Posted by odiousgambit
Aug 10, 2012

Maryland Live! Relived

Went to Maryland Live Thursday 8/9/12; no big deal this can be a short one.

I had pretty much figured I wasn't going back so soon, having been there in June to check out their version of my favorite game, Craps. It's e-craps, and I was glad I checked it out, but this is not "doing it for me" enough to replace the real table game.

I did sign up for the player's card though. So a few weeks ago I get an email saying there was a total of $20 loaded on it somehow. This definitely was not earned from my play, so I figure, let's see how this goes. They keep loading the money on, I will keep going.

As I hoped, no problems with traffic or being crowded by going early [10 AM] during the week. Wound up going through the $20 and a bit into my bankroll as no doubt they were sure I would.

I have completely failed to keep track of my comp points, so I have no way of knowing if any of that $20 came from my points, or if all of it was as an introductory offer coming after I got my card, instead of before I got my card. For sure none of it should really have come from my play, the EV of which for my entire experience including this last one [about $5] not amounting to more than $12 in losses, and no, I am not kidding, since my action is almost entirely line bets with the free odds. So a very generous rebate from the prior trip would have been only about 1/3 of the approx. minus $7 EV of that first trip. I started with 143 points on the card and failed again to see what points I had when I left there this time. I am just not used to giving a damn, knowing they should be amounting to zilch. I am sure some day I will go back, so maybe I'll be more used to the contraption you place your bets on [horsing around with that has been a distraction] and get a better handle on the points.

Changes I noticed: the bet increment now in Craps is $1, not 50 cents. The minimum bet is now always $5 [or $10 with unpredictable location for where will be what min.], meaning you can no longer bet the lowest increment on your next bet just because you already bet $5 somewhere. The middle table bets though always can be placed for the lowest increment [$1].

Something else that may have just eluded me last time was, if you play at the bar, there are some constant statistics being shown on the big screen for Craps and Sic Bo, along with the current action. I have decided to always play the dark side exclusively when I go there, as it is so easy to be discreet. They displayed the frequencies of the last 100 rolls, carefully explaining it was by percent, which since it was 100 rolls was the same as the actual number, which I thought was funny. I watched as the number of 7s rolled dropped from 13 to 10 for the last 100, so clearly it was not a good day for the dark side before I got there and certainly not after I started betting. I am thinking '10' is about as low as the number of 7s get, which is not to say I didn't get burned on the come-out at least once with a 7.

Well, that is about it and may be about it for much more action there in MD, assuming they don't just keep throwing money at me. Just have to have that real Craps table to get motivated to go more. A planned trip to Harrington in Sept is looking good now.


odiousgambit Aug 12, 2012

Ran Wincraps for about 1000, 100 roll games to get an idea how rare 10 7s per 100 rolls was.

Roughly half a dozen times was it less than ten, out of the 1000 games. So, not outrageously unheard of, the low being 5. The mean should be trending towards 16.67 as I run more games, of course.

Still, it was fairly rare to see.

100xOdds Aug 12, 2012

The first time i got a bonus at MAryland Live (end of June/beginning of July), they converted my ~4500 points to $85 which is $0.02/point. Normally it's 600points = $1 or $0.0017/point. I had no problem w/this. :)

I now have 17500 points. For Aug, they have a promo where on Sun, I get a free mystery bonus. ie: no points converted.

last sun, it was only $15. today is was $50! :)

i dont know if it's targeted or not.

check it out. You might have one...

Goto the players club and ask.

Posted by odiousgambit
Jun 24, 2012

Maryland Live!

Like Jeopardy!, the exclamation point is part of the name.

So on Thursday I left from Harrington and went straight to Arundel Mills Maryland [very close to Baltimore, just south a bit] to check out electronic table games and the scene there. Maryland legislation has OK'd slots only very recently, and has not approved table games. In case anyone doubted earlier reports, I can confirm it is not just slots as gamblers define slots, but also Craps, Sic Bo, Double Zero Roulette, Baccarat, and maybe something else since I didn't take other than mental notes. Maryland is giving the all-clear now to anything as long as it is electronic, a different definition of "slots" for sure. The real slots were getting plenty of action Thursday afternoon.

The garage is huge and there are no tickets or anything, you just drive off when leaving. The trick is not to try parking immediately next to the first elevators but to go on up, if you want to avoid having to back up after discovering the first sections are full and dead ends [not the case further up]. There is valet parking if you want it.

Walking in there was a substantial line to sign up for a Player's Card, I was a bit tired after the driving, and I just had to skip that at first. Turns out you have to have one to get free soft drinks, this at the bar anyway, where I paid $1 for a small coke that did get refilled free.

In the Casino there is a section close to the middle with a bar, and next to the bar is an island with huge dice in one dome and a roulette wheel under another dome. I couldn't sit there at first, so I sat at the bar rather than at a satellite island, making at least 3 areas to look for a seat. The minimum at the bar and at the main island was $5, and I am wondering if that isn't just the minimum period now; earlier reports indicated satellites were $10 minimum but I bet that has changed [did not sit at non-bar satellite though].

The Craps is advertised online as having ''the excitement of the traditional game with an exciting new twist". The game seemed completely fair with normal rules; no "twist" that I could figure out. No side bets other than traditional proposition bets unless I missed it. The game stopped after the last roll [shown on your screen by a video of the dice under the dome] and then this roll was simulated and announced electronically [not by bartender], all taking about 5 seconds. Then there is a count-down of 25 more seconds till the next roll, which takes a few seconds. So there is a constant pace of something less than 120 rolls per hour, but probably more than 100; IIRC this pace is similar to a real table when full, and slower than a near empty real table. It was 3x4x5x when I was there, as others had said to expect.

I immediately decided Darkside is the way to go. Nobody cares around the DC area even at real tables anyway, and you have a certain degree of privacy here; what the next player is playing is not easy to determine unless he cheers results. I stuck to $5 bets and found that indeed the 50 cent increment is playable on a different bet once you make that bet. So I would sometimes add DC bets for 50 cents. The Casino isn't stupid, though, get this: I allowed my $5 line bet to be resolved and left some DC bets for 50c plus odds up, with less than $5 risked [actually by accident]. I realized this as the dice were rolled and watched my DC bets go away! OK, the money was returned to me, but at that point I had the odds on my side on those bets! Grrr! Maybe I finally found the "twist"!

Later as an experiment I wanted to see what would happen to a right bettor accidentally going less than minimum. I made a 50c come bet that went up for a point to make, and then the line bet resolved. The 50c bet stayed for the next rolls. Then there was a 7-out and of course the 50c bet lost at that point. I wanted to find out then what would happen if 50c was all you were betting this way and you *made* your point! But this experiment never got made, see below, so I can't tell you on that. I think the bottom line is you want to be paying attention to your $5 minimum or risk getting screwed.

After playing for a while I was up a bit but truthfully now getting tired, plus the electronic table didn't have the holding power of a real table. Time to leave. Walking by the Player's Club booth, the line seemed shorter and I wasn't so hot and bothered, so I got in line, a line that actually moved quickly. I had a card in no time, so I decided to walk back and see what that would do. Info handed to me said:

$1 coin in=1 pt
$2 coin in=1 pt for "electronic table games"
600=$1 free slot play or comps

It seemed $1200 bet and you get a casino/merchant-dedicated dollar back by playing craps? Well, you get soft drinks free too. This time I found a spot at the main Island and put my card in. To my surprise the points were adding up quickly, when I looked there were 88 racked up in no time, and no way had I bet $176 yet on the line, or even $88 I was fairly sure. The free odds were counted!? Craps players catch a break!? I should have been keeping better records, I had planned to for this write-up, but frankly the newness of the gadget was taking too much of my attention. Noticing I kept losing my line bet with odds, I started checking out how long it had been since a 7 had been rolled. The screen kept a constant history of the current hand in the lower right corner, and an extended history was available to be called up in the bottom left. Forgetting my wizardly 'training' I started betting max odds and making DC bets too, figuring the 7 was surely coming, but I was getting clobbered instead. When the 7 finally came, it was a come-out roll and I didn't have any big bets out. So, that was it for me, my training kicked back in and I decided I wasn't chasing losses. Losing over $100 this session disturbed me enough to just want to get out of there, so I forgot to check out what happens to a 50c come bet if it wins during a phase when you had less than the minimum going, and also forgot to check out what happened to my Club points.

As I was driving home I had to wonder yet again how the Casino eerily always seems to win lately, going after my big bets when I make them, but I was over it soon and reflecting on how I had enjoyed my day. I had a lot of fun and the overall loss for the day was no big deal.

As for Maryland Live!, I was expecting to give it a C- but for a weekday experience I think C+ might be it, and I can see going back, just not too soon.

PS: at MD Live! Craps your odds bets are turned off during the come-out, even playing 'the Don't'... there is an icon you use to turn them back on.

down $2956 since 2005
within budget ...... In the Black $98


FrGamble Jun 24, 2012

Thanks odiousgambit for your two good reports. I'm curious does Harrington or MD Live! win?

odiousgambit Jun 24, 2012

Thanks, Padre, Harrington has to win as the real table games trump anything electronic. Maryland Live! has something going though with the closer proximity to me.

btw Harrington is apparently getting adventurous with the different new bets, I guess you noticed the threads. Some kind of Craps Mecca developing there?

FrGamble Jun 24, 2012

Yeah I'm so proud of Harrington. I just hope it doesn't lose that kind of small town feel and get too crowded.

Posted by odiousgambit
Jun 22, 2012

Harrington Again

Well, Thursday was the big day for my new approach to Craps [see prior blog post]. I had reason to start out early and got there before 9 AM when the Craps table was due to open ; in fact all table games awaited that time to open. With some trepidation I chose Video BJ [VBJ] to kill some time. The giant screen with the alternating "chicks" dealing the game was a little off-putting, but I never play slots and although I finally found Video Poker I didn't recognize any of the games and forget that. The idea with this particular VBJ setup is clearly to entice male players with beautiful women to eyeball, but in spite of successfully getting some gorgeous gals they came across as robotic and intimidating. Thinking back on it later they seemed a little elevated, like is done with the judge in court, so that was the wrong effect too. But the rules seemed fair enough, BJ paid 3:2, S17, double down on any 2, splitting and DAS but no resplitting and no surrender. But 7 card Charlie was included and the minimum bet was $5, which I was not going to exceed. Unknown number of decks, I have to guess you got a new 52 each hand, but we've all seen worse. So I sat down and after being up 4 units promptly was down 6 instead. I pulled out of that and went to my favorite really great comfortable chair and read my newspaper for a while.

9 AM rolled around and I checked in at the Craps table to find they weren't ready, still counting the money they said. So I wandered back to the VBJ tables and decided I wasn't going to be doing anything stupid, and have some fun with the ladies. I feared one problem is that the game goes too fast, and that a player doesnt realize how much he is really coining-in in a short period of time. So I waited till the dealer would chide me to bet or say something about side bets. When you waited for this prompt to place your bet, the machine abruptly got the lady going with the dealing, and you would see her jerk as the video changed. I was getting a kick out of this! So, chick, you're going to hustle me? Click! She snaps to it like I had goosed her! Uh Oh, am I in trouble now? Nope, she is smiling away! Well, I am sure that would get old but I wasn't going to sit there too long. I timed it this time at 13 minutes and made 19 bets [sure enough down about 6 units again]. This rate of play is pretty normal; alone at a dealer-dealt game it can go faster, especially with continuous shuffle machines. It's just that BJ usually does this to me, it seems. That thing of not winning when doubling and splitting can really kick in.

Finally I can play Craps and indeed am the only one at the table to start. So I stick to my plan to play 10x odds on the darkside. 20 bets only at max odds [not counting line bets instantly resolved] and call it a session, and also call it a session if 4 points in a row are resolved as a right-bettor win [or any other situation that shows I am clearly getting clobbered]. At a count of 8 I have indeed lost 4 in a row of my big bets, 2 of which were $200 laid free odds on a 4 or 10 established point. Session over. Second session started fairly soon after, I sure wasnt going to be playing BJ or anything. This time I was going to play 2x odds darkside and play till it wasnt fun or I got hungry. But I kept winning, so I went with 3x4x5x except would only lay $12 free odds on the 6 or 8. This worked out well too and I started with frequent DC bets and kept winning. I got back enough of my earlier losses to feel good about it, but I hit a plateau about lunch time and never went back to laying 10x free odds, still being down overall. It was good, though, to have a winning session. I reinforced my superstition about players buying in with small bankrolls. I would look at that and look at them and think, man, that is not going to last. And I'm thinking, I might as well be on the side that is going to be scooping that up, too, and would be sure to lay bigger bets and do the DC too when somebody like that bought in [none lasted]. As unsupportable as that is mathematically, it worked for me. Unfortunately you can also make a case the dice scoffed at my $1000 buy in when they found out I was going to go for 10x odds darkside, a barely sufficient bankroll even when limiting the session, so maybe I was also hoisted on my own petard for session no. 1.

I got a comped buffet [first time I ever asked for anything at Harrington] and then headed out to check out Maryland Live, which will be part II.

Posted by odiousgambit
Jun 16, 2012

New Approach to Craps to be Tested

It occurred to me playing BJ about a year ago or so: even if the HE is low, half a percent or so, a player doing nothing to get an edge still easily gets the notion he has a roughly 50-50 chance to win a session as to lose. After getting beat up playing alone at a table yet again, I decided this notion is wrong. Not if you think you can sit there playing for hours. BJ is like proposition betting in Craps in that [usually] the bet is resolved quickly [damn fast when playing alone]. And Variance in BJ is very low. Bad combination!

Craps, on the other hand, has some redeeming features in this regard. You can avoid instantly resolved bets. You have to stand there too, usually, so it's just a bit harder to be stupid about your sessions. And variance is enormous, even if admittedly a double-edged sword. My experience when I started playing Craps was to either win or come close to breaking even each session; this went on for a couple of years, bearing in mind I almost never got to play. More recently my luck has caught up with me, and the game has sent me away limping from a hit in the wallet.

Oh those thrilling days of yesteryear! But now I have a healthy respect for the possible damage and want to play smarter. What I had been doing was playing for a couple of hours and calling it a session, usually wanting to do two sessions a day. I would play the line with max odds at a 3x4x5x $5 min table. This meant about 30 come out rolls per hour, but I would usually play the Come sometimes as well, so 45 bets per hour was typical as far as I can determine. Lately it has been harder to find less than $10 for min on the line. At that rate, 45 bets at say $38 each meant I was risking $1700/hr and $3400 per session. Sure the HE was pretty low, but forget about the -$6.30 EV per hr; the reality of risking that much money means swings of hundreds of dollars; this without adding place betting or whatever [which in fact I have avoided for the most part]. I have come to realize that the bankroll I am comfortable with can just take too big a hit.

The new plan:

Short Darkside sessions with no Come betting if at an empty table. $10 on the line even if min is $5. If 10x odds is available [and it is where I am going] make no more than 20 bets/session but at full odds. If 3x4x5x is it, 30 bets per session, stay Darkside.

If at a full table and in the mood for a long session, be a Right Bettor and stick to 2x odds no matter if better odds offered. Come betting OK if table is $5, limit Come betting if $10. Satisfying need for action comes with more betting.

Compare the $1700/hr above to the 10x short session. I figure $80 average bet for the latter. 20 bets=$1600. The money risked is actually less! The need for Action is satisfied by the large bets; if my point is 10 or 4 a piker like me will be putting up $200 in odds! If that doesn't do it then start bungee jumping or sky diving, something's wrong!

One thing that tells me this is the right way to go is the way the Casino would look at it. They have to want players making 45 bets on the line per hour, $450 , not 20 bets and only $200 on the line. The test will be if I forget it is money and it is just chips and go off and bet more. But I can guarantee that is not going to happen the first sessions. It will be tested this upcoming week at Harrington. BTW I have an exit plan: 4 losing point resolutions in a row playing darkside means the session is over! In simulation I find I don't care about the line bets losing. It hardly matters!

The 3x4x5x $10 plan, 30 darkside bets, *has* been tested at a real table. It was slaughter after about 15 bets, at which point I stopped. A later Right Bettor session was also a severe beating that lasted only about 15 bets.

Wish me luck, heading to Harrington this week and 10x odds will be available. I also should be able to check out Maryland Live, Bankroll willing.


Nareed Jun 16, 2012

Good luck!

odiousgambit Jun 21, 2012

well, no one else besides Nareed wished me luck but today is the day. Will have to decide what to do if Harrington tables are packed even at 9 AM, as happened to CrapsForever.

Posted by odiousgambit
Dec 29, 2011

"The Cooler"

Saw this movie recently.

Mini-review without spoilers, an old fashioned casino in Mob days employs a "Cooler", a big loser who's luck is so bad they send him in to tables where people are having too much luck to suit the casino. This "cools off" the table; he is considered "the best". He wants to quit, though, and he is so valuable in the mind of the character played by Alec Baldwin that this must not be. So the story revolves around ironic developments thereafter. Good performance by the actors, Alec is good in this one. Contains as good a depiction of action at the craps table as I have seen in a gambling movie; it strictly showed only rolling the 7,11, or craps in the come-out though [perhaps understandably]. Maybe some hard-ways were mentioned.

Wound up wondering about this movie, though. How common was the practice of using Coolers in the old days? Does it still happen today? Additionally, according to the movie, any big winner was intolerable and subject to harassment even if it was clear they weren't cheating. They would be back-roomed or worse. Was that really true in mob days? Also, I believe in this movie it was suggested people who were just too lucky would get themselves banned, there was none of this smarter ploy of encouraging them to stay by all means possible. I think I can answer that one myself: the casinos couldn't possibly have been that dumb!!

PS: one scene shows Baldwin catching a cheating dice player using a device that fed crooked dice into his palm from his sleeve. Baldwin would seem to be using x-ray vision to spot this! You have to wonder why the director thought that was the right way to show the scene, geez.


FleaStiff Dec 29, 2011

Coolers? Pure Hollywood. Absolute utter hype.

Las Vegas used to employ "hotters" rather than coolers. Yep. Shills. They were of two types. Movie stars who would shill for them and just ordinary attractive young men and women who knew how to look good, smile and be pleasant players who would "open" games and then quietly fade away. What is now known as Big Table Baccarat used to be the only Baccarat there was: hoity toity pretense, separate rooms or alcoves, evening wear, chandeliers, more mature dealers in atleast suits but usually evening dress. Games like that would often be started by shills who would even beckon passersby. The dealers didn't but the shills could. The rule for shills was simple. Any male shill who cashed chips ever would get worked over but good, no matter who he was related to.

A winner? The mob knew you had to let there be winners or there would be darn few gamblers. Sure there was some distrust because usually a winner just probably was a cheater and if they couldn't tell how he was cheating that didn't make them think he was lucky. Send in a special dealer? No, not usually. It would be either normal rotation or it would be a trusted dealer who had been with them for years. Would a floor person try some foolish and cutesy trick such as writing Shazam on a piece of paper and throwing it on the floor under the craps table? Sure. Did it ever work? You tell me. Did some in Vegas think that it worked? Sure. Some of them were real superstitious.

ncfatcat Dec 29, 2011

Macy as always was great in that movie. My luck is so bad I started wondering where to apply for the job LOL

AZDuffman Dec 29, 2011

"Additionally, according to the movie, any big winner was intolerable and subject to harassment even if it was clear they weren't cheating. They would be back-roomed or worse. Was that really true in mob days? Also, I believe in this movie it was suggested people who were just too lucky would get themselves banned, there was none of this smarter ploy of encouraging them to stay by all means possible. I think I can answer that one myself: the casinos couldn't possibly have been that dumb!!"

The late Frank Rosenthal said on his site that the APs who were not cheating would be given a friendly but very firm tap on the shoulder and told to get lost. But remember "Casino" where he keeps the big winner in the casino? In his book he said that winners should be comped like crazy, free everything, so that they lose it all back and so that you can find out if they are on the level.

Rosenthal was a very intelligent individual and had business sense. What he did might not have been what the earlier-era mobster or lower-level guy might have done. From my readings, however, I think they tolerated a few big winners because then as now they knew you bring in losers by sending out winners. In that regard, repetition looks like it was key. A nice guy or couple from Cleveland who had a winning vacation, let them go home and tell everyone about it. Local has a winning session, who cares as they will drop it all back next visit. But if someone came in and won, week in and week out, that is the one they back-roomed. For example, look at Ken Uston. Early wins were tolerated but eventually he was escorted to the parking lot where he seems to have fallen down and the "secutiry" tried to help him get up.

EvenBob Dec 30, 2011

In the 60's the Mob still ran NV. My mothers

husband would sometimes win 10k to 15k in

Reno. The casino would always send a twin

engine plane to Sacramento to pick him up

the next weekend, and he'd lose it all back.

He loved this, it made him feel important. If

he'd refused to go, I wonder what the 'boys'

would have done.

Tiltpoul Dec 30, 2011

This movie is one of the most boring movies ever. I understand the reasoning for a dark and dimly lit setting, but come on. The cinematic quality is wretched. The ending is also preposterous. At least the Ocean's series all present the real challenges facing thieves in casinos. This movie sets up a scenario where nothing has existed or would exist today.