Vegas Vacation Recap, Part 5 – I play Craps

I play craps. I separated this bit from the rest as it’s more about my play than the trip itself.

I’m not going to teach Craps in this post; there are many sites that outline the rules; here’s one: http://www.ildado.com/craps_rules.html. Note: there are TONS of sites with the rules, but most are come-ons to online gaming. This one offers rules only (although there are lots of links on the page to online gaming experiences).

I do not recommend playing online except for fun. Most sites let you do this, and it’s a great way to practice.

I’m just going to cover my play in this post; what I look for, how I start out, when I quit. Caveats, as always: don’t try this at home (or in a casino) unless you get acquainted with the rules and have the requisite funding. Don’t ever bet more than can afford: if that’s zero, bet zero.

Casinos refer to me (and others who play like me) as “desperados”. We are not high rollers. We are typically solo players with small bankrolls. We play a tight game of pass and come, making the smallest “flat bet” allowable and taking the “free odds” bets the house allows. We tend to bet small amounts at the start, taking only two or three points (non-2, 3, 7, 11 or 12 rolls) at the start.

We set tight losing breakpoints. When we hit those breakpoints, we collect whatever’s left and walk away. We don’t go running to the cash machine or markers.

Once we’re playing with the house’s money (i.e., have won a few points), we’ll take more points and ramp up odds bets to the full house maximum (most casinos offer at least double odds; some go as high as 100-times odds). As a result, I look for casinos offering these high odds levels, or lacking that, at least double odds.

There’s a new odds wrinkle out there called 3x 4x 5x odds (where “x” equals “times”), where you can take higher multipliers of odds bets on different numbers (3x on the 4 and 10, 4x on the 5 and 9 and 5x on the 6 and 8). Old-time Craps players will recognize these as the single-odds multiplier allowances for the numbers, as long as you made your flat bets in units of 3. When playing on these tables, I start with double odds and as I accumulate some house money, press my odds to the maximum before pressing my flat bets.

When looking for a table, I seek evidence of “stability”, that is, the game has been going on for some time:

  • Drinks in various stages of consumption and replenishment; this means the cocktail server has been visiting over time.
  • Quantities of chips of varying denominations in trays in front of the players; the players have been taking wins from the table.
  • Point action on the table (money within the number boxes); the roll has been going on for some time.
  • A general air of enthusiasm; some cheering, encouragement, cries of “same good shooter”, etc.

I steer clear of tables with little activity unless I feel like “rolling my own” or are in the casino at off hours. I also steer clear of high-limit tables, preferring $5 tables with high odds (at least double).

When I play:

  • I start with the table minimum, ramping odds (true desperado style).
  • I “drop change” often when getting paid, so the dealer will give me larger denomination chips. These larger denominations go into the back tray.
  • I “color up” (exchanging lower-denomination chips for higher denominations; i.e., 25s to 100s) often, and either pocket the larger chips or move them to the back tray.

I never quit on a winning streak; I let the streak quit on me. I do this by setting close loss points at which time I stop putting money on the table and walk away when the play is done. If the numbers hit, I have more money to continue play, if not, I walk away.


This is part of five articles. While I saw / did enough for ten, these remained a part of my memory by the time I got to the keyboard. Links to all the articles follow:

Vegas Vacation Recap, Part 1 – The Venue and the Kids

Vegas Vacation Recap, Part 2 – The People and the Strip

Vegas Vacation Recap, Part 3 – Sunrise on the Strip

Vegas Vacation Recap, Part 4 – The Pink Chip

Vegas Vacation Recap, Part 5 – I play Craps

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About Michael Coates
I am a pragmatic evangelist. The products, services and solutions I write about fulfill real-world expectations and use cases. I stay up-to-date on real products I use and review, and share my thoughts here. I apply the same lens when designing an architecture, product or when writing papers. I am always looking for ways that technology can create or enhance a business opportunity .. not just technology for technology's sake. My CV says: Seasoned technology executive, leveraging years of experience with enterprise and integration architectural patterns, executed with healthy doses of business acumen and pragmatism. That's me. My web site says: Technology innovations provide a myriad of opportunities for businesses. That said, having the "latest and greatest" for its own sake isn't always a recipe for success. Business successes gained through exploiting innovation relies on analysis of how the new features will enhance your business followed by effective implementation. Goals vary far and wide: streamlining operations, improving customer experience, extending brand, and many more. In all cases, you must identify and collect the metrics you can apply to measure your success. Analysis must be holistic and balanced: business and operational needs must be considered when capitalizing on a new technology asset or opportunity.

2 Responses to Vegas Vacation Recap, Part 5 – I play Craps

  1. Pingback: Vegas Vacation Recap, Part 1 – The Venue and the Kids « OpsanBlog

  2. Pingback: Vegas Vacation Recap, Part 3 – Sunrise on the Strip « OpsanBlog

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