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Jumbotron Ron

Jumbotron's Classics. Part 1

15 May 2011

I like to tell my friends that I am the best Monday morning quarterback in the business. I truly believe in the analytical process. No matter how bad or well you played a particular session, there are always positives and always room for improvement. The minute you consider yourself an expert, you are fooling yourself.

We are constantly learning, advancing, and progressing as players -- or at least we should be. I have come a long way in my 15-year career as an Atlantic City craps player. I have had some unbelievable nights, amazing rolls, missed opportunities, and some pure nightmare trips. In short, I will describe my career as the great, the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.

Before hooking up and learning from the elder statesman of Golden Touch Craps and being schooled in the laws of math, I experimented with many betting styles from regression, progression, Pass and Place bets, Come bets, Don't Pass, Don't Come bets, and Proposition bets. I did not become the player I am today overnight.

In this series I want to talk about some of my more memorable nights, from my earlier days as a novice up to my present days as a player with an edge.

Let's go back to Atlantic City, New Jersey, October 1996. I was 19 years old and still living at home (although not for long). I had $1000 in my pocket, no bills and no rent which translated into no fear. Later on, in the middle of the next decade, as I played to supplement my income and six mouths as a professional paying my bills and supporting my family, I would often daydream about the days when I played with truly no worries or fears.

Atlantic City, circa 1996: The New York Yankees had just won The World Series snapping an 18-year drought. I was 100 pounds slimmer than I am now and I was having a son with my first taste of true love. Atlantic City was business as usual to me. I had an uncle who was a BJ dealer in Bally's and my grandfather was an avid craps player. I spent many days in the 80s roaming the Atlantic City Boardwalk. My grandfather always told me to stay in the arcade, but I never listened.

Three games were introduced in 1996, mini-craps, mini-dice and Three-Card Poker. Mini-craps seemed like it would have had its advantages. It's craps played on a small table with one dealer. I believe mini-dice was similar to, if not the same game as, the Las Vegas game chuck-a-luck. Three-Card Poker is still around, but I don't ever remember seeing a mini-craps or mini-dice table. Sic-bo is the only three-die game I remember. Around this time the word was people were betting big money at the tables at The Taj Mahal. I liked the hustle and bustle of the center of the boardwalk.

Three friends and I left Linden, New Jersey, after our 3-to-12 shifts at about one o'clock and proceeded 100 miles south on the Garden State Parkway in my '91 Honda civic. In 2011, two of those friends had some serious time on their hands and my other friend grew to be 6'2 330 and is known in some circles as The King of The Hilton. He was also dubbed Black Elvis during a month-long bludgeoning of a certain AC property.

When we left the block we called home, I had full confidence in my random rolling abilities and I knew the rules to the basic game. A guy from the neighborhood named Rob G. gave me some bad advice that turned out to be good advice. He said, "Bet the field, there are a lot of different ways to win on the field." The field is actually a bad bet with a house edge of 5.56 percent unless the casino pays triple on the 12. That lowers the house edge to 2.78.

When I bought in for $500 at the now demolished Sands, I quickly found out I was in over my head. Although I knew the basic street game, the dealers were speaking a foreign language. There were so many different bets on the layout I didn't know where to start.

Then I saw it, "field" as big as day, "2, 3 4 9 10 11, 12" and it pays double on the 2 and 12. It seemed like a lot of ways to win. In reality, there are 20 ways to lose and only 16 ways to win. I quickly lost three blacks ($100 chips) and as I was about to make another bet I was tapped by security. My two friends had been not allowed entry due to not having identification. We all had ID but we were all underage.

I remember Damien was dressed in all red and I remember telling him that to go unnoticed by security he couldn't have picked a more ridiculous wardrobe. My friends wanted the keys to the car and now security was asking me for ID. I couldn't show my ID due to my age so now we were all kicked out. I couldn't go out like that.

I gave them the keys and I snuck through another entrance right back to the same table I was at. I made four bets with black chips and won them all. I cashed out ahead $100 and I walked right by the security guard that had just kicked me out. Boy, was I young, dumb, and full of...anyway. That was a stupid move I thankfully didn't get arrested for.

I walked through the casino next door on the way to the car when I spotted my missing friend Bishop at the craps table. As I was walking by I stopped and threw a Big Face "Benji" on the table and asked for one black on the field. The stickman called it, "Ten on the end, pay the field." I picked up my chips and started to walk to the car when I saw Bishop smile as the dealer said, "That's a fast way to make a hundred bucks." The fact that we both remember the dealer saying that 15 years later tells me that this game has been a lot more than just wins and losses. Some of these memories define who we are.

I talked to the fellas in the car about how they were only kicked out of one place and why they were sitting in the car. It seemed like too long a drive and too fun a place to sit in the car after getting kicked out of only a single place. After about 20 minutes I went back into battle up $200 and with a very bad game plan.

Battle is what I did. I played even for 3 hours betting the field on every roll for $25 (on most days this strategy will usually guarantee that you go home broke). Then it happened. A heavy-set middle-aged gentlemen at the end of the table started to roll nothing but field numbers at about 6:30AM after a very long night.

After about 10 wins in a row I started to grab handfuls of chips and put them on the field. At one point I was scooping up over 100 nickels. Behind me a argument broke out between a very intoxicated middle-aged gentleman and one of the dealers. The intoxicated man was very belligerent, screaming and cursing that he wanted his money back. As I was distracted by the fracas, the box man asked me if I wanted bigger chips. He wouldn't have had a hard time figuring out I was a rookie. I said, "Yeah," and the box man said, "Put all your chips in front of you on the table."

I thought they would give me bigger chips right then and there but I was surprised to see the shooter roll again and none of the dealers made a move toward my chips. The stick called out centerfield nine and passed the dice back to the shooter without looking in my direction. I was very much distracted by what had now turned into a fight behind me and resulted in the intoxicated man being tackled and escorted out of the door by security.

I stood at the table in a daze with stacks of red chips in front of me on the table while the shooter continued to roll field number after field number after field number. He must have rolled the dice 40 times while I sat there looking stupid. Out of those 40, about 35 were field numbers with an abundance of snake eyes and box cars.

Before the box asked me if I wanted bigger chips I had taken a shot and went from betting $25 chips to putting handfuls of 50 to 100 nickels in the Field box. I started with a $500 buy in hours ago and I was now cashing in for a few thousand. By my estimates based on the fearless way I had started betting, that box man saved the casino about three stacks of High Society by putting my chips to the side and tricking me into not betting. I had no plans of cashing out over $9,000 so there was a good chance that eventually, after a few trips back and forth, I would have made it home with the money.

After all the books I've read, classes I've taken, experience I've gained and conversations I've had with some of the best players in the country, it is amazing to look back at the memories and see how far I've come. I never fell for, "Sir, do you want bigger chips" again. I can't believe I fell for that.

Through the years I would learn a whole lot of hard lessons and I'm still learning them. It never stops and I'm still nowhere as good as I should be. This was the night that started it all off. What a memorable night it was, but there would be plenty more to come. The money was great and the money always makes it more fun. One thing I will say, the money from that night has been gone for years but the memories are still vivid and will never be forgotten.

Gambling has ruined lives and families but it has enhanced mine. I thank God for all the lessons I've learned because without them I would not be the man I am today.

In 2011, my advice to anyone who wants to be an advantage player is to play with an edge, make good bets and stay within your bankroll that is dedicated to gambling. Successful players have self control and they are guided by math not by emotions. The next time during a hot roll if any member of the crew ask if you want bigger chips, you tell 'em, "Jumbotron Ron says no."

Jumbotron Ron
Known as Jumbotron Ron on the East and Nevada Ron on the West, he is a advantage dice controller who spends much of his time in the casinos playing with his team The Hitmen and various advantage players from Golden Touch Craps. Known for legendary rolls on both coast he has also been dubbed "Mr. Lucky" and the "Mayor" of the boardwalk by various casino personnel.
Jumbotron Ron
Known as Jumbotron Ron on the East and Nevada Ron on the West, he is a advantage dice controller who spends much of his time in the casinos playing with his team The Hitmen and various advantage players from Golden Touch Craps. Known for legendary rolls on both coast he has also been dubbed "Mr. Lucky" and the "Mayor" of the boardwalk by various casino personnel.