This is a very special throwback episode of the once popular, but now defunct, Vegas Fanboy Podcast. Long before I was a travel influencer, I shined as Vegas enthusiast and gambling talking head. In episode #50 of VFB, I talked about my approach to gambling as a low roller. I was joined by Mark and Dr. Mike of You Can Bet on That, preeminent gambling podcasters in their own right. I asked them what they would do if they had to be low rollers for a day. We also discussed a low rolling approach to craps.
Below is a partial transcript of the episode. Let me know in the comments what your low roller strategy is or would be. Long live the red chip. Enjoy.
Gambling on a budget
Adam: So what I wanted to know. Since the daily average gaming budget for most people’s around, the $150 , $175 mark is if you guys had a daily gambling budget of $200, what would your very short itinerary be? So what would you play and kind of, where would you go.
Mark: All right, I’m going to start.
Dr. Mike: Okay. That’s good. Yeah. Mark will have a better answer than me.
Mark: Well, if it was $200 I would stay away from the craps table. Even though I love craps, I don’t think I’d be able to enjoy myself just putting like $5 on the pass line and you know, not taking full odds, there’s just, the money would go too quickly.
So what I would do is I would probably try to find a $5 blackjack table and play blackjack, and that’s what I would do. You know, pretty much the whole day. If I could find maybe a $10 pai gow table poker table, that would be the other thing that I do ’cause that’s a slower game, there’s a lot of pushing. Back in the old days, there used to be $5 games. I don’t think you can find a $5 pai gow poker game anymore.
Dr. Mike: You’d have a hard time finding a $10.
Mark: Well, I think you can find $10 downtown maybe. But that’s what I would do. I would stick with just blackjack and pai gow poker because I gamble all day long and that’s what I’d do.
Dr. Mike: And you would probably not go to a Strip casino. I assume you’d be there downtown or maybe a locals casino.
Mark: Exactly, yep. I’d try to play downtown where I can get, you know, 3:2 blackjack. $5 table. Exactly. Yeah.
Dr. Mike: Well, you stole my thunder really.
Mark: Because it’s the best answer.
Dr. Mike: Yeah. I mean, that’s exactly what I would do as well. Although my first inclination when I thought about this was to take my $200 go to the cage and use it to cash advance on my credit card and get 2000 out and then go play craps. That’s, that’s what I would do.
But if I had to stick to the $200 I’d do exactly like you, Mark. I thought to myself, okay, the first thing I do would be to look for a low blackjack, hopefully 3:2 $5 blackjack and you could play for quite a while. Pai gow was my second thought.
Although, honestly, it might be hard to find a $10 table even, even some lower tier casinos, they still have $25 pai gow ’cause there’s so much pushing and you wouldn’t have enough with 200 bucks.
And then my third option, I thought about going down to my third option if I couldn’t do those two, I would go to a craps table and play $5 and probably just place like the six and eight for $6 each. I mean, I’d be bored, but that’s probably what I’d do.
Low rolling at the craps table
Adam: Well speaking of boring craps play, what we kind of wanted to do, because craps can be kind of a complicated game, for new people. and I know you guys have some experience now actually in Las Vegas teaching people how to play craps: let’s say we had $150 – $200 to spend at the craps table, what would you suggest people doing? And if I could slow down a bit and ask, if we’re a complete newbie, how do we even approach the table?
Do we get chips at the table? Do we go to the cage first? Do we just put our money on a table? How do we go about actually just kind of approaching the game?
Mark: Okay, well, if it was $150 for a craps session, that’s a little bit different from the previous question, right? Where it’s like $200 for the whole day, That’s fine.
I could go up to a table with $150, hopefully a $5 table, and play. Now, if you are new to the game, what you do, you go up to the table and you put your money down on the table, you know, in the tub, kind of in the craps tub. The dealers are not allowed to take the money right out of your hands, so the money needs to go on the table. You don’t just hand it to him.
So basically you just give them the money, drop it down there. They’ll pick it up and then they’ll give you the chips. You don’t want to grab for the chips, which is kind of a tendency when you’ve never played the game before. They’ll push it right in front of you.
And although this isn’t a requirement, we would also recommend that you not cash in until it’s a come out roll. This is more of an etiquette thing. We see people cash-in in the middle of a roll all the time. But I think for etiquette reasons you should wait. There’s a rack right in front of you where you put all your chips and then you make your bets.
If I had a $150 I would bet the pass line—$5. I would maybe then only take single odds to start with.
You know whatever your point is, take single odds. So $5 odds, $6 if the point is five or nine because the odds needed to be even. Then I would place the six and eight for $6.
Dr. Mike: That would be, on that kind of budget, the prudent thing to do.
Mark: So then you’ve got $22 in action at the most at any time. So, your $150 should last, unless it’s just a terribly cold table. Right?
Dr. Mike: Yeah. You’re going to hit a few numbers there. And you know, you could last a long time with $150 if you just played that way. And then if things went well, you could maybe take double odds.
Mark: Right, exactly. If you start winning money, then you know you can play with the house money..,
Dr. Mike: Let’s not get into that!
Mark: …go to double odds and increase that way. Or press your six and eight if you’ve started to win some money.
Dr. Mike: Yeah. I think if you’re just talking about a session of craps, you could play quite a while with $150.
Mark: And if you could find a $3 table like downtown, you know at Fremont, they’ve got a $3 table. Great. $3 on the line, maybe double odds now and place the six and eight.
Adam: And so how different is this from the way you guys typically play, ’cause I know this is maybe a little bit more boring than you guys do. I know you guys have quite a lot of action out there.
Mark: Well, you know, I don’t know how boring having the point and the six and eight is, unless they’re just rolling all sorts of different numbers, right? Because typically what I will play, I’ll do a pass line bet in two come bets.
And in a sense that’s the same thing. I’m on three numbers. And you can still have a good time. I think where it can get boring is if you only have money on the pass line and you’re not doing anything else. ‘Cause you could just sit there forever, not win or lose, and you know, nothing’s happened.
Dr. Mike: Right. And if you’re a newbie, it’s kind of discouraging when you have money on and your point is four and you’re sitting there and a guy’s rolling six, eight, nine—nothing’s happening. And then it’s seven out and you’re like, well, that wasn’t fun, right?
Mark: Yeah, exactly. But, but seriously, I’m pretty disciplined.
I like to bet one pass line, two come bets full odds if my bank roll can handle it. Now, Mike’s a little different.
Dr. Mike: I am a little undisciplined. A lot undisciplined. Okay. If that’s the correct terminology. I like to get out there in the middle and make prop bets and stuff. And I don’t recommend people do that.
Mark: I would say if there’s a newbie, maybe decide on one hard way that you like, “Oh, I liked the hard eight”, and throw out $1 and that’s it. Right? Maybe your hard eight hits. If you’re gonna, you know, go that way. ‘Cause those are exciting and fun.
Dr. Mike: They are fun when they hit, but I would stay away from the single bed prop bets. Like betting on a two or a 12 or something because the payout’s low and you’re just going to throw your money away. At least with a hard eight your dollars can sit out there for a while. Right. And so you do get some enjoyment of seeing it sit there.
Adam: Yeah, exactly. Actually, I had a strategy when I first learned, was exactly that, to [make] a pass line bet, place the six and eight, and then if the point happened to be represented by a hardway, I would throw a dollar down on that hardway, just kind of for fun.
Mark: That’s a great way to play.
Dr. Mike: Yeah, that’s, that’s a very good way. And that’s interesting, you know?
Adam: So, I can’t thank you enough for demystifying craps here and kind of taking on the role of the low roller. I know it’s a stretch for you guys at times.
Mark: Maybe for Mike, I consider myself a low roller.
Dr. Mike: I would consider Mark of medium. But you know what? Whether you’re a high, low or somewhere in between, the idea is just to have fun. So whatever gets you to that point, I think is what you should do.
And scene. I hope you enjoyed that blast from the past. Let us know how you would approach the casino and/or the craps table on a modest budget. Do you go for big swings or try to last as long as possible?