; kisses them; sings to them and puts up with all sorts of crap (literally) every day.

For decades I have pondered one of life’s fundamental questions: how do I make her my servant? Then I had a brilliant idea; I’d ask the birds for the secret of their success. Obviously, they must be doing something right.

“Guys,” I said to them. “Please give me your secret for becoming the master of the Beautiful AP.”

Of course, I know my parrots cannot talk but I can read their faces. All parrot owners will attest that while the bird’s face doesn’t change, it expresses so, so much. Yes, parrot owners know what the bird is saying. I know what Augustus and Mr. Squeaky are saying to me.

I posed my burning question to the birds. Augustus tilted his head. He is so cute when he does that. You see. I am cute when I do this, right? I can melt people’s hearts when I tilt my head and look at them with my head to the side. So AP sees this and she is in love with me.

I jumped in: “Cute? Got it. But how is it you can control her?

Augustus again titled his beautiful head. It’s simple. I let her know that I am in charge. You know that I am called the “stealth pooper” in our home. But there is nothing stealth about it. I poop wherever I want; on furniture, draperies, that nice 65-inch television where I aim it so the poop drips right down the screen. I poop on AP’s shoulder and even on her head. This lets her know I am the boss. I am cute but I am unafraid to stake my ground. That is my power.

Cute, but unafraid. Hmmm.

I have to say, there might have been a time in my life when I was cute but those days are long, long gone. Now I look in a mirror; a horrifying sight looks back at me.

I turned to Mr. Squeaky, but before I could ask him his secret, he tilted his head and said, Cute, but unafraid. What more do you need?

I mulled this over. Cuteness allows you control. I thought of infants, with diapers full of stinking poop and urine, and the mother changing the kid. “Oogie, oogie, baby is so cute!” As she wipes the kid’s awfully smelling butt clean. “Ooohhh, you smell so bad, you beautiful child.” The child giggles. Mom is in paroxysms of love.

Sometime during the day the infant will vomit on the mother. “Is my little oogie, oogie, throwing up on me? Oh, let it all out my pretty little one.”

Squeaky tilted his head, Now think of humans who are not so cute as a baby doing the exact same thing. They are not in control; they are despised.

So, I thought of really, really old people; those who poop and pee in their pants or in their adult diapers and how their health aids feel about cleaning them up.

The old person’s wrinkled and sagging face is not cute like the baby’s face. Lack of cuteness forces them to pay the aid to take care of them. My parrots pay no one. We treat them to everything!

Finally, I asked Squeaky, “What do you do to show superiority?”

Mr. Squeaky tilted his head (he is so cute!). Do you see that sharp point at the end of my beak? Everyone sees that point. I can hurt you if I want to. I am cute and dangerous. Being unafraid is important; it means you have power. Fear is weakness. Unafraid is power.

I learned my lesson.

I am not cute. If I tilt my head the only thing that happens is my jowls fall down in the tilted direction. I certainly cannot poop on my wife’s head as she comes back from work. I can’t bite her. Unfortunately, I am not unafraid.

So, excuse me, I have to do the laundry now before she gets home.

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, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.


Tax Relief? Hell, no! It’s a Gut Punch!


The tax break proposed by the Republicans is nothing more than a gut punch to many of us living in cities or states with high tax burdens.

First of all, why are they fiddling with all the deductions? Leave the deductions alone. To truly change the Federal tax code I propose a tax break that is so simple any legislator can understand it and pass it tomorrow. You can check my percentages at this site:

  • Make those folks paying 39 percent, now pay 35 percent. This represents a tax reduction of 10 percent. (Divide 39 into 35, a reduction of 4, and the savings comes to 10 percent.)
  • Make those paying 35 percent now pay 30 percent. This represents a tax reduction of 14 percent.
  • Make those paying 30 percent now pay 25 percent. This represents a reduction of 17 percent.
  • Make those paying 25 percent now pay 20 percent. This represents a reduction of 20 percent.
  • Make those paying 20 percent now pay 15 percent. This represents a reduction of 25 percent.
  • Make those paying 15 percent now pay 10 percent. This represents a reduction of 33 percent.

Why are the Republicans doing it the way they are doing it? They actually don’t want true tax cuts. The Democrats don’t want any tax cuts at all. Both parties pretend they want tax cuts but pretense is the currency of politics.

If you look at the percent reductions I recommend, you will see that the rich have their taxes reduced much, much less than the working poor. Don’t the Democrats want this kind of progressive taxing? Democrats should rejoice at this. However, I have yet to see Democrats rejoice at any tax cuts.

The Republicans shrewdly phrase the reduction in corporate taxes as going from 35 percent to 20 percent. Perhaps that is a simple and clear tax cut for corporations, but the tax-paying citizenry is still enveloped in the smoke and mirrors with tomes of tax codes, loss of deductions, and for some, a higher tax bill made to look like a cut.

Newscasters have been sucked into the politicians’ game-play that this tax process has to be complex and mysterious. Were they to adopt my way of looking at the issue, it would mean very little arguing in interviews and panel discussions—and as we know, argument stimulates ratings.

The Republicans are playing games. The Democrats are playing games.

Benjamin Franklin said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” With all due respect to Dr. Franklin, I say: In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes and politics.

Frank’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, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.

This Man Needs Advice


FROM NOT-KING-COLE: Do you have any wild ideas about gambling? I’m looking for a real escape. I mean it, I don’t mean just following the math of the games as you do but something really weird and wacky that is perfect for a night at the casino. Drinks, flirting with waitresses and just going wild; that’s what I am talking about.

I am sure you have heard of wild ways to play. Give me an example.

I have a boring job, a boss I hate, I mean I really hate this guy, and an overall dull day-to-day life. I’m miserable. Help me! Help me! I’m looking at the casino as my escape route. Come on, help a guy out. Give me the best advice you got for me to have some fun in order to put all the other BS in the back for a while.

Maybe with some fun in the casinos I can forget about things for a while.

Sign me Not-King-Cole!

FRANK RESPONDS: Not-King-Cole, you need more than just “wild” gambling advice. You need to fix your life and I don’t mean your betting life. Thinking about gambling is the last thing to do.

I know most workers are not in love with their bosses and some hate them as you do. You can look for another job or you can just accept the fact that your boss is your boss and you hate him but he is not in charge of your inner life. That life is yours and yours alone. Make good use of that. Don’t be the drunken guy at the end of the bar whining and moaning until he passes out. I’ve seen too many of those – lost lives often ranting and raving over things they have no real knowledge of.

So you have a dull life? Read books; watch some good documentaries; take yourself out of yourself for a while. Join a club or society that does some good things. You make your life dull or not dull. No one else does.

You have more free time at home than at work. So that time is precious. Make use of it. Gambling is not a savior for anything; not for anything at all. It is just entertainment, hopefully in a life that has more meaning than just letting it all hang out drinking and flirting with waitresses who will be annoyed at guys who leer at them.

I am not going to give you any gambling advice. You seem to be – based on your short letter – someone who could use gambling in the worst possible way.

Please take care of what really needs to be taken care of. And I wish you the best.

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, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.

Dealer Signatures in Roulette


Casino dealers often get into the same easy rhythm when they deal and this is true of roulette dealers as well. They pick up the ball and spin it the same way every time, and they also give that ball the same “oomph” as well. The ball will tend to spin around the roulette wheel the same number of spins as it did the previous spins and it should therefore land approximately the same number of pockets from where the dealer picked up the ball.

If the dealer can actually achieve what I just wrote it is called a dealer signature; the dealers own particular fingerprint on the game. Obviously no two dealers would be alike in how they do this and thus no two fingerprints would be the same.

Is this really possible? Can dealers actually have such signatures? Or is this kind of thinking just wishful thinking; the same kind of thinking that leads players to believe in trend betting and the like? The opinion of experts is divided. A few say it is possible; more say it isn’t possible and the pains-in-the-neck experts say it is theoretically possible but probably not actually possible at a real roulette wheel.

I tend to lean more towards those who believe this is possible with strong reservations. However, if a dealer has such a signature I would think it is somewhat ephemeral and would not necessarily be manifested as often as players looking for it would like.

If a dealer’s signature were unconscious; that is, the dealer is really not aware of what he or she is doing, then it would take thousands of rolls of the ball with each of perhaps hundreds of experienced dealers to ascertain if the concept had any merit. There has never been a study such as this (as far as I know) because it would take the patience of Job to do it.

If the dealer’s signature were conscious then that would be a totally different story. Such a dealer would have the ability to make his friends, his family and himself a bundle of money over time – and if he were caught he’d be playing the uncomfortable game of prison roulette. So such a conscious talent might be used subtly to nail players the dealer didn’t like; help those the dealer did like; and maybe make some money on the side for an occasional friend or family member.

Roulette dealers disagree as to whether such a thing as a signature is possible. In fact, they doubt whether the unconscious or conscious creation of signatures exists at all. Very few dealers of the dozens of dealers I have spoken to believe signatures actually exist. They are more skeptical than the experts – actually, the dealers are the true experts here and they should probably be listened to.

However, if a signature study were done, could it successfully determine once and for all if the signature exists on the part of some dealers? Don’t be so quick to say yes because there are several factors that might make the study invalid or impossible to do.

Thinks of this: How could a person, notebook in hand, stand by a dealer’s table, then follow that same dealer from table to table, day after day, recording her spins without the dealer becoming uncomfortably aware of such a person? Maybe the dealer might at first think that the wheel was being observed for flaws, but this still might cause him to alter his spin to stop the player from determining what that wheel’s flaw is.

Anything that is dealer-dependent could be immediately changed when the dealer becomes aware of being watched. As in quantum physics, the observer interferes with the observed by the mere fact that he is observing. In such a case you can probably forget about ascertaining a dealer signature. I think the discovery of a dealer signature in real casino play is probably impossible if one wishes to have dealers followed for any prolonged period of time. Therefore, the dealer signature might exist but might not be able to be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.

There is also another problem in proving dealer signatures. Roulette wheels do slow down over time, so the movement of the wheel from time “A” to time “B” could be different enough to affect how many pockets pass the ball by as the ball spins around the wheel. The dealer might do everything the same exact way but with each ball-spin she is playing into a fractionally different wheel speed and dealer signatures would end differently around the wheel as the wheel slowed somewhat. A researcher would then be required to analyze the pattern of the signature over different wheel spins – an impossible task in my estimation.

If dealer signatures truly existed, they would be exploitable in short-term play, as the gradual slowing of the wheel’s speed would not affect the signature quite so drastically.

So what should you do?

If the dealer signature exists, then it will help you to win if you could actually figure it out. And if it doesn’t exist, you won’t hurt yourself anymore playing that way than you would hurt yourself playing any other way. You would face the same house edge we would have faced had you played any other kind of layout strategy. So have some fun and go ahead and see if you can figure out a dealer’s signature. It might be like searching for Bigfoot but it’s worth a try.

Frank’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, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.

The Great Horned Owl in Our Backyard!


It was early morning, maybe 5:30, and I was working on an article for this web site when I heard it. “Who! Who!”

My wife the Beautiful AP came into the office. “What was that?”

“I don’t know,” I said.

“Who! Who!…Who! Who! Who!”

“Wow, it sounds like an owl,” she said.

“Yeah, yeah,” I agreed. “It does.”

Our office is in the back of the house and it is three-quarters windows. The “who, who” seemed to be coming from the corner of the room nearest to my desk. AP’s desk is in the center of the room; behind her back are the cages of our two parrots that were not yet uncovered from their night’s rest.

“Who! Who!” came the sound again.

“Oh, man,” I said. “Now that is definitely an owl. It sounds like it is right outside this window in front of me.”

“Who! Who!…Who! Who!”

“No, no, it’s to your left on Brendon’s side of the house,” she said gesturing towards our neighbor’ home.

“Who! Who!”

I went around my desk to the window and peeked through the shade. “I don’t see anything in the bushes or on the fence. Nothing on Brendon’s side either.”

We shut off all the lights in the office and both of us scoured the yard.

“Who! Who! Who!”

“Oh, yeah, that damn thing is right here!” I said.

“I’m going out with my camera and binoculars. I might be able to get a good picture,” she said, scurrying to grab her gear. “Wouldn’t that be cool?”

“I remember that owl in the tree about 15 years ago,” I said. “But that was really far away. This thing is right here.” I pointed to the windows.

The Great Horned Owl is an apex predator, a large creature that can even scare hawks. It’s not a creature you want to have hunting you.

AP went outside and I kept looking out the office windows. In about 15 minutes she came back. “Nothing,” she said, disappointed. “I couldn’t even hear it.”

“Really?” I asked. “It cooed a few times while you were out there.”

“I didn’t hear a thing,” she said, perplexed.

We didn’t solve the mystery right then. But when we came back from the pool (we swim most mornings) we heard the owl again.

“We’re never going to find that thing,” I shouted from the kitchen.

“We don’t have to,” she said from the office. “Listen!”

And the owl gave a double hoot, loud like crazy. It sounded as if it were in the house.

“Come in here!” AP called to me.

I came in.

“It’s right there.” She pointed to my computer.


“It’s the live cam that Paul gave us,” she laughed.

“Oh, for crying out loud,” I said.

Paul is one of the members of the South Shore Audubon Society. He runs a monthly book discussion group and often recommends books, videos and websites.

He recommended a Cornell University web site (

The site has all manner of birds and animals with live web cams. I usually keep mine at the Great Horned Owl and check this creature and her babies out every morning. The site was up but the screen was minimized. So when mama owl hooted, well, it sounded as if she were hooting outside our windows.

No live sighting, no great photograph to add to my wife’s portfolio, but one mystery solved.

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, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.

Are Today’s Baseball Players Better Than Those of the Past?


Breathe deeply baseball fans: Today’s baseball players, those who play the field, those who are designated hitters, those who pitch and those who are relief pitchers, are not – and let me emphasize that – not better than players of the past. In fact, players of the past might actually be better than today’s players!

My quest started simply enough. I was watching an excellent Jonathan Hock documentary titled Fastball. The film explores the combat between pitchers and hitters (batters) and how fast a fastball can be thrown and how talented and skilled a batter has to be to hit such a pitch.

The fastest fastball ever recorded and the one that is in the Guinness Book of World Records was supposedly thrown by Aroldis Chapman and clocked at 105.1 miles-per-hour in 2010.

In the past certain elite fastball pitchers were also timed.

Two of baseball’s greatest were Bob Feller (1936-1956) and Nolan Ryan (1966-1993). Note that these two pitchers cover seven decades for their combined careers and were supposedly the fastest pitchers of their times (at least the fastest ever recorded).

Feller was recorded at 98.6 miles-per-hour and Ryan was recorded at 100.9 miles-per-hour. It would appear that Chapman has wiped the floor with those two. But in truth, he hasn’t.

You see the method used to test both Feller and Ryan was different from the one that tested Chapman—and that difference creates a false comparison. Chapman’s fastball was clocked in the first 10 feet of his throw—some 50.6 feet away from home plate. Both Feller and Ryan’s tests were of the fastball as it came over the plate. In short, Feller and Ryan’s fastball was slowed down by the air it went through in those 50.6 feet of travel.

The Fastball documentary makers clocked Feller and Ryan’s fastballs using the same method used with Chapman, and guess what? Feller’s fastball came in at 107 miles-per-hour and Ryan’s came in at a remarkable 108.5 miles-per-hour! Both of these estimates leave Chapman in the dust.

Today, of course, all pitchers have their throws clocked on each and every pitch – and the speeds seem outrageously high; some are clocked at 95 to 102 miles per hour. (Chapman regularly throws this latter speed). Still these speeds are based on the modern 10-foot metric, not how fast the ball actually goes over plate.

What if we measured today’s pitchers using yesteryear’s metric? To do that, we reduce today’s speeds by 8 percent (combining Feller and Ryan’s increase in speed using the 10-foot rule). Today’s pitchers throwing 102 miles per hour are actually throwing 93.8 miles per hour and those throwing 95 miles per hour are actually throwing 87.4 miles-per-hour – as the ball crosses the plate. Those speeds are not record setting. The air influences them just as the air influenced Feller and Ryan.

That calculation started me thinking; perhaps today’s players are not as good as yesterday’s players or perhaps yesterday’s players are just as good as today’s.

The usual analysis of pitchers is their ERAs – earned run averages; that is, how many runs they give up in nine innings of pitching. Are the ERAs better today than in the past?

If we look at the team ERAs, we can see that teams from 1920 to 2017 have similar ERAs. That’s right. Even though today’s starting pitchers rarely pitch nine innings anymore, and relievers have become essential for modern teams, the total ERA of the entire team resembles the ERA of past teams.

Let me give you a few examples to prove this point.

  • The top five teams from 2016 had ERAs of 3.13, 3.53, 3.57, 3.64 and 3.71.
  • The top five teams from 1927 had ERAs of 3.20, 3.36, 3.54, 3.57 and 3.65.

Not much of a difference, although the ERAs from 1927 are somewhat better.

  • The best five teams from 2016 had ERAs of 5.09, 5.08, 4.91, 4.91 and 4.63.
  • The worst five teams from 1927 had ERAs of 5.36, 4.95, 4.72, 4.27 and 4.22.

Not much of a difference, although the ERAs from 1927 are still better.

Now what of the hitting? Were the hitters of the past as good as or better than the hitters of today?

Again, let me take 1927 versus 2016 and only strictly at batting averages.

  • In 1927, the major league batting average was 284.
  • In 2016, the major league batting average was 255.

So you have slightly better pitching and somewhat better batting averages in 1927 than you do in 2016.

Now, there are many records for many accomplishments, good and bad, in baseball. It is indeed a sport of statistics. You can argue that Babe Ruth’s 60 home runs were achieved with beer and hot dogs as performance enhancers while Bonds, McGwire and others allegedly achieved many of their records with steroid use.

I’ll leave it to you to argue the points.

Still, if you take a broad picture of “back then” and “right now” you discover that today’s players are not really superior to those of the past.

In my opinion, if we could transport the top players of yesteryear to today we would find that:

Joe DiMaggio would still be able to hit in 56 straight games.

Lou Gehrig would still be the hard-hitting “Iron Horse.”

Willie Mays would be, well, the incomparable Willie Mays.

And Babe Ruth? Babe Ruth would still be the best player in history based on his hitting, fielding and, yes folks, his amazing pitching!

To me, the baseball past is not dead. It’s just not appreciated.

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, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.