May has three big events, the Council of Shopping Centers, the Seniors Classic Golf Tournament, and the Helldorado Rodeo and Carnival. The Big Event in May for me, however, was Big Red. We met through my service, as usual and once I laid eyes on him, I sure was glad that all he wanted was oral gratification. He was big in every sense of the word, 6′4″ or so, red hair, red beard, and he must have weighed about 300 pounds. He was staying at the MGM Grand, the biggest casino there is.
I went there early for my 1:00 pm appointment with Big Red, to have lunch at one of their many restaurants. There are more than twenty of them, as well as animated characters from The Wizard of Oz, and a giant theme park like a mini-Disneyland. You can walk for a mile inside the MGM and never cross the same path twice.
Now I, along with other equally sophisticated craps players, don’t like the term Big Red. This means a seven, and after the point a seven loses for almost everyone. But not for Big Red, as I later found out.
His hotel room was enormous, much bigger than my condo. It had at least three rooms, but I only got to see one, the bedroom. Fortunately I was only there for four or five minutes. I didn’t even have to take off my clothes. Easy money. As I was preparing to leave, he said, “Want to learn how to play craps with me?”
I was stunned. “With a name like Big Red I never would have thought you played craps.”
“Ha! That’s what you think! Come along and learn how the real men play!”
Now, how could I pass up an invitation like that? I thought that I would keep quiet about already knowing something about the game. If he wanted me to be a virgin though, I would have to say something. I didn’t want to bring him bad luck.
We went downstairs to the casinos of the MGM Grand. There are actually three of them; the Hollywood casino ($5 minimum bets), Emerald City ($10 minimum bets) and the Monte Carlo ($20 minimum bets).
We, of course, went to Monte Carlo. He ambled up to a semi-crowded table and said in a loud voice, “Now I’ll show you how to play real craps!” The point, as luck would have it, was four.
“Lay $100 no four!”
A few rolls later a seven rolled and he had won about $50.
“Ha! That’s why they call me BIIIIGG RED!”
A few players left the table. Most people don’t like don’t bettors.
The next point was eight. He said “$100 no-four and $100 no-ten.” The very next roll was an eight. People looked at him and snickered. But his bets stayed up and he didn’t lose anything. The first come out roll was, of course, a seven. He had won about $100.
He guffawed and laughed. “BIIIIGG RED strikes again!” More people left the table.
At this point, I started to see what he was doing. He was owning the table. Everyone still there was playing either against him or not at all. It had turned into a game of Big Red. He was intimidating everyone, including me. I was literally afraid to place a pass line bet.
This time he was the shooter. He rolled a three. Everyone on the pass line lost and he laughed at them! He was really obnoxious! He had don’t bets on the four and ten.
“OK,” he said, “$120 on the no-nine.”
He rolled a six. People bet on the pass line. The six won and some very small snickers were heard. Then on the come out another six hit, which also won. He still had his three don’t bets up. Now, of all things, he rolled a ten. He had lost $100. Everyone applauded! Not to be outdone, he roared, “$500 on the no-ten!” The table was silent.
He rolled a five. A six. An eight. And a seven. He had won about $380 on one roll of the dice, and was now almost $1000 ahead. Everyone else left the table. He started laughing uproariously! I felt sick. He was a craps bully. I started to leave, too.
“Hey, Tina! Don’t go! Hey! Let me buy you a drink! Hey!”
I started walking away.
“Tina, wait. Have a drink with me. I’ll tell you something no one else will tell you about playing craps.” He said this quietly, seriously. I figured I didn’t have anything to lose.
We went to one of the fancier bars and ordered two strawberry daiquiris (they didn’t have banana) and he explained.
“Look, when you play craps, you have to control the table. Your mind has to control the dice, the other players, the dealers, everything. It’s like a game of chess. You have to really know and understand all the players and figure out what they might do next. I’ve known some players who can do this by hard concentrating. I can’t. I do it by being a bastard. It doesn’t matter whether I play do or don’t. If I come to a table and see that someone else is in control, I leave. If I’m in control, I win. If I’m not, I lose.”
He said all this in a quiet, studious voice. Was all that Big Red stuff really an act? Could he really control the dice?
“When I started playing Togel Singapore,” he said, “I noticed that some players won all the time and some lost all the time. The people who lost just weren’t confident. They didn’t know all the rules and just threw their money away. The confident players succeeded, because they knew they would win. I wanted to be like them. It was difficult for me because I really stood out in a crowd. People stared at me. I was different. I decided to turn my size into an advantage. I became a don’t better. The odds, after the come out, are in favor of the don’t better anyway.”
I couldn’t believe it. In the space of a few minutes this man had turned from an obnoxious beast into a caring individual who was sharing his life with me.
“I called myself BIG RED because I was big and had red hair. That the seven was called Big Red was just a bonus. I wanted to inject myself into everyone’s playing and shatter their confidence. I knew I would win in those circumstances.”
Wow, another whole new angle to craps. He believed he would win, and so he did. I ventured a question. “But, how did you become that confident?”
“I read everything I could on craps. There’s not a book or software program on craps that I don’t have. Craps became a passion for me. With knowledge came confidence. Of course, this took quite a few years. There are more than 100 books on craps and I’ve read, no, studied them all.”
“But couldn’t you do this without being Big Red? What was your name before?”
“Uh, well . . . my real name is Marvin.”
“Doesn’t exactly inspire confidence does it? I know, there’re a lot of famous Marvins, but as a kid everyone called me Marvie and I grew up to hate the name. I thought that if I changed my name I’d change my life. And I did.”
I thought for a second. That’s what all the really successful people have in common, confidence. They all know they will succeed. If they fail once, they treat it as a learning experience and just keep on trying. They know they will triumph. Maybe this would work for me, although the thought of studying 100 books on craps wasn’t especially appealing.
“Most people play craps for fun. They really don’t know how to play. Say, have you ever really wanted to do something?”
“Me? Oh, I’ve always wanted to be a singer.”
“Well, if you’re a good singer, don’t you have to practice every day? Don’t you study how other people sing? The people who are successful singers didn’t get there by luck, they studied hard, worked hard, and they knew they would triumph. Most people take the easy way out and wait for breaks or luck. I make my own luck. This world is a wonderful, fabulous place, with lots of opportunities. Anyone can do anything they want to, if they put their mind in gear and just do it!”
I thought for a second. “I guess that’s true. In my profession all us girls are deathly afraid of gaining weight. It used to be very hard for me at first. I wanted to eat everything. But my livelihood depends on my staying slim and trim, so I force myself to eat fruits and salads all the time. Maybe its not as, uh, determined as your goals are, but it worked for me. You know, you could do that, too. I bet with your mind control you could get under 200 pounds easy. Maybe then you’ll have even more confidence and could stop bullying people at the craps table.”
I guess I was a little too blunt because he just sat there, staring.
“I never thought of that before, Tina. You might just have a good idea there. Thanks for being so honest with me.”
I was about to say something else when I was distracted by a glimpse of Jack, the dealer from Binions, walking past. I wondered what was he doing there at the MGM Grand. I watched him and he walked straight to the craps tables and started playing.
“Something wrong?” asked B.R.
“No, no, I just saw someone I know. Would you mind if I went and said hello to him?”
“No, not at all,” said Marvin/Big Red. “I have to be going anyway. Say Tina, would you mind if I called you again sometime?”
“Marv,” I said smiling, “you can call me anytime you want.”
We parted and I walked over to the craps table, but Jack was gone. I found a friendly looking dealer and asked, “Excuse me, but I’m looking for a friend of mine, Jack, who was playing here a few minutes ago.”
“Yeah,” the dealer said, “Jack, sure we know him. Comes in here every few days. Wins a little, but mostly loses. This time he lost $500 in a few minutes and then split. If he comes back, who can I say is looking for him?”
“Oh, that’s OK, I’ll just call him at home.” I walked away, thinking, what’s going on with Jack? He’s here every few days and plays with $500? What was he doing? Where did he get the money?
Suddenly I remembered Big Red and walked back to the bar where we had been sitting, but he was gone, too.
I decided to play a little craps at the Hollywood tables. I bought in for $300 and gave them my comp card. I was building up quite a collection of those little pieces of plastic.
While I was getting my chips, I studied the players. There were six of them, four men and two women. The two women were alone and in their sixties. I imagined the one on the left to be married, with her husband at a convention. The one on the right was single and man-hungry. The first man was married, but had one, no two mistresses. The second man looked confident like he probably came here every month. He was the one I had to beat. I watched and he was playing the pass line with two come bets. The third and forth men were young, and I imagined them to be gay lovers. They were just here to have fun.
I caught the eye of man #2 and then looked away, discreetly touching my breast. He saw my move and I could tell he was flustered. The last point, a six, sevened out, so I decided to bet the don’t pass with $20.
“Twenty dollars on the don’t pass,” I said loudly, trying my best to act like Big Red. The point was an eight. I smiled broadly and said aloud, “Great, I always win on the eight!”
Sure enough, the very next roll was a seven. Maybe Big Red was right. I stayed on the don’t pass and the next point was a ten. Everyone groaned and I smiled at everyone in turn, thinking of the stories I had made up for them. This was fun!
However as luck would have it, a few rolls later, the ten rolled. I laughed out loud! “Great! Lay the ten for $40!” Everyone gasped and the gay lovers left. The first come out roll was a seven. I was exhilarated, but didn’t want to play any more.
Fortunately everyone else left. People just don’t like rowdy don’t bettors, especially if they’re winning.
I just can’t understand why they all didn’t switch to the don’t side with me. If a table is hot, pass line bets are great, but when a table is cold, why not bet the don’t side? Craps players should be willing and able to switch back and forth, according to table conditions, but not many of them do.
I left and drove toward home. Confidence. That’s all anyone needs to succeed! And you get confidence by learning and studying. And you learn by reading and applying what you read to real-life situations. I needed to get some more craps books. I drove to the Gamblers Book Club on 11th Street and found four new ones. I drove home and read all four of them. Confidence! That’s all anyone needs to succeed, and I was going to get it!