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Best of Frank Scoblete
Gift of the Magi20 December 2016
She auditioned for the role of depressed chorus girl Fran Walker in the play The Only Game in Town by Frank D. Gilroy. I was the lead, Joe Grady, a degenerate craps player with a good heart. It was a powerful, funny, intense play about the life-changing power of love.
I faced a big problem though. I had no idea what I was talking about when it came to casino gambling. I’d have these really dramatic monologues about casino play, my good and bad streaks, and I wasn’t sure what the words I uttered meant. The final monologue of the show, an uplifting David and Goliath story of one incredible night at the craps tables, had me emoting like crazy but I had no idea what the words meant.
This was in the mid-1980s. I had never been in a casino, nor had she. We decided we’d better take a trip to Atlantic City.
The Claridge was built in 1930 and became known as “The Skyscraper by the Sea.” The Claridge had an old-world charm. It also had the Captain and his high-rolling Crew.
The Captain had the most profound effect on my gambling life. Without his mentoring I would never have a successful writer of gambling articles and books.
We met the Captain at the Claridge. He was the master, the conductor, the genius of the game and I learned more from him than I ever learned from any book I ever read. It just so happened that during this period of time in my life the Captain and his Crew of 22 high rollers called the Claridge their home.
We headed over to the craps tables. I was totally confused by the multitude of bets a craps player could make. Chips were flying all over the place.
“Give me a yo!”
“How about snake eyes?”
“Hard eight, my man.”
The dealers moved like lightning. Paying off winners, taking from losers and placing bets for players. It was mind-boggling, and I wondered how people could play such a confusing game. Even the layout looked like some space aliens had designed it.
The Captain was about 65 years old at this time and he heard me say to the Beautiful AP, “I’ll never learn this game. It’s insane.”
“Yes, you will,” he said. “Most of the bets you are hearing you can ignore. I call them Crazy Crapper bets, and they should never be made. They sound good but they stink. What you are hearing is a symphony in chaos.”
The way the Captain played the game was anything but chaotic. Eschewing all the “Crazy Crapper bets” such as the horn, the whirl, the craps numbers, the hard ways and the field, the Captain focused on the pass, don’t pass, come and don’t come.
The Captain believed that if you made the right bets and threw the dice in a rhythmic way, the game could be beaten. In fact, he knew the game could be beaten because he was doing just that – in a big way – for over a decade.
Dice control critics want to know why there aren’t dice controllers making millions playing the game. Well, the Captain made millions, so did Jimmy P., and so have several others that I know. The Captain was also a great teacher – he taught me everything I needed to know about casino play.
The Captain believed that many rhythmic rollers were not aware that they were changing the nature of the contest from one of randomness (which favored the casinos) to one of control (which favored the players).
“If you take a look at rhythmic rollers there are certain things that they all show. They carefully set the dice the same way each time. They aim. They take care with the speed of the dice, with the slowest speed being the best. If you throw the dice in a slow way, when those dice hit the back wall they will not scoot all over the layout as a regular dice thrower’s will. They will tend to settle down in basically the same relationship with each other. It doesn’t happen on every throw, many throws are random, but this happens with enough throws that some control is created. That control gives the player the edge if the player bets right.”
The Captain thought such rollers had helped him win since Atlantic City’s Resorts Casino first opened its doors in 1978.
From my more than quarter century of personal experience at the craps tables, I can see that everything the Captain said was correct. In those heady days of Atlantic City’s childhood, the Captain did the supposedly impossible – he won well over a million dollars. Naturally these wins did not come in one night, one month or even one year.
The Captain was well ahead when I met him that first night at the Claridge. He was well ahead of the casinos to the very day he died on February 10, 2010, during a huge snowstorm in New York City where he lived. It is believed in myth that when great men are born or die nature goes into turmoil: Wild swings occur in weather, moving stars appear in the sky and the dead walk the earth. The Captain was a great man and nature seemed to reflect his death during that great snowstorm.
Still, who was this Captain, this greatest of all craps geniuses, the teacher that taught me everything and has influenced hundreds of thousands of craps players for over a quarter of a century?
He was my own personal magi.
If you want the full story of the Captain and other great dice controllers read my new book "I Am a Dice Controller."
Frank Scoblete’s latest books are "I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps," "Confessions of a Wayward Catholic" and "I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack." Available from Amazon.com, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.
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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