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Frank Scoblete - Cutthroat Craps - Part 1

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  • Frank ScobleteMost gambling writers are cautious, timid souls and with good reason. We don?t want to offer information that might lead players to jump off the deep end of the casino diving board, whooping and hollering as their bankrolls go ?splat!? on the concrete floor of the empty pool below. And so we are very careful to recommend only the very best mathematically proven bets, the very best mathematically proven systems, and the very best money management models in the hope that we won?t lead any of you into the deep, deep waters of strong negative expectation.

    We prefer that you put your big toe in the water, not take a wild belly flop. We prefer the splashing in the kiddie pool over the attempt to swim the English Channel.

    And that is a good thing.

    I?ve written article after article explaining what are the best and, invariably, most cautious ways to play this or that game. When it comes to caution, I?m a yield-right-of-way, stop-sign, red-light kind of guy.

    This is especially true in craps, where the traditional thinking has been to make a Pass Line bet and back it with full odds and then do the same with a few Come bets as well. And this is good advice, too, because it is based on the sound mathematical proposition that you will lose less in the long run playing this way than by playing any other way. Still, the choice for casino players is not merely ?either/or? as in either I play cautiously betting Pass, Come and Odds -- or I go completely berserk! Folks, there is a great in-between, an area of craps play that can be rather daring, yet still based on sound principles of both math and logic and can, when things are going right, yield much more in the way of return than can traditional approaches -- and all this without more risk, in fact, all this with substantially less risk in most cases.

    It is called Cutthroat Craps. It is played to win money at the tables and drain the casinos dry with comps. What makes it different from all the other advice on craps that you have read in magazine articles lately? Just this: Cutthroat Crappers are more interested in betting on selected shooters than they are betting the lowest possible house-edge bets -- and with good reason. In fact, Cutthroat Crappers are banking on select shooters changing the actual odds on the game to favor other kinds of betting than the traditional Pass and/or Come with Odds.


    Certain assumptions are inherent in any system of craps play, or any gambling system for that matter. Cutthroat Craps is no different. There are three fundamental assumptions the Cutthroat Crapper makes:

    1. Certain shooters can change a slightly negative game into a slightly positive game for certain players who know to bet these shooters. These shooters are dubbed ?rhythmic rollers? or, more recently, ?Golden Shooters.? Some shooters can and do control their rolls to the extent necessary to achieve this shift from slightly negative to slightly positive. Many gambling writers do not believe, as I do, that these Golden Shooters exist or that rhythmic rolling takes place at a craps table. They give sundry reasons for their skepticism. And that?s fine. Their belief is not a prerequisite for utilizing Cutthroat Craps methods as these methods have no substantial downside for the craps player using them. (For a full discussion of the ?Golden Shooter? concept I refer you to my new book, Forever Craps; The Five-Step Advantage Play Method.)

    2. Golden Shooters will tend to be consistent in their dice rolling and in the resultant dice faces that show. This consistency will be seen with their dice-sets, delivery and style of betting.

    3. To take advantage of a Golden Shooter, you must adapt your betting style to the Golden Shooter as ?one size? does not fit all in this realm. That will often mean deviating from the mathematically best bets.


    You are watching a craps game in action. Shooter A is on the come-out roll. Everyone places his or her Pass Line bets except for one weaselly-looking guy who?s betting on the Don?t Pass. Then Shooter A picks up two dice and flings them unceremoniously down the table where they hop, skip, jump and careen all over the layout until finally coming to rest several feet from each other. He establishes his point. Let us say it is a 6. He immediately calls over the cocktail waitress and orders another seven-and-seven, guffawing as he does so: ?Heavy on the Seagram, honey, and light on the Up, ha! ha! ha!?

    Shooter A then throws out some chips and says: ?Oh, give me like all the hardways and, uhm, I don?t know, all the numbers I don?t have and, uhm, ah, a yo-eleven and, uh um, boxcars.? The stickman now passes Shooter A the dice and he grabs and fires them down the table again.

    Here?s a question for you: Would you bet on Shooter A?

    If you said: ?Yes, of course, craps is a random game and this guy has as good a chance as anyone else to make me money,? then you are a typical craps player. If you bet Shooter A by making the Pass and/or Come with Odds then you are a typical good craps player as you have made the mathematically best bets at the game. But you aren?t a Cutthroat Craps player. If you just went berserk and started betting hardways, hops, yo?s, boxcars, snake eyes and Big Reds then you aren?t a good craps player or a Cutthroat Craps player -- you are just a dumb craps player.

    Now, you are watching a different shooter -- Shooter B -- on his come-out roll. The Pass Line bets are down, the weaselly-looking Don?t bettor has taken his chips and skulked away from the table, and the stickman passes the dice to the shooter. Before the shooter picks up the dice he puts $170 on the table and says: ?Sixty dollar 6 and 8, buy the 4 for $50, everything off on the come-out.? (The casino we are at only takes the vig on the 4 if it wins!)

    Shooter B now picks up the dice and carefully sets them with the 3-spots facing him in a ?V.? Then he carefully positions his fingers on the dice, checks a spot at the end of the table that he seems to be aiming for, and gently lofts the dice down the table. Once in flight, the dice do not rotate or even separate much, but move rather languidly in the air, side by side with the 3-spots staring at the ceiling, and when they land, they land together, just touching the back wall, where they come to rest without much movement a few inches apart. The point is 6, made the hardway, 3:3.

    The shooter points to his Place bet and says: ?Down on my 6 and give me the odds behind the point.? The dealer does so.

    You now notice that Shooter B throws down a red chip and says: ?Five dollars on the hard 6 for the dealers.?

    So I ask the same question as I did above: Would you bet on Shooter B?

    Obviously, if you would have bet on Shooter A you would bet on Shooter B because to you it does not matter who rolls the dice. You make no distinctions among shooters as you believe every shooter is the same as every other shooter.

    However, if you were the type of player who said: ?I?m not betting Shooter A because I don?t like the way he rolls them bones, but I am betting on Shooter B because he seems to take great care with his roll,? then you are indeed on your way to becoming a Cutthroat Crapper.

    Next Issue: The Golden Shooters

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