jesse kaellis in beBee in English, Creative Writers, Writers Dice dealer, Professional masseur. Other arcane jobs -- process server, cemetery worker. Oct 13, 2016 · 5 min read · +200

There is no luck

This is an elucidation of 'The True Odds' and there is some redundancy. Many of the ways to bet on a dice layout are redundant on purpose. The same way to lose your money -- faster. The Texas Station was one of the last joints I auditioned at. A solid buck ($100.00) a day in tokes. The shift boss watched me and filled out a recommend to hire form. I remember looking at the third base dealer, hesitating and pointing to one of her bets with the stick. I did it discretely. "We have triple odds here." "Oh! I'm sorry." She smiled at me, "That's okay." 

I couldn't get through corporate. That was my story in the end. I was ruined in Vegas. Every joint you worked at is on your gaming card which is attached to your prints. Nineteen joints in nine years. And then two more before I flunked out for real and forever. I was ruined. 

There is no luck

There is no luckThere is no luck; good or bad

What people call luck in regards to gambling are statistically insignificant fluctuations in a mean average of mathematical probability. There is no such thing as a law of averages; there is a theory of averages which does hold up over time and circumstance.

The frequency of outcomes on a pair of dice is influenced by the odds of a particular number rolling. There are thirty-six combinations of outcomes on a pair of dice. The true odds of the dice coming up twelve are one roll in thirty-six. Twelve can only roll one way: six/six.

Aces share the same odds. They can only come one way or one/one. You can bet twelve or aces on a dice table, a proposition bet, a one roll bet, and it will pay you thirty FOR one on strips odds, or thirty TO one downtown.

So even when you win, you lose. You’re losing six units. I thought I would point that out.

Seven is the controlling number in craps, seven it the strongest number. There are more ways to make a seven than any other number on the dice: 4/3, 3/4. 5/2, 2/5, 6/1, and 1/6. There are six ways; seven is all over the dice. This is one reason that casino people are notoriously superstitious because sometimes the odds inexplicably take a holiday.

The first time I saw this was on my first middle-level job downtown. I worked a game where the dice rolled numbers for over an hour, about an hour and twenty minutes. That was the longest run I personally ever dealt on, but the table only dumped nine hundred bucks. This was at the Union Plaza,—a low limit table. In fact, it was a quarter game; twenty-five cents was the minimum bet.

One afternoon I got off a graveyard shift at the Plaza at twelve noon and walked over to the Horseshoe to get a drink. On the Mint side, the dice game facing the street was three deep in players. I pushed in to see what was going on. I saw three grim looking floormen standing in the pit behind the two base dealers and the boxman. The dealers had their heads low, had their heads buried in the layout. Everybody was tense. The shooter was on the second base end of the table. This table ended up dumping $450,000. That’s a noteworthy drop for any casino.

Why are casino workers superstitious? I had someone ask me that recently. Don’t they know they are going to win in the end? As a matter a fact, the guy that won the bulk of that money at the Horseshoe came back and lost it all back a few days later. He just couldn’t leave it alone. Thank God for greed!

Casinos are greedy as well, of course. They ain’t selling bread, but it seems as though they do expect to win every hand. If the odds are built in then what can the house do to control the game? We can speed up the pace, for one thing. I worked in nothing but middle level and lowered middle-level houses, and they all sweated the money, some worse than others. Why force the dice? We are looking for that seven. It’s on there, and we are looking to kill the game. You can’t do this at a top level joint, like Caesars. It just wouldn’t be appropriate, but I routinely bullied players—fuck ‘em.

The boxman holds onto the dice and examines them, holds them at the corner and spins, he’s looking for “cooked” dice. Who knows if he can even tell? He’s checking the balance and observing the depth of the pips, the white, embedded “dot’s” which have varying depths according to the number of “dot’s” on a particular side of the die, because of course, they have to balance. The box is also checking the serial number stenciled onto each die. A set of professional dice comes in five’s, but I have seen six at one joint that I worked. 

Dice are invariably translucent red with sharp edges. They are called razors and if one of them hits you while in play, they will draw blood. Once again, why bother doing anything but follow procedure? The odds WILL hold up over time. But that isn’t how it works. If the dice pit is down seven thousand bucks at the end of the shift, the shift boss wants to know why? What did you do about it? Put a new stick on? Change the dice? Turn the paddle around? (The paddle that the boxman uses to stuff the money in the box, hence boxman)

Now holding up the dice, checking the dice, may be a security measure but it is also a way to slow down the hemorrhaging on a particular game. The player is pounding the railing for the dice; my perception is that the boxman wants to break the shooter's rhythm. At the Barbary, when I was on the stick I was instructed to turn one die from top to bottom. Why? I didn’t ask. All these security measures have a purpose if the box or floor knows what they are doing. After the seven, when it finally comes, after that; the box discreetly takes the losing set of dice off the game and put another set in the bowl. Dice cannot be changed in the middle of a hand. Dice get changed at the end of every shift whether they won or lost for the house. They then get stamped out; marked, and sold in the gift shop.

Okay, but you get my point. At this time I want to point out a concept: if you can picture dice rolling all over the world, all over the universe, at any point in time, the fact that there is an anomaly in an expected outcome at some middle level joint downtown is statistically insignificant when measured against a mean outcome of decisions over countless rolls of the dice. Citation: Scarne—On Dice.

And not just dice either. When I worked at Caesars, they chalked up a bad quarter with a twenty-six million dollar loss. This was off of two baccarat players, two extremely wealthy men from Indonesia.

These men acted as their bank. They could sit there for countless hours and ride out their losses since baccarat is close to even odds if you pay the vig (usually about two percent of the bet) to bet with the bank. (Banco)

What you should be taking away from this essay is that gambling is not a reliable way to make money. Get a job. The people that win big money in a casino are people that don’t even remotely need the money. Gambling is really about ego; about playing with money, worshipping money.

Some of these joints build comp suites for high rollers. The Big Hilton did that for the mega rich Australian, Packer. They ended up chasing him away. His action was too volatile. They preferred to grind it out of their middle-level play. How did they get rid of him? I would think they blew him off very politely.

I have overheard players on a dice game say, “Play don’t pass; that’s the house side.” But there is no house side that a player can bet. Who knew? No loose ends. I was dealing a game once, and a player was playing the don’t pass and the pass line at the same time. The don’t pass is the opposite of the pass line. You’re betting on a seven instead of the point. But the don’t pass loses on a winner seven, on the come out—remember, seven is the controlling number. At any rate, just remember this; you can’t beat this game. If you win and run, okay, if you have the discipline. I had a boxman at my joint where I worked that would go out and play dice occasionally. He claimed to always win. Maybe. I personally would not gamble on my own game, not that I ever gambled. They say gambling is like a drug but I didn't want something like a drug, I wanted drugs. Why fool around? 

See, the joint doesn’t always win, but they do grind out a healthy percentage on the vagaries of probability.

The real concept to take away from this essay is that there is no warning light. Nobody knows when to stop. Let’s say you have a bit of a hand going—you’re up, and you’re winning. You want more. Then you start losing it back. Well—now you just want to get back to where you were -- keep chasing, stick around and sooner or later (usually sooner) your money is all gone. AND WE DON’T CARE! And don’t be asking for a comp after we have your money already. Ask to be rated as soon as you buy into a game, then depending on what you lost you might get a sandwich. If you want a nice comp; food, booze, and a room or a suite, then win the casino's money. We’ll give you almost anything you want.

Who invented these games anyway? Who devised and embellished the game of dice? People play dice on a blanket. The basic game is fairly easy to understand. The proposition bets came along later, as a lucrative adjunct to the pass line, and come line. As was the don’t pass added later. When you see the dealers, Boxman, and floormen in a dice pit, one thing they are not doing is figuring the odds. We just memorize them, as we memorize procedure. The procedure is important so that you can back up any mistakes or disputes and resolve them.

In closing, people do win at dice. The game is airtight. I don’t believe in systems, and I never saw any that worked in my years as a dealer. Who devised these games? Geniuses or the unknown enemies of mankind?

jesse kaellis Oct 13, 2016 · #2

Thank you, Amanda.

jesse kaellis Oct 13, 2016 · #1

Thank you, John.