Success in the game of Craps requires knowledge, luck and good money management. Tuesday night at the Argosy Casino in Lawrencebug, Indiana (a stones throw from Cincinnati) I had all three going for me in spades.
After about a 40 minute drive from the north side of Cincinnati I arrived at the Argosy, my first riverboat casino. I’m a frequent visitor to Las Vegas but this was the first time for me playing craps outside Nevada. We’ve got casinos in Minnesota where you can play Blackjack, but craps is my game and they don’t even have the video craps machines here any more.
I noticed one difference right away – a $3 cover charge. Don’t see that in Vegas. I didn’t get to explore the casino much as the craps tables and the cage were right up front, and that’s all I needed to see. The floor-plan was cramped; the room smoky.
Four hours later I would walk out with my personal best session at craps.
Frankly I was a bit hesitant about this outing. My last time playing craps was this fall and I lost my budgeted trip bankroll for the first time ever. It was a humbling experience for me. I walked into the Argosy with $500, looking to double my money – not too bad for a business trip outing if I could pull it off.
A couple of pieces of information about the tables for those of you interested in such things. If I remember right there were six craps table – most were $10 tables, the others $15. They offered 10x odds. The crews on the two tables I played on were efficient, courteous and friendly. The drink service could have been better.
The $10 table minimum was an immediate concern. Ordinarily I want to have a session bankroll of 100 bets and I was looking at 50. My variance was such that I could easily be walking back out to my car in 15 minutes. I play a three point molly with full odds, although in this case full odds means Strip odds, which is 3x 4x 5x instead of 10x. I press when the table gets hot and I’ll even move to 4 or 5 numbers, especially if I am shooting. I will play the occasional hard-way bet, which I always parlay at least once.
No way my bankroll could handle full odds at 10x, even if it does help reduce the house odds a tiny bit. To put this in perspective the very worst scenario for me on a new roll would have been a 6, followed by an 8, then a 9 then a 7. I would have put $60 on the 6, $60 on the 8 and $50 on the 9 and would have been out a third of my session bankroll when the devil showed. I ended up getting lucky – a couple of decent rolls and I found myself a couple hundred up within 10 minutes.
Things started really going well and after 45 minutes or so I was looking at $1,400 in the rack in front of me. I marked out $1,000 in chips and told myself I could do whatever I wanted with the $400 but I was not going to cut into that $1,000. I was going to be a winner no matter what happened. That, my friend, is money management, and it is the best feeling in the world if you can get there – playing with the house’s money. So to speak, many would argue it’s yours at that point.
Not surprisingly I lost the $400. And as luck would have it I lost it just as it was my turn to take the dice. Decision time – leave the casino after an hour with my goal achieved or dip into those chips I said I wasn’t going to dip into. OK, I lied – I wasn’t solid on my money management that night (but the luck more than made up for that!). I dipped. And not surprisingly I lost another $100. So I left the table still $400 up, but somewhat disappointed.
After walking around for a few minutes I settled in at another $10 table that obviously was stone cold. The mood was somber and the chip racks empty. Most people don’t like starting on a table like this but I always have – nowhere to go but up. I cashed in for $400. The guy to my right had about $100 in front of him. He’d still have $100 in front of him when I left three hours later. I don’t know what he was doing. But I digress.
The table went up and down and after an hour or so I found myself down to about $100 myself. I was starting to think seriously about resetting my expectation for the evening and that breaking even and just having some fun was going to have to be enough. But then the table starting warming up and I started winning. Within 15 minutes I was back up to almost $500 again, and I decided I had had enough and to cash out. I missed a come-out while I counted my chips – $499. $1 shy. I put a $10 field bet out that if I would have hit I would have been done. I lost.
So I started betting my normal pattern again. And the table got hot. Real hot. I was rolling and I was absolutely killing the 4 and the 10 such that I eventually had my come bets pressed to $50, backed with $150 odds on the 4 and 10. After I was done I had about $1,500 in the rack and I had my line drawn in the chips.
Things kept warm until we got to a Don’t shooter who got hot (which was great for everyone but him). He must have made 5 or 6 passes and he was hitting numbers left and right. We were making a fortune off him but he never switched to the pass line. Insane. I hit two hard-way parlays with him.
We had one more monster run and I had racked $5,000. Three monster runs on one table in 3 hours. That’s luck. Things started cooling off and I cashed out with $4,275 (I brought out the other $500 from my pocket). Put $200 on a hard-way for me and $75 for the dealers and got busted. Oh well, just a rounding error. I should probably mention I tip well too, so they already had done well by me.
So to make a long story, well, long, I turned my $500 into $4,000 in about 4 hours time. I’ll be at Harrah’s in New Orleans next month – you may want to warn them.