It is no longer the 1950s or 60s or 70s or 80s. We are in a new century now. It is truly the modern age.
But is it the modern age in the game of craps? Have women broken the stranglehold that men have had on that game since forever?
Is craps still a male domain?
Indeed, it still is but, as Bob Dylan wrote long ago, “The times they are a-changin.” He should have just added the word “slowly.” Maybe, very slowly.
If you go to the craps tables today, while men still dominate, it is not completely unheard of to see women playing the game – and playing the game not attached to some fellow.
Yes, it has been slow progress but it has been progress nevertheless. One such female craps player is Cindy, a 65-year-old product of New Jersey who “cut her teeth” (as she says) in Atlantic City in “the early days.”
I’ll let her tell her story:
CINDY: “When I first went to the casinos, it was Resorts, and you actually had to wait in line to play. I was a kid and this would be my first trips to the casino. My mother and father thought I was making a big mistake.
“I guess like any novice I went to the slot machines. They were the easiest to play and it didn’t take any knowledge to put your coins in and spin the reels. But I got bored with the slots; there was no strategy and it became somewhat humdrum. What next?
“I tried blackjack and I liked it but still, it was missing something. I tried roulette too. I just wasn’t getting the thrill I thought the casino games should give me.
“Look, I know other players loved all these games and they satisfied many of them. Not me. I always heard cheering and moaning coming from the craps tables – all male voices by the way. What was it about that game that thrilled all those guys? Or made them miserable? Loud miserable too. I didn’t hear any massive cheering at blackjack or roulette. Maybe one voice at a slot machine.
“At craps it could be the whole table!
“I strolled by the craps tables one evening and watched the game. The layout looked imposing. There were so many bets I couldn’t keep track of them. I had just started my career as a teacher and I had a little money, very little. The minimum for the table was five dollars. I could afford that if I decided to play
“Did I want to just push my way into the game without knowing anything about it? I’d be pushing a bunch of men back. I decided that the better part of bravery was caution. I just spent that evening watching a few tables.
“What does a teacher do when confronted with a mystery and craps was a mystery. I bought several books from the Gamblers Book Club in Las Vegas. These were elementary books that explained the game and the various betting choices players could make. Those betting choices were huge.
“I made a very simple plan. I would make the best bets at the table, the Pass and the Come and put double odds on them. I’d go up on three numbers and cross my fingers.
“I did know that the game was dominated by men. I had not seen a single woman playing it when I spent that evening watching it. Would the men mind a woman entering their game? Well, I was going to play it no matter what. I can be stubborn and I was a feminist. No male world was closed to me. I hoped I was as strong as I pretended to be!
“I guessed I’d have two thrills. One would be playing the game and the other would be how I would be treated when I played the game. Okay, my next trip would let me know if I could handle it all.
“My parents asked me if I really wanted to go to the casino this often. It was once a month. It wasn’t a long drive from our house. My sister Abby, who was in law school during this time, came with me many times in the future but my first trip to the craps table to play meant I was all alone.
“I cashed in for a hundred dollars and I heard it right away. One older guy shook his head and said loudly, ‘Oh, look who is here!’ I guess that was supposed to scare me.
“I got my chips and I placed a come bet. ’Stupid bet,’ he said. Evidently, he hadn’t read the two books I had read. When my bet went on the number, I placed two times odds on it.
“Most of the men just ignored me. One guy told me not to worry about ‘the idiot’ who was making remarks. Have fun playing. That’s why we were all here. We married two years later.
“I guess you could say, I really won at the craps table!”
All the best in and out of the casinos!
Frank Scoblete’s web site is www.frankscoblete.com. His books are available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Kindle, e-books, libraries and at bookstores.