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Deal Me In: Naval names for table games

5 February 2010

By Mark Pilarski

Dear Mark: I play a little craps and have noticed recently that in some casinos the tables have different sizes. Is there some house edge being worked here or is it just to allow more players around a table? Jack M.

Casinos offer various dimensions of crap tables, Jack, but no specific size will affect the casino's built-in advantage on any particular bet. Since most crap tables are built to order, the casino will choose a certain size based on the games manager's personal preference, labor costs and available floor space.

Most of the tables you encounter in the casinos will be 12 or 14 feet in length, but as slot machines consume more real estate, you're starting to see smaller tables like 10 footers, or possibly just one large one. A telling factor is that manning a larger table is labor-intensive, up to four employees on a 16 footer – usually referred to as an aircraft carrier -- so scaling back both size and number of tables reduces employee expenses.

You might even start to see what I broke in on as a craps dealer, the tub game, which is a small crap table that is 6-1/2 feet long, three feet wide, and twenty-eight inches high. The mini-layout offers all the wagers of its big brother, and it's manned by just one dealer and can accommodate up to eight players.

One noticeable distinction on a few of these "tub-style" crap tables is the use of mini-dice. These dice are of the 5/8th inch size, which means they are 1/8th inch smaller than conventional 3/4-inch dice. Another alternative during off-hours is to install a bumper-board mid-table to reduce the regular-sized table by half. During graveyard, it's cost effective for the casino to make it a one or two dealer operation.

With all casino crap table sizes uniformly displaying the same layout, you can learn the game anywhere and transfer that knowledge to any venue or table size of your choosing. What all crap tables also have in common is same house edge working against you. Take for instance these crappy wagers:

Big 6 & 8 (9.1%)
Hardway 6 or 8 (9.1%)
Hardway 4 or 10 (11.1%)
Any craps (11.1%)
3 or 11 proposition (11.1%)
2 or 12 proposition (13.9%)
Any 7 (16.1%)

Oh, and those deceptive offerings like hopping-hardways, world bets, horn bets and insurance type wagers will get you free membership, courtesy of casino management, to the tootsie-pop (suckers') club.

Stick with the tried and true, Jack, no matter what sized table you're playing on. A Pass Line bet with Odds, or Placing the 6 and/or 8.

Dear Mark: What is your preferred betting when winning on blackjack when you are on a hot streak? Al C.

I favor a 50% winning progression when on a hot streak. The progression would work like this for an initial $5 wager: $5, then $7, $10, $15, $22, 30 etc. Or, being slightly more conservative, after winning your first bet, pocket the winning, and then start the winning progression formula. Example: $5, $5 again, then $7, $10, $15, $22, 30 etc. Keep increasing your bet until you lose, then begin again with a flat bet (table minimum) of $5.

Although a natural progression to a higher amount with each wager is my preferred way to go, only you can know what your comfort level is. Betting more means winning more, and you may think it's the house's money, check that, it's your money, but if you don't have that warm, fuzzy feeling as a $5 bettor with $45 on the layout, then don't bet so much.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "You tried your best and failed miserably. The lesson is, never try." --Homer Simpson

Mark Pilarski
As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.