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Monday, June 12, 2017

Monster at the Table

Day 4 - Fri May 19, 2017 - continued

A little story I forgot to relate from Thursday night. After the buffet dinner, I headed for the blackjack table. I played about an hour and got only two blackjacks.

Then some mook steers himself sideways into the seat next to me, and lets out a great big cough - right over my bourbon. Then Mr. Mook buys in with a $50 bill. Now I'm not superstitious, but I know an unlucky bill when I see one, and if it says five-oh on it, it's un-lucking fucky.

I smile at the dealer and say "I'll be back. I have to take a monstrous piss," or something similar.

Probably "I'll be back."

I took my drink with me and placed it strategically on some level surface or other, and headed for Davey Jones' Pisslocker. I took my time. Washed three or four times. Washed my hands next. Strolled back to the table, feeling like Lady Luck had just given me the Purple Pimpernel.

Back at the table, Mr. Mook was just walking away, busted.

I sat and turned to the guy at 3rd base.

"$50 bills are unlucky. Get it?"

"Got it," he said.

I played for a couple of hours, regrouped, and then checked out the craps table. In retrospect, this would be one of those lessons learned that you load into your experience quiver that will probably shape how you approach the game for the rest of your life.

On the way back from breakfast, I stopped back at Wynn and played some video poker. I hit a few things, but mostly got my ass kicked, erasing any win from before.

I took the bridges across the strip to the Fashion Show Mall - I was looking for a sun hat to go hiking in and I also wanted to see if there would be a fashion show on.
If she didn't need a sun hat, neither did I!
I wandered down to Dick's and perused the overpriced hats, and bought nothing. One goal (as always) was to see if there was a shortcut between T.I. and the stupid mall.

There is. I found it, and used it, and entered T.I. back at the parking garage.

So, it was mid-day at T.I. and I bought in for $100 at the craps table, $5 minimum.

I was ready to give my Super Cheap low volatility strategy another try. The table was a bit choppy. I was at stick right, facing back to the aisle, facing High Limit. There was a tall guy, a bit gangly, to my right. There was a nicely turned out lady to my left. She was probably pushing 70 years of age. Her name might have been Mrs. Howell.

After I bought in, the dice were at the far end and worked there way to the gangly fellow, who turned out to be named Mikey. The woman to my left seemed to know him, perhaps from playing together, or perhaps from business or a conference or something like that.

Mikey did all right making a point or two with a few numbers in between, and I upped my pass line bet accordingly. Mikey had an interesting throw. He'd take the cubes, and turn them around until he found the set he wanted. He'd grip them and raise his arm and hesitate, almost like a pitcher. Then he'd fling the fucking things like they were on fire.

And, they were. He was hitting numbers, and he was hitting hard ways.

I kept an eye on Mrs. Howell because she kept up quite a bit of chatter to the shooter. "Nice shot Mikey." "Good, Mikey." "Got you on the hard eight Mikey, now bring it!"

I watched, with my $25 passline bet and $25 odds, and she pressed the numbers up like I had never seen in my life. Now, shooters who are playing high limit tables, whales and mini-whales bet like this all the time. But this was a $5 table with maybe a $3000 limit in T.I. around lunchtime.

Mrs. Howell was throwing green chips onto the hardways for Mikey, and was pushed up to blacks for herself, had the dealers covered too.

Mrs. Howell, God love her, pressed her number place bets up to purples and beyond - $500, $600, $700, and every time Mikey threw a number, Mrs. Howell would collect a purple, some blacks, and some change.

My eyes were growing wider as I watched this absolute monster of a roll develop. I didn't want to gawk at Mrs. Howell, but I just had to check out her (chip) rack from time to time.

Mikey finally hit the point and I pressed up to $35 on the passline. And this was when I finally got my ass in gear and dumped the strategy. But was it too late?

I started making a come bet, followed by a second come bet, and I'd parlay each of those separately from the pass line and from each other. I backed the come bets with odds.

Mikey kept setting those dice, looking down, the table stalk still, swirling them in a slow circle, and then arm up and then bam! another number, hard.

I've chased hardways before and it seems that as soon as I try to get on the train, its too late.

I'm an idiot.

Mrs. Howell was raking in the purple chips, but then again, she had four or five thousand dollars out on the felt. So to some degree, its all relative, but the hardways!

Mikey had passed the 30 minute mark. Everyone was dead silent when he shot except for one young idiot at the far end who had taken to slowly clapping with enthusiasm while Mikey was getting set. I mentally screamed at him to SHUT THE FUCK UP and don't disturb this remarkable shooter.

Mikey shot again, the chips rolled in again, Mrs. Howell pressed again. It would take a couple of minutes for everyone to do business after each roll, upping bets, adding hardways and so on.

Then something else happened that I have never seen the likes of before.

Mike got the bones, and turned them this way and that on the felt until he got his 3V set. Just like always he lifted them, looked up at the far end of the table, lifted his arm, paused... and then FIRED.

And while the dice were in the air and hitting the back wall, Mikey said, "Shit, I missed that one..."


There was a big round of applause for Mikey. I had $213 in my rack and about $85 on the felt when Mikey sevened out.

I took a look at Mrs. Howell's overflowing rack and tried to do a quick count. I only counted three or four thousand. There weren't many purples in her rack.

That's because Mrs. Howell had been stashing those $500 chips in her purse all roll long.

So here's the thing.

Most times, a low-volatility strategy is a good idea, especially with such a limited buy-in. And sure, I'd made money.

But I felt like an ass. I knew damn well that this was the heater of the trip, and once again, I had not mastered the skill of knowing soon enough to get on the train with everything I had. In my craps 'career' I have never managed to do this.

I could have pulled down, realistically given how I would have bet, $500 or $750. Maybe more?

Mrs. Howell pulled down, in my estimation $15,000.

I was happy to be up, happy to have witnessed Mrs. Howell beating the pants off the craps table (and Mikey too, who made four or five thousand, half thanks to Mrs. Howell betting for him), and happy that I had one more experience in my craps quiver to think back on the next time I get a sniff of an incredible roll like this one.

But then again, it's tricky... because you don't know until it is over what a monster it was. It's so uncertain at any particular juncture.

Next time I won't be so shy, and I'll go in hot and heavy. I only had $100 at risk, but I missed out on a huge upside.

Lesson learned. See why I love gambling?
Shoulda been more. That's gambling!

    1 comment:

    1. Did you get the sense the Mrs. and the Mikey were working the table together, or did she just take advantage of a good shooter?

      And how great was that guy's technique? I'd have followed him to every table in every casino in every town in every...


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