Conversations with gamblers, chapter 1

This guy's idea of a playable hand.

411: My kitchen, after an excellent meal of scallops, pasta and a butter sauce. (Sarah says it’s more of a bechemel sauce than a buerre blanc)

Listening to: Someone else washing my dishes as the price for me feeding them

He: I love Sic-Bo. I can always double my money playing it.

Me: Really? How does it work? (My incredularity does not show. Lots of recent poker playing has rendered my expression more immobile than Demi Moore after her weekly Botox injection.)

He: You’ve got three dice, and you bet whether or not the sum when you throw them will be in the lower half of the range (4-10) or the upper half (11-17). They pay you even money, so if you bet $1, you win $1 (plus your original dollar, of course)

Me: Really? So I don’t see how the house makes money at this if it’s an even bet. They’d lose money over time from having to pay the dealers, and not being able to put slot machines in that spot. Every slot granny is worth a couple of hundred dollars per shift.

Him: Well if all three dice come up with the same number, you lose, no matter if you bet hi or low.

Me: You realize over time that if you keep playing this game you’ll lose all your money, right? The house has more than a 5% edge on you.

Him: No, I’m very successful. I always double my money. The only time I don’t is when my friends make me leave the casino before I’ve had a chance to recover my money.

Me: You absolutely must come play poker with me sometime….