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Best of John Grochowski

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Following supersititions

17 September 2015

I’m not at all superstitious, and don’t believe my words or actions have any effect on pure chance situations. Skill and strategy make a difference, yes. Cutting the cards thin to win at blackjack or my brother’s jackpot dance? Not so much.

Still, I’m happy to adapt to local custom – when in Rome, and all that. So when I travel to the craps tables, I never even think of saying the word “seven” out loud. I don’t really believe that speaking its name will make the losing rolls come, and I don’t even flinch when some dark side bettor roars, “Come on, seven!” If they want to bet against the shooter and root for their bets to win, so be it.

But me, if I must mention the number at all, I’ll use El Diablo or Big Red or just “the devil.” Seven was He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named long before Lord Voldemort, and far be it from me to speak what others regard as a cursed word.

I’ve never actually seen a fight break out at a craps table over someone uttering the forbidden word, though I have heard angry words exchanged. In one extreme case, a 20-something man who had been asking for advice, trying to get a grasp on the game, was heard to practically whisper, “Please, no seven.”

That’s just what the grizzled veteran next to him didn’t want to hear. He immediately asked to take down his place bets on 6 and 8, and growled at the younger player, “Don’t say that word!” When the next roll turned out to be an 8, meaning the bet would have won if still in action, the old-timer railed about how the kid had cost him his bet.

I felt embarrassed for the veteran and bad for the youngster, who didn’t need such a rude introduction to local custom.

Just as I don’t speak of the devil seven by name, if I’m shooting and the dice fly off the table, I’ll immediately bark the instruction “Same dice!” Do I believe allowing different dice into the game will quickly result in a loser seven? No, and I know many of those around me don’t really believe it either. But it’s become part of the lore of the game, and why upset those who think I’m tempting fate by accepting any other than my original dice.

This does happen to me from time to time, especially when I’m on a good roll. Try as I might to let the dice just kiss the back wall softly at the end of their downward arc, sometimes the adrenaline flows and there’ll be a roll when the downward arc ends somewhere past the end of the table. That’s not ideal for building my table comrades’ confidence in the shooter, and I’m certainly not going to undermine that confidence further by accepting substitute dice.

Here’s another that’s universal, as far as I can tell. Never, never, never let your hands wander over the rail when the shooter is about to roll. Should the dice hit your hands, one of those diabolical sevens is sure to follow – or so it goes according to craps lore.

I’m pretty confident that when someone utters “seven,” a shooter accepts different dice after the originals fly off the table, or when the dice hit someone’s errant hands, the next roll will be a seven about one time in six. That’s because six of the 36 possible two-dice combinations total seven, not because of any supernatural intervention. But hey, why tempt fate, or irritate the believers?

Look for John Grochowski on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44) and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).
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:

The Craps Answer Book

> 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:

> More Books By John Grochowski