Big Al and the Craps experiment

December 16, 2014 3:08 AM


El Cortez ideal spot for craps and top keno returns Last week Big Al came to town from Texas for some gaming experiments. The primary test was in the game of craps though we did some keno as well.

Al and I were at a $3 table at the El Cortez, which is an excellent place to play craps as they have 10 times odds. He bought in for $1,000, of which he played half and I played the other half. I used my usual betting procedures at the table, betting the pass line, starting with double odds and the same on the come for every roll.

The line or come bet would never be increased until the odds were at maximum. This helps longevity at the table as the house edge is reduced to a minimum. I would bet the come and take double odds. If a come bet hit I would increase the odds on other come bets, hoping to eventually get to 10 times odds.

While I never did get to 10 times odds, I did get to 8 a few times with an odds bet of $25 for a $3 flat bet on the 6 and 8. At the start we loaded the bases, got one hit and the shooter sevened out. I was down about $100. After that, for a while, we had shooters who were poor. None loaded the bases, and they sevened out before there were several hits.

As the time went on Big Al had a decent roll making a few passes and several come numbers. I followed suit with a similar decent roll. As we reached about the 10 minute mark for the experiment the dice passed to a man on the other side of the table. He started hitting come numbers and Big Al and myself were collecting winnings on many of his rolls.

The time for the experiment came to the allotted one hour but since he still held the dice we stayed with him until he sevened out. I was increasing the odds on my come bets as he was hitting the point numbers. Big Al was also on the come with this shooter and taking double, triple, or quadruple odds.

I was increasing my odds on the come numbers and, as mentioned above, got to 8 times odds on the 6 and 8. Thus when a 6 or 8 hit the payoff was $3 for the flat bet and $30 for the come bet odds. Big Al often would make a $5 come bet and if the come bet went to 6 or 8 took $15 odds for a payoff of $23 total.

The way we played shows that keeping to the bets with the lowest house edge is the best policy for craps. We stayed completely away from place bets with their “casino” odds as when you have 10 times odds, even after you go on a number you get a better pay with the come bet and odds.

Unlike some casinos where the bosses sweat the action and the dealers hustle for tips and encourage the terrible center proposition bets, here the dealers were friendly, completely professional, and never had a problem with my increasing the odds bet (no house edge on odds bets) as numbers would be hit.

When the shooter sevened out Big Al had a $370 profit and I had a $480 profit.

We did a mini experiment of the above the next day with a $100 buy in for me and even with a choppy table lost only $1. I was down about $30 to $40 but on my last roll hit a few pass line and come points to get me within $1 of being even.

Big Al, who would bet sometimes on the don’t, bet the do for this shooter (me) and when I hit a point of 4 with odds he and I both came back to even with these hits.

We ate beforehand at Cafe Cortez. The liver and onions there was the best I can remember anywhere.

Next week: Part 2 of the experiment and covering our keno action. I got the nickname Big “P” from Big Al and the dealers started using it, oh well.

Thus the above shows that careful betting at the lowest house advantage gives you the best opportunity to survive until a good roll might come (excuse the pun) your way.

Big Al flew back to Texas and I shall be returning to California shortly. My thanks to this GamingToday subscriber for the action, fun, and profit.

Encore: We played the $1.15 special rate of the El Cortez, one of downtown’s best keno returns.

Remember in craps, stick to pass, come and the odds. In keno, try to play the lowest house edge ticket.

El Cortez has great food, gaming and company. Enjoy!

Pesach Kremen is a former UNLV Masters Gaming student, has won and placed in multiple local keno tournaments, and has written several academic papers on Keno. You can reach him at

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