Whenever I get to the Coushatta for a little NL action, I have a little time to kill while the waiting list either whittles down or gets big enough to open a new table. Unfortunately, that makes it easy for me to give in to my gambling urges.
Slots do nothing for me. I know Grubby loves one-armed bandits, but I just can't seem to get much excitement out of them. The blackjack tables are okay, but I lose too much there, despite what the book says. Roulette is a money pit (as much as I'd like to play it!). And Pai Gow poker is fine at 3am when I don't have to think, but that's about it.
That means it's on to the craps table. And I think I've developed a system that keeps my head above water no matter how long I play. Sure, you won't get rich, but you'll walk away ahead!More in this Poker Blog! -->
It all starts with the table. First I'll tell you what to ignore. Ignore all of those boxes to the left (Hardaways, One Roll Bets, Horn Bet, etc.). Those are sucker bets. Those little C-E circles don't mean a whole lot either. And you're better off pretending the "Field" and "Big 6-8" areas don't exist either.
So what does that leave? Well, you've got the Pass Line and Don't Pass Bar and you've got the Come and the Don't Come Bar. You also have those numbers up top, but I'd stay away from the place bets.
When I play, I play "wrong." That means I'm betting against the shooter. If you're going to play this way, you need to do so quietly. Loudly rooting against everyone else is a quick way to get a right cross to your temple. Here's how it works:
Place a bet on the Don't Pass Bar. I play either the $5 or $10 tables. So let's say I put $5 on the Don't Pass Bar. The shooter throws the dice and one of four things happens; you win, you lose, you push or the point is set.
You win $5 when a 2 or a 3 or is rolled. You lose your $5 bet when a 7 or 11 is rolled. You push when a 12 is rolled. And any other number sets the point (that's those numbers up at the top, the black "Off" disk will flip over and become the white "On" disk and get placed on a number).
So let's say the shooter rolls a 9. You've bet "Don't Pass" so that means you win if $5 if the shooter rolls a 7 before again rolling a 9. None of the other numbers affect you at all. If a 9 comes first, you lose your $5 bet.
However, the real money comes when you lay odds. You see, you're at a great advantage to win your $5 bet because a 7 is much more common than a 9. That means you want to maximize your winnings. When you lay odds on a 9, you get paid $2 for every $3 you bet (same thing for the 5). For example, bet $15 and win $10 or bet $30 and win $20. That's a bet that you'll make after the point is set that's in addition to your "Don't Pass" bet (put the money behind your initial bet).
If you want to press your luck, you can also bet the "Don't Come Bar." It acts exactly like the "Don't Pass Bar" on subsequent rolls. If the 9 is the point, you bet the "Don't Come," and the next roll is a 4, your "Don't Come" bet will be moved to the square with the 4. You can again lay odds, and once again, you win if a 7 is rolled before a 4.
With the 4, however, you have to bet $2 to win $1 when you lay odds. So if you bet $20 you win $10 and if you bet $30 you win $15. Again, it's the same payoff for the 10.
When it's the 6 or the 8, you have to lay $6 to win $5. So for a $30 bet, you can win $25.
See how simple it is?
Generally, I'll bet the "Don't Pass." If a 10 or a 4 is the point, I'll take heavy odds, maybe laying as much as $60. If a 5 or a 9 is the point, I'll take solid odds, maybe laying $45 or $30. If a 6 or an 8 is the point, I won't take odds. Occasionally, I'll also bet the "Don't Come," but only if I'm on a good run. If a hot shooter steps up (hitting 2 points), I won't play until the dice move.
Again, you won't get rich playing this way, but I've figured out it's a pretty solid system for making money while having a little fun at the craps table!
As I stretched out on my couch after the drive home, I closed my eyes and could still hear the casino in my head. The sounds are addictive. I wanted to jump in my car and drive back to The Paragon. Instead, I reminisced about Mrs. Beautiful.
Lunch was good. Not as good as the lobster tail dinner, but good enough to get me itching to gamble again. I headed back to the casino floor with a purpose. Apparently, the casino didn't understand my purpose because things quickly went awry...More in this Poker Blog! -->
I know how to play Blackjack. I know the game. I've played it and played it well. It's not that hard. There are times when you hit and times when you stand. Sometimes you split, other times you double down. And every now and then, you're supposed to get Blackjack.
Apparently the Blackjack gods hate me. I never saw a Blackjack. Every time I doubled down, the dealer managed four and five card 20's and 21's.
It was time to swear off Blackjack.
Instead, I was lured to the fool's gold of a Three Card Poker table. I had my initial $80 profit running through my head, while conveniently forgetting I had given it all back.
I sat down with what seemed like a Shriner's convention, and plunked a hundred dollar bill on the felt.
It wasn't a blur this time. I remember it all happening. It was like slow motion. A brutal slow motion, like when Rocky punched Drago in slow motion and sent him to the mat. I was Drago.
I didn't see a single pair or better. One guy at the table got dealt three flushes in a row. I wish I had been in his seat. Instead, my $100 was gone in just minutes. I ran from the table.
Apparently the tables just weren't going to work for me, so I headed back to the nickel slots. At least I had won money there.
I sought out that crazy Pyramid game again hoping to see the same luck as last time. I slid two $20 bills into the slot and started playing my 800 credits. 785... 770... 755... 400... 385... 370... 100... 85...
It didn't take long before it was gone. The funky pyramids didn't show up this time and I was becoming rather deflated. This trip to the casino was turning out a lot worse than I had envisioned.
I slid over to the next nickel slot machine and put another $40 inside. It was some kind of spelling bee game. I remembered that I hate bees soon after that $40 was gone.
Why do I even play slots? I've said countless times that I hate slots. In just 10 minutes or so, I had given back everything I made at the slots the day before, and then some.
I didn't really come to lose my $500. The only reason I brought that much was so I could take a legitimate bankroll to the poker table. Since the poker room was closed, I was stuck giving my money away to the casino.
I had already lost $300 and figured I should probably just head home.
Then I saw her.
She was stunning.
I was drawn to her, and that led me to the Roulette wheel. Her shimmering smile and bottomless blue eyes helped me forget the huge house edge I was facing.
I bought in for $100 and hoped for the best. I apparently wasn't the only man drawn to the roulette table, but most others merely stopped at the other end from Mrs. Beautiful and stared. Her plunging neckline made for an inviting sight every time she stretched to bet on the number 10.
I began my routine, playing the number 17 and surrounding it. That was a $9 bet every time the wheel spun, and a total of 11 spins if the numbers 13-21 failed to hit.
For awhile that looked to be the case. Even Mrs. Beautiful was having a rough time of it. She busted out and for a moment, I feared she was going to leave. Instead she pulled out another $20 and started again. It was a good thing she did because Mrs. Beautiful suddenly turned into Lady Luck.
It didn't take long before Mrs. Beautiful had every baby blue chip in front of her. The luck didn't spread to me, however, and I was getting close to busting out.
Then it happened. Mrs. Beautiful stretched across the table and placed one of her chips on 17. I laid out my 9 chips and decided to put an extra chip on top of 17. I knew, I just knew my luck was about to change.
The little white ball began it's trip around the wheel and started bouncing from number to number before finally settling in a spot it hadn't settled in since I sat down... 17 black.
"It's about time!" I said, then I turned to Mrs. Beautiful, "Thanks for changing my luck."
"Oh, you're welcome. I'm just glad you finally hit," she smiled.
The wheel man slid me 100 orange roulette chips and then 70 in casino chips.
I slid a $5 chip down to Mrs. Beautiful, "I figure I wouldn't have hit that without your bet."
"Thanks!" she was surprised. I'm not sure how often people tip other players at the table.
Things just got better from there. A few spins later, 17 hit again, this time for a haul of 135. Unfortunately, Mrs. Beautiful had to go and when she left the table, I stopped hitting. In fact, when she left the table, everyone stopped hitting.
I walked away from the wheel with a $50 profit. That's not much in the grand scheme, but I was down to almost nothing when I made my comeback, and I have Mrs. Beautiful to thank for that!
Half my money was gone. But I was actually feeling a lot better after my turn on the wheel. It made sense to walk away at this point. If I stopped anywhere else and lost, I'd feel terrible.
As I headed toward the exit, I had to pass the Craps table. The Wizard of Odds says, "Craps can be an intimidating game for the beginner." That's why I've never actually played. I know how to play (thanks to Hoyle Casino), but I've always been intimidated by the pace of play. Craps is fast.
As I stopped to watch, a player told me, "If you're walking into a casino, you're playing craps, or you might as well go home." He's right. No game in a casino has a lower house edge than craps.
In fact, the Paragon features 10X odds, and that means the house edge is just 0.184%. I hadn't cashed in my $150 in chips from roulette and thought, "What the hell?"
I took my chips and got ready to play.
The Wizard of Odds also gives this advice, "If you are playing for the first time don't announce this if you are male. Male virgins to the game are said to be unlucky, and the opposite for females. This is evidently because virginity is despised in men and valued in women." I made no such announcement and placed my $5 chip on the pass line.
It was a blur. But this is one of the greatest blurs I've ever been a part of. I was betting the pass and the come and playing 4, 5, 6, sometimes 10 times odds.
They were throwing red and green chips at me faster than I could put them in my tray. I love craps!!!
Before I knew it, I had more than $400 in chips in front of me, and combined with the five $20 bills in my pocket, I was actually up for the trip.
As the dice turned cold, I got myself back down to $300 in chips and knew it was time to walk away. Less than an hour earlier, I was two roulette spins from walking away with just $100. Now I was walking out of there with $400.
It's one of those trips where you lose money but walk away feeling like a winner. In fact, combined with the free room ($65), free dinner ($50), and free breakfast and lunch buffets ($20), I actually came out ahead.
I can't wait to get back to the Paragon to experience their poker room for the first time and to throw those dice again.
As I left the casino, I took a deep breath and smiled. I love to gamble.<-- Hide More