My publisher, Bonus Books, wants to do an updated, expanded edition of my first book Beat the Craps Out of the Casinos: How to Play Craps and Win! That book was researched in the late 1980s, written in 1990, and published in 1991. From the time of its publication until the time I am writing this article, Beat the Craps has consistently been the best-selling book on craps and, often, the #1 best-seller in the entire gambling genre.
I had no idea when I wrote Beat the Craps that the book would have, as publishers say, ?legs.? Now, with a new edition on the horizon, I?ve been asked to account for its popularity. I think I can, to a degree, pin-point the elements that made and make it such a big seller; indeed, these same elements are the reason that many subsequent authors such as Sharpshooter consider it to be a ground-breaking craps book, one whose profound impact on the game is just now being realized ? a full dozen years after its publication.
Until the publication of Beat the Craps, gambling authors approached craps from a strictly mathematical viewpoint. The typical book explained how the game was played, analyzed the bets, and came to the conclusion that while the game couldn?t be beaten, making the good bets would give you a good run for your money; said money ultimately winding up in the casinos? coffers.
Beat the Craps Out of the Casinos, while thoroughly explaining how the game is played, analyzing the various bets, and so on, went much further. It postulated that players could get the edge over the casinos at craps if they followed two basic tenets: reducing their exposure to random rollers, especially those who sevened-out early and by taking care with their own rolls.
These ideas were not mine. They came by way of the Captain, a man who had perfected what he called the 5-Count, a method for deciding which shooters to risk money on, and the man who coined the term ?rhythmic roller? for those shooters whom he perceived as influencing the dice in order to change a negative expectation game into a positive expectation game. In addition, the Captain discussed various betting styles in the book to go with his two basic tenets, these styles largely dependent on the bankroll and goals of the player. Such betting styles were not the breakthrough concepts that made Beat the Craps a huge best-seller, they were merely the Captain?s opinion about the best way to go about risking your money on shooters who made it through the 5-Count.
The 5-Count and rhythmic rolling set that book apart and, to this day, they are the two bedrocks of the dice-control revolution sweeping the world of craps. The Captain?s concept that some people could control the dice, attained by insight and years of observation at the tables and recorded in Beat the Craps Out of the Casinos, has now been affirmed by others who have not only studied the process scientifically, detailing the physics and mechanics behind it, but also by those players who have kept accurate records of their rolls in practice and the casinos. Such statistics, like baseball stats, can show clearly who can hit the homeruns in craps, despite my mixed metaphor, and who can?t.
Yet, attaining small edges when one shoots will not necessarily flip the entire game over to the player?s side, even to the side of a player who is quite adept at controlled shooting. Why is that? Because at a full craps table of 12 people, one lone rhythmic roller (or dice-controller) usually can?t flip the game sufficiently to offset the house edge on the 11 other shooters. This is especially true when our dice-controller bets on every shooter and most especially if he makes high house-edge bets.
It has now become a mantra in the dice-control movement that astute dice-controllers must ?qualify? shooters before they risk their money on them. Essentially what all these ?qualifying? methods are trying to do, often catch as catch can, is duplicate what the 5-Count of the Captain?s does so brilliantly ? eliminate poor shooters!
The 5-Count, based on a recent study of 200 million shooters (that?s right 200 million!) by Dr. Don Catlin, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the University of Massachusetts, eliminates approximately 55 percent of the random rollers. By definition, there are no big rolls in that 55 percent since these shooters all sevened-out early. While Catlin clearly shows that the 5-Count cannot take a random game into positive expectation territory (no betting strategy can), it does reduce your exposure to all those random rollers who go down without much of a fight and it does position you to take advantage of your own controlled throw and the controlled throws of other rhythmic rollers. Interestingly enough, when comps are considered into the bargain (at a 40 percent giveback based on theoretical loss), the expected loss of a player utilizing the 5-Count is $3 for every $57 lost by a player who bets on all random shooters. If the casino gives back 50 percent of the theoretical loss, the 5-Count player can even gain a slight ?monetary edge? on random rollers. Catlin?s study analyzed the game strictly based on placing the 6 and 8, which comes in with a 1.5 percent edge for the casino. I assume the game would be even better had the study analyzed 200 million shooters making Pass and Come with full odds, the best mathematical bet in a random game.
I discuss what I consider to be the best way of ?qualifying? shooters in my new book Forever Craps: The Five Step Advantage-Play Method! This method incorporates the 5-Count, rhythmic rolling and the concept of the ?Golden Shooter,? to gain a real edge over the house.
Looking back now, I can see that the craps playing community, at least that segment that was composed of dedicated and knowledgeable players, was ripe for a new direction in craps-thought in 1991. Beat the Craps Out of the Casinos: How to Play Craps and Win! was the book that pointed the way, thanks to the Captain, the greatest craps player of all time.
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