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The Captain Of Craps

With the exception of 6 and 8, all place bets carry a heavy casino edge-too heavy in my opinion. Even when you buy the numbers for traditional amounts as shown in the last chart, the edges are steep on the numbers actually helped by this option. However, believe it or not, the buy betting situation can be helped even more by employing a technique called Pushing the House. This technique was first employed by the Captain of Craps, a man I've written two websites about (Beat the Craps Out of the Casinos: How to Play Craps and Win! and The Captain's Craps Revolution!). In my opinion, the Captain is the greatest craps theorist, thinker, and player of all time. I'll show you one of the reasons why I have so much respect for this man.

In Las Vegas, it became a tradition to allow place bettors to buy the 4 or the 10 not just for $20, but for $25, while still paying the same $1 commission. This effectively reduced the house edge to 3.85 percent on this bet. Then in the 1970s, the Captain, looking for ways to reduce house edges still further on as many bets as possible, came up with the idea of pushing the house; that is, simply attempting to place bets that the casino hadn't advertised but might just take. He started by putting $31 down and saying, "Buy the 4 (or 10) for $30" Casinos took the bet. This reduced the house edge to 3.23 percent. Soon he had pushed the casinos into taking a buy of the 4 or 10 for $35, still only paying that original $1 commission. The house edge was now down to 2.78 percent. In the early 1990s, the Captain pushed some casinos still further when he bought the 4 or 10 for $39, again paying that $1 commission. This reduced the edge on the 4 or 10 to 2.5 percent!

But the Captain wasn't satisfied to just leave the place player's games at this. Why not try to reduce the place bets still further, such as the 5 and 9? You'll note that buying the 5 or 9 for $20 (paying a $1 commission) actually increases the house edge over the player from 4.00 percent to 4.76 percent. However, if the casinos will take a buy of the 5 or 9 at $38 (paying the $1 commission), you will effectively reduce the house edge on this bet to 2.56 percent. I'm happy to say that some casinos will indeed accept this bet-generally after a lot of strange looks from the pit.

If you are a place bettor and you can afford the amounts of these buy bets, then by all means use "The Captain's Best Buys" as these bets are called. When you employ this betting strategy, you will have decreased the overall casino edge on you by a hefty margin. The Captain hasn't transformed bad bets into good ones-these bets still carry an unacceptable house edge-but he has made bad bets better for players who choose to get right up on the numbers without going through the pass and come protocol.

Your Own Private Banker
In one noted private game, players take $1 out of each pot and put it in a special fund until $12,000 is reached. This usually takes most of the year. They then have a freeze out tournament among all the regulars and send the winner to compete in the main event of the World Series of Poker. The prize includes the $10,000 buy-in, airfare, and money for hotel and expenses. Their representative agrees to split 25 percent of any winnings with the other members of the regular game. They have been doing this for years.

If you consider doing something like this yourself, note that you will need very clear definitions of just what constitutes a "regular." Because those $1 chips add up over time, this is not a good game to "drop in on." You should probably be a regular or not play at all.

If you have ever hosted a poker game, you understand why players are willing to pay someone something to run it. You face issues involving smoke, noise, damage, late hours, neighbors, food, drinks, and clean-up, to say nothing of the labor involved in making sure neither too many nor too few players show up to play. Paying someone a fee to take on all these responsibilities is reasonable, as long as you understand how much you are paying.
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