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The Problem with Craps28 January 2005
There's a serious problem with craps that is not found in blackjack or, to a lesser degree, in other casino card games such as Caribbean Stud and Let it Ride. Craps is stagnant. Blackjack is dynamic.
Now you would think that with all the shouting, moaning, cheering, snapping, clapping and groaning going on at a craps table, and with the usually silent though crowded blackjack tables (except when liquored-up, backward baseball-cap wearing post-teen boys start yelling because they won a $5 bet) that craps would be the dynamic game and blackjack would be the stagnant game.
Looks are deceiving, goes the cliché and that cliché happens to ring true in this case. You see, craps bets have a fixed percentage and probability attached to them. They are immutable. The chance of a 7 coming up is always one in six; the chance of a four one in 12. So it goes with all the other numbers as well. The only exception to this iron-clad law of nature happens when a dice controller takes fate into his hands and changes the probabilities. But dice controllers are rare; good ones who can actually change the game rarer still.
Thus, for the rank and file craps player, he's facing predictability with each and every roll. For the blackjack player it's completely different. With each hand, the percentages and probabilities change. Four aces come out of a single deck, there is no likelihood of a blackjack on the next round, unless the player has slipped a fifth ace up his sleeve and is willing to go to prison. The fact that aces make up one of every 13 cards does not mean that when the game gets going these aces will always make up one in 13 cards. Things change as cards are dealt; that's dynamic.
Nothing changes in craps.
So why is craps considered the most exciting casino game? Because players are able to take the dice into their own hands (one hand, not two) and try to capture lightning in a bottle. All craps players who shoot the dice think that they are the center of the universe when they throw - and everyone else at the table thinks so too. Everyone's money is riding on what the shooter does and that includes tips for the dealers, too. In blackjack no one's money is riding on what another player does. Superstition and belief to the contrary is wrong. In blackjack the dealer is the center of the universe. Blackjack players are solitary souls, their fate determined by their own moves and what cards have come out previously; craps players are a gestalt organism, each one related to the shooter in a marriage of the moment.
Since shooting the dice is the central motif of craps, it is surprising how many craps players do not take their moment on the stage with more seriousness. They are like goofy actors who don't memorize their lines but can't ad lib for lack of talent and thus start sweating and stammering. Yes, they know they are the center of the universe, but instead of relishing it and trying to make it the defining moment of their craps play, they desultorily fling the dice as if they can't wait to seven out.
The Captain has always believed that even random rollers should show a little flair and at least look as if they want to win on their own rolls. After all, their money is at risk, too.
One of the reasons I have such respect for dice controllers is the fact that they put themselves on the line and attempt to make the game a positive expectation. Often other players, the dull ones frankly, will smirk and scoff as the dice controller carefully sets the dice and lofts the dice down the felt to their destiny. Should the dice controller seven out; there is almost glee in the eyes of the dull ones. To try hard is noticeable and to fail hurts. There is a certain tragic glory in that. Of course, the skilled dice controller will often change the smirks of the dull ones into rousing cheers when he has his good or epic rolls. Then to try hard and succeed becomes glorious. Blackjack players never experience that, even card counters. Why? Because a blackjack player can be winning a fortune at one spot, while the other players are getting hammered. The good fortune of one has nothing to do with the fortunes of the others.
Oh, yes, craps has a problem, all right, and it's this: For a game that's stagnant, it sure gets the emotions stirring!
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 email@example.com.
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