Good Luck Charms at

Bet Capping

Dear Mark,
I was asked to leave a casino because a pit boss believed I was adding more chips to my bet on a roulette table after the dealer "supposedly" called no more bets. I told him I didn't hear the dealer say it, and that I was just adding chips to my favorite number, which I believe he was upset at because it just happened to be a winner. Does the casino have the right to toss me out? Nick B.

Let's just say you were lucky, Nick, that you weren't treated to powdered eggs for breakfast compliments of the county.

It's obvious from your letter that the pit boss felt, right or wrong (I wasn't there) that you were bet capping, meaning, you were piling extra chips on top of your initial bet after the ball had dropped. Casinos consider this a serious form of cheating, and it's a good way to get 86'ed from the casino and/or to spend some time in the slammer.

The primary function of a pit boss is to protect the company's assets. It's their job to be on the lookout for charlatans who "past-post" or "bet cap" an unsuspecting croupier by adding chips to a winning number, or removing chips from a losing number after the ball has already dropped into the wheel. One time Yours Truly had such a hustler on a game that was graced with the hands of a magician. He could get chips on or off a table without me, a patsy break-in roulette dealer, even noticing. Luckily, an alert pit boss did, the 'eye in the sky' confirmed, and the casino ended up pressing charges to the fullest extent of the law.

Regarding the dealer calling "no more bets," every casino, Nick, has its own set of guidelines on when they want the dealer to call it. Some before the spin, others will allow an experienced roulette dealer to halt wagering at his or her discretion. Since the casino holds a hefty 5.26% advantage over the player on all but one bet on the layout, obviously they want to wave in as many wagers per spin as possible within reason. To avoid a future fracas with casino pit personnel, I suggest you get your bets in early, well before the dealer voices "no more bets."

Dear Mark,
Lemme see here. I will lay 5-1 that this is the 500th or higher e-mail you've received about your Hardways explanation. You were just checking on your readers to see if we are alert enough to gamble, right? Mike H.

The egregious error, Mike, (a 7 and 1 to make an easy eight on a dice roll) was purposely done so, as to give away some of my Hooked on Winning tapes for those alert enough to spot it. Surprisingly, I got nowhere near 500 readers catching the blatant mistake for the free giveaway.

The half-baked idea of seven-sided dice on a crap game had blown in from Gurth. You might remember him -- the knucklehead who wrote in wanting to wrap his Uncle in Reynolds Wrap to block Uncle's pacemaker signal from interfering with an electronic slot machine. Recently he sent me a letter crawling with indigestible mathematical muck to prove that the game of craps could rain cash and glory on the player if seven-sided dice were introduced on the game, I am guessing illegally.

I'm figuring Gurth is in possession of a pair of seven-sided dice, since I've seen them before, associated with a variant form of Backgammon that uses seven-sided dice and a seven-sided polygon board with seven points in each quarter instead of six, as on a standard board. Anyhow, I've put Gurth on special secret assignment, asking him to field test a seven-sider with five million random tosses to see if all seven numbers on the dice equally appear. That should keep him busy, and hopefully out of trouble. I figure he'll be done in nine years, four months and three weeks. I'll post the results.

Nice catch to you, Mike, and those others who noticed it. The tapes are in the mail.