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The Captain Taught Me

By Frank Scoblete


My gambling mentor was the late, great Captain of craps, a legendary Atlantic City player. The Captain passed away a while ago but I owe him everything when it comes to understanding how to handle casino games, especially craps and blackjack.

His knowledge was simple yet profound. He was a gentleman and a man many people followed. He had a crew of 22 high-rolling players, two of whom could actually control the outcome of a dice roll.

The casino has structured its games to have an edge over the players. That is a true statement and the smart players know this and also know how those edges are created. The casino can win more bets than a player (the pass line bet at craps) or the casino can shortchange winning bets so the payouts don’t equal the true odds of a wager (roulette wagers).

Still, some games can be beaten, despite the casinos’ efforts to keep them a negative experience for the players. For example, card counting at blackjack can tame that game if used correctly. There used to be video-poker games that resulted in a positive expectation if the player knew the proper way to play the hands (you won’t find many or any of these games anymore).

Can many players do this? Unlikely. The ups and downs of card counting and advantage video poker are well-known. Long losing streaks come with the card counter’s territory and the same holds true for those old-time video poker folks.

The Captain advocated dice control, sometimes called dice influencing, in order to overcome the house edges at that game. Like card counting, not very many players can do this. It is a difficult process of learning and actually executing the technique in the casinos. Many have tried to do this and, sadly, most have failed.

The failures are usually attributed to truly poor betting choices on the part of the would-be dice controller. Indeed, even some teachers of dice control are horrible bettors and defeat whatever talents they actual have and whatever ideas they actually teach.

House edges in the higher range, such as place bets on the 5, 9, 4 and 10 are just too great to get a winning percentage. Still, too many gamblers eschew the proper betting techniques and keep making poor bets – bets that their dice control just can’t overcome.

Too many would-be dice controllers happily go up on too many non-controllers hoping that good luck will see them through. It won’t. These players are just gamblers wishing they had an edge when in fact they don’t. Losses are in their future just as losses are in a normal dice player’s future as well.

In dice control groups many players brag about their ability to beat wagers that come in with even double-digits. Can’t be done.

Beating bad craps bets is an illusion fostered by the gambling heart of those who wish they had the skill to actually do what they wish they could do.

Many dice control instructors celebrate the good results of poor bets as proof that their techniques work. No, their techniques can’t beat the high house edges that doom some of their students. That’s a fact. A student can get lucky but luck is a short-term commodity. A real dice controller can’t rely on luck.

The Captain understood money management – for all games players wished to play, even games that could not give the players an edge. How you manage your bankroll is a critical factor in how much you will ultimately lose in the casinos.

His thoughts:

  • Have a large bankroll to a small bet.
  • Keep your gambling money in a separate bank account, preferably one that gets interest. Regularly deposit money in such an account so you are never gambling with money you might need for real expenses for yourself and your family.
  • Play slow. What’s the rush?
  • Speed of games is a destroyer of casino players, even those playing the better games with the best strategies.
  • If the game is really fast (for example mini-baccarat) then cut how many bets you make – maybe play half of the decisions or even fewer than half.
  • Do not play until you are dead tired – that could kill your bankroll (and perhaps yourself) because fatigue can hurt your logical mind.
  • Drink after you are finished playing your games. Booze is the casinos’ friend and that’s why booze is usually free when you are playing.
  • Don’t brag about your wins or moan and complain about your losses. Only you care about these things. Others are usually bored by your positive and negative exploits.

The Captain cautioned players who had just been through a hot streak to realize that this was due to the random nature of the game and that increasing one’s bet can lead to a quick bad turnabout. Go easy; go slow are two good mottos and methods of play for casino players.

All the best in and out of the casinos!


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