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First craps experience

17 June 2008

Readers have inundated my e-mail box with stories of their first casino trips, and what it was that kept them coming back. Last week, I shared a few of those tales. Let's go back to e-mail for a story from George in Pennsylvania, whose drive to Atlantic City with his wife, brother and sister-in-law was the sister-in-law's first craps experience.

On the drive, we started to talk about craps — neither of the ladies had ever played and we heard the predictable "It's too confusing," "The cigars smell," etc. But as we pulled into Caesars parking garage, my sister-in-law wavered. "Well, maybe I'll just watch for a few minutes." GOTCHA!

We entered the Trump Plaza and my wife went off in pursuit of the nearest "Spin Poker" video poker machine. She knows the basic strategy for most of these VP machines and enjoys them. The rest of us headed for the craps pit.

I bought in for $300 and my brother buys in for just $150. The dice were in the hands of an older guy, '70-ish, who was so short he could barely see over the rail. His throw was weak but I could tell he was trying. As we bought in he'd just made his 6, so I jumped right in with a $10 pass line bet and he threw a 6 again. I am cautious, so I just placed single odds behind, although we were at a 3-4-5 times odds table. Next toss, the dice barely made it past center and one die rolled up against a pass line — two red chips — and stopped dead showing 2. The other trickled on and of course landed a 5 for a total of 7. He was done and I'm down $20.

Next came a young-ish woman who had a strange habit of placing her checks in the rail. Instead of just lining them up according to color, she actually built little piles of $100 each and laid them in small stacks as though she was at a blackjack table. So, she had about $700 in small $100 piles spread out in both rails. I've never seen that before. Now, I concluded from this that she's a pro and decide to go with the pass line with odds and two come bets with odds.

She established a 5 point so I had $10 on pass with $20 odds. Next she rolled a 6 and I had a $10 come bet with $25 behind. Then she rolled a 10 and I had another $10 with $30 behind. So after just five minutes at this table, I had $105 in play on this shooter.

And, of course, she sevened out on the next roll and I was down $125 and thinking that Frank Scoblete's Five Count (which delays bets) might make sense after all.

Now the dice passed to my brother, whom I've nicknamed Hard Ways, not because he throws them that way, but because sometimes he's just a really tough person to get along with, and I say this with the greatest affection. So HW took the dice and had a nice roll, making two points and a lot of numbers in between before Big Red (a 7) comes. Things were looking up...

Next in line to throw was my sister-in-law who's "just here to watch." She had no chips and protested HW's attempt to give her some so she could roll.

"But what if I hit somebody," she said.

"So what," HW replied, "most everybody here has hit someone at sometime, and it's no big deal if you hit someone but make your point, they'll love ya anyway."

HW slid 10 reds ($5 chips) in her rail and she somewhat reluctantly placed two of them on the pass line. Now she's about to roll 'em bones for the very first time in her life! She reached down and picked up two dice and let them fly. "Seven — front line winner ... pay the line — take the don'ts!" We were off to the races!

She had an excellent roll, making four points in the process. By the time the dice made it around the table to her a second time, she was having fun, chatting with the dealers and other players and, in short, doing what those of us who really play this game for fun enjoy doing. She'd conquered the mystery of craps and begun to understand how much enjoyment you can get from this ancient game.

After we each rolled twice, we decided to color up. Hardways and I each doubled our buy-ins and Ginny the Grip — my new nickname for my sister-in-law — had taken $50 and turned it into $250 in just over one hour of play. We met up with my wife and walked out onto the Boardwalk into the cool sea air at about midnight. As we walked north I could hear Ginny relating the night's experience to her daughter via her cell phone. I hear her say, "Yes, I DID, I really threw dice and it was really easy and fun!"

Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

Winning Tips for Casino Games

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

The Craps Answer Book

> More Books By John Grochowski