R. Paul Wilson On: How To Be Your Own Casino (1/3)
This is part one of three from our series on games where the odds are in the hustler’s favour.
I spend a lot of time explaining how to narrow and occasionally beat the mathematical edge in certain casino games and in turn, I read and discuss these matters with expert players who put these methods into practice with various levels of success.
Concealed computers and complex mental gymnastics can offer individuals or teams of players a better return for money they play but it’s a lot of work and can require a particular mindset to commit the effort required to beat the house.
So let’s take a different approach and put ourselves into the house’s position of playing with an edge against anyone curious (or stupid) enough to accept a seemingly simple proposition.
Games With An Unfair Advantage
Proposition bets often have a trick to them that is revealed when enough money is bet against us but with clip games, there is a concealed advantage that is only apparent to players who can calculate the true odds against them.
Whether you read these games as curious examples of skewed chances or as an opportunity to fleece your friends or fellow players in the future, I guarantee there’s plenty to learn from understanding how to play with an unfair advantage!
Carry a few dice in your pocket and you’ll find no end of gamblers interested in playing a seemingly fair game, but you need to make sure the rules are clear and any apparent advantage to you is hidden or far from obvious.
So the approach – like all good con games – has to be as subtle as possible without going unnoticed and not so strong you wake up their suspicions!
Dice Hustle #1 – Six And Four Before
With two dice, make the following proposition:
In any round, I bet you will roll a six AND eight BEFORE you roll TWO sevens.
Now think about that.
A seven is the most common number rolled with two legitimate dice so the chances of rolling a six and an eight before two sevens seems to be weighted entirely in the favour of the player (remember: you are the house) so you’re going to get a lot of takers if they can figure the odds of rolling a six and an eight compared to the odds of rolling a seven.
They should figure like this:
There are five ways to roll a six, and five ways to roll an eight.
There are six ways to roll a seven.
Therefore, it should be easier to roll two sevens than to roll a six and an eight in any round of play.
In fact, the odds against them are almost two to one against but the false logic that most people fall into will set them up for a (minor) financial fall.
Be prepared to play several rounds and if you happen to lose the first one, be prepared to play even more than if they lose the first roll.
That first win is a powerful convincer and some dice mechanics have been known to fix the first roll on bets like this to drive the hook even deeper into their mark!
Dice Hustle #2 – Add Up To Seven
For this you will need four identical dice.
With three dice, there’s a devilish little swindle that can play entirely in your favour but be warned it’s limited, as the secret can easily be recognized.
The first couple of rounds require some careful management (and explanation) on your part.
Stick a die inside a coffee mug with a little blu-tack or similar product with an ace (one dot) uppermost.
Add two more dice and find a suitable cover (a saucer, plate etc).
If you have a home poker night, this is a perfect little set-up for a break in the main game and I encourage you to share the secret after winning but only if the original bet stands, of course!
Here’s the proposition:
The dice will be shaken inside the cup while covered with the plate and when stopped, if any two or all three add to seven, you (the house) win. But if there’s no seven then the players win.
All should be encouraged to bet against you since the odds in this round are entirely in your favour.
Play several rounds and you’ll be shocked that no-one will notice there is always an ace amongst the three dice.
Be warned, though, that if you win too often they will start to question what’s in the cup or notice that one die never moves.
Tip: I stick it off-centre, near the inner edge and I use a shallow coffee mug, so the dice are easily seen and the mug does not need to be picked up to show them.
With this method you will win five times out of nine.
After a couple of rounds, secure an extra die in your hand and then tip the dice in the mug onto that hand and pass out the three dice (one will remain stuck inside the mug) as you place the mug and plate aside while you offer a variation on the game just played.
This time the dice will be rolled openly and this time if any two or all three add to seven the players will win, apparently turning the odds in their favour but in truth you still hold enough of an edge to win more than half the time!
Dice Hustle #3 – Aces Wild
For this, you’ll need five dice and enough gall to offer the following proposition:
With aces wild (three ones), players win with any pair but lose with any three of a kind!
Without aces being wild, two of a kind is much easier to roll than three but making aces wild makes three of a kind more likely than a pair!
This is hard for people to figure but after a few rounds they’ll soon realise that three of a kinds happen almost twice as often as pairs, making this bet a license to print money!
I’ve played this with poker dice and somehow the added colour and playing card dice make it less obvious but over time, anyone is sure to wake up to getting fleeced.
Remember To Reveal The Secret
The goal here is to win a little money but the host thing to do with this information is to expose how and why you are able to win more often than you lose.
The doesn’t necessarily mean they get their money back!
As the great Bob Farmer has often coached, the secret is part of the price of losing a proposition bet and is therefore a fair trade so long as you’re playing for reasonable stakes.
In our next “Be Your Own Casino” article we will explore a brilliant mathematical principle that can turn the flip of a few coins into a winning proposition for the house (you).