Stan's Tuesday Walks

A Weekly Feature
by Stan Evans,
President, Santa Fe Always Online


September 4 , 2001

Waking this morning at 4 a.m., I knew something was wrong as soon as my feet hit the floor. "Where in the heck am I?" I wondered, then remembered that my wife and I had gone to Las Vegas, Nevada. Tuesday was my last day there, but it takes me a while to get used to new surroundings. The time was 5 a.m. in Santa Fe, and I was right on schedule.

I had been invited to a craps tournament, and since Linda and I hadn't been to the gambling capital of the world for a long time, we decided to go.

We left Santa Fe the previous Sunday evening and arrived at the famous Flamingo Hotel about 6:30 local time. The Flamingo Hotel, you might remember, is the hotel that the infamous Mafioso Bugsy Seigel built. I hadn't been in the hotel for quite a while and had forgotten how beautiful the landscaping in the interior courtyard is.

Even though the hotels that have been built in Las Vegas the last few years are unbelievably gorgeous, I'm still partial to the old ones. For years, my favorite hotel was the Desert Inn. It represented what Vegas was all about. Now it is being dismantled. Its country-club style, where people dressed for dinner in the evening, had become outdated, so the Desert Inn is being replaced by a much bigger casino, a huge cathedral dedicated to the gambling gods.

After we checked into our room, I went downstairs to register for the Monday and Tuesday craps tournament. At one time I had fancied myself a good craps player, and every once in a while I need a reminder of how wrong I was. At the registration desk they gave me a name tag, which also listed the two times I was scheduled to play and which table and position on the table. They also gave me a copy of the tournament rules.

The rules stated that the play period would be 40 minutes, plus seven rolls of the dice after that. Since all players have their own unique system, which in the long run doesn't work, I figured that my style, although contrary to most, had as good a chance as any to win the tournament.

Linda and I got up fairly early on Monday, in order to play some tennis before the extreme heat of the day arrived. The temperature in Vegas was hitting a high of 100-plus. An hour and a half of tennis, even in the morning heat, takes care of any residue in my body from the night before.

I was scheduled to play craps at 11 a.m., so after tennis we had breakfast and went to our room for a shower. By 10:45 I was at the appropriate tournament crap table, ready to take on my opponents. Without trying to teach you how to play craps in this article, suffice it to say that one of the many ways to bet is for or against the dice shooter making the point. Making the point means that the person rolling the dice will roll the same number a second time before rolling a 7, providing that the number rolled the first time is 4,5,6,8,9 or 10. If the shooter rolls any other number the first time, he wins or lose accordingly—that is, on 2,3 and 12 he loses, and on 7 or 11 he wins. As long as the shooter wins he (or she) gets to keep the dice. When the shooter loses, the dice pass to the next player to the left.

Anyway, I usually go against the dice, meaning that I bet that the shooter will not make the point. If you bet for or against the shooter and win, you are paid an equal amount to what you bet.

Each player was given $5,000 in play-money chips that had no monetary value except for the tournament. There were 12 players assigned to each table. On the first attempt to make the point by the first shooter, all the players at my table—except me—bet that the shooter would make the point. Well, he didn’t, so I broke out ahead of everybody else. The following two shooters did not make their point either, and I continued to get further ahead of my opponents.

As the 40-minute time limit approached, I was well ahead. When the timekeeper informed us that there were only seven rolls of the dice left to go, I was feeling pretty good—and that's when all hell broke loose. Since my opponents could see that I was far ahead, and since we were only using play money, they began to make high-risk bets that paid many more times what they bet. Well of the 11 opponents, some won their gambles. To top it off, the shooters started to make their points. The combination of the two soon led to my demise, and I ended being third. In this tournament, third had no rewards.

I went back to our room and told my wife the results. Then, with a plan for the second day tournament firmly entrenched in my mind, off we went to enjoy the rest of Vegas.

Well, there I was Tuesday morning at 4 a.m., thinking about my method of attack on the crap table and at the same time limbering up for tennis. I finally went downstairs to practice my craps method with real money. I don't think I'll tell you the results, but I think you can guess!

Linda finally came down and rescued me from myself. She took me to the tennis courts, where she continued to punish me. Then we went to breakfast, and as we were waiting to order, my wife asked me what time I was supposed to play. I told her my assigned time was 12 noon. We ate a leisurely breakfast and ambled up to our room like a couple of tired tennis players. When we got there, it was 11:15. I picked up the name tag just to double-check what time my game was scheduled—and was shocked to see that it said 11 a.m. I ran downstairs to my assigned crap table, only to discover that I was too late to play.

Sadly I returned to the room, convinced that had I gotten to play, I probably would have won! I wonder if that’s what they call a gambler's illusion.

Have a good day.

Stan

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