Right when I drove into the parking lot I knew the tables were going to be packed. There was a huge difference from the Monday night I had first visited where I had my choice of parking, while on this Friday evening around 9pm, I was forced to find a spot on the outer reaches of the property’s parking.
As I made my way to the tables, the whole atmosphere was markedly different. The casino was relatively crowded. People were in a hurry. The noise level was higher, with music from a live band blaring from a stage in one of the lounges. Even the slots seemed louder and more chaotic.
All 4 craps tables were open, 2 with a $10 minimum and the other 2 at $5. There were some open spots at the $10 tables but the $5 tables were packed. I walked around a bit, contemplating the possibility of a short evening. I watched some blackjack (boring), and some baccarat (also boring), and then stopped for a moment at a Roulette table (I knew there must be a way I could win at this game, and after my last Roulette experience swore to learn some strategies before my next adventure. This game would have to wait). I then wandered back to the craps tables and watched the action. The table I had played at in my previous visit was still packed, with a lady having a good roll. A spot opened up at the end but I really wanted a spot next to the stickman so I wouldn’t have to toss the dice as far. I spied just such a spot over at the other table so I walked over and after watching the action a bit, decided to grab the spot before someone else did.
I bought in for $200. Sat out the first 2 rollers because they didn’t make their points. Figuring box numbers were being rolled, I made some 6 and 8 place bets, won a little, pressed some, didn’t regress my bets, lost, then lost again, sat out a roller, bet on the next who immediately sevened-out, and found myself to be down $51. Considering the crappy action I guess that wasn’t too bad. I was up next so I made a $5 pass line bet. My number was 10. I put down $10 in odds and placed the 6 and 8 for $12 each. Hit the 8 and kept the $14 winnings. Rolled about 5 other numbers then sevened-out. Not my night. I knew when to quit so I grabbed my chips and headed to the cashier. Final damage for the evening: -$82. If you add the $81 I won from my last visit, I was essentially down $1, but I still wasn’t happy.
After-action review. There seems to always be more learning opportunities after a losing session. Here are a few I learned from this evening’s play:
Table selection. I chose a table based on the playing position, which is really irrelevant if a table is trending cold. If I had grabbed the end position on the hot table and not even thrown the dice, I could have ridden the success of others. By my selecting a table based on playing position, I put too much faith in my own dice control (which could be affected by the general trend of the table. Maybe I would have had more success on the hotter table even if I was at the end spot).
Roller qualification. If I had been more disciplined and waited for each roller to qualify themselves, I would have definitely limited my loses. It would have been acceptable to bet on new players if the table was trending hot, but this table definitely was not.
Qualify myself. Just because I was optimistic I would have a good roll when I got the dice, it doesn’t mean I can skip qualifying myself. I need to treat myself just like any other shooter. Make a pass line bet with odds, then wait until I hit 5 numbers before making any further bets.
Charting the tables. Something I remember reading in The Dice Doctor, and also mentioned by John Patrick. I need to watch the action longer before joining a table. I may have been a little self-conscious standing at the craps table not making any bets, but I could have avoided any awkwardness by just watching and only joining a hot table.
Strategy flexibility. One of the Big Four requirements to be successful at craps, according to John Patrick, is Knowledge of the Game (the other three being Bankroll, Money Management, and Discipline). Something I’ll include in that category is knowledge of various strategies I’m comfortable using that I could pull out of my back pocket depending upon table conditions. If I had recognized how the table was playing, I could have entered the game with a different strategy instead of stubbornly playing my predetermined strategy.