Using craps for cover
Prior to the pandemic, I had started to believe the only way to survive playing double-deck blackjack is to spread some other action around the casino while at the same time ratholing chips. After the pandemic, who knows what will eventually happen.
I have found that playing craps, betting Don't Pass or Don't Come is a good cover play. You can get what looks like a lot of action on the felt without giving up much negative EV. I will often play 1-2 Don't come bets at $25 and then lay 5x odds or 10x if allowed. I never bet on the come out roll, as I utter some silliness like “That’s when the shooter wants to roll a 7.”
As in all negative-expectation games, the more time and the fewer the bets, the better. I only make two bets per shooter and I take breaks. Sometimes the shooter will make their point right away and you don't have to make the second bet, but it doesn't look like you are trying to comp-hustle them as you only make two bets per shooter, and you wait until a point is out. Craps pit bosses are so superstitious it is funny!
The 4/10 you can lay $250 or $500 depending upon the odds. The -EV is $50*1.40% or 70c per shooter. I have been keeping track of the number of shooters -- it seems like in an hour, there are about 20-25 shooters at a crowded table. I prefer the crowded table as the bets take a while to pay off between rolls, change, etc. So, per hour I’m giving up only $14 to $17.50 to play this "cover.”
I have seen twice in the previous few months that a don't come bet was not picked up when it should have been. This can happen at a crowded table with lots of hardway and other bets the dealers have to watch. Don't come is somewhat rarely bet, so the dealers aren't as used to it. I watch when the 7 rolls to make sure I get paid in full. Those two times amounted to a +$287.50 on the 10 ($250 odds bet, $25 don't come on the 10 valued at 1.5x wager given already behind the 7) and a $180 on the 8 ($150 odds bet at even and $30 bet on the don't come on 8).
Of course you can never count on these dealer errors. My goal on playing was to show that I bet $500 a round on things other than blackjack. I also have booked some $1-2k wins and losses at craps. I also pocket chips at craps which is fairly easy given the amount of action. With 10-12 players, the chip movement is harder for them to track.
I wonder if anyone else uses this approach. I have no long-term expectation that I can win money playing craps but if I can see DC bets being left out I will have a slightly +EV and only need one mistake like that every 15-20 hours.
I am not sure how much cover this is giving my blackjack play before the inevitable backoffs, but so far it seems to be working well.
Originally published on bj21.com Green Chip, edited for this format.
However, playing on other games is no good if the casino's suspicion is on your blackjack play. At that point they will look at your play very closely, and if you're not using sufficient cover, particularly betting camouflage, you are toast.
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