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


Welcome aboard the Mini-Table Craps Tour of Las Vegas.  Yours truly, The Mad Professor, is your somewhat kind and jovial host.  Our co-pilot and navigator is Mel, the “Vegas Ghost”.  We call him the ghost because he has haunted most of the major Strip casinos as a gaming-executive for the past four decades, plus he knows where most of the skeletons are buried and who put them there.  He’s a valuable tour-guide and a sauve silver-haired raconteur.

In Part I of this series we covered the details and intricacies of Precision-Shooting on either a sit-down Crapshoot table, or at a 10-player stand-up mini-table.

In Part II Mel and I explored the profit-potential of Casino Royale’s excellent $1 minimum, 10x-Odds Crapshoot table.

In Part III the Holiday Inn-Boardwalk tub-table played unwitting host to our short, but lucrative session.

Now, our journey of discovery, wonderment and beneficial Precision-Shooting takes us off the beaten tourist path, and into the:

Wild Wild West Gambling Hall & Hotel 

Okay, I’ll admit that she ain’t very pretty and her cooking is down-home and hearty, but this girl can rumba like no other cowgirl in the mini-table corral. 

How To Find It

A single mini craps-table has found a home at this small, Motel-6 type of operation.  It’s located on Tropicana Avenue at Industrial Road, just west of Interstate 15 in Las Vegas.   That puts it approximately one-mile west of NewYork NewYork and the Excalibur Hotel where they sit on the Las Vegas Boulevard Strip.

It was formerly operated as the King 8 Hotel before Station Casinos took it over back in the summer of ’98, and converted it into what many have described as a Ponderosa Steakhouse-styled casino.  Lots of exposed wood beams and rustic-looking direction signs, but no cows, wild horses or even mule-deer.  Okay, I did see one girl who kind of resembled a Yak, but that is a beast of burden from a different part of the world, although she did smell a lot like Uncle Festus and Aunt Lucille’s sheep farm.

The Casino & It’s Players

At 11,000 square feet, the WWW-Casino is half the size of the Golden Gate casino downtown (where they have two HUGE land-barge-sized 24-player craps tables) or half the size of Barbary Coast where they have four regular-sized craps tables.    That should give you some idea of the restricted confines of this junior-sized gambling den.

With the diminutive size of the floor-space, a mini-tub table looks right at home.

Like I said, Wild Wild West Gambling Hall is owned by Station Casinos of Palace Station, Boulder Station, Sunset Station, Texas Station, Fiesta-Rancho, Santa Fe Station, Fiesta-Henderson, Barley’s, and Green Valley Resort fame.  However, it is not run like or look like any other Station Casino in their stable (except maybe for the 25-cent craps game at Stations’ Joker’s Wild out in Henderson, NV).

You won’t find many tourists in here.  It’s mostly populated by long-distance truckers, as evidenced by the huge parking lot inhabited by big rigs. There is also a strong contingent of local warehouse and casino-supply workers in the linen, construction, food and maintenance business.

If you are looking for a party, you won’t find it here.    The only party in this place is happening in the pants of the drunk who is semi-consciously slumped over a bar-top video poker machine.

On the other hand, it isn’t a complete dump either.  It’s well maintained and relatively clean, you just have to realize that it isn’t a billion-dollar gaming palace.  It’s a small casino in front of a 300-room low-rise motel. 

Nope, no wave-pools, shark reefs or private cabanas, but their pool-area has one claim to fame based on some guy who mistakenly took a bite out of what he thought was a semi-submerged “Oh Henry” candy bar.  Ah, fame is fleeting, and sometimes not very pleasant.

What To Expect at The Table

There were three other players at the table when Mel and I approached it.  There were also two dealers on the game, although don’t be surprised if you only see one dealer attending to the table.  If there are four or five players, they may have a single dealer.  If the table starts to fill up, they’ll call over another “floating” or relief dealer to double-up the assistance. 

If there is no action, the table may not be open at all.  If that is the case, don’t despair.  Just ask the nearest Pit Boss to open the table.  It may take 20 or 30 minutes before they shuffle crew-breaks and such, but they are pretty cooperative about accommodating your craps-throwing wishes.    If they recognize you as a regular player, or you flash your Station Casinos “Boarding Pass” Players Card when you ask, it may speed things up.

Players Card

Speaking of Players Cards, the Station Casinos “Boarding Pass” is not actually valid here, but they will recognize you as a “data-base” player, and they’ll usually accommodate your requests.  The WWW-Casino has it’s own “Wild Card” for players.  You can use it for a narrow choice of available comps like limited-menu food at their Gambler’s Grill, or comped rooms.

Table Limits and Buy-In “Management”

The WWW-Casino table was set for a $2 minimum and a $200 maximum bet.  This is the normal range, although it sometimes rises to as high as a $3 minimum, but the table-max always stays at $200. 

Mel and I bought in for $100 each. 

Okay, here’s another mini-table tip from the Mad Professor.  

When you buy-in, you should not only keep it to small amounts like $100 or $200, but you should do so with $20 bills, and keep the $100 bills in your pocket or wallet. 

When they change-up cash for chips (cheques), they’ll call out to the Floor Supervisor that they are “changing one-hundred” if it is a $100 bill.  If you use five $20 bills instead of one $100 bill, you avoid the initial “interest” or attention that the pit can show to “high-buy-in” players. 

Believe me when I tell you that a $100 or $200 buy-in IS big money at this house.  That means that you have to behave accordingly.  If you want to use your Precision-Shooting skill for the long-run; then behave yourself and “manage” your buy-in!

So began our play.  The dice were two shooters away from me, but a slow-moving crew ensured that it took a bunch of time for them to reach my spot.

WWW’s Dice-Setting Policy

You may have read about the “No Dice-Setting” policy on this table.   Generally, you are NOT supposed to arrange or set the dice in this casino.  However, depending on the crew, and who is working the pit, and if you are an early and consistent tipper, the stickman MAY deliver the dice in a “requested set” to the shooter.  Again this is “toke” and “pit” dependant, just as it is at the Boardwalk Casino on the Strip. 

Part of your job as a Precision-Shooting is to know when the situation is right, and to MAKE IT right when the dice come to you. 

You have to understand that the dealers WILL NOT jeopardize their jobs just to accommodate your wishes.  Instead, if the “coast is clear” they will permit you to covertly set the dice, but it is up to you to do it quickly, efficiently and virtually unnoticeably.   Otherwise, expect them to say, “Hey guy, play by the rules.   Just pick ‘em, and flick ‘em”, or we’ll have to pass the dice to someone who will.”

So let me walk you through the process that works best for me.

By-Passing the Dice-Setting Policy

Here’s my “winning” process:

When it is your turn to shoot, make a bet for “the guys with the ties” (the dealers).    My STRONG recommendation is a Pass Line bet with full or near-full Odds for them.  You can piggy-back $1 on your flat bet, and tell them they are riding on the Pass Line as well as being part of your Odds. 

q       Next, I want you to KINDLY and politely ask, “Can you send me the Hard-6 on the dice please?”  If you want a different set, then ask for it.  Just don’t make it too complicated.

q       DO NOT use phrases like “Crossed Sixes” or “Flying-Vee”, or “Mini-Two’s”.  You can ask for Hard-4, or Hard-6 or Boxcars, but that is pretty much the extent of it.  Remember you are trying to keep a low profile, not talking about your dice-setting knowledge and prowess.

q       If the stick-man obliges with the request, I “sweep” the dice closer to my shooting position.  This is how I make quick and unnoticed adjustments on the alignment of my 3-V set.  I then grip the dice and launch them.  No fuss, no muss, no bother.

q       If the dealer says something to the effect that, “We have to send them as they roll”; then ask that they don’t send any 7’s or Craps number to you.  On this request, they will usually have no problem in cooperating.

q       Keep in mind, that in almost every place but the worst of grind-joints with a new “break-in” dealer, the stick-man sends the dice out always making sure that a 7 or a Craps, or 11 is NOT showing on the top.

q       That being the case, you can simply rotate one or both dice to suit your set, but you have to do it quickly, unnoticed and totally unobserved by the Floor-Supervisor.   This is where knowledge of what “axis-sets” you are looking for comes in handy.

q       The “sweep-adjustment” that I do to the dice is done as I am positioning the dice to throw them.  You move them towards your pick-up position, and you move them under the cover of the palm of your hand.    This is not the time to be fumbling and putzing around.  

q       Amateur-hour is for your at-home practice rig…you are in the casino to make money, so “s-m-o-o-t-h” is the watchword for this maneuver.

q       Your actions should be quick, subtle and appear totally natural. 

q       For “dice-alignment” practice at home, you can randomly drop the two dice.   This is the way they appear while the stick-man has them in the middle of the table between throws.  As the dealer is servicing the other players, you should be looking at the dice and figuring out exactly what adjustments you are going to have make to put them in proper throwing alignment prior to your toss.

q       For “sweep-adjustment” practice at home, you can then pull the two dice closer to your shooting position, while at the same time making adjustments to the faces or axis, “on the fly”.  Yes, it does take a lot of practice, but remember, we are here to make some money.  If it were easy, you wouldn’t need to practice, but you do NEED to practice this move until it is perfect.

q       If all of this seems like too much work; then gamble to your hearts content…but you’ll find me engineering as much “gamble” out of my game as possible.    The hours of practice may not seem like fun, but the payoff in consistent casino profits is DEFINITELY a whole lot of bankable fun!

q       If the Floor-Supervisor is near and is “hawking” the dice, or if you are unable to properly alter your dice-alignment; then you can “call” change any of your bets.   That is, you can call your bets “off” or make adjustments in the size or placement of your bets to a point where you feel comfortable with the amount of money that you have in play.   At the same time, it gives you the opportunity to take your hand off of the dice to direct those bet changes; then when you put your hand back on the dice for your throw, you may be able to make the desired axis or face-alignment correction at that time.

q       Try to avoid that “last-minute” bet-changing that I just mentioned.  It can be irritating for everyone, and the Pit may tell the dealer to speed up the game.  Remember, a $2 or $3 table needs LOTS of rolls to grind out a profit.  They want to keep the dice in action as much as possible.  If the dealer-bets are hitting; then the tokes take away some of the sting, but that bet-changing act will quickly wear thin, so use it rarely.

q       Still, it is better to practice axis-flipping and alignment-correction well before you set foot into a “dice-setting-restricted” casino.  That means you have to practice at home to increase your dice-handling skills, but the practice pays off with higher in-casino profit probabilities.

Our Session

Now that we have covered how to by-pass the “No Dice-setting” policy of the Wild Wild West Gambling Hall.  Let’s get into our actual session.

The dice finally came to me, and I was able to set them by following my own advice.  Remember to keep your hands clean and dry so that you aren’t fumbling around with them like a klutz.  Groping, scuffling and awkwardly handling the dice is a sure give-away that you aren’t following the “rules”.

My first hand was reasonably good.  I made my PL Point of 10 within fairly short order.  My pay-off for a $2+$1 flat-bet ($1 was for the dealers) with $6 in double-odds was only $15, but I added that to a reasonable amount of winners on my $12 Place bets for the 6 and 8.

I threw two more Pass-Line winners and a small handful of Place-bet payers.  In all, my first hand produced a net-profit of $93.  Mel actually threw a decent hand that provided a reasonable profit for the first time on this Mini-Tub Tour.  He was pleased with himself, although I barely scraped anything out of it since I had pretty much laid-off betting on his unpredictability back at the Holiday Inn-Boardwalk Casino.

It took a fair bit of time for the dice to cycle around to my shooting position again.  We now had nine players at the table, and even though no one else was generating anything other than random choppiness, it still took close to one hour for the dice to come around again.

When I got the dice for the second time, it was pretty much a replay of my first hand.  I threw a couple of PL-winners interspersed with a handful of steady Place-bet earnings.  I came close to my previous gain with another $84 to the good.

Mel’s next hand started out nicely, but he crashed and burned immediately after establishing his second Pass-Line Point.  I told him there was no way I was going to wait around for another hour until the dice came my way again.

As we were turning to leave, one of the Floor Supervisors asked if we wanted a meal-comp.    Knowing that our next casino destinations food-quality is highly-suspect, I quickly said “yes” to his offer.

At the Gambler’s Grill, I had their lb burger that I doubled-up into a one-pound carnivore special.  It was perfectly cooked on a toasted bun with crispy, hot fries and I can highly recommended it.     Mel had the Full Rack-of-Ribs special with a Boston Cream Pie chaser.  The total bill for this comp was $8.92.  Such a deal!   I left a   $5 tip for our skilled, competent and very friendly waitress.

By the way, if you are a CDL-certified truck driver, they extend a 10% discount on everything from rooms to food, along with a free WWW T-shirt.

We crossed the parking lot to my car.  I would guess that there were close to 200 or more big-rigs parked there, along with perhaps 100 or so cars, SUV’s and pick-ups. I commented to Mel that it was a pretty busy place for such a tiny casino. 

He asked how much I had won, and I replied with the $182 net-profit figure.  He said, “Well if you divide that money into the two hours or so that we spent at the table, then it equates to about 90-bucks an hour.  It might be a small casino, but that’s a fairly big hourly-wage if you ask me.”  I couldn’t think of any way to disagree with that logic. 

Join Mel and I next time as we continue our Mini-Tub Tour of Las Vegas.  Until then,

Good Luck & Good Skill at those Mini-Tables…and in Life.


The Mad Professor

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