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How the Controlled

Back in the early 1980s, when we was the gambling columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, we was besieged with requests from my readers to teach a class on craps and roulette (I had been teaching online blackjack games classes for quite some time-how to win at card counting).

So I organized a class and taught a group of serious gamblers the rudiments of craps and roulette and a few simple betting tactics so they could take advantage of winning streaks and avoid giving all their money away too quickly.

An elderly gentleman in the class didn't say much until the second session. I noticed his rapt attention and knew he had something on his mind. Finally, he broke his silence, picked up the dice, and said: "I can show you guys how to beat this games."

Immediately, all eyes were on him, including my own. What he did was set the dice before throwing them, with his number on top and the losing 7 relegated to the inside and outside of the dice. He then proceeded to call out which numbers he would throw and, usually, within two or three rolls, up would pop that number.

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Starting Hand Values

This does not mean that the other hands are worthless; there will indeed be times when it is worth playing medium suited connectors such as 8-7(suited) or 7-6(suited), or just unsuited connectors. Given the right situation, even gapped medium connectors such as 9-7(suited) or 10-8 can be playable, but realistically, only an advanced player should be "fooling around" with hands like these.

This chart appears to be a valuable tool. Why, then, do I label this chart as "dangerous"? There are several reasons. First, although the values are approximately equal, each of the hands has unique properties and hands in the same group can play quite differently.

For example, 7-7 and A-10(s) are both Group Six hands, but most of the value from the two sevens comes in those rare (one time in eight) situations when a third seven hits the flop. Getting three of a kind this way is called flopping a set. Two sevens, unimproved, aren't going to win many pots and you flop a set only 12 percent of the time.