I usually have my secretary answer the phones – or a pleasant answering service takes over in the “off” hours; a service that usually gets about 50 percent of the messages correct and the other 50 percent so completely botched up that I have no idea what the person calling wants. Who knows?
But every once in a while, I answer the phones. This is not a trial for me, except every once in a while the person on the other end is either a nut or a talker who tells you his long life story and how it relates to casino gambling — his long, incredibly boring life story.
The other day, however, I got a real nut who also told me his long and totally boring life story and then proceeded to badger me after the interminable thing ended. After the War and Peace version of his dull life, he then said. “You see, I want to get a way to beat the casino at craps when the other shooters are rolling. I don’t roll the dice. I don’t like to roll the dice.”
“You mean the regular random shooters?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said. “Do you have a system for that? So I can win when a regular shooter is rolling?”
“No,” I said, “there is no system to beat craps just by betting. You have to control the dice to have a chance to win at the game.”
“That’s not what I heard,” he said.
Then I heard the “click” which meant I had another call behind him. “I have a call behind you,” I started to say.
“There are many systems to beat the game of craps, “ he said. “You should know that. You can watch a table and discover what kind of trend is working at the table and bet that. Or you can bet against that if you think it is not going to last. What about those?”
“They don’t work. Random is random. There’s no predictability in random trends,” I said.
“Nah, nah,” he said, “I have seen trends last for quite awhile at the craps tables.”
“Okay, well, look, I have another call…”
“What about hedging your bets? You hedge your bets on the Pass Line with any craps so you reduce the impact of the seven. That’s a good system. Right?”
“No, no, it stinks,” I said. “Give me a second.” I pushed the button to see who was the other caller. He or she had hung up.
“The hedging is a good thing, all the great gambling people know that,” he said. “I am surprised you don’t understand it. I mean you’ve written a lot of books on craps. Aren’t you supposed to be an expert?”
“I understand hedging,” I said, “and I have written about it on my web site and in Casino Player magazine. Hedging doesn’t work. You lose more money by hedging your bets.”
“You don’t know what you are talking about,” he said. “You find a trend and bet with or against it by hedging your bets. That is a great way to bet.”
“Okay, fine, look, you bet any way you want to bet. It’s your money,” I said. At a certain point some conversations are just not worth pursuing and this one had gotten to that point.
“So you have no betting systems that can get me to win on the other shooters?” he asked.
“I told you that there are no betting systems that can overcome the house edge. You have to control the dice in craps. In blackjack you have to count cards. Betting systems just can’t overcome negative expectations.”
“That’s not what I heard,” he said.
“Like I said, it’s your money, bet it any way you choose,” I said.
“But you sell books on craps and gambling and you don’t know any systems to beat the house when other shooters are rolling?”
“Is this a joke?” I asked.
“Is this a joke? Are you someone who is pulling my leg?” I asked.
“I’m gambling for 40 years. I don’t joke. You should know the systems to beat the games.”
“Look, I can talk about any system you want but none of them works. I’ve written about, well, just about all of them and they don’t work. Random is random. There are trends but they are not predictive – they are random. You hedge and you’ll lose more money. You can use the 5-Count to reduce your action but against random rollers you still can’t get the edge.”
“What about the idea if you see a horn you bet a horn?” he asked.
“Stupid, it’s stupid,” I said.
“Why is it stupid?”
“Because the game is random and that horn number is no more likely to come up next than it was likely to come up the time before. The house edge is about twelve and a half percent. You’re going to lose twelve dollars and fifty cents for every hundred you bet on that.”
“I’ve been gambling for forty years,” he said, but I cut him off.
“Look, why do you need a new system?” I asked.
“Why do you need a system? If you know all these systems and have been gambling for forty years haven’t these systems won you money all those years?”
“You must be a billionaire by now. You must have seen and bet a lot of horns in forty years. You must have been on or off a lot of trends in forty years. You must be so rich with all that hedging that you could own a casino now.”
He hung up. He must have heard the sarcasm in my voice. Guys like him can make you go crazy. Then the phone rang again. I picked it up, “Look, you idiot, I told you, there are no betting systems that can beat a negative expectation game! You’re an idiot for thinking there are!”
“Go away, go away. Go away! ” I shouted.
“It’s me, Margaret,” said my mother-in-law.
“Ah,” I said. “Oh…Hi, how are you?”
And she told me, for the next hour, how she was.
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.