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Mad Professor's Mini-Table Craps Tour with the Vegas Ghost- Part XI

(Read Part I , Part II, Part III or Part IV or Part V or Part VI or Part VII or Part VIII or Part IX or Part X )  

I don’t get to play at this next venue very often.   In fact, the last time I was there was when I was picking up a comped week’s use of a Shelby-American Series 1 automobile, courtesy of the fine folks at The Stratosphere (see Go Ahead…Pull the Trigger for that story).  That was “B.N.E.”, (“before 9-11-01”) and I hadn’t been back there since.   So welcome back to the

Speedway  Casino

My absence didn’t have anything to do with 9-11.  Rather, it was related more to the fact that the Speedway is a bit outside of my normal LV travel range.  There aren’t any other casinos (with craps) within the immediate area, so it takes a dedicated trip to a decidedly non-compelling location to get there.

Where Is It?

It is located way up at the northern end of the Las Vegas Valley in a lower middle class suburb.  To get there, the quickest route is to take I-15 North to the Cheyenne Avenue exit and go east for one block.  You won’t have a hard time finding it once you turn left on Civic Center Drive.

It’s not big or palatial, but from the parking lot to the craps table, it takes about one hundred footsteps.  This place is small, friendly and never hosts any of the typical wall-to-wall tourist crowds that you see with disturbing frequency on the Strip.  Even during the busiest times, there are never more than 200 people in the whole casino, and that INCLUDES the entire staff.  Like I said, this IS NOT your typical tourist-joint.


The Casino


Let me start by saying that the Casino is NOT associated with the actual LV Motor Speedway, but they have borrowed the racing theme and “junk package” that decorates the walls and ceiling as though they were.

This place started out as the Cheyenne Hotel & Casino, back in 1992 and switched over to the Speedway-theme in 1999 when it became apparent that the 4-racetracks-in-1 LVMS was going to be a roaring success and draw ~140,000 patrons to this neck of the Joshua and Mesquite-tree woods on a regular basis.

The Speedway Casino is part of a 95-room Ramada Inn that is attached to it.  While there is really nothing memorable about the casino, other than its small size, the mini-craps table is an entirely different story.

The Table

Okay there is only one, that is indeed a mini-tub, and it offers some very fine Precision-Shooting opportunities.  It comfortably accommodates 10 people (if they all shower on a regular basis, and 6 to 8 people if one or more of them don’t).

At first glance, the table seems to be bouncy in an uncushioned sort of way.  The liveliness is caused by the use of ultra-thin pure polyester felt.  This is NOT the new-age microfiber felt that we discussed in detail in my Conquering Micro-Fiber Table-Felt article.  Rather, it is just a cheap, thin layout over a 5/4-inch plywood base.  With a high-trajectory, high-backspin throw, the dice can sometimes leap more than a foot or two in the air.   I’ve seen many new players (new to this table) watch with alarm as their “regular” toss rebounds to the sky like a ricocheting bullet.  A lower-trajectory, lower-energy, lower-backspin throw tames this green-felt beast in pretty short order.

Table-minimums are almost always set at $2 with a $200 max-bet.  I’ve never had the courage (read: stupidity and greed) to max-out my bets.  The Pit Monkeys start to fidget like an over-amped crack-whore if your bets get much beyond the $50 or $60 level for more than a few tosses.   

The Players

The regular players are made up of locals whose income is on the lower side of the “I don’t think we can really afford to be in here, but let’s gamble anyway” scale.  However, this being America, everyone is entitled to put themselves as far below the poverty line as they wish, and the Speedway seems like as good of a place as any for them to do it.

The nice thing is if you go mid-month, the table is almost always sparsely-populated.  This has held true since I started playing here about a decade ago.  In the ensuing time, they haven’t always had a craps table in operation, but the current owners (silently backed by gambling-investor and former Cheyenne owner Shawn Scott) feel that it is important to maintain live-gaming so it doesn’t take on the look and feel of a slots-only grind-joint.

It does tend to get quite a bit busier, and a lot smokier at the end of the month and for the first few days of a new month.  Unfortunately, the local gambling-wealth doesn’t last much beyond a week or two around these parts.  For the balance of the month, the table is semi-populated with blue-collar guys, spending blue-collar money in hopes of turning their blue-collar wages into money that would make Robin Leach eagerly send over a film-crew. 

Why 98% of Gamblers Lose

It doesn’t matter whether your craps play is lit by the radiance of a Dale Chihuly chandelier at Bellagio, or the eerie nicotine-stained fluorescent glow at the El Cortez, 98% of ALL casino-players will continually lose.

Your task, is to ensure that your are in the OTHER 2% minority of whose who DO WIN CONSISTENTLY.  To that end, I would invite you to take a look at my current 10-part series, D'ya Wanna Win, or D'ya Wanna Gamble?


Our Session

First Hand

Our first session started out innocently enough.  I got the dice and threw a passable hand.  I made my first PL-Point of 9, but couldn’t repeat it for the third time after the second Come-Out roll. 

Our four table-mates didn’t do ANYTHING to make the situation any better.  Their throwing didn’t produce a single hand that went beyond five rolls.  Mel was waffling about whether or not he was going to shoot.  He was still carrying on a protracted conversation with a cute little early 20-something waitress who looked healthier and more wholesome than any of the three daughters on Petticoat Junction.

Even though Mel is married, he still dates, and I can tell you that he dates VERY attractive women.  I’m not talking about ones who when you first meet them, say stuff like, “Okay, guess which one of my legs is real?”  For some reason, he attracts arm-candy that is second to none in the looks-department.   Although he is virtually at the age of retirement, he shows no signs of slowing down in a Paul Newman, “I may be 70, but I still get the broads and I still win championship car races” sort of way.  

In any event, Mel passed the dice.  I’m pretty sure he was willing to forego scoring at the dice table in the fervent hope of scoring with Miss Budweiser.

Second Hand

I got the dice for the second time and redeemed myself again quite nicely.  The first PL-winner came quicker than anyone envisioned.  I set the Point of 9 (again) and brought it right back on the very next roll.  My next new Point was 6, and again, I brought it right back.   HELLLLLLO!  Even at the cheap table minimum of $2 (and with only 2x odds) my fellow crapsters were in their glory.  This was good, but none of my heavier Place-bet action had seen ANY activity at all.

My third PL-Point fortunately took much, much longer to repeat.  I was into my 32nd roll before it finally showed up for a payout.  By then, my Place bets were generating plenty of profit-activity.   I had taken an early box-number regression to lock-up some income, then I had pressed them in an aggressive fashion ever since.   Mel was missing out on a great roll, but the two love-birds were so engrossed in their fawning conversation, that even a 9.2 earthquake wouldn’t have shaken them back to reality.

At this point, the gleeful players were squealing like pigs in a Chicago Stockyard, while the Pit Supervisors growing concern was making him squirm like a priest at recess.

The fun didn’t last too much longer.  I set the Point of 6 (again) for my fourth Point, but eleven rolls later, the Red Devil Seven showed up to tell us that this particular hootenanny was over.

Mel had missed out on a great hand, but by this time, he and Miss Thing were exchanging touches that were on the far side of a PG-13 intimacy rating.

Third Hand

By the time the dice cycled back around to me, I had made a couple of bucks off of three random-rollers at the other end of the table.  Now, I’m not talking about a lot of money here.  The couple of shekels that I made here and there on those random-rollers didn’t make me rich, but it was enough to fill up the Silver Spur Centenary’s oversized 40-gallon gas tank even with ultra-premium prices approaching $2.50 per gallon.

Mel had abandoned the table in pursuit of his latest two-legged trophy.  She had neglected to take my order, and I knew that there was no chance that she would somehow telepathically “know” what I wanted to drink.  Having “extra” sense was not something this girl was burdened with, and that was perfectly fine with Mel.

Nevertheless, I began my third hand with much optimism and much greater thirst.  I didn’t let it distract me, although the thought was nevertheless rattling around somewhere in my mid-conscious.  When I established the “6” as my PL-Point, I added more money to the Pass Line so that I could pump up the volume on my 2x-Odds.  I felt confident about making the 6, but I was in no hurry, as I hoped I could pull off a decent number of Place-bet winners again before returning with a front-line payer.

My plan was semi-successful.  I hit the box-numbers a dozen or so times before returning the “6”.  I threw some coinage to the dealer in appreciation of the good service and patience in handling the hyper-aggressive betting that nearly everyone at the table was now involved in.  In addition, the tokes were also a silent “thank-you” for permitting my Precision-Shooting efforts to be carried out on a table and in a casino that sometimes does not permit such activity.

My second Come-Out took exactly eight rolls before I established my PL-Point.  I started going great-guns hitting my Place-numbers with disturbing frequency until I felt Mel wedge himself back in between myself and the next nearest player.  As soon as the dice left my hand, I silently, but assuredly called the “7-Out” result even though the dice were barely midway through the air.

I gave Mel an, “I can’t believe you aren’t a little more considerate, you asshole” look.  He just stood there like an open-mouthed tourist with an, “I’ve never played this game before.  Did I do something wrong?” bewilderment.  To make matters even worst, he was the only player at the table that was armed with a cold drink.  I just said, “Let’s go”, as I shook my head and headed for the exit.  I figured this was a good point to call this particular day to an end.  The other mini-tubs would have to wait until I was in a better, less blood-thirsty mood.

Until next time,

Good Luck & Good Skill at those mini-tables, and in Life.


The Mad Professor

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