A Long “Crap” Hand

The following article was posted by Jim on The Chip Board on September 5th, 2010

I had just finished an hour block of instruction about “craps”. The focus was on my initial statement at the opening of class. “You cannot audit what you don’t understand”. Therefore, one of the most important aspects is understanding how a casino game is played, what paper is generated by it and how you would construct your audit procedures. I inquired if there were any questions. A student in the back of the class raised his hand. Mr. Perlowski what was the longest “crap” hand you ever witnessed or was involved in? Since there was ten minutes left before class let out, I didn’t answer the question with a simple response but incorporated the answer within one of the many experiences I have had while living in Nevada.  To appreciate my answer to this student one has to have enough knowledge about the game of “craps” to understand the significance.

Currently, the game of craps is in trouble. Young people today apparently do not care for the game and find it too difficult to understand and learn. They would rather play slots or video poker and 21 or blackjack. In addition, the casino makes it difficult to learn the game by establishing minimum bet requirements of $5.00 to $25.00 for initial and subsequent bets.

The day of the 10 cent crap game has been gone for many years. It was these low limit crap games, found everywhere in town, that allowed players to learn the game without losing significant amounts of money. Today’s high minimum bet limits discourage a novice who doesn’t care to lose a couple of hundred dollars just to learn the game. There are no systems to learn. The secret to winning in craps is to learn proper money management and develop ice water in your veins to bet it up when a “hand” shows. It quite easy to bet the minimum but takes a tremendous amount of discipline to continue to bet the table maximum as the dice begin to make numbers.

Craps is played with two dice and the object is to roll 7 or 11 (the total added together of both dice) on the initial or come out roll to win. The shooter places the wager on the line. If the “shooter” rolls 2, 3 or 12 the shooter “craps out” keeps the dice, places a new wager on the line, and rolls again. If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11, the shooter wins an equal amount of the wager that is placed on the line as well as any other player who has a wager on the line as well.

If a number other than 7,11,2,3,12 is rolled, this number becomes the shooters point. Let’s say the shooter rolls a 4.

The dealer will “mark” the number 4 on the top of the layout with a plastic disc that usually has “on” printed upon it. The object now becomes to roll a 4 BEFORE a 7. If the shooter (or anyone else at the table) would like to acquire another number the player places the wager on the layout in the area marked “come”. This area actually becomes the “new” line for all subsequent rolls. The shooter rolls the dice and rolls a 5. The dealer moves all the wagers on the “come” up to the number 5 at the top of the layout. At this point there are two numbers to roll, 4 and 5 BEFORE a 7 is rolled or “shows”.

If the shooter now rolls a 7 the players who had 4 and 5 as points lose. If any player had a wager in the “come” area that player is paid even money. Everything now starts over with a “new” shooter. The game of craps allows a player to play the opposite or “don’t come”. In other words, a player will place a wager on the “don’t” line. Let’s say the shooter rolls a 6. The “don’t” player now hopes the shooter rolls a 7 BEFORE the shooter rolls that 6.At this point the don’t player has a little bit better of it than the do player. If a 7 is rolled before the 6 the don’t player is paid. The words on the layout like DON’T COME indicate the spaces a don’t player will place their wagers.

One more thing, odds…………odds are the only “free” bet at a crap table. In other words, the player whether a “do” or “don’t” player should always “take” or “lay” the odds respectively. The player pays the house percentage or vigorish by making the initial “line” play as well as any additional come bets. Therefore, it is always wise to take advantage of the odds. In the old days most places offered double odds. Today, you can find casinos that will allow as much as 20 times odds. It just means a player can put more money in action.

Odds are always calculated in terms of the number 7. If you look at a pair of dice there are six ways to make the number 7. 6-1, 1-6,   5-2, 2-5, 4-3, 3-4. Now let’s look at the number 4. How many ways are there to make a 4? Well let’s see, 1-3, 3-1, 2-2 or 3 ways to make a 4. Therefore, the odds to make a 4 are 6/3 or 2 to 1. In other words, the casino will pay you the correct odds of 2 for 1 for a 4. If you have a $5.00 wager on the line and place a $5.00 wager behind the line, before a 7 or a 4 shows, and the 4 shows before the 7. You will be paid even money on the line or $5.00 and $10.00 (2 for 1) for your $5.00 wager behind the line.

Now without me calculating the correct odds for all the remaining numbers let me just say that the odds for 4 or 10 are 2 to 1, 6 or 8 are 6 to 5, and 5 or 9 are 3 to 2. Obviously, if you are a “don’t” player you would have to “lay” the odds or reverse the action of a do player. For example, if you have $5.00 on the line and a 4 becomes the point, you as a don’t player would have to “lay” $10.00 to win $5.00. Now on with the story!

The year was late 1977 or early 1978. I had just purchased a brand new 1977 CJ-5 yellow jeep from Jim Marsh Automotive. At that time Jim was located somewhere down near Eastern Ave. As was the habit of the time, every Thursday evening, after dinner, I would drive the CJ, with the canvas top down to the Flaming Capri to pick up the weeks supply of cigarettes for my wife and me.

This particular evening was nice. I remember the temperature was in the 80’s. I took Rainbow to Flamingo made a left and drove on Flamingo until I hit the strip. Made a left on Las Vegas Boulevard and pulled right in front of the Flamingo Capri and parked at one of the metered parking places. The Imperial Palace was being built but I did not pay it much attention. I noticed old man Billy Capri was not out front as he usually would be “hawking” the benefits of his fine establishment. All I could hear was the “roar” of the crap players inside. The doors were open. I went up the slight ramp until I was on the casino floor near the crap table.

I noticed Billy was in the small pit area standing, starring at the crap table. If I tell you that every number on the crap table layout was covered in chips I wouldn’t be doing the picture any justice. I noticed two players that appeared to understand the game and know how to play it. Each one of them had rows of black chips in front of them as well as every number covered with black chips (the table limit was $100.00 plus full double odds) The chips that are normally in front of the box man (the person who sits in back of the table bank chips with a dealer on both sides) were mostly gone. You could tell where they were by the dust rings that were left as they were moved out to pay winning wagers.

The two lone security guards were at the cage picking up a fill for the crap table. I asked one of them how long the young lady was shooting. Without looking at me, he said over an hour. The table had seven players. It now had eight. I took out two hundred dollar bills and asked for “two hundred in red”. The security guards had brought the fill and the dealer pushed me the two stacks of red and the box man dropped my money in the drop box. I also said “odds always work”. The house normally takes the odds off on all come out rolls. Billy smiled at me and said you got a contract.

For the next 45 minutes the young lady made number after number. The two players with the racks of black chips lost their nerve and started to bet less and less. Finally, they both quit without the table making a 7 out. The time between throws became longer and longer. The box man insisted upon examining the dice after each throw. The stick man would bring the dice to the center of the crap table and show almost all the combinations of possible sevens.  I turned to Billy and asked why he was allowing this. He pretended not to hear me. The game was now at a “crawl”. I didn’t care…………….just make more numbers.

I was now off and on for every roll. In other words, I had a $100.00 chip in the come area and would automatically be paid without disturbing my maximize come bets at the top of the layout. The dice had flown off the table a few times; were changed by the box man………….but continued to make numbers.

Billy was nervous…………so was I. Seven out, line away said the stick man. My heart sank. Billy smiled. I was up approximately $11,000. I had won my buy in to the World Series of Poker as well as a minor event. I shouldn’t complain. I asked Billy if he would give me a check. No problem, let’s go to the cage he said. I thought you might own the place Billy joked. I cautiously reminded him I came into the hand after it was already going for an hour. He shook his head………I’m going to take this damn table out one of these days.

The girl shooter…………she won $85.00, a dollar at a time. You got to love the game of craps!