Dicey subject!

Jan 9, 2006 1:21 AM

Craps play in Nevada is on a roll. The Nevada Gaming Control Board reports that casinos last October raked in $42.8 million at the dice tables, a 20.4 percent increase over the previous October’s winnings.

And for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2005, casinos won $452 million, a solid 6.48 percent more than they won in fiscal 2004.

There are probably a number of different factors at work that has caused craps’ newfound popularity.

Among them is the "tightening" of payouts on blackjack. Specifically, many casinos — mostly on the Las Vegas Strip — have reduced the payoff for a blackjack to 6-5 from the 3-2 odds that is standard throughout most casinos.

In addition, a lot of people are turning to the craps tables because some casinos have started to hit on soft 17, another player-unfriendly tactic designed to dump more money into the casino coffers.

So with the house edge creeping up at the blackjack tables, players are turning to the craps tables. And for good reason!

Here are seven reasons why craps should be your game:

1. The player controls the game. You can ask for the same (or different) dice, set them in any way you want before shooting, ask for the table limit to be suspended, and make unadvertised "call" bets. Where else can you have this much fun?

2. Many of the bets have a casino advantage of less than 2 percent. Some of the more popular bets are pass line with maximum odds, don’t pass with maximum odds, come bet with maximum odds, and don’t come bets with maximum odds. If you play at a 100x odds table, the casino advantage is only .02 percent or less. Where else can you find a better deal than that?

3. You can increase your money by 900 percent in just two rolls. Try it. Bet just one lowly dollar on the two or 12. If it wins you get $30. Then let the $30 ride. If it wins, you get $900. You’ve turned $1 into $900 in less than a minute. Sure, it’s highly unlikely. But where else in the pit do you even have a chance of winning this kind of money in such a short time?

4. You can make money just by riding along with a good shooter. Look for someone who makes small $5 bets while other people are shooting, but increases his bets to $25 or more when he’s the shooter. Maybe he has a craps table at home and practices. Maybe he’s a psychic. Who knows? But when he bets, you should bet the same way he does. When he wins, you should, too. Where else can you make money using someone else’s talents?

5. You get a lot of comps playing craps. Buy in with a large amount and make a big first bet. Play at a casino that gives you credit for your spread instead of your individual bets. You can end up with a free room, a free show and free meals. Where else can you get so much free stuff?

6. There are long profitable streaks in craps. A shooter can hold the dice for an hour and everyone at the table cleans up. Once you learn how to recognize these streaks by charting the tables, you can hang on and be betting black chips before you know it. Where else can you get this mix of pure excitement plus constantly increasing profits?

7. Craps is a people-oriented game. You can talk to the gamblers next to you, and the dealers, too. Ask them how the table is going. Talk to everyone. Ask if they’re good shooters. Try to notice if there are any don’t bettors and how they’re doing, especially if you’re a don’t bettor yourself. Where else can you make friends and money at the same time?

Good luck at the tables!

(Next week, the Crapshooter explains how to win with the come bet.)