Monday, January 27, 2014

Craps and the Dewey Slow Hedge

I don't play craps much anymore, but when I do, I play both sides to reduce volatility. I call it the Dewey slow hedge.

My first bet is a Don't bet until a point is established.

Then I may follow with one to three Come Bets.

I always tell the dealer to have my odds working on all bets at all times.

With one to three bets established, I stop betting. I let every bet be settled. Then I start the pattern again with the initial Don't Bet.

I actually complicate the pattern because I change the number of Come Bets per session based on the number on the dice established by the first roll of the pattern.
If the Don't is 6 or 8, I just wait.
If it is 5 or 9 I take one or two Come bets.
If it is 4 or 10, I take three Come Bets.
And if my bankroll is up, I might replace any 6 or 8 Come Bet that succeeds, hoping to get a string of them and catch that sort of streak.

None of the changes give me any different odds on any single bet, but as a pattern, all the bets together reduce the volatility of the game while maintaining the better mathematics.

Unlike most hedge patterns that include high house advantage bets, this one keeps the best mathematical odds, while reducing volatility.

At a superstitious table, I skip the come out as an initial Don't Pass bet and then do a Don't Come because most superstitious people are also too dense to see any patterns that don't start with the common Come Out.

For the same reason, I also don't cheer for 7, even if it is the only number left with which I might win.
However, I don't have to give up all the table camaraderie.
I cheer for the Come bets.

And if anyone points out my Don't Come bet I discount its importance.
"That's just a hedge bet," I'll say.
And in most cases that is enough to get them to stop picturing me as a Son of Satan come to change the dice for them, part of the grand conspiracy against them.

I have to admit to having played some table mind games in the past when I've felt particularly mischievous.
Playing with a friend or my wife, I used to pool our money and each of us play what appears to be against the other.
I start the one bet at the Don't Come. My companion plays the Come bets. Then we can have a fake argument, get the table all riled up taking sides, make our own ridiculous superstitious rationalizations and accusations, while unknown to the rest of the table, we are just reducing volatility.
And we reduce the House Advantage simply because one of us is only making one bet, but having a multibet emotional engagement with outcome.

Craps is such a fast game that the main emotional problem is we either win or lose so fast that long before our emotional needs are satisfied, we should quit.
Slowing down that process means that more often we can quit ahead because winning and losing will often over time balance from one side of breaking even to the other, and we can pick a time to quit even or ahead.

Reducing volatility in this fashion means that when we win, we win less and when we lose we lose less, but it is still possible to win all bets in a streak if the Come numbers are all resolved positively and the seven hits before the points established on our Don't Come hits.

Also, this pattern avoids that really dreaded "choppy" table. If the shooter shoots a seven one roll after we have made a Don't Bet, we win both the Don't Bet with odds and the beginning Come Bet.

And there are plenty of things to watch as well, so the game is not as boring as taking one number and waiting what seems like forever for any closure.

I last played this last year up at Casino Royale with my son for about two hours for father-son companionship. I don't see this son very often and we met in Vegas. My bankroll was down, but he wanted to play craps with me in a relaxed and easy manner.

We both did this pattern, and when we tired, we walked away with about $30 each after a fine visit and play together.

Such a pattern also works in a small way against the idea that no one can play this game because bankroll alone determines defeat. It maximizes play time on a particular bankroll.

Now, when I roll the dice, I skip the Don't bet and rather than hedge, take up to three numbers. It might seem to work against volatility, but this pattern is limited to the time I hold the dice, losses do not affect the overall pattern volatility very much, and it does allow me to roll a pure streak in those few times I get very, very lucky and am able to replace the three numbers as they hit for profit.
And it is less confusing to the dealer, and emotionally not so schizophrenic when holding the dice.

Some mathematical advantage is lost at a table where huge free odds bets are allowed. It is a better system in casinos that limit people to double odds, so bankroll allows full odds on all bets or at Jokers Wild where the pass line is so small that full odds can be afforded for all bets.

Also, I do have to watch the dealers because this pattern confuses many of them.

I don't know if this is playing by "the book" or not because the last I heard there was just one copy left of "the book" and someone took it out of the public library and never returned it.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

booking downtown

Here is a pretty good description of how I book downtown:

 Everything I have read says that the Golden Nugget  is the tightest (in downtown ) in giving comps and the machines are tighter. Certainly the VP is very poor.  So I skip the Golden Nugget.
I get comped at the Four Queens and then play poker at the Golden Nugget. Playing poker there will not get you any room comps, in fact, you are not even tracked. Four hours will get you a $10 food voucher that has to be used that day (or the next if it is very late in the night) They used to change dates if you missed using it, but now they don't. You just ask for this after you have been there 4 hours. You keep track of the time. They believe you.  If you are playing late at night, ask for the next day's date.  They usually accommodate.  Or play until after midnight.  Buffets are pricy on Saturday and Sunday, but weekdays the voucher will mean paying a dollar and change for breakfast.

as of January 2014

Weekday Hours:

  • Breakfast (7:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.) $10.99
  • Lunch (10:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.) $13.99
  • Dinner (3:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.) $19.99

Weekend Hours:

  • Friday through Sunday, enjoy the Seafood & More Dinner (3:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.) for just $23.99.
  • Saturday and Sunday Champagne Brunch (7:00 a.m. -
    3:30 p.m.) $19.99.   This is the worst deal, but any buffets on weekends have the prices raised.  There may be some reduction if you don't take champagne.
I eat there, expensive or not, when I am downtown because their food choices allow me to stay on my strict diet.  There are plenty of good fruits.  Salmon for breakfast makes the meal for me.  I used to love Main Street Station, but now nothing they serve is really on my diet.

The unusually nice thing about getting comped at the Four Queens is that they offer 3 nights and weekends are included. I get those from playing DB 10/7 which is full pay plus a progressive royal. Along with the rooms, play on these will earn some cashback and freeplay. Even the freeplay can be used on the player advantage 10/7 game. It must be the best mathematical deal downtown overall.
I also think their slots are looser. I don't play much slots. Once in a while I play a little Megabucks and I like to play their nickel single zero roulette just for fun. My slot play is not driving my offers. My VP drives them. Some trips I get 6 free nights that cover two of my weekends. There are two ways to do that.
The easiest is to plan a trip that overlaps a calendar month. So my last trip I had three free nights in October, went to the D, and then had the first three nights free in November. I don't know if you could book back to back.
Another way is to check to see when they have a slot tournament weekend. There too you can get three free nights, plus the free tournament which includes a little free food and usually a nice gift. You can book the tournament weekend and still book 3 free nights on your offer. Again, I have never tried to book back to back because I use the Four Queen freebies to cover weekends and fill inbetween with cheap weeknight rates at the D or out Boulder or at El Cortez on an ACG coupon.
I also like it that I can just call the Four Queens host office and anyone there will look up my mailed offers. Sometimes they know of them before I do. They are mailed fairly late, and that is frustrating for planning, but I don't have to actually get the mailing to book. I'm a snowbird in Florida, so I don't often get mailings in the winter.
By the way Binions will offer a poker rate at the Four Queens. If you take it and play poker at Binions BUT DO NOT put any money in machines at the Four Queens, your Four Queens daily average will not be affected by your Binions generated stay. So you could stay in the same room (or at least the same casino) for your entire stay.
I can't seem to win at Binions, so I put the Four Queens back to back with two for one offers from the D based on their Vue bar VP play (8/5 bonus with three progressives) It is an easy check in and check out then. In fact, it is so close that I don't have to carefully repack because I can easily make two trips.

Friday, January 03, 2014

El Cortez poker room closes

A sad end to a great game, unique in Vegas.
I wonder if it means Jackie Gaughn is on his way out.
A huge loss for me.

I have lots of memories here over the last decade or so and I find myself mourning this closing.