Where'd my money go?

Dear Mark,
When on a fast paced crap game, I tend to lose track of my come bets. Sometimes the dealer is handling my money so fast that I cannot see where he put my money. The layout is confusing enough, but how do I really know for certain that my money is properly put where it belongs, and being paid, especially when the dice are moving so fast? Jerry C.

As intimidating as a crap table layout looks, it is intelligently designed so that the dealer can track all the play on the table, even on a jam-up game when dice and dollars are flying. If you lose sight of your come bet, Jerry, or any bet for that matter, fret not. The dealer has geographically placed your wager in the correct box and in alignment with your playing position on the crap table, so it will not be mixed up with others. The only way your money will get "lost in action" is by making poor bet choices on the game, wagers that could have a house edge as high as 16%.

Dear Mark,
Exactly what do you mean by the term "bankroll?" Hank M.

A bankroll is a pre-set amount of "disposable" cash set aside for leisure activities, like gambling. If you lose it, you still have enough money to get home in your own car (not a $200,000 Greyhound) put food in the refrigerator, and braces on junior's teeth. If gambling is your sole profession, your bankroll naturally shrinks to allow for alimony and child support payments.

Dear Mark,
An accepted method for geezers to hold off the ravages of senile dementia, Alzheimer's or other debilities of age, is vigorous mental activities thus to avoid the buildup of nasty amyloid clumps/tangles which push us of the senior persuasion into la-la land. Gotta keep the old brain moist and working. Sure, library visits, lecture attendance, thinking helps, but let's have a little fun here; I love the challenge of Las Vegas. Anyhow, I came across your Deal Me In column in our Washington newspaper. Being a charter member of your KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) club, I usually hit on a 16 if the dealer shows 7 through A. Am I using all my gray matter? Ray. R

I would say so, Ray. Based on your entertaining prose, you are doing just fine. And your inclination to hit those worthless 16's, yep, your brain cells are still firing at 100%. Many players believe they get more than their fair share of those pesky 16's. But actually a breakdown of the 1326 possible hands of a deck of 52 cards, shows the hard 16 wielding its ugly face 6.003% of the time. Probabilities books, computer studies, the experts, they all say the same thing: Whack that 16 when the dealer shows a 7 through Ace.

Dear Mark,
Does the casino base how much I receive in comps by how much I win or lose on a slot machine? Mary N.

Neither, Mary. The casino does not base its slot club benefits on your win/loss totals. True, it does keep records of when you win or lose, but comp decisions are based on the amount of money you insert in their one-armed bandits. Here's how it works. The casino will take your original buy-in, plus the winnings you have re-inserting, either by coin or credit, then figure your value to them as a patron, rewarding comps accordingly. For example: If you were to cycle $500 an hour through a 25 cent video poker machine, your total after an eight hour stint would be $4,000. With that kind of action (again, win or lose), your worth to the casino would warrant a freebie spread (of $40 and $120 depending on the casino) of rooms, food and beverages (RFB's in gambling jargon).

Gambling thought of the week: "The dice of God are always loaded." Ralph Waldo Emerson