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Deal Me In: Putting a pal in the sand trap

15 October 2010

By Mark Pilarski

Dear Mark: I was going to Las Vegas and a friend gave me $265 (the cost of a driving range season pass for golf he wanted to win) for a Pass Line bet on the crap table. Since I was playing blackjack previous to making his bet, I used my own chips instead of his cash money. I placed the bet before the dice were tossed but the box person (a female) pointed to me and yelled out "no bet." Eleven rolled, which would have made my friend's bet a WINNER. I immediately picked my chips up, went to another table where the bet was taken, the point became four, then seven rolled, LOSER. I am not a craps player, nor know much about the game, but I can't for the life of me figure out why she wouldn't allow my wager on her table but the other table did. Possibly you can solve this mystery. Gerald C. It was probably one of two things, Gerald. Most likely it was that you were placing a bet after the shooter had the dice in his or her hands. This being the case, the person sitting box would have called out "no more bets," or in your instance, "no bet." Oh, and Gerald, amongst the superstitious, betting when a shooter has the dice in hand creates bad luck. Also, being that you were in Las Vegas, the $265 almost certainly didn't cross the maximum wager threshold, but you might have been on a jam-up game where the dice and dollars were flying and it could have been how your multiple-colored chips appeared on the layout to the box person. You should always put the highest denomination chip on the bottom and the lowest denomination chip on the top. So if you were placing $265 on the Pass Line, the bet would be, bottom to top, one black chip ($100), six green chips ($25), and three red chips ($5). Possibly it had a barber pole appearance that was a bit ambiguous to the box person and she decided to call your wager off. It's not a usual occurrence, but bets can get backed off on a fast-paced game when there is some confusion as to the amount, placement or intent. All three came into play when I was sitting box once and an inebriated gent dumped a Big Gulp sized cup full of chips all over the layout and mumbled who knows what. The amount was well over the table max, the chips were scattered everywhere, and in his incoherent state I had no idea what his intent was. "No bet," no more cocktails, and within thirty minutes, no more money. You all know how I feel about getting, and betting sloshed. GWI, gambling while intoxicated, has no place in the casino. Dear Mark: Recently I was playing blackjack on an eight-deck shoe that was HOT, HOT, HOT. I was easily winning 80% of my hands until a lady entered the game half way through the shoe, and I couldn't win a hand thereafter. Do you believe by entering the game in the middle of the shoe, she altered the cards in such a way that it caused me to lose? Charlie H. Old-school pit bosses love the Cooler whose very presence can chill the hot streak of any player on a roll. Yes, the lady who entered your game in the middle of a shoe obviously altered the flow of the cards from what they might have, could have, been. Nevertheless, Charlie, you can't predict the "thereafter" nor whether your winning streak would still have continued or not. Past performance on a blackjack game does not indicate anything about future performance. The results are determined at random, and over the long run, it shouldn't make any difference whether she jumped in when she did or waited for the shoe to play all the way through. Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "A deck of cards is like a woman. Usually when you pick one up, you wish you hadn't." ?--From the movie, Flame of the Barbary Coast
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.