Preparing For Your “Monster Roll”

Let’s say you are playing craps and the “monster roll” finally arrives and you are in the middle of it. You started with a $10 pass line bet and two $10 come bets, all with maximum odds. You kept increasing your bets by one unit when you win. You planned to decrease your bets when you lost but that never happened!

The shooter kept rolling numbers, and finally after he made his eighth point, he sevened out, and then the next shooter did the same thing! Your red chips turned to green and your green chips to black. At the end of two hours, you counted your chips and found that you have $3500! You’re on the top of the world! Think of what you can do with the money! $3500, tax free! Or is it?

You are, of course, required to report any gambling wins as income to the IRS. Some casinos will report wins over $1200, and some won’t, depending on where they are located. All casinos, however, have a policy paper on taxes which is available free of charge at the casino cage. If they don’t report craps winning, and you don’t report them either, you may be breaking the law.

If you do opt to report your big win as income in exchange for not having to worry about it for the next seven years, there is a way to minimize your taxes but you have to start now to prepare for your big win. You have to keep accurate records of your loses.

If you played several times this year and lost, say $2500, you can deduct that from your previously mentioned $3500 win and only pay taxes on $1000. If you are in the 20% tax bracket, you would have paid $700 in taxes on your $3500 win. On $1000 you only have to pay $200 (20% of $1000 is $200). This means that by keeping accurate records you’ve saved at least $500 ($700 – $200) this one time alone.

The IRS does not even care if you lost more than you won during the year – if you have just one big win you have to pay taxes on it. To balance your wins with your loses, you need to keep an accurate diary. Your total losses on blackjack, slots and roulette can balance out one big win on craps. If you get audited, you need to have records to support your diary – markers, withdrawal receipts, bank statements, etc.

This might seem like a great deal of trouble but if you really expect to win a big MONSTER ROLL when you gamble, you should be prepared for it. Keep accurate records and you’ll also keep more of your winnings in your pocket – not in the MONSTER’S (The IRS)! So when that big roll finally does come along, be ready for it by keeping records now, so you can keep all of it for yourself! And, as always, good luck at the tables!

The Advantage of Put Bets

If you’ve played at casinos offering 100X odds and placed a pass line bet, wouldn’t it be better to have a point of six or eight rather than four or ten? Well, now you can, by using a put bet. A put bet is a wager that has been all but ignored until just recently, thanks to the proliferation of casinos offering 10X odds and above. It is a pass line bet that you put up without going through the come-out roll.

For example, if you have not placed a pass-line bet and the shooter rolls a point of six, you can then put a bet on the pass line, with the appropriate odds. However, this bet loses the advantage a pass-line player has before the point is established, so it has gone unused in most craps games.

Today, though, we see casinos offering 5X, 10X and 100X odds on pass line bets. These extra odds offset the players advantage before the come-out roll for pass line bets if the point is six or eight.

The house advantage for pass line players is 1.4 and, for placing the six or eight it is 1.5. On a 10X odds table, if you wait for a six or eight point and then make a put bet for $5, you can take $50 in odds behind the line. The house advantage here drops way down to .82! And, on a 100X odds table, it drops even further, way down to .09!

Some casinos do not know what a put bet is, so just ask the dealer if you can make a pass line bet with full odds after the point is established. I’ve found that if one dealer at a particular casino will not allow put bets, I just go to a different table and ask someone else. The more experienced dealers will let you make a put bet, and it is becoming more popular, especially in casinos that offer 100X or “unlimited” odds.

The big advantage to put bets is that you get to choose your own point numbers. The disadvantage is that you lose out on come out sevens and elevens. But remember, you don’t add odds until the point is established, so on comeout sevens and elevens, all you win is your flat bet. On a 10X table, I would rather increase the chances of winning my odds bets, and I have a better chance of doing that with the six or eight.

So the next time you play at a 10X odds casino, give put bets a try!

And, as always, good luck at the tables!

Playing Partners

Craps is the only casino game that gives you a significant advantage if you play with a partner. Not only can you win more money, but you’ll get more “comps” as well.

The most common method of partner play is when one person bets on the pass line and the other on the don’t-pass. The pass line player will lose here on the 12, but that means only once in 36 rolls or so. You won’t win any money doing this, but you’ll get free room, food and beverage for both of you, worth much more than the occasional loss on the twelve.

A better way of playing is to use the above method, but take odds on favorable points and lay odds on unfavorable ones. For example, if the point is 5, 6, 8, or 9, the partner on the do-side can take double odds on the pass line, while the don’t-side partner will only make the flat bet. This way, you will get paid on the “free” odds portion of your pass-line bet, which gives the casino absolutely no advantage over you (other than the occasional 12 on the come-out). On the other hand, if the point is a 4 or 10 the don’t-side partner can lay odds while the do-side player only makes flat bets. Of course, when both of you are finished playing, you’ll split the profits evenly, so you can take turns playing the do or the don’t.

A third method of play is bypassing the come out roll and one player betting come on every roll and the other don’t-come. If the 5, 6, 8 or 9 is the point, the come player will take odds, and if 4 or 10 is the point, the don’t-come player can lay odds.

Again, you will get paid on the come’s “free” odds only – with almost no house advantage. We found these methods to work best if the players have different last names and play on opposite sides of a crowded table. Hand your comp cards to the pit boss separately and don’t talk to each other. Play for an hour or so, for at least $10 per bet so you’ll get the maximum comps.

Have a silent signal to end each session and cash out separately. Give partner playing a try – it’s a great way to get the most out of every craps game!

And, as always, good luck at the tables!

Money Management

There are four aspects of money management which are crucial to the winning Crapshooter. They are buy-in, win/loss limits, comps and record keeping. Without a good system of money management, the casual player is more in the business of contributing to his or her favorite casino than having fun or making money.

Many experts have suggested that you buy in for 100 times your average bet, but they are confusing buy-in with gambling capital. If you are a $5 bettor and plan to spend $500 (your gambling capital) you should still buy in for $1000 if you play for comps. When you are a rated player, the pit boss records your buy-in, your first bet and, when he gets around to it, your average bet. If you are a serious player, your gambling capital should be 100 times your average bet, but try to buy in for a larger amount to get a better comp rating.

If your gambling stake is $500 and your buy-in is $1000, you can get the other $500 from the casino by applying for a line of credit. This way you’ll get increased comps by playing with the casino’s money.

Your win/loss limits should both be 20% of your gambling capital. If your buy-in is $1000 but your actual stake is $500 – NEVER bet the other $500 – then you should quit if you win or lose $100 (20% of $500, not $1000). It might be difficult to stop after winning (or losing) just $100 but you need to treat your playing like a business, not like a fun game in which you just play until you lose all of your money. I have also found that by tipping the dealers (betting one unit on the line for them) they will tend to give you a higher comp rating. When dealers see you tipping they want you back and will treat you better, and give you more comps.

Comps are extremely important. By playing four hours a day you can receive free room, food and beverage (RFB) if you gamble a minimum of just $20. Try to play at a casino that gives you comp credit for spread, not individual bets. For example if you bet $10 pass, and $12 six and eight, you are a $10 player at individual bet casinos (like Mirage Bellagio, and Treasure Island). On the other hand, at “spread” casinos (like the Stardust, Caesars, and Flamingo Hilton) you are a $35 player! This makes quite a difference when your comps are determined! If you play four hours a day (two 2 hour sessions each day) for three days you can receive in comps two nights lodging (value about $300), six meals (value about $100) and two shows (value about $50). This means you’ll have $450 you didn’t have before! You need to ask the pit boss for the meals or shows after each session, though. They don’t come automatically.

Finally, you need to keep records of your wins and losses. Carry a small pad and pen and make your entries when you are finished with each session.

Later you can add your trip expenses, such as transportation and incidentals. Then you can add the value of the comps you received – in many cases the comps will be more than your winnings. And in most cases your comps will be more than any money you have lost. If you report your winnings as taxable income, your losses can be deducted, but your comps are an extra free bonus! Playing craps is fun, but you really need to treat it like a small business. Maximize your comps, have a set win/loss limit, start with a high buy-in, and keep accurate records. Soon your small business will turn a tidy profit!

And, as always, good luck at the tables!

Pass, Place and Come Bets

Most of us were taught to play the pass line with odds, and have two come bets up. I was taught this way, and the books I read have reinforced this theory. But, I kept losing on the come! What was going on?

After generously contributing literally thousands of dollars to beautify the streets of Las Vegas with new waterfalls and volcanoes, I began to wonder about the come bet. Was it really a good bet? If it wasn’t, how could I supplement my pass line bet?

I really liked betting the come line, because it represented the hot numbers. Sometimes the 4’s and 10’s would be hot, or, the 5’s and 9’s. By betting the come I thought I would stay on top of what was hot! Plus, I always took double odds, both on the pass line, and the come line. After all, it was what everyone told me to do.

But, the come bet had some disadvantages. The biggest one can be demonstrated by the following. Let’s say I have a come bet on the six and eight, nine was the point, and the point was made. I would then have a six and eight WORKING on the comeout, with odds. Should I put up a pass line bet? Should I pray that the seven doesn’t hit? If the seven did hit, I found the casino was generous enough to return my odds portion, but not the flat portion. What was I doing wrong? Something else I noticed was that the payoffs for the come bets were not much higher, and in many cases lower, than equal place bets. For example, a $10 come bet on the six with $25 odds returned $30 for the odds plus $10 on the flat portion. So I won $40 with $35 in play. However, if I bet $36 on the six as a place bet, I would win back $42. But, I still firmly believed in come bets. They showed which numbers were hot. Then I got an idea. Why not forget about come bets and make identical place bets instead? This way I wouldn’t lose on the come out seven.

If the first roll is say, a four (the point, ugh), and the next two rolls are 5 and 6, I would normally have come bets of $10 with odds on the 5 and 6. $20 odds on the five and $25 on the six. But I did not make any come bets, I placed the five for $30 and the six for $36. Betting the come bets and winning, I would have won $38 on the five and $40 on the six, a total of $78. But by betting on the exact same place numbers, I would win $35 on the five and $42 on the six, for a total of $77!! And, I wouldn’t have to worry about the come out seven (if the point was made), or, the 2,3, or 12 (while in the come box)! In the come box, as you know, you lose on the 2,3, and 12 and win on the 11. I know, you also win on the 7, but do you really want to? With one or two other bets up, you’ll lose big, even when you “win”.

Since I stopped betting come and started betting identical place bets, my anxiety about come-out 7’s has disappeared, and, coincidently, my losing has stopped. Granted I don’t win as big when I’m winning, but I don’t have those big losses either. I’d rather win small amounts consistently, that lose larger amounts even once in awhile. Next time you want to place a come bet, try an identical place bet instead!