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Craps Advice

Dear Mark,
Here is one of the best ways for me to win in craps. I "lay" the four for $100, which gives me 2 to 1 in my favor when the seven hits. I immediately walk away with my 90 bucks. I have found this method an easy way to make a quick $100. Please tell me what you think? Sam Y.

What you are doing, successfully for the moment, is called "hit-and-run gambling." This type of short-term play is a breeding ground for unusual fluctuations, where the brevity of your gambling session seems to defy probability, and for now you keep scoring that quick $90.

The casino's built-in advantage, which they definitely have on laying the four, appears to be on vacation. My Crpas advice is for you to keep it up, Sam, and you'll find that the casino's advantage is quite real.

It's predicated on the operation of the "law of averages" over the long haul, not on Sam's quick in-and-out system. Once your $100 is exposed for an extended time, made up of no matter how many little chunks, you will drift inescapably into and under the built-in house edge (albeit slight) of 2.44% on that particular wager.

Dear Mark,
I'm sad to say I have not joined the 21st century and own a personal computer. I still read your column the old fashioned way, in print. Nevertheless, you have mentioned before that the way to get better at gambling is using a computer. I am just starting to be a student of Texas Hold'em poker. So, what is someone to do who doesn't own one? Claire M.

Even if the public library computers are ruled off limits for online gambling (which they should be), you can still create that poker room experience with a hand-held video game. These small hand-held computer games offer one of the best ways of acquiring gaming skills without the exposure of a live dollar. Radica has such a hand-held game called World Poker Tour: No Limit Texas Hold'Em. Yep, they have banded together with the number one rated show on the Travel Channel.

This tournament-style game features fast-paced, competitive play with up to five virtual opponents. Each of the five players has their own distinctive playing style and can be knocked from the tournament as other players join the table. Their custom grip design (No; I'm speaking of the gadget) has a comfortable feel; the big screen makes viewing easy, even for those of us with a prescription of 3+, their batteries last forever, it's a lot of fun to play, and oh yah, it's cheap!

World Poker Tour: No Limit Texas Hold 'Em retails for just $19.99 and is a perfect learning tool for poker fans without computers, who want to learn from their mistakes at home, and not from some card shark named Jaws. Disclosure: I don't get a cut, nor am I in cahoots with Radica, but do you think I should ask?

Dear Mark,
I read your "Sic Bo 101" rundown and I don't understand one thing. You said that on single die wagers the game wasn't worth playing because the house edge was so high. Are not the odds of a single number coming up on one of three dice exactly 50%, in other words, 3 chances out of 6? What am I missing here? Steve F.

In the single die wager you described, Steve, a player picks one of six numbers (1-6) that will appear on one of three dice. What you blanked on is that there is six sides on each die, which multiplied by three, create 18 possibilities. Not three chances out of six.