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Are You Trendy?29 October 2004
Craps players love to discover, uncover, capitalize and ride trends at the craps tables.
The thinking goes that if several people have sevened-out just after establishing the point, then the table is cold and most likely it will continue to stay cold for a while. If a shooter has hit several nines in a row before sevening out, then the next shooter, if he should hit a nine, is more likely to hit another nine than, say, a five, which has the same probability of hitting as does a nine.
There is no doubt at all that streaks or trends happen at craps and at all games of chance for that matter - they even happen on slot machines. The problem arises when we try to project that streak into the future and see if it will continue to happen. In a random game trends come and go; that is, after all, the nature of randomness.
Flip a coin and see how many trends of heads and tails come up. You'll be amazed at how trendy a simple coin flip can be. Now, try to bet those past trends that you saw. Was there a whole bunch of heads that just came up? If so, bet heads. Now, do this for millions of flips and here's what you'll discover - the next flip after a trend of heads will be heads, about 50 percent of the time, and it will be tails about, you guessed it, 50 percent of the time. The trend continued into the future or stopped dead based on the probability of the event happening. The past trend had nothing whatsoever to do with it.
Since craps as played by 99.999 percent of craps shooters is a random game, you can expect to see all manner of trends and they are all pretty much as meaningless as the flip of a coin. The only time a craps game's trends have any meaning, potential meaning, is if a given shooter is in a groove. That is to say, he is setting the dice the exact same way each time, delivering them in a gentle way each and every time. We call such shooters "rhythmic rollers."
If you notice that such a shooter is hitting an inordinate percentage of this or that number, then you might want to bet on that number, either directly or through the Come. If this shooter is indeed altering the percentages, then the trend of the past might continue into the future. If his careful approach is not really changing the game, well, no harm done, really, since you were going to bet anyway.
Even if a previous shooter's trends were real, they are not transferable to the next shooter. Your man may have hit a tremendous number of fours, but that doesn't mean the next shooter is more likely to hit a four than a ten - or a seven!
So why do craps players and even some craps authors and "experts" buy into the idea of trends that will continue? First, some of them have ridden trends to great wins in the past. After all, if the coin landed on heads and you bet heads, and it landed on heads again and this happened four or five times in succession, you made some good money. If such pleasant gambling events happen enough times, they will be remembered. Our minds are structured to find connections and the gambler's mind is always looking for those pleasant, i.e., winning, connections.
If trends at random games were really exploitable, the players would be winning bundles and the casinos would be losing bundles - actually there would be no casinos, just very wealthy former casino players! Betting with trends at craps is the oldest form of wagering at the game, even more popular than going against the trend (which is a favored form of betting at roulette even-money bets). With so many craps players betting with the trend, craps games would be a losing more than probability indicated. They aren't. In fact, craps games win about 13 percent of all the money players buy in with. That's a pretty hefty percentage. There is another reason why truly veteran players might buy into the trendy scenario. Any craps player who has played for a long, long time (and by that I mean years and years), will have run into careful shooters who were indeed temporarily altering the outcome of the game by the nature of their throws. This would tend to create an awareness of trends as well since these shooters, albeit very few and very far between, have created a temporary trend that did continue. Still there aren't enough of these kinds of shooters out there to make "going with the trend" a winning craps strategy.
So is there a winning craps strategy? At a random game, there is no betting strategy that will win in the long run. And just about any strategy can win in the short run. The only way to come out a long-term winner at craps is to reduce the number of random rollers (known as "chicken feeders") that you bet on and increase the number of careful shooters you bet on. The best method for determining which shooters to risk your hard earned money on is the 5-Count, a concept and method I've written about in several books and one that has been studied exhaustively by computer simulations. The 5-Count will eliminate approximately 57 percent of the shooters. You will risk your money on the remaining 43 percent, amongst whom will be all the shooters who have the epic and monster rolls.
Is there a way to enhance the effects of the 5-Count? Yes. Watch the shooter when he gets the dice. If he takes care with his set and delivery and he gets past the 5-Count, bet on him. This kind of shooter is known as a Golden Shooter.
Looking for trends is trendy in some craps circles but like all trends, trends at craps are short-lived because a trend's future is not in the past but in the probabilities. And as untrendy as that sounds, it just happens to be the truth!
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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