They are everywhere. Gambling system sellers that claim to have the secret of how to extract money from the casinos. Not only can you win money from the casinos they say, but you can do it by simply employing some betting techniques. The systems are available for virtually every casino game; craps, blackjack, roulette, video poker, even slots.
Most systems rely on some sort of play tracking – looking for streaks. They may bet into a streak (the streak will continue). They may bet counter to a streak (the streak will end). They may use a strictly mechanical method of tracking and betting, or they may combine mechanical tracking and betting with “intuition.” Most systems sell for about $100 or less, but a few can cost up to several thousand. Are they worth the money? Can you really overcome the house edge by employing some sort of betting technique?
It is common knowledge that blackjack can be beaten by employing card counting. Along with counting the appearance of high and low cards, betting is changed to reflect the relative positive (many high cards) or negative (many low cards) condition of the cards remaining in the deck. Bet up when the remaining card are ten-rich, bet down when the remaining cards are ten-poor. This works with blackjack because the cards “have memory” – meaning that once cards are played, they will not be played again until there is a re-shuffle.
Craps is different. The dice have no memory. The shooter has the same chance of throwing a 7 (one out of six) each and every time the dice are thrown. If the 7 has appeared the last six throws, there is still a one out of six chance the 7 will be thrown on the next throw.
Dice control – throwing the dice a certain way to reduce the appearance of the seven (or increase the appearance on certain numbers such as the 6 and 8) – can produce and edge over the house when combined with betting the proper low house edge bets.
The question remains, however, can a betting system produce an edge over the house?
Let’s look at one of the tenets of the systems being sold, along with some real-life examples.
If a number hasn’t shown for a while, it has to show soon.
This statement could be true depending on the definition of “soon.” I know someone who followed a betting system that relied on the number 12 not appearing for so many rolls – I don’t remember if it was 10 or 20 or even 50. The system had him raise the bet one unit every time the 12 did not show. It would take 59 rolls without the 12 showing before the payoff would equal the amount lost. He reasoned there would be no way this could ever happen.
His system worked very well for several weeks. He told everyone who would listen how great the system was. It may be boring waiting before he started his progression, but it “always” works. In fact, he preferred to not collect right away because he made more after several rolls without the 12 showing – up to 435 units if the 12 appeared on roll 29 or 30 after the betting started.
Finally, however, the unthinkable happened. He started his betting series at the prescribed time. He kept raising his bet one unit each time the 12 did not show. He kept raising it 20 times, 30 times, 40 times, 50 times, 60 times, 70 times, 80, 90 – and then he ran out of money. He lost all his profits and was broke.
Randomness caught up with him and wiped him out.
Another friend of mine thought he had a perfect system.
He would wait for seven rolls without the 7 showing. He felt that since the 7 occurs one out of 6 rolls, it was already “overdue” when he started his betting sequence. He would then bet a $3 “hop” bet on the 7. A hop bet is a one roll bet that a certain combination of numbers will appear on the two dice. There are three possible combinations of the dice that result in a 7; 1/6, 2/5 and 3/4. He would bet $1 on each combination for a total of $3. If the bet hit, he would take it down along with collecting his winnings. If it did not hit, he would bet the sum of the last two bets on the next roll. The table below shows how the betting sequence works.
Bet Invested Win Profit
3 3 16 13
3 6 16 10
6 12 32 20
9 21 48 27
15 36 80 44
24 60 128 68
39 99 208 109
63 162 336 174
102 264 544 280
165 429 880 451
As with the “missing 12” betting system, this system worked well for my friend for quite some time. Even though the amount invested rises fairly quickly, the 7 appears more than any other number, so he figured he could handle any situation.
It was not to be. He had a $2,000 bankroll. One day he started his betting sequence after roll number seven. The 7 did not appear on rolls seven through 13. He now had $1,827 invested and he could not raise his bet to $1,131 as the system dictated, so he put his remaining $173 (actually $171 since that was divisible by three) and ------ lost it!
What if he had a larger bankroll? Surely then he would have won.
All tables have a maximum bet and maximum payout. This particular table had a $2,000 maximum bet, so he was against the wall even if he had a larger bankroll. Most tables have maximum bets at or below $5,000. At this level it would take only 24 rolls to hit the max (seven before betting started and 17 after). Making 24 rolls without a 7 is well within normal play results.
In a random game, the chances of any particular number appearing are exactly the same as they were in the previous round. In reality, no number is due. A betting progression that relies on the false assumption will ultimately wipe out the gambler who uses it.
May all your wins be swift and large and all your losses slow and tiny.
Jerry “Stickman” is an expert in craps, blackjack and video poker and advantage slot machine play. You can contact Jerry “Stickman” at stickmanGTC@aol.com
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