Fred bets “Don’t”

I think there are a lot of guys out there who would like to bet the Don’t on a crap game but are intimated, or just cannot be bothered with all the smart-ass remarks and dirty looks from the pass line bettors. What are your thoughts on betting the “Don’t” side? Fred G.

Although I understand your thinking, Fred, mathematically a “don’t pass” bet is only a slightly better wager than a pass line bet, as the house edge is 1.4 versus 1.41 percent. So because the casino advantage between the two wagers is so minuscule, I have always advocated a pass line bet, mostly because I enjoy peer play, where almost all the players battle the casino together, win or lose. It is the camaraderie of rooting for the shooter to make his point that is my favorite part of craps. By becoming a Don’t Pass, Wrong, or Back Line bettor, you’re hoping the “ugly 7” wields its face for you and the casino stockholders. Most players, myself included, wash out when the killer 7 appears. Rooting for the 7 is rooting for the house as most players are on the pass line.

Sorry, Fred, but you are not singing to the choir here.

What would be a typical bankroll for a playing session? I generally play $5 blackjack. Also, how would you bet each hand? Dan F.

For every session of play, a good bankroll would be at least 40 times your typical bet. In your case, as a $5 bettor, your bankroll should be $200.

As for betting strategy, I use a winning progressive method of betting by setting a predetermined percentage increase for each winning bet and sticking to it. For example, I increase my winning bets by 50% after the second win: $5, $5, $7, $10, $15, $22, etc, then revert to $5 after a loss. And when I am on that losing streak from hell, I will strictly adhere to flat betting (table minimum).

For us novices who read your column, could you please explain the differences in the poker games the casino offers? Are they like the ones we play at home? Please do not get too technical. Harriet J.

Just like at your kitchen table, Harriet, most casino poker rooms offer two different types of poker games: stud poker and draw. With stud games, you play with your initially dealt cards, some dealt face down and some face up, and you bet after each new face-up card is dealt, and again after the last card is dealt (it will be face down).

In draw poker, after inspecting your hand of cards, usually all dealt face down, you discard any cards you want to substitute for others, which are then drawn from the deck. You bet after receiving your initial cards and also after you draw new cards.

Both of these types of poker can involve either five or seven cards, and can be played in either of two ways: high or high/low. When a poker game is played “high”, the highest hand wins the pot. When played “high/low” the pot is split evenly between the person with the highest hand and the individual with the lowest hand.

Why wouldn’t the dealer allow my husband and me to play with the same chips on a roulette game? In blackjack, we can share from the same pile, but not in roulette. Sandra S.

Roulette is a game where you exchange your money not for casino chips, but color-coded chips that are not allowed to be bet or intermingled by friends or family, including your husband. If both you and your spouse are playing together, all the casinos that I have worked in make you get different-colored chips. Why? Because each wager is strictly between the house and a unique bettor-saves squabbles about whose share is which.

Gambling thought of the week: “The casinos believe in math (and I don’t mean numerology).They believe in the power of percentages and short pays, not in the power of magic stones, amulets and omens.” -Frank Scoblete