To Streak Or Not To Streak
Is it time to jump on the bandwagon, or are you too late?
By John Grochowski
The odds on most casino games are constant. They don’t change from one dice roll or spin of the roulette wheel to the next. They do change as the composition of the remaining deck changes in blackjack, but unless you’re counting cards, there’s no way to take advantage of that.
Winning streaks and losing streaks are part of the normal odds of the games and are not indicators of future outcomes. Nevertheless, it’s natural to want to get in on the action when one roulette number has come up several times in a row or when a big cheer comes up from the craps table for a shooter on a hot roll.
Should you jump on the bandwagon to ride a streak? Should you bet on the streak coming to an end? Readers have done it both ways, and relayed their stories:
I usually play craps, but when I was walking from the table, the roulette wheel caught my eye. The board showed black 31 had come up four times in a row.
I got some chips and started to bet 31 and the numbers around it, 29, 28, 32, 34 and 35. It never came up again while I was there. I won a couple of corner bets when the 28 and 35 came up, but 31 was my only single number and it didn’t hit.
Good thing it was only a $5 table. I wound up losing $55 and walked away.
First thing when I get to the casino, I head for the craps tables. I like to scout things out a little bit, but this time there was no question. Three tables were in action. One was high limit, out of my range. The other two were $10 tables, and one was quiet as can be. There were only about five guys there, and it didn’t seem like anything was going one.
The other one was hopping. The shooter must have just made a point when I arrived, because there was this huge roar and high fives all around.
There was no waiting to scout rolls for me. I saw one spot where I could squeeze in, and I took it. I didn’t want to be left out of the hot roll and I figured someone from the cold table would be moving over if I didn’t grab the spot.
It was a come out, and I got my money on pass right away. The player next to me said the shooter was just rolling numbers and had made five passes in a row. He rolled, and the point was 6. I got my odds down, and made a come bet. Next roll was an 8, so I took odds on that, and one more come. Next came a 9, and I took odds and left it at that, three numbers working.
The shooter stayed hot. He repeated the 9, so I won there, bet come again, and he rolled an 8, so I won my first come bet and odds. Five or six more numbers came in a row, I think it was 4, 8, 4, 9, 5, so I won a few more comes.
After that, he sevened out. It’s weird, his streak of passes ended without my ever winning on the line, but I still made money.
I bet you don’t get a lot of baccarat stories. I was at a table with a lady who was charting all the hands, and any time banker won two in a row, she bet $20 on banker, and any time player won two in a row, she bet on $20 player. She stayed on that side until the streak ended. When there was no streak going, she went down to $10, the table minimum.
She had a big stack of chips in front of her, so she must have caught a big streak earlier. Still, I’m kind of a contrary sort, so I decided to bet against the streaks instead.
You should have seen her. Banker won two in a row, she bet with the streak, and I switched to player. She gave me the evil eye and said, “Why are you doing that?” I said player just felt lucky to me, and she gave a heavy sigh and shook her head.
Player won, and she got a little testy. “Don’t you go breaking the magic.”
A little later, banker won two in a row again. She said, “It’s banker, right?” I told her no, I was feeling player, and we bet opposites. I won again. This time player won the next hand, too, so she switched to player. I switched to banker. She said, “This is war between us, right?” And I said no war, I just thought banker was due. Banker won.
I wasn’t making a lot of money at this. Between streaks, I was probably losing a little more than I won. But my wins while betting against the streaks kept me about even.
The fourth time was the last straw, I guess. Banker won two in a row, so she bet on banker and I bet on player. She complained, “Why won’t you play this game right?” She even called out to the pit supervisor, “He won’t play right.” The pit supervisor seemed to be holding back a laugh, and he told her he couldn’t tell me which hand to bet on.
Banker won, so betting against the streak paid again. She’d had enough and she told me, “This was a good game until you got here,” and started to stack up her chips to color up. I told her, “Sorry ma’am, I was just having a little fun. You stay, and I’ll go.”
I don’t know if she did better after I left, but she was taking it so seriously I figured I’d better move.