Posted by odiousgambit
Aug 26, 2022

Heart of Darkness

I'm never to see the light again. 

Or I should say, never to see the Rightside again. Any future meetups at the Craps table, be forewarned. Friends, I'll simply not bet when you are shooting, or bet the DC only, if you are OK with it. 

I have been focused in this blog lately about the increase in table minimums at Craps we've been seeing. To summarize, $15 has become the best a player can hope for, while $25 will be seen occasionally. Considering that the former has been barely tolerable while the latter just hasn't been at all, perhaps it would make more sense trying to find what casinos are sticking to the lower minimums and go to them, but this has an impractical aspect. The way I manage my bankroll, if I travel to a spot just to gamble, the trip expense gets factored*, while if I am traveling with the wife, or to meet up with friends, making the gambling only part of the activity, it does not. The next opportunity to saunter up to a Craps table looks like it'll be at The Greenbrier in WV. I fully expect $15-25 there, and may even find $15 to be a thing of the past; hopefully 3x4x5x odds will be unchanged though that may be at risk too. 

I'd been reacting to a $15 table by declining full odds to keep the total bet to about $50, which had been my well established comfort zone.... though not strictly making sure it was 2x, that's about where it put me, so the HE of each bet with odds went up to -0.606% from the pretty constant no-more-than -0.374% I had been dealing with. Approaching double. It was dawning on me that this was having an effect! 

I'm not going to repeat what's in my previous posts on the matter, other than to say I've been working on going back to higher free odds while keeping my total action to something close to what I previously experienced, $2000 being perhaps somewhat more in T.A. than was typical for a session when $5 table minimums were available. And I'll actually be lowering the HE. 

I am committed to eliminating previous mistakes going darkside. Knowing that the odds swing in the player's favor when there is a point to resolve, I would try to pile up points, all 6 maybe. Now, playing rightside I fully realized that is putting too much in action, but for some reason it didn't occur to me the same thing was in play on the dark side. Though I could have gotten lucky and cleaned up, the opposite tended to happen. I wised up; what was really happening was intolerance of the variance that way of playing generated. I was going to experience being way down no more often than way up, but the way-down moments were chasing me from the table. 

Another mistake was thinking I needed to go max odds when playing the Don't in order to get the benefit of lower odds than rightside. The complement to 3x4x5x is 6x, and on a table set as the former, the latter odds are allowed darkside. The HE rightside is -0.347% for max odds, while darkside it is -0.195% at 6x [formula below]. However, 6x odds is a big bet, especially if encountering a $25 table. I was thinking if you dropped down to 4x odds, you'd be back near the 0.347 figure, but that is not correct! According to the Wizardry, 4x darkside will put you at -0.273% . Note that as far as your average bet, and your total action, it should be pretty much now the same as rightside, but at lower HE. I have just now realized this. 

A final point: somebody here once claimed that the variance is lower on the darkside, since this tends to be true when you lay a bet. This can be seen with bets that have a high payoff, those lend themselves to high variance, so this does suggest laying a bet has the opposite effect. Yet I have seen others say the variance is about the same. Maybe this is true at max 6x odds? I do seem to be experiencing lower variance with many trials using a free game. I'm getting convinced, and it's important. This business I already switched to, making fewer but larger bets while keeping Total Action the same, this increases variance. If something lowers variance, like going darkside, I could use the help.

At the Greenbrier, I don't expect other players to care who is going darkside, that helps, and this is going to be it for me ... I'm plunging into the Heart of Darkness forever more. Which side will walk away muttering "the horrors, the horrors"? We shall see. 

* btw tips given at the table also deduct from my bankroll and affect amount won or lost at a session. I now wish I had kept track differently, but still feel it has to be that way. 

Wizard's formulas:

Combined Pass and Buying Odds
The general formula if you can take x times odds on the 6 and 8, y times on the 5 and 9, and z times on the 4 and 10 is (-7 / 495) / [ 1 + ((5x + 4y + 3z) / 18) ]

Combined Don't Pass and Laying Odds
The general formula if you can buy x times odds then the house edge on the combined don't pass and laying odds is (3/220)/(1+x).



GenoDRPh Sep 08, 2022

If you are ever at a table with me, I invite you to bet however you wish, without any comment or disapproval from me or any of my companions. We are not betting against each other, but betting on a roll of the dice. If you are winning more than me, I might even start copying your strategy. As for other players getting ticked off, I am beyond their timid lying morality, and so I am beyond caring. For I too, play the Dark Side.

odiousgambit Sep 10, 2022

"I invite you to bet however you wish " thank you, Geno

my current view on the matter is that players should be happy to see someone playing the darkside. That keeps the casino honest, to know someone might just do that. I've seen more than once 7s rolled that should have been judged to be "no roll" due to not having been thrown far enough. That's about all they dare do though I think LOL

Posted by odiousgambit
Aug 15, 2022

Pondering Craps

some thoughts:

*although I recently calculated that I may have put as much as $500K in total action paying Craps since 2004, the portion of that against the house edge was a smaller part. Often the combined house edge was as low as 0.184% and seldom higher than 3x4x5x allows, 0.374%. I really think the average could not be much higher, although the recent problem of high table minimums has meant sometimes I just wasn't going to do max odds. As a guess, if I averaged 0.4%, that would be an EV of -$2000 .

*Then again, I calculated many times that by being over-comped, I was playing at break even or better so, so many times. And I mean in free play resulting in cash, not counting any other type of comp. Except, the tipping would often make it -EV.

*I can believe I have easily left Craps tips of more than $2000 over 18 years! And the tipping counts against the win/loss record, the way I do it. I wish I had kept it separate, oh well.

*The $500k is a guess, I kept good records on some things but not that. I have gambled at some other table games, which helps muddy the picture. 

*coming up with a standard deviation would be a little nuts, but I would certainly have to think a common deviation in results would also be at least $2000. This leads me to believe I have not been particularly hit by the unlucky side of variance. I can't be sure as I don't know what portion of the losses incurred were due to other games, I just didn't keep track. But note certainly overall I have lost money as expected. It could be something close to exactly as expected. 

*Currently I am quite aggravated by a losing streak. My conclusion is that I am able to afford the expected loss of my gambling at Craps, but have a bigger problem affording the tipping and emotionally enduring the variance. On my current approach, the variance is going to get worse... I explained in the previous post.


100xOdds Aug 15, 2022

So with comps, can you estimate how much you are up or down since 2004 in craps?

odiousgambit Aug 15, 2022

"So with comps, can you estimate how much you are up or down since 2004 in craps?"

I think I know what you are asking, but I didn't keep those kinds of records. I was up instead of down from about 2013 to 2017 and it was a period when I was often over-comped, so the credit for that I'd give to the comping.

I know exactly how much I won or lost each time I have done casino gambling, but I don't care to post it. I suppose that is a little silly, certainly I don't mind admitting I am down... in the 4 figures range, which is no big deal. I'd figure out how much my wife's golf has cost since she took that up again in 2013, but I'm afraid I'd have a heart attack

Posted by odiousgambit
Aug 12, 2022

Change in Signature Line [Bristol Casino]

Casinos are beginning to operate in Virginia and although I haven't vowed to check out each one, it's probably going to happen . Certainly when Doc suggested we check out the first to open, a not-yet-labeled Hard Rock calling itself the Bristol Casino, in Bristol VA. 

I already mentioned my impression in the 'casino chip of the day' thread; to summarize, I was surprised to find out the temporary operation was pretty nice ... https://wizardofvegas.com/forum/off-topic/general/8928-casino-chip-of-the-day/875/#post857755 . I finished that post by suggesting the bubble Craps version could be designed to cheat since each player has his own set of dice. Of course, though I joked about it, there's no way they've been set up to cheat. But is it a mistake for the designer since the thought occurs? 

I wasn't kidding when I said the superstition over such a thing helped chased me away from the bubble Craps set-up, I can't seem to totally avoid responding to such even when intellectually I have contempt for it. This annoying residue of fallacy keeps getting refreshed by the cruel nature of random results so often encountered ... something I've pondered a lot lately. I've decided to change my signature line to "The Dice, the cards, they not only have no sense of justice but are actually endowed with a sense of cruel irony. This devolves from the 'nature of random'. Ironically so, don't you see. "

The current irony is that I am on a quest to gamble smarter at Craps, succeeding to some degree, and being rewarded by suffering an extended losing streak. This has come about in response to the persistence of higher table minimums that I have been experiencing, something that has seemed to have had something to do with that losing streak. This can be mathematically shown to be possible, since it was forcing me to to increase the portion of my betting that is exposed to the house edge. Simply put, there was a limit to how much I am willing to wager on each bet, if I was to keep my pattern of making about 50 bets per hour and stand there and play for a couple of hours. I wasn't going to continue to do @4x, 5x odds when the minimum bet is $15/$25 each bet, 50 bets per hour is just too high for comfort if I did. 

So I have been blogging about what my response should be, and actually it could be a good thing as I might as well go towards the extreme if I do it at all. The trend may be to compensate for higher minimums by featuring higher free odds multiples. This seemed to be what Caesar's Southern Indiana casino decided to do, advertising "The action you’ll find at Caesars Southern Indiana is the real deal, with the 20x odds that serious gamblers seek." These kinds of odds do allow a player to keep the proportion of his betting that is up against the house edge to a minimum. However, what easily happens is the gambler's Total Action also goes up and this can pretty much, well, not be desirable. And now I'm realizing the effect of increased variance also is going to be a factor. 

Prior to Bristol, I had a single session at Caesar's Southern Indiana, which I blogged about. It was my first sortie with my new strategy to combat higher table minimums. To summarize, while at 4x Darkside odds, I played the Don't Come to limit my Total Action; doing that makes you pause while waiting for a point to be established. This worked somewhat but I concluded I posted something like $3000 in Total Action while trying to limit it to about $2000. I needed to spend less time at the table, approximately 90 minutes and no more, instead of 2 hours. Or make a smaller average bet, but that would be giving up the plan. 

At the Bristol Casino I was playing with Doc, didn't want to arbitrarily stop playing if he wanted to continue, and didn't want to go Darkside even though we encountered the $15 minimum. It was 3x4x5x for odds, so on average I'd be something close to the same 4x level. To limit my action better, I was making up silly reasons to hold off on a second bet ... if the next point set was 6 or 8, the most likely points to get set, I 'had to' wait until another point was set. This really limited my betting, and even though we stuck with that session for over 2 hrs, I have to think I came close to limiting action to that $2000. 

So I got it accomplished: something close to the Total Action and overall HE as in the past while experiencing higher table minimums. What could go wrong? Well I know now, after pondering it, this way of dealing with it increases variance. Something like a $75 average bet now, instead of the $40 to $50 it was before. And then there is the nature of the dice, the nature of random. This means no sense of justice in reward to smarter gambling, no. But a chance to apply irony? can't miss that one, not if you're the dice.* At the end of play, I'm down several hundred in this session. It's the double edged sword of greater variance: one is still likely a victim, even though the chances of a winning session increase assuming that it is true that you are better off not grinding away against the house edge. 

We did want to have a second session, but since it was later in the day, I guess, now we were facing a $25 minimum. Frankly, my ability to deal with such a minimum is not really there. But, it was still possible to keep the Total Action the same, and still take full odds, it just means you can only make a few bets. So I determined I was only going to bet on my own and Doc's rolls. No Come bets, too, which had burned me last session and which I will make another blog post about. Doc's rolling was good and this paid off. He soon wanted to cash in before he gave it all back. I stuck around though, knowing I was still short of wagering $2000. This meant I had to wait until the dice came back to me before I bet again. Then some time wasting thing kept happening with the inexperienced dealer, I don't even remember what. The ol' itch to get some action got to me and I made a Come bet; it traveled and sevened-out with remarkable speed. Doc was gone already and that was it for me. At least I cashed out ahead, though quite a bit short of getting my previous loss covered. 

It's just pretty hard to have fun at a $25 table, short of having fabulous luck. One funny thing was noted though, see below. 

* yeah I know I'm attributing human qualities here that do not exist, I can't seem to resist


[below posted in "casino chip of the day" thread https://wizardofvegas.com/forum/off-topic/general/8928-casino-chip-of-the-day/875/#post857780

this was interesting, have to mention it

the dealers were largely undergoing on the job training, as Doc mentioned. The Box-man was always as good as you'd find anywhere, though, and it seemed the Stick was likely to be well experienced. The other dealers were likely to be needing a lot of help. Stick and Box would help them, and in at least one case I had a dealer that had another guy standing right behind him helping him constantly. This was when the minimum went up to $25, and I was betting max on the odds. The 6 or 8 was the point the first time this had to be paid off when I had placed $125 on the odds. The rookie dealer had to ask what he was supposed to pay. Interestingly, the guy behind him was flummoxed for a bit too ... after a short period it was determined to be $150

Of course this meant only one thing: nobody else had been betting max odds. It was 3x4x5x!  That's designed to make it easy for the dealers! No matter if the point was 6/8, 5/9, or 4/10, the payoff for max odds made on the table minimum was going to be $150. Training a newbie, of course you'd expect them to remind them of that first thing, 'payoffs will be $150'. But even the more experienced dealer behind the rookie hadn't prepared himself for that. The thinking likely was, nobody is going to be betting max odds. 

What this tells me is one reason the house is going to the higher minimums now, they are realizing this kills max betting on the free odds.

Posted by odiousgambit
Jun 27, 2022

Caesar's Southern Indiana Part II

FYI I corrected an error in the part where I was calculating my total action in Part I. 

Yeah, I know, nobody cares. So how did the Craps session, an experiment, actually go? 

I was fully prepared to have to fight off the urge to get more action with additional DC bets while waiting for a point to resolve. My mood had gone south already with the $15 table minimum, so I think this helped maintain discipline, and of course I could remind myself all I needed to do was add to the odds bet if I wanted to press. 

So for the first 90 minutes I just stuck with the 4x darkside DC-only plan, and I could see that I was winning more points than I was losing even though some shooters were doing just fine rightside. Playing only the DC was interesting in that you had plenty of time to check things out, including whether you got paid right. I think it helped avoid hard feelings as well, everybody else was almost 100% rightside. One guy would occasionally make a DP bet on an whim apparently, so the dice, hating side-switchers*, soon wiped him out. Now, I've stated I am on the lookout for darksiders who pick up their bets on points of 6/8, but this guy, with a tiny bankroll, was so obviously doomed I paid no attention to him. Otherwise I saw none of it, another disappointment. As I realized, with my legs telling me too, that what I wanted to do for a session was winding up, I did an estimate of my remaining bankroll; I clearly was only about even. So you can see how the fallacies get started that you hear from dealers and other players: you play the darkside and you may be pleased to realize you are winning the points. Of course, some you don't, but the feeling is it's going OK. Then you realize you haven't made any money. Darkside, you get less than you bet on the free odds. If you are losing the same number of points that you are winning, you are getting creamed! So, without math, it seems simple and you're ready to spread the fallacies: "you can't win playing the darkside because you win less than you bet" ... " you might as well take down the bet if the point is 6 or 8, you lose too many of those".... "put all your money on the line bet, not the free odds, why get paid less than you bet?" [boy do I see that a lot]. To be sure, you have to win a good percent of the points. If you want to say the break-even 5/9 winning percent is close to what you need on average, then you win 6 ways, lose 4 ways, 10 total ways, breaking even on odds bets if you win 60% of the time on those bets. That's a lot, it feels good to win like that, but it's only breaking even. 

I had planned to press only if I was winning, but decided to up my free odds to $90 for some bets. That wasn't going too good, and I went back to $60 even though I had some time left. At this point the shooters were having some luck, and I quit betting when one hefty guy was shooting, good thing too. Finally he 7s-out and quits in a disgusted way, nearly chipless. I'm down a bit now, but not too bad. 

I once again marvel at what goes on at Craps. "Hefty" was killing me, enough to make me just avoid him, as I said. Yet he was betting a lot, all over the place, probably putting $100 in action much of the time, middle table bets of course, and here he was, the same guy I feared, leaving broke. Happens all the time, and who knows, maybe Hefty was blaming me? I didn't see him give me any looks like he was bothered, but here comes the next guy, scruffy stubble beard, just showing up on the other end of the table... I won't forget him soon. 

You can never expect justice in a casino. I expect the daily occurrence at this Craps table probably is that the guy who didn't need the money is the one who wins big if anyone did, while the guy who needs to win goes down in flames, losing the rent and his last dollar. The dice, thus, do seem to have sense of cruelty, and do like irony. 'Scruffy' turns out to be the nosy guy who needs to know what's going on with the whole table. He starts rolling and sets a point, making it my time to bet the DC. The next thing I know he is staring me down, incredulous look on his face. And he persists, having to roll the dice again doesn't take his mind off it a bit. No one else ever in my dice career acted like they gave a hoot all the way over from the other end of the table. You really have to be studying things to observe that! I'm pretty sure what he saw was not my placing the bet, but my chips in the area the Don'ts go. I couldn't believe it, and started to think he saw somebody he knew behind me, and I turned around to look carefully. Nope. The entire time I had been there even the guys next to me had nothing to say, perhaps some appreciating that I was betting the DC thus avoiding being in direct conflict to the Pass Line bets. But not Scruffy from a mile away. Ultimately he says "I've got to get you on my side" a few times, and finally I plead "It's the DC!". Admittedly it's a weak argument, for the most part he and I are still hoping for different outcomes even if on different points. In any case he wasn't buying it, and he was being totally out of line. Now would be the time for the dice to deliver justice and crush this guy. Oh, I forgot, it's cruel irony that the dice delight in, so of course the guy goes on a monster roll. My two hours are up anyway and I color up while he is still rolling. I had stayed pretty even till then but now I'm -350. I had planned to check out the casino further before I left. Check out what table games were there, what minimums were, was it 6:5 BJ, where was the hotel, and were the license plates all KY or not. Instead I just left, goodbye Indiana and good riddance. 

* I confess this is a totally ridiculous conceit of mine, more of which will be included


tuttigym Jun 28, 2022

Alas, it seems the "low" table minimums ($5/$10} may be gone forever with few exceptions like Biloxi. I have resigned myself to the $15 minimum, and as I have previously stated, I practiced on Wincraps (sorry for the redundancy), and it has served me well. I experimented with different approaches or betting schemes until I felt comfortable with what seemed to work. The comfort carried over to the real thing.


avianrandy Jun 28, 2022

It is a long walk from the hotel to the casino.sonetimesctgey have a golf cart that takes you to the casino. When I went,blackjack was 6 deck and double deck but that has been a bit. Seems like a fair amount of Kentucky and Ohio and Indiana license plate

odiousgambit Jun 28, 2022

"Alas, it seems the "low" table minimums ($5/$10} may be gone forever"....................................... someone I know likes to say "not only do the good times not last forever, they don't even last very long"

Randy, I hadn't thought much about players coming from Ohio, which has casinos. Looks like you might want to drive from the hotel to the casino in bad weather, judging from google maps satellite shot

Posted by odiousgambit
Jun 23, 2022

Caesar's Southern Indiana Part I

It's 15 miles from the middle of Louisville Kentucky, where we were staying, to Caesar's Southern Indiana, and from there takes less than 30 minutes. You have to figure the casino was put there with Louisville in mind, Kentucky being without regular casinos. There is simply nothing much else nearby, though I suppose a few players might arrive from Evansville IN, about 120 miles and 2 hours away. Evansville gamblers, though, have other options including its own casino, Bally's. 

The Missus wanted to do something else when I had my chance to partake, and we had other plans for later in the afternoon; this was not a gambling trip per se but I had much of the afternoon to check it out.  I soon went through tiny Elizabeth IN and was headed south. You then go through 7 miles of farmland, passing crops and a few houses and shacks, some abandoned, none proper farmhouses it seems. Big commercial farming with a hint of desolation. Some of it would make great speed-traps, you have been warned. 

I arrived before noon and took some time to check it out. It's medium sized and laid out in rectangular fashion, but somehow avoids the boxy feel. Just a few places to eat; there is a steakhouse restaurant open Thursday through Sunday. Slots are everywhere of course, but they made room enough for table games, in addition to what's mentioned at the website I could see Crazy 4 poker going. There's a sportsbook, which I did not look into. It wasn't too hard to find some video poker, the best I saw was 7/5 JOB with plenty much worse, though I didn't look to see what was in the high limit room. Perhaps Double Double Bonus was better, but that requires study for me to evaluate. The rest of this report is about Craps, and otherwise my 'checking it out' was over. I'll explain. 

Craps: There was one table going when I got there. The website stated there would be 20x odds available, but of course there's no way to know for sure what the table minimum might be. I was hoping for $10, knowing now $5 is getting too rare to expect, but also thinking perhaps it wouldn't be $15 during slower non-weekend day times. The 20x promise was real, but alas $15 it was for minimum line bet. As per previous blogpost, I've decided I should respond to this disappointment by limiting my total action. The table was about half-full and though I didn't see anyone playing the darkside, it seemed like the thing to do to fit the instantly soured mood the table minimum brought on. 

I am taking the matter of always facing $15 Craps table minimums very seriously, but I shouldn't make it look like "I can't afford" a $15 table playing the way I used to, which involved making about 100 line bets [only, adding odds] over about 2 hours. Putting $1500 against a 1.4% edge means an EV of a mere -$21.* However, it is also true that there is a certain bet amount that is a comfort level for a player, and that for me has been up to about $50, which was great when you could bet $5 and then add 10x odds. More often in past play, odds were limited to 3x4x5x but at a $5 table I'd be pretty quick to add come bets. Once the table goes to $10, that $50 bet starts to get eaten up by the portion on the vig. And obviously even worse with $15... then I'm adding $30 for odds and a third of the bet is against a house edge. So this just becomes something noticeable and something to ponder when playing Craps that seemed not to be so much fun anymore. Enough that I questioned whether I even want to play. I hadn't wanted to increase my odds bet and increase my total action, and as a result had already cut out much of the come betting. Clearly though, without making some extra bets like that there are boring moments. So, this visit was an experiment to see if I can increase the odds bet without much increasing total action... and still enjoy playing Craps. 

At a $5 table, 3x4x5x, my typical action a few years ago would be rightside and over 2 hrs had been easily 100 line + come bets; average bet is 3.78 units.** 378 times $5 = $1890 total action. At this $15 table I was aiming for about 50 bets, reducing the times I was betting by creating a betting-pause by betting only the Don't Come. This assumes I otherwise would have bet about 60 bets by doing the opposite, making only Don't Pass bets, no DCs.  From what I could tell, this worked well, and got weird looks from one dealer. But now with 4x odds, darkside, average bet say 4 units**... 4 times 50 times $15 is $3000 total action. So 3000 versus 1890, only looking at this just now, you can see I missed the mark. To keep my action the same as those ancient times of 4 years ago! I need to spend less time at the table, or approximately 90 minutes, no more, instead of 2 hours. I have to ponder this, it's either that or less than 4x odds. [edited] 

So how did it actually go? I'm going to keep you in suspense and make that part II. [sorry]


* I have never been able to square this fact with the reality of play. I can definitely sound like Tuttigym when it comes to EV of a single session.
** from saved information provided by member goatcabin. I am having to guess about average bet darkside, which should be slightly more than the rightside figure, 4x is 3.67 units for average bet rightside


tuttigym Jun 23, 2022

Judy, my significant other, and I took a road trip a few years ago up from GA to KY. A discovery trip with nowhere to go and no time to get there. It was summertime, and the weather was warm and clear and beautiful. We drove up to eastern KY to Louisville and stayed in some small town not too far south of Louisville. We were told about a casino in southern IN, and we went there. The casino was large and beautiful. I played craps, and the tables, yes there were several, were crowded and I believe they were $5 min. The one thing I remember about that night of gaming was that the tables were ice cold. Everybody playing them were "establishment" right side bettors except me. I played for about an hour and did well, and when I colored out I got an approving nod from the box man walking away up about $400+. There were a couple of older men just shaking their heads not believing how "bad" the tables were. There were kinda shuffling greens in their hands going table to table and losing.

Judy and I drove back to the motel and had a great rest of the trip which turned out to be paid for by that casino experience.