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Time Is Money When You Play Craps

1 March 2000

By John G. Brokopp

The game of craps is arguably the most volatile of all casino games. Small fortunes can be won in a relatively short period of time by high rollers when the dice are hot. Even players with modest bankrolls and conservative methods of play can take handsome advantage of a fortuitous roll.

On the flip side, small fortunes can be lost and modest bankrolls vanish in a blink of an eye when the dice are cold. That's what gambling is all about. Whereas you can never predict what the trend will be, you should be able to know how to capitalize on good fortune when it does happen to appear.

It has been this columnist's experience playing craps, and to a certain extent other casino games, that the smartest move you can make when you're ahead or have just lucked into a windfall profit is to make plans to end your playing session while you're still a winner. In other words, don't bet it all back!

The surest way casinos have to relieve you of your winnings is for you to keep playing, and playing, and playing. If it isn't Lady luck who'll wind up doing you in, it's the built-in house advantage that casinos take on all the games it offers that will wind up "grinding" your session bankroll from your grasp no matter how far ahead you are.

Look at it this way: Say there are half a dozen people playing cards. Each one buys into the game for twenty dollars. A seventh person at the table doesn't play, but takes one percent of every pot. Theoretically, the person who was guaranteed the one percent will wind up with ALL the money at some point.

Since craps is just a fast-paced game, there are a lot of decisions that can occur in an hour's time, depending of course on how many players there are at the table. If you are involved on every one of those decisions with a monetary investment and plan to stay in the game for any length of time, you are setting yourself up to be a loser.

I don't know how many times I have seen people make hundreds of dollars on a hot roll, one of those rolls during which the shooter makes numerous points and lots of numbers, then wind up losing it all back and then some when the pendulum of luck eventually swings the other way.

There are two ways to protect yourself from this happening to you: First, if you are fortunate enough to make money during a hot session at the craps table, set a profit goal for yourself. For example, if you bought in for $100 and you've made it grow to $270, you may decide to set aside $200 as your "getaway" goal and play with the $70. You may get on another winning streak with it. If not, when the $70 is gone, you're gone.

Perhaps the best way for you to fight the casino's ability to grind your money from you is to not be involved in every single decision. That is, wait for a new shooter to roll a few numbers before getting into the game, or take your bets "off" once in a while. Waiting for a shooter will eliminate a lot of quick "seven outs". By taking your money out of jeopardy you can't win, of course, but neither can you lose.

Just remember that the game of craps is pure luck. Winning and losing is not dependent upon strategy. It IS dependent on sound money management, making the wisest bets and avoiding those with huge "vigorish", and selecting periods of time to keep your money off the layout.

No matter what "game plan" you choose to avoid having money at risk on each and every roll, you're going to become a better craps player. Your money will last longer and you'll have a better chance of leaving the table a winner.

Don't be intimidated into thinking you have to bet on every roll, or fall prey to the lure of the "action" that craps offers. It's perfectly o.k. to keep your position at the table with your chips safe and sound in the wooden rails in front of you. Don't be afraid to instruct the dealer to take your bets down, or to tell him you're "off" on a particular roll. Take full advantage of the freedom and flexibility the game offers.

For more information about craps, we recommend:

Beat the Craps Out of the Casinos: How to Play Craps and Win! by Frank Scoblete
The Captain's Craps Revolution! by Frank Scoblete
Sharpshooter Craps Audio Cassette Tape (60 minutes) with Frank Scoblete
Winning Strategies at Craps! Video tape hosted by Academy Award Winner James Coburn, Written by Frank Scoblete
John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

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