Walter Mencken 9 a.m., Oct. 1
- Community Blog
Fulano’s father played the saxophone in bands when he was in his 20′s. That was during the Great Depression and Prohibition, when one of the only good-paying and regular jobs was work in speakeasy’s. Fulano’s father worked in several such joints in Akron, Ohio. The speakeasy’s and gin joints had gambling, which was also very profitable. The games were all rigged. The most common way to rig a crap game is not to use loaded dice. Instead, shills and ringers were used to fleece the marks. Here is how it works:
The game of craps looks complicated, but it is not. A player throws a pair of dice, which has 36 possible combinations. If the player throws a 7 or 11 on the very first first toss, he wins. If the player throws a 2,3 or 12 on the first throw, he loses. A 2,3 or 12 is called “craps,” hence the name of the game. If the player tosses any other combination on the first throw (4,5,6,8,9 or 10) this is called his “point”. In order to win after getting a “point,” the players keeps throwing the dice until he either throws his “point” again or he throws a 7. So, if he tosses the dice and they come up with his point before he tosses a 7, he wins. If he tosses a 7 first, he loses. That is the game.
This is what a crap table looks like: It is a long, rectangular table with high sides all around. The player stands on one end, and tosses the dice so that they tumble and hit the opposite side and come to rest on the far side of the table from where he is standing.
In a bust-out joint all the players on one end of the crap table are shills who work for the house and make bets, pretending to be players. They crowd around and elbow out anybody who is not a shill, thereby preventing anyone not a shill from standing on their end of the crap table. The “marks” play from the other end of the table.
The table is long and narrow, and a person tossing the dice from one end cannot see the combination on the dice down on the other end. The stickman, who stands near the middle of the crap table calls out the number tossed for everybody to hear. He then pulls in the dice with the stick and delivers them to the player for the next toss.
Whenever a “mark” gets a point, he has to keep rolling until his point appears again and he wins, or he rolls a 7 and he loses. In a bust-out joint, after a “mark” gets a point, the stickman will call out “7″ on his next toss — no matter what the real number was. All the shills down at the end where the dice landed will groan in disappointment, and reaffirm the stickman’s call. The “mark” loses, as he thinks he threw a 7. In reality, the “mark” was the only real player at the table and he was ripped-off.
More like this:
- No. 1 LCC, No. 2 Hoover Deliver at MLK Showcase — Jan. 17, 2012
- Sporting Box — Dec. 20, 2007
- The Reader's Eye on Television — Feb. 23, 2006
- Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue, Never Draw to an Eight, and Never Two — Dec. 3, 1998
- An Even Break — April 25, 1985