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‘Dance’ your way
through the math!

Dec 9, 2003 3:27 AM

The mathematician Pierre Simon Laplace did his thing in Napoleonic France over 200 years ago. He claimed all our knowledge is problematical. Even the small number of things we are able to know with certainty, by induction and analogy, the principle means for discovering truth, are based on probabilities. Today’s "truths" walk on thin ice.

Probabilities of mechanical events, best adapted to the gaming tables, will prove out over an extended period of time. There are no surprises here ”” yes, the dice will roll a seven one-sixth of the time. That probability has become as close to a certainty as we can get it ”” mainly because the physical characteristics and the nature of cast do not change. The betting propositions, framed by the operator, eventually insure his predetermined vigorish. Therefore, a truth about craps.

If you were to shoot dice consistently day in and day out until you croaked, most certainly the house proposition would get you. However, if you hit and run, look for and catch fortuitous patterns, you can temporarily defeat (at times) the inevitable long-term losing grind. As they say, sometimes you can dodge the raindrops, catch a long duke, and hit a lick. It’s done every day. Slot jackpots are hit every day too.

The correct anticipation of the next roll is not a certainty, but of the next many, many rolls, it approaches it with infinitesimal variation. The law of large numbers prevails. You can bet on it.

If you were the only customer in a casino, whether they won or lost would depend on whether you won or lost on one of your brief forays. But when the casino has five craps tables, each with 20 players in action, they have increased the "you’s" a hundredfold. That’s 100 "you’s" betting every minute. And each of the "you’s" are betting their separate and different ways simultaneously. Volume assures the long-term type house grind is in effect even in a shorter duration for probability to assert its "truth."

Trillions of dollars of crapshooting bets have shown that the game’s average "hold" is around 15 percent. That means, for every $100 "dropped" in the table’s money slot, only about $85 gets cashed in eventually. The hold is 15 bucks.

Now the craps vigorish is only 1.4 percent on every bet. Whether you bet your entire bankroll at once or portion it out, in the long run you’ll lose 1.4 percent. Now, churn that bankroll size about 12 times and you have a negative compound interest effect. That cuts your bankroll to 85 percent of its original size.

Statistics show that the "average" crapshooter, who takes $1,000 to the table, churns it until his total wagers are $12,000 then quits a $150 loser. That’s the overall average scenario that the house depends on.

But that applies to the "mass," the total public, which the casino confronts around the clock. Their hold is based on the "mass" effect. Casinos don’t treat the mass with contempt but they know that overall they are losers. However, they do take a hard look at any single player who gets tough and is hitting a lick because he breaks out of the mass mold. He can whittle away their hold temporarily. So they flatter and comp him for a longer stay to let probability take its toll and get their money back.

I remember once, in bygone days at the Dunes, when a New York charter junket had their boys in the lobby ready to depart about noon. A slight delay and the players started hitting the crap table. The table got hot and the dice started rolling lotsa numbers, forgetting they had a seven. Soon the casino was stuck for over a half million.

Oops, the word came down, their charter plane had developed hydraulic problems and would be delayed. It took until 4 p.m. before the casino got its money back, and just coincidentally, the plane was fixed and ready to go.

No, the casinos aren’t your enemy, they just want you to pay your dues for their amenities and hospitality. You are just a face in the blur of the mass and they are a profit-making institution.

You can easily herd a hundred sheep down the road but try herding just one monkey. Don’t have mass mentality, be the maverick that breaks from the crowd. Use good money management principle. Ration your exposure by hit-and-run techniques and minimal bet techniques until your pattern shows and you start to hit a lick then increase wagers.