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Jack The Gambler

1 March 2003

I was playing craps the other day and witnessed a total meltdown. This non-descript guy, I'll call him Jack, in his mid-30s bought in at a $10 minimum table a few minutes after I got there. He pulled out $300 and asked for $100 in $5 chips and the rest in $25. The dice were a little choppy and there weren't any long streaks, good or bad.

I have a tendency to observe other people's play. I never comment on what they are doing unless we are in conversation and they ask. I once tried to help someone who was literally throwing their money away, and was rebuffed to the extent that I felt very uncomfortable staying at the table. I left in short order. It reminded me of an old saying, "No good turn goes unpunished."

I noticed Jack was playing the Martingale System of doubling his wager after losing. A sure sign of impending disaster. He would start off making a $10 pass line bet, and make a double wager on the odds, after the point was established. After every loss he would double his wager. After a victory he would go back to his original bet of $10 and $20. In the first half hour the highest he had to go was $40 on the pass line and $80 on odds. On that particular hand, the point was four and the shooter hit it the hard way. I scanned Jack's chips and saw that he was winning close to $150.

Another 20 minutes passed and then it happened. The table got as cold as Wisconsin in the winter. Shooter after shooter sevened out. Jack kept doubling his wagers and it didn't take long for Jack to be reaching in his pockets for more green ammo. When you are doubling, with double odds, the amounts that you are wagering get up there pretty quick.

Here's the way it goes: 10/20, 20/40, 40/80, 80/160, 160/320! Add all that up and it comes to $930, and that was after just 5 turns without a pass. Not that unusual of a circumstance.

Again Jack reached into his pocket and pulled out more money and bought $1000 worth of chips. "All black" Jack said, referring to the color of the $100 chips. Jack put down $300 on the pass line and the shooter rolled a three. Craps, loser. He then put down six of his remaining seven $100 chips as I studied his face. Here was a guy on tilt. He was perspiring and his face was red. He looked as if he was running a marathon. His adrenaline was kicking in and he was in the throes of panic. The shooter threw a ten on the next roll. Jack again reached into his pocket and pulled out what was remaining of his wad of cash.

The dice remained in the center of the table while Jack peeled off twelve $100 bills. He layed them behind his original bet and said, "Money plays". Rolling a ten before a seven, makes the bettor a 2-1 underdog. There are six ways to make a seven: 1-6, 6-1, 2-5, 5-2, 3-4, and 4-3. There are only three ways to make a ten. 4-6, 6-4, and 5-5. On the upside if the shooter rolls a ten before a seven the bettor would win $600 on his pass line bet and an additional $2400 (2-1 odds) on his odds wager, a total win of $3000. He would also get back his bet of $600 plus $1200 odds wager. So the swing between winning and losing would be a $4800 decision. For a guy that was originally betting $10 and $20 this was huge. After a few rolls fate came to pay a visit.

"Seven out, line away, new shooter", the stickman cried. Jack lost it all. He walked away from the table dejected. He was drained not only in his pocket but also in his essence. As I watched him disappear, slump shouldered into the crowd, I couldn't help but wonder if he understood what just happened. He should have invested a few bucks on a book on money management in a casino. It would have been money well spent. A cardinal rule is don't double-up your bet after losing.

As Always…Good Luck!

Larry Grossman

Larry Grossman is host and producer of Las Vegas' most popular gaming and handicapping radio show, "You Can Bet On It." Since 1989 he has interviewed World Champion poker players that include Amarillo Slim, Puggy Pearson, and Tom McEvoy. Regular guests during the football season include Lem Banker, Mike Lee, Mort Olshan, and Andy Iskoe.

During the 1997 and 1998 season, Grossman hosted a nationally televised show that featured many of the nations' top handicappers.

Larry Grossman is the author of two books, "You Can Bet On It" Volume 1 - Casino Games and Volume 2 - Sports Betting. He is a regular columnist for many gaming publications. Larry has hosted and produced handicapping seminars in Las Vegas. Visit AudioVegas.com to listen to archives of his "You Can Bet On it" radio show.

Larry Grossman Websites:

www.AudioVegas.com

Books by Larry Grossman:

You Can Bet On It! -- Volume 1: Casino Games
Larry Grossman
Larry Grossman is host and producer of Las Vegas' most popular gaming and handicapping radio show, "You Can Bet On It." Since 1989 he has interviewed World Champion poker players that include Amarillo Slim, Puggy Pearson, and Tom McEvoy. Regular guests during the football season include Lem Banker, Mike Lee, Mort Olshan, and Andy Iskoe.

During the 1997 and 1998 season, Grossman hosted a nationally televised show that featured many of the nations' top handicappers.

Larry Grossman is the author of two books, "You Can Bet On It" Volume 1 - Casino Games and Volume 2 - Sports Betting. He is a regular columnist for many gaming publications. Larry has hosted and produced handicapping seminars in Las Vegas. Visit AudioVegas.com to listen to archives of his "You Can Bet On it" radio show.

Larry Grossman Websites:

www.AudioVegas.com

Books by Larry Grossman:

You Can Bet On It! -- Volume 1: Casino Games