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Welcome Doctor To Our Humble Madhouse

I have a friend, probably the most intelligent person I’ve ever met, who occasionally joins my group in our Las Vegas excursions.  We refer to him as “Doc” as he has a Phd. from one of the ivy league schools.  He’s tall, excruciatingly thin, and appears to be made up of only arms and legs.  If you were to meet him in passing, his appearance and demeanor would leave you with the impression that he’s a bit of a stiff.  When my friends and I would head for the craps tables, he would go to play blackjack.  He’s a moderately strong BJ player, and would probably be an excellent one if he played more frequently and was more passionate about the game.

One night, awhile back, instead of his normal routine, Doc followed us to the craps tables.  “Just want to see what you guys get all wound up about…”  Three of us settled onto a table with Doc standing behind looking over our shoulders.  In between rolls, we explained the basics of the game, which he quickly grasped.  We couldn’t have timed our arrival any better as the table began to shift from cold to warm about the time we placed our first bets.  Within 15 minutes, my friends and I were all up about 20 units.   “You shouldn’t be winning, you know….the odds are stacked against you.” Doc said.  We nodded and continued to call out our wagers.   He continued to watch. 

The stick calls, “Five, pay the line!”   The table erupts in cheers, laughter and high fives. 

Forty minutes pass.  Chip racks are filling and what was once a half full table is now packed with players standing elbow to elbow. No one is having monster rolls, but nearly everyone is making at least a pass or two and throwing some numbers in between.  Doc, who has a thoughtful scowl on his face, seems almost irritated that things are going so well for us. “Doc, come on!  We’ll make some room. Squeeze in and play!” I said.   He shakes his head, “The probabilities have to start evening out soon.  This has been going on far too long. A correction is due.”

I tried to explain that he was over thinking, being too analytical, but he would have none of it.  We continued to win at a steady pace, all the while Doc appeared to be doing math computations in his head.    I think I even heard him say something about standard deviations and the Gaussian curve!

Finally, after a little more than an hour, I needed a rest.  I handed Doc two green cheques and said, “Play.  Ride the wave.  Just quit thinking so much!  If you lose, then it’s my money.  I’ll be back in 5 minutes.” 

I called for color and went in search of a drink.  As I walked away from the table, I heard Doc quietly ask for the six and eight to be placed for $6 each.

As it turned out, it was two drinks and 25 minutes before I returned.  I found that Doc had indeed been riding the wave.  With a little assistance from my two other friends, Doc had made a tidy profit.  Apparently the little old lady at table’s end, (who, to this day my pals claim was blind) had just concluded a looooong roll with what they were calling ‘Seeing Eye Dice.’    Doc was no longer mulling over probabilities and table corrections, but whether he should “come down with his place bets after two hits or three…”   Doc turned toward the shooter, and yelled “C’mon shoota shoota, SaWING!”  In the fifteen years that I’d known him, I don’t think I’d ever seen him so animated!

Sadly, the rest of our group was due in from the airport, and it was time to meet them back at the hotel.  “Time to go gents.” I said, pointing at my watch.  The look on Doc’s face made me think for a moment, that we might have to physically drag him from the table.  After a stop at the cashier’s booth, while Doc and I waited for my buddies to return from the restroom, he recounted for me, in vivid detail, every bet he made, every regression, every win.   “What a rush!” he said, “Craps REALLY gets under your skin.  It’s addictive! We’ll play later tonight, right?”  And to that I said, as another raucous cheer came from the craps table we had vacated, “Welcome Doctor, to our humble madhouse.”

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