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.


‘4? 5? Good!’ ‘Point of 6? NO!’

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.


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 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.


Posted in: Blackjack, Casino, Craps, Gambling

0 thoughts on “Stop Making These Two Toe Stubbing, Hair Pulling BlackJack and Craps Mistakes

  • Hello RG: This has been an area on the craps table that I have lots of questions on what is the correct moves on the dark side. I can not say I play the dark side often but when I do I never play odds on any number.. I just can’t see how It’s a good move to have to bet more to win less. What is your feeling on doing this. When I have seen you play the dark side you always lay down the odds from what I can see. Thanks for keeping us thinking.

    • RoadGambler says:

      Hi Charlie,

      Contrary to what a lot of darksiders think, laying odds is better, in the long run, than betting the DP or DC.

      Let’s say you have $100 targeted for each bet. You’re better off betting minimum on the flat, then laying the rest on the odds.

      While it’s true that laying the odds pays less, there is balance because you are more likely to win. It equals a zero house edge on the odds portion.

      The position you state is a reason why many players prefer the light side. People usually do not like betting more to win less.

      However, there is an inconsistency in that position when you examine the total bets made by the light side player.

      If you place bet the 6 and 8, you are betting more to win less. If you bet $12 each on the 6 and 8, you win $14 for your total bet of $24. Isn’t that betting more to win less?

      Sure, you can win again if a second 6 or 8 rolls, but each decision is a separate bet. Every single resolution of the bet then results in a new bet. Every single time, you will win less than your total bet. That’s ability to win multiple times is balanced out by the fact that if the 7 appears without either number being hit, the player loses immediately.

      Let’s say you make two come bets of $10 each with the intention of making $50 odds bets each. The points are 5 and 9 on your come bets (or any point, you pick). In that case, you will have bet $100 worth of odds on those two points, and if you hit one of those points, you will win $75, which is less than the $100 you bet.

      In this case, the math is simple. You have the point of 5 and 9. You have 8 ways to win (4 each) and 6 ways to lose. Since you have more ways to win and fewer ways to lose, you must lay the odds to the casino. That’s why the first hit pays $75 (on the odds) despite your total bet of $100.

      8 ways to win, 6 ways to lose…because you have more ways to win than lose, you have to bet more to win less, even on the light side.

      Granted, if you hit the second point, you will have won more, but that’s balanced out by the fact that if the 7 rolls before either point, you lose everything without a payout. Balance.

      In other words, you are laying odds for the house on your total action.

      Let’s go back to the dreaded laying odds on the dark side and use a hypothetical.

      You bet on the DC. Point is 10. Before you get too happy and shout, I have a 2-1 edge, remember that on the come out, you were at a 8-3 disadvantage, and not every come out roll results in a 2-1 edge over the house. The average in this case is that the house will have a 1.36% house edge over you in the long run, if all you do is bet DP or DC.

      In this case, you are lucky and now have the point of 10. You said that you don’t want to lay odds because you have winning less than your bet. True, it kinda blows to bet $100 and only be paid $50, but you have now 6 ways to win and only 3 ways to lose.

      The total that you are paid will always be in proportion to how many ways you have to win and how many ways you have to lose. Don’t let the fact that you are paid less on a number both you. Light side players lay odds without even knowing that they’re laying odds.

      Next time someone bets the light side and gets paid out ‘more than they bet’…take a look and add up their total action…they’re always being paid less than their total bet, unless they’re the rare bettor who only makes one singular place or pass line bet.

      It might encourage you to make the better bet, which is laying the odds, even though it pays you less.

  • When I use to play BJ, people would double on 4s. I would ask them what they were hoping for and every time they would tell me 18.

    • RoadGambler says:

      I was playing blackjack on a cruise ship and a guy doubled on a hard 8, not once, but twice. I usually don’t correct people at the table, but on a cruise, you end up gambling with the same people and it’s a very friendly and chatty environment. So I asked him why he was doubling on 8.

      His response was that he saw me do the same thing on the first night, and it looked like I knew what I was doing.

      He probably saw me double on soft 18.

      Different thing, I explained.

      That was one of the few times I corrected someone at the table.

  • This is a little off the subject but I was wondering if you could repost the videos from the wild wild west 100x

    I didn’t get to see them and I was curious about them

    Thanks for the good advice and videos.

    • RoadGambler says:


      I have been trying to post them again, however, due to a request to take them down, we have been trying to censor the video in a way that satisfies the person making the request.

      Let me get back on that issue and complete this video. You aren’t the first person to ask. I will mark this post and make it a priority.

  • Thanks RG!!! You have explained to me the way to look at the dark side and laying odds. This is why I am just excited to learn more about the game of craps. I always forget to remember the of ways I can win to the number of ways I can lose. Thank you for the easy to understand answer.

  • Question about laying odds…If you are at a 10x table and you have $10 on the don’t pass, what is the maximum you can lay in odds?

    • RoadGambler says:

      If it’s 10x and you have $10 on the Don’t Pass, the max lay is what you would WIN if your DP is multiplied by 10x.

      So if the point is 6 or 8, then you can max lay $120 because you would win $100.

      Point is 5 or 9, max lay is $150 because you would win $100.

      Point is 4 or 10, max lay is $200 because you would win $100.

      All those wins above are 10x.

      Those figures are just the opposite of the pass line…$100 pays $120, $100 pays $150, and $100 pays $200 for the respective points.

      • Pass player with max odds and 2 come bets vs don’t pass player with max odds and 2 come bets….

        Even though they should be close to even with similar outcomes, it seems i would need to have a larger initial bankroll if I am a don’t player….is that correct RG?

        Feels like the don’t player has to put more.money up front …..If the table conditions are choppy, example….point is made, 2nd point not made, 3rd point made, etc….Feels like the pass player can weather out the storm better…

        for some resson, I can’t bet don’t pass with max.odds…

        Convince me otherwise….

        • RoadGambler says:

          This is a really good question.

          My answer for now is: I don’t know.

          I suspect that if both are playing at the same level, then both should have an equal bankroll.

          Let me do the math on that and get back to you.

  • It would depend on the point…and its based on the amount you can win ……If a $10 table a 4 and 10 max of 200 to make 100…5 and 9 max of 150 to make 100 and 6 and 8 max of 120 to make 100…….The Wizard of Odds explains it this way……..Much like Taking Odds, the amount you may take Laying Odds is limited to some multiple of your Don’t Pass bet. For example, if casino allows 5X Odds, then you may bet up to an amount such that a win would be no more than 5X the Don’t Pass bet. In the case of the common 3-4- 5X Odds, you can Lay up to 6X the Don’t Pass bet after any Point, which would result in a win of 3, 4 or 5X the Don’t Pass bet.

  • John Koryto says:

    Great article. Really spot on. You nailed with the ‘selective memory’ comment. I hear it everyday. Dice go off the table – turn me off, the next roll is ALWAYS a 7 out. No, on average, once in every 6 times that the dice go off the table there will be a 7 out. The dealer always shows a 10 in BJ. No, on average, 4 out of every 13 hands the dealer will have a 10 as their face up card. I’ve gotten to the point where I just smile and move on. You can never be right. 😊😊😊

    • RoadGambler says:


      Selective memory…the human weakness that causes many good players to become questionable players. Not just at the tables, but also at life.

      As a warrior on the front lines keeping us entertained with your superior dealing skills, I very much appreciate your input.

      May the tokes come fast and heavy!

  • There are runs also…i have seen dealers have a 10 up over 10 times in a row….i have seen a new die or dice given to a shooter and they proceed to 7 out numeroius times ( happened to me during a nice roll at the Mirage….the die was not found ….bam 7 out)

  • Kevin Ballou says:

    Thanks for the advice on keeping a “robbery” stack. Hopefully, one would never need it, but it is great insurance to mitigate the pain of an unfortunate situation.

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