About a month ago, I received an email from a reader stating that he was in Las Vegas and was going to be gambling downtown. He asked if I wanted to come and play craps with him. For safety and security reasons, I’m usually hesitant to play craps with persons I’m not familiar with.
As you now know from watching my videos and reading the article from last week, I usually have a significant amount of cash on my person. Also, now that I’ve spilled the beans (for the greater good), a lot of people now know that I carry a ‘robbery’ stack. So I have to be even more careful.
However, this invitation was before the article, and I figured that we would be meeting in a public place, so I agreed to meet downtown to shoot some craps and play some blackjack.
We were to play at the D, but first had a prime rib meal at Magnolia Cafe in the Four Queens. It was only ok. It’s not the best prime rib. It could have used a bit more salt in the au jus and the prime rib was a bit on the tough side.
Anyways, as we were talking, the gentleman appeared relatively intelligent and not ‘nuts’. Actually, he was quite cool and I wouldn’t hesitate to hang out with him again.
I can usually tell how a person is going to play after talking to them for about 30 minutes. If you believe in alien abductions and Bigfoot, you’re going to be betting differently from a guy who applies Occam’s razor to his everyday life (philosophy of reasoning that means that one should not make more assumptions than needed). If a guy can explain the efficient market hypothesis, he’s probably going to be betting differently from a guy who talks about day trading the stock market.
After dinner, we head over to the D and start playing craps.
We played blackjack and I watched him play craps.
He made two mistakes that drive me nuts, so I wanted to discuss them here.
I tried to correct him very gently at the table, but correcting someone at the table is something I generally don’t do. It can lead to disaster if the advice backfires. In the short term, anything can happen, and the best advice can sometimes turn out to be presciently wrong.
These are two mistakes that you should avoid making.
TOE STUBBING MISTAKE #1. CRAPS: NOT LETTING 6 OR 8 TRAVEL ON DON’T COME
Guy buys in big and starts playing the dark side. He is betting the Don’t Pass (DP) and Don’t Come (DC). This is going to make for an interesting video. You’ll see it eventually.
Any time that 6 or 8 rolls, he tells the dealer to not let the bet travel to the point.
This is an absolutely horrible play. Even if you don’t want odds on the 6 or 8, at least let the don’t come bet travel to the 6 or 8.
For those who aren’t aware, a DC bettor can decline to let his bet travel to the point and instead opt to roll another come out.
Here is the reason why this is a horrible play…
On the come out roll, Don’t Come (DC) has eight ways to lose and only 3 ways to win. There is one way to push. This means that you are at more than 2-1 disadvantage. The hardest part of the DC bet is getting past the come out roll. Once you survive the come out roll, the DC bettor has the advantage over the house.
If the point is either 6 or 8, the DC player now has 6 ways to win and only five ways to lose. Think about that you are at a 6 to 5 advantage.
Why would you ever decline that advantage? It’s a self-inflicted mistake that increases the house advantage over the player.
If you are going to decline letting the DC bet travel on the 6 or 8, you are better off just betting the light side.
If you really insist on betting the DC, then at least let the DC travel to the 6 or 8, but decline laying the odds.
HAIR PULLING MISTAKE #2. BLACKJACK: NOT DOUBLING DOWN ON 11
We also played blackjack. It was here that I witnessed self-inflicted wound number 2: the unwillingness to double down on 11 versus a dealer 10.
Let me make this clear…
Unless you are counting cards, if you have a hard 11, you should ALWAYS double down on any dealer up card, tens and aces included.
The only exception to this rule is 6 or 8 decks and the dealer stands on all 17s (a rare rule in Las Vegas and most casinos, unless the player is in the high limit room).
We were playing blackjack, and my new found buddy was a decent blackjack player. He wasn’t using perfect basic strategy, but then again, most people do not.
About 15 minutes in, he gets his first hard 11 and dealer has a 10. He declines the double. I go…gulp.
I don’t say anything.
Dealer gives him an 8, which totals 19.
Dealer turns over another 10 for a total of 20.
He loses his hand. If I had told him to double, he would have lost twice his bet.
After a while, I ask him why he doesn’t double on his 11s when the dealer shows 10. I already knew the answer, but I wanted to see if he would be receptive to some input.
His answer was exactly what I expected: he’s lost too many times doubling on 11 versus dealer 10.
Let me make this clear: if it’s typical Las Vegas rules, ALWAYS double on any two card 11, no matter what the dealer has for an upward.
By doubling on all your 11s, you will win more over the long run versus just hitting the 11.
If you do not follow this rule, you will lose money over the long run.
OUR FRIEND’S PROBLEM
Our friend is a victim of selective memory. He always remembers the times that he loses on those bets, but he doesn’t remember the times he lost out on additional bets if he had made the prudent and correct move.
Sure, sometimes the mathematically correct move will turn out to be wrong, but none of us have a crystal ball that will tell us the future. If you don’t have a crystal ball, you have to follow my two rules in this article. If you don’t, you’re just going to give the house additional money.
Play smart and take everything that you deserve. Some mistakes are difficult to avoid. Basic strategy can be difficult to remember for some people. Catching dealer mispays can take the vacation gambler out of the moment. But the two mistakes I mentioned in this article are simple and easy to avoid. They’re so simple, that if you make them, you kind of deserve what comes your way.
Don’t give the house any more money than its already going to take by making ridiculous mistakes. Don’t purposely stub your toe and pull your hair. Don’t.