Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

February 2019

Do you like to bet? Me, too.

Way back in time, my wife came along to Las Vegas while I attended the Snowsports Industries America trade show. That year former President Gerald Ford was the keynote speaker to open the show. That night there was a formal reception. After a bit of being seen, we skipped with another couple and went downtown to “old” Vegas, which featured lots of table games where you place bets as low as a dime at the craps table.

My friend Tom and I headed for the $1 blackjack table, leaving our wives a couple of bucks and very little information on how to play the game. “The dealers will explain everything,” we told them. “Just bet dimes and have fun.”

Craps is a fun game with lots of whooping and hollering, unlike other table games, where maintaining a “poker face” is the best way not to embarrass yourself. The simplest bet to make at craps is a “pass” bet as a new shooter rolls the dice. Seven or 11 wins, and 2, 3, and 12 lose. If the dice total 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, that becomes the “point.” For pass line betters to win, the shooter must shake the point before rolling a 7.

There are tons of proposition bets all over the table. Experts, like myself, eschew them in favor of taking odds on pass line bets, where you’re paid true odds.

It’s a pretty fast-moving game, usually around a crowded and noisy table.

Tom and I managed to lose our $20 stakes in maybe a half hour or so at the blackjack table.

As we approached the 10-cent craps table, Tom’s wife was the shooter and Edna was calling out bets and flipping chips around. She had a pretty good tray of chips in front of her, and I remember distinctly hearing her say, “Give me all the hardways [i.e., the difficult combination for rolling a particular number] and two chips on any craps for the boys.”

Turns out she liked roulette as well. Playing at one of the smaller casinos near our strip hotel, she would start with dime chips and try to win her colors. Each time she did, she increased the value of a chip to a quarter. If successful, she would buy something: T-shirts, scarves, whatever.

She’s a player.