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.]