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D'ya Wanna Win, or D'ya Wanna Gamble?

I was shooting dice at the Stardust Hotel-Casino a short while ago, and there were just three other players at the same table.  A tourist walked up, and asked no one in particular, “How do you play this game?”

A Pit Boss was standing nearby.  He walked a bit closer and said, “D’ya wanna win, or d’ya wanna gamble?  The new guys eyes and mouth opened wide, as he was caught off-guard by the question.  Despite his mouth being open, no words came out. 

After a second or two of silence, the Pit Boss pointed in my direction, and said, “If you wanna win, bet the WAY he does, WHEN he does.  If you just wanna just gamble, (as he nodded his head in a sweeping motion to the other players) just do what everyone else here is doing.” 

It felt a little awkward when all of the other players looked directly at me, then down at my semi-filled chip rail, then back up at me.  I turned to the new guy, and said,  He’s just kidding.  After I finish shooting, I’ll be happy to answer any and all questions you might have.   In the meantime, Stevie here (the dealer closest to our table-position) will explain how the game actually works, then I’ll fill in the rest of the story once my hand is completed.” 

The Pit Boss retorted, “I wasn’t kidding…just look at his rack and compare it to everyone else’s.  His buy-in was the same as everyone else’s.  He’s got close to $700 in profit, and everyone else is down to playing with milk-money.  That should tell you somethin’.  Don’t let his modesty fool you…he’s one of the very few sons-of-bitches that consistently wins in here, and I’ve been watching this damn game for 25 years, this August.   So you gotta decide, d’ya wanna win, or d’ya wanna gamble? 

By that point, the prospective player probably felt more than a little intimidated, and said, “Uh, thanks, I think I’ll stick with slot machines”, and he walked away. 

Less New Players = Less New Opportunities

I subsequently told the Pit Boss that his kind of response was partially responsible for the slow demise of the craps-playing population.  By making the game seem “tough-to-learn, and tougher-to-win”, it discourages new players from joining in. 

The number of craps tables throughout North America shrinks more and more each year.  Despite the plethora of new casinos on this continent, there are now 55% LESS craps tables than there were just ten years ago.  Think about that.   There has been a 400% increase in the number of casinos, but the number of craps tables has SHRUNK by more than half.

Most leathery old-timers hate it when a new player comes to the table with a fistful of dollars and 101 questions.  However, discouraging their play ensures that craps moves several steps closer towards going the way of Dodo birds, Buddy Holly, dinosaurs and virginity. 

Don’t kid yourself about the profitability of craps tables, they are WAY, WAY down on the list of profit-generators for the casino.  When was the last time that you saw a casino take slot-machines OUT, and put more craps tables IN?  That has only happened ONCE in the last decade.

I’ll have more to say on this particular subject at a later date, but for now, I want to take a look at the whole,

D’ya Wanna Win, or D’ya Wanna Gamble?” Concept

My agenda is clear. 

I want to gently nudge you in the direction of ACTUALLY WINNING, and away from MERELY GAMBLING. 

I make no secret about my intentions, simply because I know that you can get a lot more fun out of WINNING, than you can while being “entertained” by LOSING. 

Gambling for fun and entertainment is fine, or if you use gambling as an expensive “escape”.  However, recreational gamblers realize sooner or later that winning is generally a whole lot more fun than just playing and losing. 

After a while, a serious recreational player has to answer the seminal question as to whether they seriously WANT TO WIN, or whether they are satisfied by SIMPLY GAMBLING.

There is a big difference between the two routes, and this series of articles will map out a path to a profit-destination where the efforts are well worth the trip.

The Concept of Gambling

Some people like to “gamble” as a form of entertainment.  When it is done with restraint and within the tightly controlled confines of your discretionary income, gambling can be entertaining, pleasurable, and act as an escape outlet for an everyday mundane existence. 

In some cases, gambling represents the “thrill and challenge” for survival that we used to face when we hunted wooly mammoths and fended off ravenous packs of jackals from the entrance to the family cave.  Since we no longer have to do that unless we live in Flint, Michigan, many people find that casino gambling satisfyingly replaces that higher need for “thrill, struggle and challenge”.

The Concept of Winning

The idea behind winning is a simple one.   

The best concept is to profit more on the winning bets than we spend on the losing ones. 

While there is still a substantial element of risk and peril associated with winning money in a casino, it is more than just venturing money for the thrill and challenge of having a wager out on the table on the hope that it will win.  

As our friend Heavy is fond of saying, “Hope is not a strategy”.  That may sound like an oversimplification, but it is nonetheless true.  In this series, I’m going to show you, step-by-step, HOW to LOSE LESS, and WIN MORE, all-the-while using LESS MONEY to achieve HIGHER PROFIT.

Gambling is still part of a winning approach, however, we simply lower the risk, and replace it with a higher likelihood of success. 

The difference between the two is really quantified in how much money you can CONSISTENTLY EARN from the game, and NOT how much THRILL you get from it.

Fear & Greed

The two main motivators when it comes to making gambling decisions are fear and greed.  That is why I talk about both of those factors quite a bit in my articles.  

The fear of LOSING money is balanced against the greed of wanting to MAKE money. 

It’s as simple as that.  We make constant adjustments to that equation during every moment that we are at the tables, just as we make similar decisions in day-to-day life.

A Simple Example of a Complicated Decision

Let’s look at a simple bet such as an $18 Place-bet on the 6 and 8 that we regress down to $6 each after any paying-hit.  That means that we have a $9 net-profit no matter what happens next (A win on an $18 6 or 8 pays $21.  We immediately regress both of those bets down to $6 each which leaves a total of $12 out on the table, and a $9 profit in our rack).  The bet is totally paid for, and we have a profit left over, NO MATTER WHAT ELSE HAPPENS during this hand.

When we place a bet and collect some profit, we have to make the decision whether or not we will leave it out there exposed to further risk, or whether we will take it all down, thus guaranteeing a locked-in profit.  That decision is balanced-off against the hope that if left out there, it MAY continue to spin gold for us. 

       We made one decision in deciding to make the bet in the first place. 

       We made another decision about regressing the bet in the second place. 

       Now we have to decide whether we will leave the bet out there for one or more additional hits, and whether we will press-up the bet or expand the bets to any other numbers on subsequent hits. 

       We can also decide to call the bet “Off” or call the bet “Down” at any time.

As you can see, the decision process is constantly flowing.   We make our decisions based on our own experiences.  These experiences are rooted in:

       Past occurrences

       Recent influences

       Future expectations 

As the information flows, we continually try to make a decision that seems to be in our best interest.  Our decisions are almost always balanced against:

       What we THINK we know.

       What we ACTUALLY know.

       What we expect our knowledge to accurately “tell” us, versus what we hope the game will “give” us.

You can easily see where both the fear of losing, and the greed for winning will play on a persons mind.

Risk Tolerance

Each player has a different tolerance for risk, to such an extent that one players fear of losing is more than offset by another player’s greed for profit.  In that equation, you also want to factor in your own need for “action” or “thrill of pursuit” into the equation. 

For some people, the “thrill of the chase” is much more important than the conquest of actual “profit”.  This all figures into the “D’ya wanna win, or d’ya wanna gamble” question.

Smashing Conventional Thinking

If you’ve read my Blasphemy…courtesy of The Mad Professor or my Dodging Bullets As A Darksider articles, you know how I don’t mind crushing conventional, but tainted gambling wisdom. 

Most gamblers LOSE.  I want to help you WIN. 

To do that, you have to change some of the ingrained, inbred thinking that keeps 98% of casino-gamblers on the losing side.  The changes don’t come easy, and they won’t come painlessly, but the alternative of continued losing should be motivation enough for you to come with me into the light of consistent PROFIT.

Greed Makes You Stupid

It has been said that greed makes you stupid because it blinds you to common-sense that would otherwise guide you in a completely opposite direction.   Greed also forces you to take chances that you wouldn’t otherwise make, and in fact, those same chances are the ones that you would counsel friends and family NOT to take, yet, greed gives you a sense of power, entitlement and hopeful luck.  Greed obscures and camouflages the horrific dangers of misguided betting methods. 

Greed + Sheer Luck = Greater Risk

While greed may indeed make you stupid, an occasional win on risky bets or the hope of “one-more-hit” is a prime motivator when it comes to leaving bets out there for too long, or for motivating a player to make continually failing high-risk, low-frequency bets. 

In simple-speak, hoping for the mythical unending hand is just that…a MYTH, while blind greed on the Prop bets can consume your money faster than a Rottweiller can eat a miniature Schnauser.

I AM NOT saying that you shouldn’t have money out there on a hot roll.  In fact, I advise just the opposite.  It’s just that you cannot hope and bet like EVERY random-rollers hand is going to be long and hot.

I AM NOT saying that you shouldn’t make Prop-bets, it is just that a few occasional wins on these type of bets may divert your attention away from more steady and lower-risk wins.  Some people are easily swayed when they see a fellow player make an occasional high-visibility parlayed-repeater win on a center-of-the-table bet.  However, it is important to remember WHY a big Prop-bet win on a random-roller rarely happens, and WHY it is of such high-visibility when it does happen. 

When you put money out there and a random-roller throws a winner for a high-value payoff, it is easy to be drawn deeper into the dark-world of high-risk Props, sometimes to the exclusion of more conventional, yet less-risky wagers.

In fact, some people get so caught up and addicted to the lure of the Props that they forsake a more traditional approach to the game altogether.  After a while, they feel the NEED to make more and more Prop bets just to dig themselves out of the bankroll-hole that they have dug for themselves.

If Prop Bets Are a Money-Maker For You…

If you BELIEVE that Prop bets are the road to salvation and consistent profit for you, then test your theory, and start keeping track of ALL of your Prop and Hop action, along with the wins that those bets generate for you. 

       Don’t do it for just one session. 

       Do it for ALL of your sessions.

       Don’t do it only on the prop bets that you make on yourself.  

       Do it for every Hop and Prop bet that you wager.

If at the end of a couple of dozen sessions, you are still ahead, then hey, you are obviously on the right track.  However, in most cases, you will see that the Props and Hops are diminishing your profits and NOT adding to them.  Even when you have a winning session, you may find that those high-risk bets reduce your profit-margins by anywhere from 10% to 80%.

The worst part, is that you may find that most of your losing sessions could have been break-even or even profitable, IF you had eliminated all of the random-roller Prop-bets.  The same may even hold true for your own Precision-Shooting efforts.  Don’t assume that your own Prop-bet shooting is profitable; PROVE IT to yourself. 

Keep track of all of your prop bets, and compare the profit/loss figure after a dozen or so sessions.  Your bankroll may thank you.

Why Don’t Precision-Shooters Make More Money?

If you ever thought to yourself, “WHY DON’T MORE PRECISION-SHOOTERS MAKE MORE MONEY?”, the answer usually lays in the way that they bet, and NOT the way that they throw the dice.  If you don’t believe that a moderately-skilled player can’t CONSISTENTLY profit from even low SRR’s, then you haven’t read or fully digested my article entitled, Can Frequency Compensate For Shortness? .

I have seen some truly awe-inspiring Precision-Shooters who RARELY walk away with a profit.  Their dice-throwing is amongst the best, yet their betting is amongst the worst.  The intoxicating draw of the Prop bets, and their superstitious betting habits work against them in the worst of ways.  There are many, many semi-professional players whose $5,000 to $15,000 annual craps-shooting income would be three to ten times HIGHER if they would only eliminate the high-cost Hop and Prop-bets from their betting diet.

The cumulative erosion that all of those seemingly tiny $1 bets has on your bankroll is barely perceptible on a moment-to-moment basis.  However, by the end of each session, the cumulative effect is almost always substantial. 

I guess you could equate that with the question,

“How do you eat an entire elephant (bankroll)?” 

The answer is simply,

“One bite (one dollar) at a time”.

So I’ll tell you again. 

The reason most skilled Precision-Shooters don’t make more money, is because of the way that they BET, and NOT the way that they SHOOT!

Before we head on to Part Two where we’ll continue our journey towards ACTUALLY WINNING, and away from MERELY GAMBLING, let me reiterate what the Pit Boss at the Stardust had to say, “If you wanna win, bet the WAY he does, WHEN he does.  If you just wanna just gamble, then just do what everyone else is doing.” 

Good Luck and Good Skill at the tables…and in Life.


The Mad Professor


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