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# Mark Pilarski Gaming Guru

### Deal Me In: Did a crappy thing happen at the craps table?

26 August 2016

By Mark Pilarski
Dear Mark: I will try to keep this as short as possible. Where I play, the craps table offers what is called a "fire" bet. If you make all the point numbers (4-5-6-8-9-10) in any order before 7 rolls, you are paid 1,000 to 1. I made the 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10, and then low and behold, the 9 rolled, which should have paid me \$5,000 since I had \$5 on the fire bet. However, the pit boss yelled out “No roll” and the shooter proceeded to roll a 7 three rolls later. My question is, was I screwed by the pit boss out of \$5,000? While you are at it, should I be making the bet in the first place? I have been playing the fire bet for a few years now, and this was the closest I have ever come to hitting all six numbers. John K.

I will begin, John, with the game, followed by the math, and then that “no roll” call.

Some casinos offer what’s called a "fire bet," that pays if the shooter makes “at least” 4 different points (4, 5, 6, 8, 9,10) before the seven rolls.

The bet is typically offered at \$1 to \$5, and the bettor is betting that a hot shooter will make multiple valued points. For the points to count towards the fire bet, they must all be different. For example, if a player were to make a point of 4 twice, only one of those rolls would only be credited for a point on the fire bet, not two.

For the first three points hit, there are no payoffs. However, increasing odds are paid for the fourth, fifth and sixth points; 25-to-1 odds are paid for the fourth point, which would be \$125 a \$5 bet; the fifth point pays at 250-to-1 odds, which is \$1,250 for a \$5 bet; and the sixth point pays 1,000-to-1 odds or \$5,000 in your case. It is important to note here that you won something on that \$5 wager: \$1,250.

As for to your inquiry about the worthiness of this wager, John, consider this. There is a reason why, as you stated: “this is the closest I’ve come to hitting all six numbers.” The fire bet is the worst bet you can make on a craps game. It has a huge house edge of 24.7%.

Concerning your question about being screwed, I doubt you were unless, of course, your legitimate win of \$1,250 for hitting five numbers was not honored.

When the boxman supervising a craps game invalidates a roll, he or she will call “no roll” or “no dice.” Usually, this happens when one or both of the dice fail to cover much distance, they bounce off the game, a player tries to slide them, or the dice do not land flat. More than likely one of those possibilities happened on that fateful roll.

I can tell you first hand, John, that in a fast-paced game like craps, a boxman needs to make split-second decisions that won’t always be favorable to you.

True, John, I wasn’t there boxing the game. So I can only presume that the boxman either thought it wasn’t a legal toss, or one of the dice after landing was tilted at such an angle that he or she couldn’t clearly distinguish it as that 9 that you were eager for.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “His hands become nervous when he picks up their cards, exactly as if he were holding live birds instead of inanimate pieces of cardboard.” - Maxim Gorky (1868-1936), describing Leo Tolstoy at cards

### Deal Me In: The best bet without using brain power

19 August 2016
Dear Mark: When it comes to making the best bet in a casino, your advice has been playing perfect strategy at either blackjack or video poker. Here’s my issue with that: I am not interested in learning a new skill in any game that I will probably play once a month, for only four hours at best. But I also don’t want to make stupid bets that have a high house edge. ... (read more)

### Deal Me In: One coin is fine on a multicoin/multiline

12 August 2016
Dear Mark: On a multi-line/multi-coin video slot machine, how many coins do you recommend per line? Also, on a slot machine where you can push a button to stop the reels when I do decide to stop them, does it make any difference as to my chances of winning? Susan L. On multi-line/multi-coin slots, I would recommend playing one coin per line. ... (read more)

### Deal Me In: Fast play can make your day

5 August 2016
Dear Mark: Over the years I have been playing slots less and less. Now I just play in an occasional slot tournament that our local casino offers. I do find these enjoyable. Do you have any suggestions on how I can improve my chances of winning in these tournaments? Mary L. A good number of casinos offer slot tournaments for their patrons. ... (read more)
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### Deal Me In: What in the world is going on with craps tables in California?

Dear Mark: So I go to the craps table at Spa Resort Casino in Palm Springs, as it is my favorite casino endeavor. I place \$20 on the pass line. Being the only player, I am presented the dice, pick out a pair, and send them down the road. To my delight, I see a 6 and a 1. Now, that's a great start! As I look forward to the \$20 coming back, the stickman announces my point is 5. ... (read more)

Dear Mark: I have asked around, but nobody can give me a direct answer. If you get a taxable jackpot, will an expired driver's license be sufficient as an ID? Mary P.Whenever someone wins \$1,200 or more, an ID is required for tax purposes because Uncle Sam claims a piece of the action. Thus, casinos today require proper identification (e.g. ... (read more)

### Deal Me In: Just a token of your appreciation

Dear Mark: In yesterday's Detroit Free Press (10/1/15), there was a question about tipping. My question is also about tipping but more specifically as it pertains to a casino if you are lucky enough to win something big. A few weeks ago, my husband and I were vacationing in Deadwood, S.D., and I was one of the lucky ones who won at slots. ... (read more)

### Deal Me In: Gamblers are shunning tightfisted slots

Dear Mark: In your column “I’ve Been Everywhere,” you wrote about all the casino destinations that you have visited over the years. Did you find in your travels that slot machines look and play the same from state to state? Ken K.Slot machines, Ken, are comparable from casino to casino, state to state. ... (read more)

### Deal Me In: Where's my refill?

Dear Mark: I just wanted to share a story about your column regarding tipping. We were not at a casino, but my mom and I occasionally go to dinner or lunch. She always offers to pay, and I say I'll get it, so she says "I'll leave the tip." Probably the third time we went out we stood up to leave, and I looked down to see a quarter. ... (read more)
Mark Pilarski
As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.
Mark Pilarski
As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.