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The Ultimate System - Chapter 7
Playing Loose at the Goose
David hung up with Nate and contemplated his next move, despite the fact that he had a burger and fries shortly before turning in for the night, he felt ravenously hungry. He went downstairs to avail himself of one of his two buffets and was about to go to town, but then it occurred to him that today was the third day in a row he had been wearing the same set of clothes. Realizing that he’d either need to walk home or take a cab (and walking would be cheaper) he limited himself to cold salads and a few glasses of juice.
Even though his house was several miles away, David decided that he would prefer walking over spending money on a cab. Covered in sweat, he would later enter into his basement to find his Country Crock butter dish overflowing with each additional drip of water from the leaky pipe. Annoyed, David found a shirt that had a hole in it anyway and wiped the water off of the floor, then he dumped out the butter bowl outside and brought it back in.
There was no way he could walk back in what he was wearing, first of all, he had been wearing those clothes for three days, and secondly, they were already soaked clean through. He grabbed another set of clothes to take up to the shower with him and looked around for something that might pass for luggage to bring an additional set of clothes to The Golden Goose (he knew he’d be sweaty by the time he got back and would need another shower) as well as his work clothes for the following day.
He made his way upstairs when he heard an all-too-familiar squawk, "David," his mother bellowed, "Is that you?"
"Unless Dad came back from the dead," David replied, "I’m not sure who else you think it would be."
"That’s enough," his mother intoned, "You tell your little friend Evan that the only door he ever needs to knock on is the basement door. I’m watching my soaps yesterday and had to deal with answering the door for him because you didn’t answer yours. I told him, ‘If he didn’t answer his door, that means he’s not here."
David could never understand why his Mom felt taking thirty seconds to answer the door was the end of the world, but he also knew he didn’t want to get into it with her, "Sure thing, Mom, sorry about that. I’ll remind him."
"See that you do," she replied, "By the way, where were you yesterday? I was up until at least ten o’clock and I never heard your door open."
David replied, almost too fast, "I was at The Golden...Wok! The Golden Wok, that Chinese place. I...um...I was on a date, and then I stayed at her place, the basement is not the most romantic venue, after all."
"YOU! You were on a date!?" David’s Mom was incredulous, "I would almost refuse to believe that but for the fact that you definitely weren’t here last night."
Even though his statement had been a lie, David found himself offended, "What’s so difficult to believe about me being on a date?"
The woman mused, "Well, I didn’t mean it like that. I just mean that you’re not exactly a social butterfly and, in almost forty years, you’ve shown almost no interest in dating. In fact, I don’t remember you going out on a date a single time since you and Ashley broke up...and you were, what? Twenty-five?"
David briefly remembered his relationship with Ashley, they had met during his brief college stint and dated for about four years prior to her deciding that he had absolutely no future. He idly wondered what she was doing now, as though it really mattered, and then snapped back to reality, "I don’t remember my exact age. Point is, you get a job, you have some disposable income, and suddenly, you can take a renewed interest in dating if you really want to."
"Who’s the lucky girl?"
David was still in an Ashley-induced trance, "Who’s what lucky girl?"
"Who’s the lucky girl you went out with last night?"
David hadn’t been ready to get into specifics, "Just a girl from work. I might introduce you to her at some point after we’ve gone out a few more times. She’s really shy about this kind of thing, though, or I would introduce the two of you now."
His mom asked, "Does this girl from work have a name?"
"She has three of them, first, middle and last. I presume you are curious about the first: It’s Jessica."
"That’s a nice name," his Mom said absently.
"Yeah," David agreed, "Actually, the date’s not over yet, we just have the pause button on. I packed some clothes to take with me and I’m going to get a shower now. After that, I’m going back to her place, she’s cooking tonight."
"Have fun with that," came the response, "Don’t be late for work tomorrow."
David finished up his shower and looked for something that might pass for proper luggage. He knew that he had a gym bag from his high school days somewhere which would certainly be better than the plastic A Penny Saved shopping bags he would otherwise have to use. He looked all around the basement for the gym bag and decided it must be buried in his Mom’s closet, he went upstairs to her room, but she was sleeping, so he decided on the shopping bags.
David counted his money again, One-Thousand Sixteen Dollars and Eighty Cents, same as it had been the last twelve or thirteen times he had counted it. He was making his way back to The Golden Goose and contemplating whether he should make the $1,600 bet as that was the next bet demanded by the system, or alternatively, just start the system over.
Does it matter that it’s a different day? Isn’t a sixteen-hundred dollar bet just that regardless of what day it is? Do I really want to bet this sixteen-hundred all at once?
An oncoming car blaring its horn at him snapped David out of his reverie, he must have seriously been walking on autopilot because he found that he was already at the entrance road to The Golden Goose. He sauntered over to the far side of the road and stepped up into the grassy median that split the entrance from the exit. He pulled out his cell phone and saw that it was 5:30 already which, considering that he walked both ways and had a shower meant that he’d been making very impressive time...at least, compared to the time one would think he would make looking at him.
Suddenly, a car stopped by him and kept his pace for a second, looking over, David saw Nick DeMarco staring at him from some sort of expensive-looking black convertible. "Hey, David, where are your wheels? You’re kind of a high-roller not to be, you know, rolling!"
The irony of the way that David had been betting matched with the fact that he did not own a car was not lost on him, "I don’t live that far away," he lied, "Are you throwing some dice?"
While the answer would normally have been in the affirmative, DeMarco responded, "Later on tonight, certainly, I’m just picking someone up right now."
By the time David got back to the room, he was beat. He briefly considered taking a nap, but he knew that there was virtually no way that he would get back up if he did. There was also no question that he needed another shower, and given the fact that he had spent the majority of the day so far covered in sweat, he opted for a cold one, which perked him up a bit.
It was about 6:15 at that point, so David went down and used his other buffet. Looking at some of the food down there made him a bit queasy simply because, while there were certainly a variety of foods down there to choose from, it was almost entirely the same stuff every single day. David took notice of a different section of the buffet that appeared to have changed, realized it was seafood night, and opted mostly for crab legs and salmon...at least it was something different. Still parched from spending all day walking, he downed about six glasses of water in addition to a half glass of Dr. Pepper, which is what he originally ordered.
He decided to inspect what tables were open after eating his other buffet and was pleasantly surprised to see that a Let It Ride table was open, although, there weren’t any players at the time. There was a Craps game going on, but he didn’t recognize anybody at the table. Aside from that, four blackjack tables, one roulette table, two Three-Card Poker tables and one Mississippi Stud table were all open.
David briefly contemplated playing Three-Card Poker, it’s not as though Craps had gone that well for him the previous night, but he counted his money again and decided against it. With $1,816.80 to his name, almost in spite of himself, he decided to play Winning Wolf reasoning, ‘At least I only have to bet a dollar or less at a time.’
David stuck in one of the hundreds and set himself up for a bet of $1.00/spin. He went up and down hitting a number of bonus games, but unfortunately, none of them counted for very much. After what seemed like an hour, but was really only about twenty minutes of playing, David had been up as high as $140 was as close to losing the hundred as $52.50 and currently sat at $76.40. He was actually starting to get rather bored with the whole thing, but then he remembered what Nate had said about keeping his comps up, so he spun again and hit another set of bonus games.
That set of bonus games proved quite fruitful as David hit a re-trigger and quickly stacked the Wild wolf symbols on the second, third and fourth reels. Eventually, he found himself at just over $200 and seriously considered stopping. He looked at the number of points that he earned in that, ‘Session,’ and noticed it was only 180, which meant that he had only made $360 in total bets. He recognized that wasn’t really too much action on the slots and decided to up his wager to $2.00/spin.
David once again played largely up and down until hitting yet another very similar set of bonus games that brought him to over $400 total on the machine. By that time, it was 9:00 and he had made almost $1,200 in total bets. He considered betting at the $2.50 max, but instead opted to check out the High-Limit slots area believing, for one reason or another, that his winning streak was bound to continue.
He sat down at a Quick Hits Diamond machine upon which a player could either bet $5, $10 or $15 on what was a five-line game. Despite the fact that $15 was an obvious choice because of the progressives, David instead opted to bet $10/spin, which is arguably the worst possible amount to bet because he was bucking the same house edge he would be had he been betting $5/spin. He was pumped after hitting for free games on just his third spin, but found himself deflated after he first only selected three boxes that each contained five free games and then even more so after those games failed to win on any of the spins. He played the machine for about another hour and, despite hitting three more sets of free games, gradually his ticket went downward until he only had $3.20 left on the machine. That left him with only $1,720 total, but on a positive note, he had managed to play nearly ten-thousand dollars coin-in on slots.
He cashed his ticket and then took his small bills and change to the cashier to exchange for a twenty. At that point, he meandered over to the craps table to find that both Nick DeMarco and Malcolm Jones were playing along with a younger-looking couple. Sammy occupied the other side of the table by himself, and it was easy to see why, he had produced a somewhat foul-smelling cigar and was puffing away between rolls.
"Let me get in for sixteen hundred," David said while pulling out sixteen hundreds and tossing them on the table.
"Do you need an increase to the table maximum?" The craps supervisor was the same person who was on the game the previous night and remembered that the table max had been increased pursuant to David’s request.
"Not tonight," David responded, he had earlier decided that he would just restart the system rather than make the next bet of $1,600 that the system called for, "One-thousand should be enough...for now."
David did not understand the implications of a field bet that only doubled on the two and twelve both rather than tripling on one or the other, and even if he understood the implications, it’s difficult to say whether or not he would have really cared. When the dice came around to him, he put a black chip on the field and picked up the dice.
"We need a line bet if you are going to shoot, sir," intoned the supervisor.
"You have to bet either the pass line or the don’t pass in order to shoot the dice. Your field bet is fine, but you have to bet one of the lines to play the field."
David looked up and noticed that Malcolm was closest to the dealer at the other side of the table, "That’s fine, then, give the dice to Malcolm. I’m not going to shoot."
Malcolm took the dice and lobbed them down the table, setting a point of four and winning on the field for David. However, David removed one of the black chips from the table and Malcolm rolled a six almost as quickly causing David to put down the black chip in his other hand prior to even returning it to the rack.
"You’re either looking to win quick or lose quick," Malcolm said.
David wasn’t even really sure what had compelled him to play the field, but it did occur to him, after Malcolm spoke, that there would be a decision on every single roll of the dice. "That’s the plan," he replied, "I’m going to win quick tonight!"
Malcolm sent the dice down for a snake eyes which resulted in David being paid $200 and there were now three black chips on the field. He wasn’t quite sure what to do with that and decided to pick up one of the black chips and let the $200 ride.
On the following roll, Malcolm made his point with an easy four and David now had four black chips sitting on the field. He left them out there as Malcolm rolled a seven-winner, which lost the $400 for David. David had still not put the black chip he had picked up after the win back in his rack, so he dutifully put it back down.
Malcolm rolled another seven-winner, and David found himself placing a $200 bet on the field. On the following roll, Malcolm established a point of six which called for David to put $400 on the field. David’s hand trembled as he removed thirty-three percent of his chips, and just a slightly smaller percentage of all the money he had to his name, from the rack and placed them on the field.
Malcolm rolled the dice with the first one hitting the wall and stopping short on a three, now there were only two numbers that the second die could result in that would be a winner on the field. The second die had hit the back wall and seemed to tumble back across the table for an infinite period of time, David nearly closed his eyes, and perhaps should have, as the face of a the second die showed a four, for a total of seven.
"Fuck!" David exclaimed, "That’s what we were looking for, right?"
David typically would have been admonished by the staff for his language, but given the heavy betting he had done in the last few days, they decided to let it slide. Malcolm took a hard look at David, a look so hard that David almost felt as though Malcolm were staring straight into his soul, "You sure you’re alright man?"
"I’m fine," David said, "That just looked like it was going to be a six before it tumbled over."
David then excused himself from the table and had his eight black chips covered as he went to the restroom to contemplate the situation. Splashing water in his face, he looked in the mirror and almost staggered back as the realization came to him that he had over three grand just recently and would be down to $120 plus what amounted to a rounding error in the bank if this next roll missed a field number. Once again, he thought about walking away, but then it occurred to him that he had been at the table for barely twenty minutes and that would kill his rating.
Shaking his head, he dried his face in his shirt and returned to the table to find that Nick DeMarco was still shooting. Momentarily forgetting how much he had lost on DeMarco’s shot just the previous month, David asked, "Do you have a field number in you?"
DeMarco confidently grinned, "I’m sure I could find at least one."
In reality, with all of the, ‘Practicing,’ that Nick DeMarco did as his rolling, he might be...and this is a very liberal estimate...one one-millionth of a percent more likely to hit a field number than someone who had never picked up a pair of dice before. Of course, neither that nor his lifetime results at the craps table were a deterrent to his confidence because every time he learned a, ‘New concept,’ in dice control he restarted his record. It was no coincidence that he often sought out and implemented these, ‘New concepts,’ when he was down such that he would have to admit he had no meaningful control over the dice.
Either way, David’s hand trembled such as he was setting up his eight black chips on the field that he knocked them over twice. After finally getting them situated the way he wanted them, and without spilling them all over the place, he eagerly awaited DeMarco’s throw. DeMarco set the dice in some sort of position he called, ‘Cross Boxcars,’ and sent them down the table…
David had closed his eyes as soon as he saw the dice leave Nick’s hand. He figured that he would just wait for the stickman to tell the story. With his eyes closed and his head down, he heard the stickman intone, "Twelve, Craps, Twelve, Twelve O’Clock Midnight, Double the Field!"
David looked down in awe as he saw his eight black chips transformed, within seconds, to twenty-four black chips. He wanted to walk around to the other side of the table and give Nick DeMarco a hug, but then decided that was probably inappropriate. Instead, he looked Nick in the eyes and said, "Thanks for that."
"All in a day’s work," Nick replied.
Malcolm Jones sighed, "He was no more or less likely to roll that than you would have been."
While David might have been inclined to agree with Malcolm, it didn’t change the fact that the amount of money he had on the table just tripled, "Either way, I’m glad it happened." Looking at the supervisor, he asked, "Can we get the boss over here, please?"
"No way," Nick began.
"Please tell me you’re not going to-," Malcolm began.
"It’s the next bet," David replied, "The next bet that I am supposed to make here is $800, after that, I will need to bet $1,600. I have to make the next bet that I am supposed to make."
"You should see if the $800 bet wins first," suggested Nick.
"Okay," David responded, "Fair enough, no need to get the minimum raised if I don’t end up making the bet."
With a newfound confidence in Nick’s shot, David dutifully left eight black chips on the table and awaited Nick’s throw. Nick set the dice in exactly the same fashion as he had before, moved his hand forward in the same exact way as he had before, released the dice from the exact same point as he had before...the dice even looked as though they were tumbling in the air at precisely the same trajectory…
"Seven-Out, Seven-Out, Line Away, Take the Field," the stickman called.
Nick shrugged, "It’s still gambling. I can’t be perfect all the time."
David laughed, "Back where I started," shaking his head, he finished, "This is sick."
"I’m pretty sure we’re all sick," Nick suggested.
"I’m not sick," Malcolm replied, "But you two definitely are."
Sammy spoke for the first time since David had joined the table, "I’m not sick either kids," he went on, "In fact, I haven’t even made a bet since he got here (tilting his head to David) this has been an interesting social experiment to witness firsthand."
The dice went through the couple and then to Sammy, all of whose rolls David ignored. He decided to switch tactics and made a $100 pass line bet when the dice came around to him, "Here we go," he announced and flung the dice.
"Twelve, Craps Twelve, Twelve Midnight, Take the Lines," the stick intoned.
"Damn, that would have been a good start," David said. He decided to continue shooting and placed a $200 pass line bet. He picked up the dice and, without really trying to accomplish anything in particular, set them so a three and a four were looking at him…
"Twelve, Craps, Twelve, Twelve Midnight, Take the Lines," the stick announced in exactly the same way.
"Fuck!" David continued, "That would be $600 on the next field bet!"
"That’s why I bet the same way every time," Sammy suggested, "That way, they are never any regrets about not betting the right thing at the right time."
David groaned, in the space of three bets he had went from a stack of $2,400 down to a stack of $1,300 with a $400 bet to come next. He dutifully put the four black chips on the pass line and tossed the dice softly in front of him a few times before flinging them down the table…
"Twelve, Craps, Twelve, Twelve Midnight, Take the Lines," intoned the stick who couldn’t help but cast a quick look at David.
David laughed deliriously, "Eighteen-Hundred! I would have Eighteen-Hundred sitting there and sixteen more in my rack! This is unbelievable!"
David’s maniacal laughter in response to the fact that he had rolled back-to-back-to-back midnights took the entire table by surprise. While they had become used to increasingly erratic behavior, the wild laughter of a person who seemed to be going delusional was way over the top and they were all equally afraid that even the slightest provocation would set him off.
For his part, David was about as composed as one could reasonably expect him to be, at least, after his fit of crazy laughter. He folded his arms and lowered his head to his rack for a few moments trying to summon the strength to make the next $800 bet. He wasn’t especially concerned about the prospect of having virtually zero money to his name, his main concern was the fact that the session would be over if he failed on this roll.
Feeling as though his head and neck weighed hundreds of pounds, he used his hands to push the rest of himself off of the rack and glanced, with blurred vision, across the felt. He wanted to give himself another chance if he were to roll a fourth consecutive twelve, but he knew how unlikely of a result that was, so he didn’t want to bet on it straight up. While it violated the tenets of his system, he placed seven black chips on the pass line and tossed one in bellowing, "Crap check."
"We’ve got a Crap check for $100," the stick responded.
As was customary for any large center action bet at The Golden Goose Casino, the craps supervisor confirmed both the bet and the amount, "That’s a crap check for a hundred, book it."
David sent the dice down the table and, as one of them settled on a six almost immediately, believed he was going to roll a highly improbable fourth consecutive twelve…
"Yo, ‘Leven, Front Line Winner," came the call from the stick as the other die turned over on a five.
David now had $1,400 in chips and had no idea what to do as abandoning his system confused him as to what the next bet should be. He reached into his wallet and pulled out his last remaining $100 bill, tossing it on the table, he said, "One more black chip."
"Change one-hundred," the supervisor called out, he made sure that the pit boss heard it so David’s buy-in would be properly increased in the computer.
The pit boss made her way over to the craps table, noticed David still had some number of other black chips, and shrugged. "Change one-hundred," she said.
David still couldn’t figure out exactly how to bet, in fact, he didn’t fully understand why he bought in for another $100. He was mainly confused because he won a bet and was still down, which really wasn’t supposed to happen when employing his system. For lack of any other ideas, he put $100 on the pass line as well as an additional bet on the field and sent the dice down…
"Six, mark it up, point is six," the stickman called.
David looked alarmed as his field bet was whisked away, but then realized he would be back up to $1,500 in the event he could nail a six before rolling a seven. That would be relevant, if not for the fact that he tossed a seven on his very next roll.
At that point, David was standing at the table with thirteen black chips in front of him growing increasingly confused as to what he should do. It seemed that every time he got ahead he was losing before the system would complete and start over anyway. He thought about making a huge bet of $1,300 on...he didn’t know...something...but then it occurred to him that such would end his time at the table. Without having any real plan, he placed two black chips on each the field and the pass line as Malcolm Jones picked up the dice.
"Eight," the stick bellowed, "Mark it up, point is eight."
David felt something catch in his throat as it occurred to him that he might not even enjoy another streak of a few wins before being sent packing. He fingered his nine remaining black chips and played sort of makeshift dominoes with them as he awaited Malcolm’s next roll. After a few inconsequential results, Malcolm finally repeated the eight bringing David back to $1,300.
At that point, the system would have normally called for him to bet $100 on the pass line (that would be a positive $100) as well as $200 on the field given the field had lost, but it occurred to David that he had effectively abandoned his system quite a few rolls prior. He was lost for any idea of what to do, so he simply put $100 on the pass line as well as $100 on the field.
Malcolm rolled a six followed by a nine and then a seven. David was down to $1,100 in chips.
The dice went to Nick DeMarco and a visibly frustrated David tried to figure out his next move. He could feel the sweat running down his forehead and the sides of his face and, as he wiped the sweat off of his brow, it bizarrely occurred to him that he could really stand to invest in some acne cream. It also occurred to him that, for one reason or another, a loss seemed all but inevitable even though he couldn’t quite understand why that would be the case. Almost outside of himself, watching, he put out $700 on the pass line and tossed in another black chip for a crap check.
The crap check confirmed by the supervisor, Nick DeMarco picked up the dice and sent them down the table for a come out crap three, which essentially left David exactly where he was before the roll happened. At that point, he gave some serious consideration to leaving the table, but instead, decided to make the same bet.
"Five, No-Field Five, Point is Five, Mark It Up," came the announcement from the stickman.
"Wonderful," David muttered. Not only had he lost the crap check bet, but five wasn’t exactly the likeliest of numbers to repeat. David looked down at his three remaining black chips and said, "Fuck it," setting them behind the seven blacks on the pass line for odds.
Nick DeMarco set the dice, for one reason or another, with each of the twos on top in a way that made it look like both of the dice were pointing at him. He lofted them up in the air which, while it looked pretty, effectuated, at best, very close to nothing. Each of the dice hit the back wall and kicked back just a little bit…
"One-Four, No-Field Five-" the stick began.
"Front-Line Winner!!!" David exclaimed.
The stickman turned to David and laughed, "That’s my job to say that."
David won $700 on his pass line bet bringing him up to $1400 there and he also got paid $450 on his odds bringing him up to $750 in back for a total of $2,150. He meaningfully contemplated calling it a night right then and there, but stepping back from the table to check his cell phone, noted that it was just after eleven o’clock.
He felt like he had been at the table forever, even though it hadn’t really been that long at all. Contemplating his mix of twenty-one back chips and two greens, he decided he would either substantially improve his stack or get back to his original buy-in (having already forgotten the extra hundred) of $1,600, and he placed five blacks and the two greens on the field. Nick sent the dice down the table in his usual loft…
"Seven, Winner Seven, Pay the Lines, Take the Field," the stickman bellowed.
David was experiencing serious cognitive dissonance at this point: while he wanted nothing more than to be able to stay and play all night, he was also confronted by the fact that his stack had been substantially jeopardized more often than it had been improved upon for the majority of the night. Scratching his chin, he contemplated his next move and eventually decided on $200 between the field and the pass line again for $100 each. DeMarco again prepared his lofting throw, but as he brought his arm up, one of his gaudy wrist chains flipped up in the air catching one of the dice which then caused the bone to drop right in front of him. The other die flew down the table and off of the back wall unmolested…
"No roll," said the supervisor, "Better let me take a look at that, too."
The stick slid the die that hit the bracelet to the supervisor followed by the die that had went down the table properly. The supervisor closed his left eye and held the molested die up to his right to inspect for any abrasions, satisfied that the die was not chipped or otherwise meaningfully scratched he set it down and said, "Send them out,"
Even with the pent-up frustration that David felt at the way this session was going, he was still chuckling to himself when DeMarco picked the dice up and sent them down the table, this time without his jewelry getting in the way.
"Ten, Hard-Ten," the stick dutifully announced, "Mark the ten, pay the field."
David found himself confused once again. The field bet had won bringing him up to $1,600 in chips once again, but he didn’t know whether or not to bet the field because the pass line bet had not been resolved, and obviously, he couldn’t just pick it up. Eventually deciding that discretion is the better part of valor, David picked his two black chips up from the field and nodded at DeMarco, who was respectfully awaiting David’s decision, to indicate that the former could roll.
"Seven-Out, Line Away!"
The session continued in a very similar fashion for a little over an hour. Occasionally abandoning the field plus pass line strategy, David would occasionally simply choose one or the other. While he found himself down to what would be his last, ‘Big bet,’ of $800 on two different occasions, he had won on both of those and marched dutifully on waiting for a quick succession of wins to improve his stack significantly.
David stepped back from the table again and checked his cell phone to find that it was quarter past midnight. It occurred to him that he was somewhat tired, yet he found it impossible to quit until something had been meaningfully resolved one way or another. He was back to sitting on sixteen black chips and had the dice in front of him. He had just made a pass line bet that lost on a come out crap, though he was up to $1700 at the time he made it.
"I’ve had enough of this," he declared.
The rest of the table waited patiently for David to take his chips out of the rack and ask for the stick to pass the dice to Malcolm, but that’s not what David had in mind at all. Instead, David contorted his features into a purposeful glare and placed eight black chips on the pass line and the remaining eight on the field.
David rolled a four, "YEEEESSSSSS!!!!" Not only had David won on the field bet, but he had also successfully established a point that, if made, would result in him doubling his chip stack to $3,200. David considered the situation and briefly mulled over the possibility of taking the $1,600 that was sitting on the field and moving it behind his line bet to put on odds. He changed his mind, though, and instead opted to simply put the sixteen black chips in his rack.
It was a good thing, too, because he sevened-out on the very next roll.
David looked at the two-five in stunned disbelief, even though he wouldn’t have necessarily rolled a seven had he made the odds bet, he still was dismayed at the fact that he came that close to losing everything he had given that he either stood to be even or up $800 depending on the result of the line bet. He snapped out of his reverie just in time to notice that the dice were being sent to Malcolm. Suddenly deciding to be more conservative, David made a bet of $100 on each the field and the pass line.
Malcolm launched the dice resulting in a come out roll of eight, which lost David’s field bet. Just three short rolls later, Malcolm sevened-out thereby costing David his line bet, as well. David wiped some sweat off of his face with the neck of his shirt with only minimal effect given that his entire shirt was essentially soaked through, and contemplated his next move. As the dice went over to Nick DeMarco, David made a pass line bet of $200 as well as a field bet of the same amount.
David gasped as Nick established a point of six which resulted in a loss of the field bet and a probable loss of his pass line bet. If both of those bets lost, David would be down to $1,000 in chips and would have to make yet another decision.
Fortunately for David, Nick would go on to make his point which resulted in David splitting the four black chips sitting on the pass line between that and the field. DeMarco picked up the dice and rolled another six. "Proven point," Nick confidently declared.
While the point may have been proven, there was still a 6/11 chance of a seven coming first which Nick and David both soon realized as one of those sevens came in the form of 1-6 on the very next roll. While Nick did not appear to be particularly perturbed by the development, David was stunned by the fact that he had now been reduced to ten black chips.
It’s funny, David thought, One minute I’m not at all concerned about how much money I am losing, but then the next moment, I’m paralyzed with fear at the very notion of making a bet.
David continued to consider the wide range of emotions that he experienced, at different times, given what was more or less the same stimuli and couldn’t make any sense of it. What he could make sense of was the fact that it was now just after half past midnight and he had ten black chips and a decision to make. The next bet that the system, if it could really be called that anymore, called for was $500 on each the field and the pass line. However, David had decided on an entirely different tactic altogether, for reasons not even known to him, he grabbed four black chips and said, "Cover the hard ways, one-hundred each."
The supervisor confirmed the bet and Sammy (David realized it was the first time he had even bet on Sammy’s throw) picked up the dice and sent them down the table establishing a point of five. Sammy then rolled an easy six which David opted to replace followed by a seven which brought David’s stack down to a mere $500.
David found himself disgusted with the whole thing at this point and, with flecks of spittle mixed with sweat popping off his lips asked nobody in particular, "How can a run like this happen?"
The other players found themselves confused by the inquiry because the sequence of events that led to David being reduced to $500 in chips was not particularly unlikely. Besides that, David had enjoyed quite a bit of time at the table without getting tapped given the way that he was betting. In fact, it occurred to Nick DeMarco in particular, it was somewhat amazing that David hadn’t run out of chips at any point yet or accomplished his win goal, whatever that was. It seemed as though, every time he was just about to get put away once and for all, he hit some sort of result that put him back in the game.
The dice came back to David who, without having any real plan, simply put a black chip on the pass line and sent them tumbling down the table. The first die came to rest on a three and the second, after first knocking over a stack of six reds that some new player had put out, came to rest on another three.
"Six, Hard-Way Six, Mark It Up," came the call.
"Jesus Christ," David muttered, shaking his head.
$400 to win what, David thought, momentarily forgetting how the odds worked, it’s five bucks to win six bucks, so a hundred bucks would win a hundred-twenty, so four hundred to win four-eighty I guess....The hell with it, let’s see what happens.
David set a $400 odds bet, his last four black chips, behind the $100 pass line bet and realized that a win would only bring him back up to $1,080 in chips. At that point, he considered throwing those chips on the hard way bets again and hoping to hit more than one of those, but ultimately, decided just to leave his four remaining black chips on the odds. He grabbed the dice and turned them end over end until eventually the twos were looking up at him, the same way he had seen Nick DeMarco set the dice on a point of four, he even tried to loft them the same way that DeMarco did, but one of them flew over the table grazing Malcolm’s chip stack.
"Same dice," David called out, even though he knew the dice didn’t really matter.
It occurred to David that he could pick his odds bet up and then, at least, he could leave the table with something. Even though he couldn’t really understand what was causing it, he had a foreboding feeling about the next roll. There was absolutely no reason for him to have such a feeling, and David, logically, just chalked the feeling up to the fact that, once again, this was it if he rolled a seven. He again set the dice the way he had on the previous roll and lobbed them…
David quickly returned the dice to the set he had been using, he wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible….
Again, David returned the dice to the set which had the twos looking up at him and lobbed them down the table…
Twelve, Crap Twelve….
Again, the dice were returned to David, and again, David set them. Amazingly, David went on an absolute tear the likes of which is the wet dream of place bettors who like to, ‘Cover them all,’ and then press their bets. David went on an absolute tear rolling twenty-five more times, which included a number of points, but with no sign of a six or a seven. During the first few of these rolls, David briefly considered picking up his odds bet, or alternatively, breaking the bet up and putting the four black chips on something else. After the first five or six rolls, however, David proceeded just to set the dice and fire mechanically as they came to him.
In that set of twenty-eight rolls after establishing the point of six, David had managed to hit a few hard ways, but he barely noticed. Besides that, it could have been relevant exactly what hard ways he would have decided to bet and when as a few of them had been preceded by easy way results. For instance, David had rolled three 6-4’s prior to hitting a hard ten of 5-5.
David set the dice again and paused as the ramifications of rolling Big Red occurred to him. He lofted the dice down the table and, once again, one of them flew overboard and he called out for the same dice.
David appraised the craps supervisor as the latter examined the die that flew off the table, "As it stands, is this one of the longest rolls you have ever seen?"
The supervisor chuckled, "Hell no," he responded, "I’d love to flatter you, but the longest hand I have personally seen is eighty-something rolls. If it makes you feel better, this might be the longest hand that I have seen tonight, but I’m not even really sure about that. I’ll say that it definitely will be the longest tonight if you make it up to forty. Where are you now?"
David admitted, "I don’t know."
"Twenty-Nine," Nick DeMarco answered in a seemingly automatic way, "This one is going to be thirty. The longest roll that I have seen today, and remember that I played a bit this morning, was thirty-six. If you hit forty, there’s a pretty good chance that will be the longest today. Right now, you really should just worry about rolling a six."
David had received the dice and was, once again, nervously turning them end over end in his right hand. He contemplated the possibility of rolling a six and stared at the dice almost as though he could will that result. He then remembered that DeMarco never set the dice with the twos looking at him when the point was six, he set them with the threes looking at him and with a, ‘V,’ essentially pointing back at him. Though it took him a second, he fiddled with the dice until they were set in that fashion and sent them down the table.
While usually unimpressed with the way rolls progressed, Malcolm almost couldn’t help but make some place and buy bets given David’s uncharacteristically long hand. As the dice hit the pyramids and rolled back, one of them landed touching Malcolm’s buy bet on the ten and was completely obscured from David, the other die had landed on the desired three.
With bated breath, David looked up at the dealer who had not yet quite realized that the stick couldn’t really see the die from his angle, either.
The dealer glanced around the table and said, "It’s a four."
David breathed a sigh of relief under the initial impression that the dealer meant that the result of the roll was a total of four, he was going to get another chance. The stickman then said, almost as quietly as possible while still being heard, "Seven-Out, Line-Away, Take the Places and Buys."
David almost ran around to the other side of the table just as the stick was getting ready to pull the die from behind the chip stack that had obscured it from his view earlier, David demanded, "Don’t touch that!"
Sure enough, David went around the table and saw that the dealer had not called it wrong, the second die was showing a four for a total of seven. David despondently pulled out his wallet planning to do...something...with the other hundred dollars when it finally occurred to him that he had converted that to a black chip earlier and had only a twenty dollar bill looking at him.
The remaining players at the table with a combination of pity for David, they kind of sensed that a loss there would have been it for him, and fear for what the inevitable blow-up might be like. There was a good chance, a few of them reasoned, that David’s response to this stimuli would get him banned from the casino forever.
Surprisingly, David just glanced around the table at the other players and then muttered, "Not today, I guess, have a good night, everyone."
Initially, David was first faced with an urge to vomit, and he went to the nearest stall in the nearest restroom, completely disregarding the mess that was in there, (which would be enough, on its own, to make most people vomit) but as he retched, surprisingly, nothing made its way up. It then occurred to David that he was hungry, so he went to the nearest kiosk to check his comp dollars and was surprised to find that he had $110 in comps.
As the night before, he went to the food court and expended $10 of that on a burger and fries, though as he was eating, it occurred to him that those were general comp dollars that could also be converted into free play. While he knew that $100 didn’t give him much of a chance of accomplishing whatever it was he planned to accomplish, it did give him a chance.
David first contemplated the idea of finding a slot machine upon which he could bet the entire $100 all at once hoping to get extremely lucky. Given the situation that he was in, that actually would not have altogether been the worst possible decision, but instead he downloaded the $100 in comp dollars on Winning Wolf and went back to betting $1.00/spin.
David played up and down for a while and contemplated just taking his money and leaving at various points, particularly when he found himself up to $200 on the machine and could have conceivably done something at craps. Eventually and inevitably, though, David continued to play until all of the comp dollars he had downloaded to the machine had been reduced to $0.80. Even though as little as $0.01./spin could be bet on the machine, David disgustedly cashed out his $0.80 ticket and promptly tore it to shreds.
He was about to head up to his room when he realized that he had that $20 in his wallet. If I am going to lose, he reasoned, I might as well lose everything. Of course, such a thought is patently bizarre for anyone, but not necessarily entirely unheard of for those with a gambling problem. With that, David made his way over to Three-Card Poker and changed his $20 to four red chips. The buy-in was so small, in fact, that while the dealer dutifully said, "Changing twenty," it probably wasn’t even loud enough for the pit boss to hear her and the statement was not even acknowledged. The dealer shrugged and passed the four red chips to David, who stacked them on the, ‘Pair Plus,’ bet.
The dealer, who generally preferred to avoid confrontation frowned, "Sir, I’m sorry, but I don’t think that you can do that, here."
David was perplexed, "Do what? Bet?"
"I don’t think that you can make a pair plus bet without first making a play bet," the dealer responded, waving at the pit boss, "Rhonda, can I see you for a minute?"
The only other gentleman at the table, a man in perhaps his sixties smoking a reasonably aromatic cigar looked over at David, "I’m not playing it, anyway," turning to the dealer he said, "If that’s what he wants to do, just let him put it on my hand. No need to get the boss involved over what might just be one hand."
The dealer agreed with him, but she technically couldn’t advise David to place his bet on the older gentleman’s hand. Technically, if the older gentleman decided to keep the winnings, or even worse, the winnings and David’s original bet, there was absolutely nothing that she or anyone else could do about it. She had seen the older gentleman around before, however, and seriously doubted that he would steal any of David’s money.
The dealer looked behind her and to the left, Rhonda was still at her station and it was apparent that she hadn’t heard the dealer summon her. Returning her gaze to David, she said, "It’s up to you. I can’t make a suggestion in this situation, but you are allowed to do that."
David contemplated it for a moment, and as he was mentally going back and forth on the issue it occurred to him that he was being extremely inconsiderate by holding up the old man’s hand, he eventually passed the chips to the gentleman and said, "Go ahead, thank you."
The gentleman placed the four red chips on the Pair Plus and, looking at David said, "Hell, this will be more fun if we share the same fate." With that, he took four of his own red chips and also put them on the Pair Plus. He winked at David and said, "Come over here, we’ll look at them one at a time."
The gentleman slowly turned up a corner of the first card revealing a six of clubs, David groaned inwardly, despite the fact that such a card literally did not adversely impact him in any way whatsoever. The gentleman slid that card to the side and slowly revealed a five of clubs. This could get interesting, the gentleman thought, though he didn’t say anything. Sliding that card under the six in a deft motion, the gentleman centered the final card in front of David and slowly revealed…
A jack of diamonds.
David shrugged and smiled as the old man said, "At least we made it look good."
"We did that," David agreed, in another uncharacteristic display of gratitude, especially in light of the result, David concluded, "Thanks for putting that up for me."
David wandered off to his room and, as he waited for the elevator, he felt tears forming in his eyes. A straight flush, which was a 1:25 proposition given the first two cards, would have brought him up to a total of $820 and he definitely would have returned to the craps table (Nick, Sammy and Malcolm were still playing) and tried to do something. He wiped his eyes with his sleeve reasoning to himself that it was probably just more sweat, then he decided to check his comp dollars at the kiosk.
Despite the somewhat lengthy slot session (at least, as it seemed to him) he had after converting his remaining comp dollars to free play, he had earned just under an additional single comp dollar, not even enough to download. He then went to the other screen to see if he had any dining credits specifically, but that was also a negative. He really wasn’t even sure why he cared about any dining credits, he had just had something to eat not that long ago.
He returned to his room and found himself annoyed by the fact that the bed had not been made, just as he was about to call down and rip the desk clerk apart as a result, even though the desk clerk had nothing to do with it at all, it occurred to him that he had left his, ‘Do Not Disturb,’ sign out ever since he had checked in. Not knowing what else to do, David decided to take yet another shower.
Emerging from the shower, David knew that he wouldn’t be able to sleep, at least not right away, and truly wished he could force himself to vomit. Despite a few attempts, even one in which he stuck a finger down his throat and gagged, nothing was coming up. His stomach, however, still felt as though he had a bowling ball sitting in it while his head, on the other hand, felt as though it was floating just a few inches off of his shoulders.
What bothered him more than anything was not the fact that he had virtually nothing to his name, but rather, the fact that he would have to wait a few weeks before he could make another meaningful attempt at trying to win a substantial amount of money. Furthermore, he remembered what Nate had said to him just a few days ago and realized that it would not be to his advantage to come in and play off his free play until he had enough money to make a meaningful session out of it.
With that, he turned on the television, but he couldn’t find anything that served as a distraction from the thoughts, many of them illogical, that were flooding his brain. He considered a number of possibilities, including taking his entire next paycheck, putting it on a hard way, and hoping for the best. He wanted nothing more than to get back to the point where he had at least $1,600 so that he could give his system another go.
The problem, he reasoned, was that I got careless and abandoned the system. While the system didn’t win, it didn’t really lose, either. I should have come in here today and immediately made the sixteen hundred dollar bet that I was supposed to make, and I didn’t do it. If I had played with the appropriate amount of discipline, I’d probably be a few thousand dollars ahead right now.
It also occurred to David that the first bet he had made at the craps table that day was a field winner, which meant that he would have been up to $3,200 had he continued with his system. Furthermore, while he realized that would not have technically been a continuation of his system given that he had been betting the pass line the previous night, it also occurred to him that Malcolm had won on the first point that he had established.
Either way, David concluded, I would have doubled my money.
What would have been apparent to anyone with a meaningful understanding of gambling, and arguably, anyone who wasn’t in denial, is the fact that Malcolm would not have necessarily rolled with the same results in the event that David had continued his system. Furthermore, had David made a pass line bet, he probably would have decided to roll the dice himself which would mean that Malcolm’s roll, even if it had been the same (a nonsensical assumption) wouldn’t have occurred until after David’s roll resulted in him either doubling his money or being done for the night.
David was in a state of denial, however, and was trying to come up with every possible sequence of events that could have meaningfully changed the final result, that being that he was flat-ass broke. He struggled to remember all of the sequences of rolls that had occurred during his time at the table, in fact, there is almost nobody on the planet that could remember the specific sequence of so many rolls without writing them down, and eventually began to fill in the blanks, subconsciously, with results that would have resulted in him achieving his goal had he just stuck to his system.
"I was so stupid," David suggested to nobody in particular, "If I had just stayed disciplined, I would be sitting on well over ten grand right now."
David recalled once reading on the WizardofVegas Forums something to the effect of the only thing that ever matters is the expectation of a bet. Therefore, a player loses at craps (and at any other game) every time the player makes a bet, regardless of the actual result. That poster went on to say that, eventually, every single player at every single negative expectation game was eventually guaranteed to lose. It would take some players longer than others to experience the inevitable loss, but given enough attempts, there was no question that they would experience it.
There’s no way to win at craps, the poster concluded, the only thing that a player could ever hope to is break even, and the only way to do that, at least by expectation, is not to play.
David glanced at the clock on the nightstand which read 6:15, while his loss was certainly staggering, he also found himself dismayed by the fact that he had stayed up so late. It occurred to him that, fewer than seven hours from then, he had to be at work. He also vaguely remembered his rush job the previous Tuesday on the veggie tray as well as cleaning the slicer, "Allison might have forgotten about it, though," he muttered to himself, "It was three days ago."
I’ve really got to hurry up and get to sleep, David thought. Of course, putting pressure on himself to fall asleep did absolutely nothing to help his cause, and his mind kept returning to all of the possible scenarios, that he believed had actually occurred (with only one or two exceptions, they largely hadn’t) that would have resulted in him hitting his win goal had he stuck to the system.
David apparently didn’t work well under pressure, and by the fourth or fifth time that he glanced over at the nightstand, the alarm clock read 8:02. At this point, given that he would have an hour and a half walk to work, David started to wonder if he wouldn’t be better off just to stay awake all night. Not knowing what else to do, he switched the television to the news.
The news went from community announcements to the weather report, David was disgusted, though not surprised, to find that it was supposed to pour down rain for the majority of the day, in fact, a flood watch was already being declared for those who lived near a creek anywhere in the viewing area. The flood watch, apparently, was to be in effect from 11:00.a.m. to 7:00p.m.
Even though he would have nothing to do for several hours, it occurred to David that he might do well to just leave The Golden Goose right away and hang out in the breakroom at work while he waited for his shift to start. He at least wouldn’t get rained on that way.
David had just decided to hop in the shower when the phone rang…
Go back to chapter 6.
To be continued in chapter 8.
About the Author
Mission146 is a proud husband and father of two. He generally fell quite a bit short of the expectations most people had for him, though happily so. Mission146 is currently a salary-slave in Ohio who enjoys documentaries, Philosophy and gambling discussion. Mission146 will write for money, and if you wish for him to do so, create an account on WizardofVegas.com and send him a Private Message with your request.
Written by: Brandon James