Just received this letter in the mail as opposed to online or in an email or text (It’s back to the refreshing old days!):

“Dear Mr. Scoblete

“May I call you Frank? I’ll assume that is okay, okay? 

“Frank, I have read many of your books, even the ones not about gambling, and I’ve seen you on television too. I enjoy your articles immensely. 

“But I have to take one thing up about your casino writing, which is overall the best! You do spend a lot of time warning the players about the house edge and how it can subtly and not-so-subtly destroy a player’s bankroll.

“Don’t we all know that? Players have to know they are playing against the tide so to speak. How could they not know this?

“As a player when I go to a casino, I know I am playing against the house and that means I am playing against the house edge on any game I choose to play. And I do play most of the games too. Each bet, I know, I know, I know, comes with that house edge. That is obvious to me but I do not let that deter me.

“Don’t you think I am just a typical player? I understand to give a full picture that you must explain how the house edge influences all the games and bets, but don’t you think that takes away the magic of playing in the casinos? Maybe we should all just try to understand some of the magic of casino play and not worry so much about the cost of it all.

“I suggest a little bit about the house edge from time to time but a lot about the joy of playing.

“Just think of the comps, not as loss potentials but as true gifts for your play. Who doesn’t want comps? I like to be called Mr. ‘T.M.’ even though I am no one especially special in the scheme of things. Am I so off base here?

“Am I wrong in this? I don’t think so.

“Keep up the good work, Frank. I do love your writing but I also enjoy some magic now and again.

“Yours in truth, Thomas M.”

Dear Thomas M.:

Thanks for your letter – a real letter! 

Yes, I do write about the house edges on every game I describe. I explain how the house achieves those edges and how fast or slow a player can expect to lose his or her money based on those edges, the amount bet, and how long a player engages in a game. 

The house edges, the speeds of the games and the amount wagered are the keys to money management. Money management can’t beat the games but it can keep your money from disappearing from truly awful decisions.

I think too many players lose the “magic” of the games because they make bad decisions which cost them much more money than they need to lose. Poor thinking is also poor money management. 

I am not so sure most players actually know much about how the casinos attain the edge over them, otherwise we would see far better betting choices at the games. One just has to peruse the craps and roulette games to see how many players make terrible bets.  

There are bets at craps with house edges in the double digits and some new “branded” wagers such as the Fire Bet that come in with edges in the 20 to 25 percent range! That’s higher than a slot machine of the hungriest variety.

You have roulette players who immediately parley their bets after a single win. Not the best idea in the world. This technique goes for blackjack players and even slot players who will immediately go to higher denomination machines. Not good.

Roulette

I do believe that I give the games their credit for supplying us with a great source of pleasure. Yes, there is a sense of magic at times when you are challenging the house; I will not deny that because too many players have made it a point to tell me that. I’ve experienced such feelings too. It’s hard not to.

Comps do make many players feel special. These players will brag about what the casino “gave them,” thinking that this is something that says something great about them. I understand that fully. I don’t really buy into that feeling but I will take whatever comps the casinos offer me. It would seem foolish not to. I don’t play for comps but I do appreciate them.

Keep in mind that I am a player too and have been for well over three decades. I’ve spent as much time in casinos as some people have spent at work so I am familiar with the ins and outs of the landscape and the game space.   

Still, I hear you, I do. So, from this point on in this one article I will only deal with the magic of it all.

Get ready, Mr. T.M., here comes magic created just for you.

Frank

The Dream of Dreams

“Well, hello there sir,” said the roulette dealer.

“Hi,” said Thomas Miller, who would be called Tom M., or T.M., or Mr. M. in a very short while. “Here is my player’s card.”

Mr. T.M. cashed in his money for chips and put $25 on the number 17, which is the most played number at roulette ever since it became associated with James Bond of spy-fame.

“Well, let me see how it goes,” said Tom.

“No more bets!” said the dealer as one player deliberately put in a late bet. The dealer pushed the bet back to the player. The player grumbled.

Tom shook his head. Some people just don’t follow the rules. How hard is it to follow the rules?

The ball spun. It landed into the pockets and bounced. It stopped bouncing. “Seventeen! Black!” shouted the dealer. 

“Oh, yeah,” exclaimed Tom. The dealer passed him $875. Tom pushed $5 to the dealer as a tip. “Thank you, sir,” said the dealer.

Did Mr. T.M. win every spin of the wheel? No, of course not. Even a truly biased wheel, one totally off the random design of the wheel, will rarely keep hitting the same number over and over without other numbers appearing as well. 

So, Mr. T.M. won one and then lost a couple and then won another one and lost a few and then won another one. In a very short while Mr. T.M. won more money at roulette than he had ever won even on a great trip to the casinos. It was a dream. He was up over $10,000 in less than an hour.

A host came over to him, wished him well, and told Mr. T.M. if he needed anything to get in touch with him. The host’s name was Alan Tours.

Mr. T.M. made a decision then and there; he’d increase the size of his bets and if he kept winning then after every increase by $10,000 in his win, he would then increase the size of his bets again.

He bet $100! He just chose a number at random, the 0. It hit. He won $3,500! On one spin of the wheel. He bet the 00. It hit right away!

A few spins later Mr. T.M. was betting $200. He got rid of the idea that if he won more than $10,000 he’d increase his bet. Every win now came in with over $10,000 in wins.

Hello, Mr. T.M

The pit boss introduced himself to Tom. “Hello, Mr. T.M. My name is Carl. Would you like your own table?”

“Uh, ah, sure,” said Mr.T.M.

In the snap of two fingers Mr. T.M. was ushered over to the opulent high-roller room. A roulette table was ready to go with two female dealers; yes, pretty, young, female dealers.

“Hello Mr. T.M.” they said in unison as if they knew him. Mr. T.M. smiled. Across the room was a private blackjack table with a good-looking male dealer and one fabulously-dressed woman playing all six hands for $10,000 each.

This was Mr. T.M.’ in his first time playing in the high-roller room. It was a different experience than playing in the ordinary casino; that’s for sure.

“Your maximum bet is $10,000,” said the new woman who just seemed to appear out of nowhere. “I’m Chantel, the casino manager. Anything you want, just ask. We aim to please.”

Mr. T.M. bet it up all afternoon. He was now somewhat fatigued and he was up over $300,000. He decided to color up. 

Chantel appeared at the table. We will count up your chips and put your money safely in a safe if you don’t mind.

Blackjack

“I’m fine; I’m fine. Thank you,” said Mr. T.M.

Alan, the host, now appeared as well. “We’ve switched you to one of our great suites. You’ll love it. A full rain shower; a jacuzzi in the living room. Two bedrooms if you have company coming over.”

“Uh, thanks,” said Mr. T.M.

“Anything we can do to make your stay a delight,” said Alan. He hands Mr. T.M.a card. “This is the private number for me. You won’t have to compete with any other callers.”

Mr. T.M. checked out the suite. It was huge with a monstrously large picture window in the living room allowing the occupant to see the entire Strip. Both bedrooms had king-sized beds.  

Mr. T.M. gave himself a jacuzzi and then took a two-hour nap. It was dinner time.  

“I might as well,” he thought. He called Alan and asked him if he could make a reservation at the steakhouse. Alan told him “No problem.” They set a time.

Mr. T.M. took the elevator from his room which was at the very top of the building. He went into the bar, had a scotch, then decided he wanted to play some craps. 

At the table he gave in his player’s card and asked for $100,000 of his money. (Remember that he had $300,000 in winnings at the casino cage.) The floor person came over and told Mr. T.M. that the private table in the high-roller room was all his if he wanted. 

Mr. T.M. wanted it.

He played craps. He bet $1,000 on the pass line. He hit a 7 on the come-out roll and then an 11 – two winners. His point was the 10. He placed $5,000 in odds on the number as the casino allowed five-times odds. He bought the 4 for $5,000, placed $5,000 on both the 5 and 9. He placed $6,000 on both the 6 and 8.

He had an epic roll.

At a certain point Mr. T.M. realized he could go the route and bet some of the high house-edge bets at the game and he did. For the heck of it, he bet the hardways and then he dared to bet the 12, a one-roll bet that paid 30 to one. Yes, he immediately hit it and was paid $30,000 for his wager.

Oh, yes, he did seven-out eventually. No one could roll forever. 

But he did make slightly over $1 million at craps. Amazing.

He went to dinner where he was served in a private alcove. The meal was delicious. Alan visited him as did the evening’s casino manager. “Anything you want,” they both said simultaneously. “Anything you want, you got!”

Mr. T.M. stayed two nights. He didn’t win every roll of the dice or every spin of the roulette wheel. He didn’t win every hand of blackjack or every hand of video poker. He just won consistently.  

He was ahead $10 million at the end of his second day. 

“Why not try the slots?” he asked himself. He wasn’t a big slot player but the Megabucks was over $50 million. He thought he’d put through about $10,000 and take his chances.

He lost $5,000 and he asked himself whether he should pack it in. He didn’t. On the very next spin, bingo! bango! bongo! Mr. T.M. hit the jackpot of $50 million.

He now had won $60 million on this two-day trip. 

He thought, “I’ll quit my job, divorce my wife wherever she is, sell my house, buy a new house in an area that was exclusive and none of my relatives can find me. That’s what I’ll do.”

On his way out Alan and the one of the casino managers (he forgot her name) asked when he would be back. 

“Oh, next weekend,” he said. “I intend to own the casino before I am through.”

They laughed. He laughed. But he meant it.

To Tom and to all of us pursuing Lady Luck’s grace: 

All the best in and out of the casinos!
 

 

*Credits for main photo in this article belongs to Eran Alergant

About the Author
By

Frank Scoblete grew up in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. He spent the ‘60s getting an education; the ‘70s in editing, writing and publishing; the ‘80s in theatre, and the ‘90s and the 2000s in casino gambling.

Along the way he taught English for 33 years. He has authored 35 books; his most recent publisher is Triumph Books, a division of Random House. He lives in Long Island. Frank wrote the Ultimate Roulette Strategy Guide and he's a well known casino specialist.