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sites are subject to rules and regulations not found in Las Vegas and other common gambling destinations.

In California, gambling law does not allow the outcome of craps to be directly determined by the use of dice. For this reason many California casinos totally eliminate dice. Cards are used to determine the numbers "rolled." Most of these casinos take care to make sure that the odds of their games are exactly the same as traditional random craps games.

Some casinos use two shoes of cards with each shoe containing several copies of each possible roll of a die (1 through 6). One card is taken from each shoe to represent the outcome of each of two dice. After each roll the cards are replaced into the shoe, so the odds never change.

There are, however, some card-only craps games where the odds differ slightly form the traditional random dice counterparts – usually because the cards are not replaced after each "roll." In one casino, a single shoe with 44 copies of each possible die outcome of 1 through 6 for a total of 264 cards is used. A continuous shuffler deals the cards. Even though the cards are replaced after every "roll," several cards are already loaded in the chute. This means that the next few hands are already determined and the cards just used will not be a part of those hands. This results in the odds swinging toward a don’t pass bet resulting in a very small player edge on the don’t pass.

I personally cannot see the attraction of a card-only craps game. Not being able to throw the dice takes away all of the fun. I might possibly play the game where the player can get an edge on the don’t pass, but I doubt that slight edge would overcome the loss of being able to throw the dice.

However, some California casinos do allow the shooter to actually throw the dice. The results are then translated to the final numbers by the use of cards. At least one casino uses a deck of 36 cards with each of the cards showing one possible outcome of a two-dice throw. Two cards are dealt out before each throw. One card is placed in a red box and one in a blue box. The shooter throws two dice – one red and one blue. Each die has different numbers so they will never come up with the same number on both of them. The color of the die with the highest number is the color of the card used to determine the actual number "rolled." The odds for this game are random.

Another variation is to use six cards – ace through six. They are shuffled before each roll and placed face down in six spots numbered one through six. When the dice are rolled, the cards in the spots matching the numbers on the dice are turned over and the card values are substituted for the actual numbers on the dice. The cards are then shuffled again and dealt face down in preparation for the next roll of the dice. This game is also totally random.

There are a couple of casinos that have a game that allows competent dice controllers to gain an edge. In this game, six cards (ace through six) are shuffled and placed face up in six spots numbered one through six. The cards stay in the same positions until the shooter sevens-out. By carefully analyzing which numbers will produce a seven as well as box numbers the skilled dice setter can determine and use a dice set that will produce favorable results. In fact, once out of every 720 times – on average – the numbers will be mapped exactly the same as the dice (1=1, 2=2, 3=3, 4=4, 5=5, and 6-6). In this situation, normal dice sets can be used.

The last game is the only game of California craps that I would consider playing. Not only do players get to shoot the dice, they also can get an edge at the game if they are both proficient in dice setting and have a controlled throw. To all the rest of the casinos in California, I say no thank you.

All the best at the tables,

Jerry "Stickman"




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