Big Al's Army March

I’ve always been intrigued by what I fondly call “goofy” betting strategies – particularly when they work.  Few have intrigued me more than the “Army March” strategy and all of it’s many variants – some of which I came up with myself over the years.   I’ll tell you about the original – then one of my personal variants you  might like.

I first heard of the Army March from an old Axis Power Craps Forum poster who went by the handle “Big Al.”  I have no idea if our “Big Al” was THE “Big Al” I later read had created the Army March Strategy, but it makes for a good story so that’s how I’ll tell it.

Big Al was a dealer on the graveyard shift at Harrah’s for many years.  At times, in the wee small hours he would get bored standing around.  He and the other dealers would pass the time trying to come up with creative betting strategies, then testing them out in a “mental” game whenever they had a shooter.  The Army System came from one of those deep night brainstorm sessions.

The Army System begins with a wager on both the four and the ten, and can be can be mustered out for just $10 in action ($5 each).  All bets are parlayed until the action marches from one end of the layout to the other, at which point the player locks up a $1500 win.  Granted, it does not work often – but Al claimed he saw the progression work at least once a shift, and that on one occasion he saw it completed three times in forty minutes.  Here is the progression:

Begin with $5 each on the four and ten – working on the come out.  If and when one of those numbers hits it will pay $9.  Drop $1 on the layout and instruct the dealer to move all of your action from the four and ten to the number adjacent to the point that just rolled, either the five or nine.  This will give you a total of $20 on one of those numbers.  Wait for the next decision.

If and when your point (the five or nine) is rolled the dealer will pay you $28.  Tell the dealer to take the $28 plus your $20 action on the layout and march it to the six or eight – whichever is next on the layout.  You will then have $48 placed on that point.

If and when that point rolls the dealer will pay you $56.  Lock up $2 of the win and tell the dealer to take the remaining chips and place the next number up or down the line – either the six or eight – for $102.

When that number rolls the dealer will pay you $119.    You lock up $1 and instruct the dealer to march your bets on over to the five or nine, whichever is next in the series.  You will have a total of $220 action on the next roll.

When the five or none hit it will pay $308.  Lock up $8 and buy the next number in the series – the four or ten – for $500.  If the number you bought rolls now you will have completed the Army March and collect $1500 and down.

So that’s the ORIGINAL Big Al version of the Army March.  Enter the Heavy “What the Hell – Let’s Beef it Up – Squeeze Box Version.”

In the Heavy Version you start with $64 Across, working on the Come Out.  If the Seven shows on the Come Out you toss out another $64 and do it all over again.  If any point rolls you take the Pay Off from that win Plus the bet down and parlay that to the nearest inside number.  So here’s how that plays out:

A $10 Four or Ten wins $18 – you take down the $10 plus the $18 and lock up $3, pressing $25 to the five or nine.

A Five or Nine pays $14.  You take down $10 plus the $14 and parlay it all to the six or eight, giving you a $36 Six or Eight.

If  Six or Eight wins $14 you “Same Bet” it at all times.

The object of this play is to get all of your “weaker” numbers – the Four, Five, Nine and Ten, worked down to the Six and Eight.  All the while you are simply collecting your winnings off your Six and Eight.  Note that obviously things will not happen sequentially. You may toss a Nine first and work it down to the Eight.  Then you toss a Four and work it up to the Five.  Next the Ten rolls and you work it down to the now vacant Nine.  So the Nine has to repeat before THAT bets get worked down to the Eight.  Interestingly enough, on good hands this happens more often than you would think.

The beauty of the Squeeze Box version of the March play is that you’re continually working your bets toward the Six and Eight while collecting the Six and Eight, which can end up paying for all of your action fairly quickly on a decent hand.  And if you set some basic “rules” with regards to regressing your Six and Eight once you’ve Marched your bets to your power numbers you can rake additional profit off the table and – if you choose – load up another $64 across and run the entire play again.

Is this a strategy I’d recommend for dice influencers?  Not really.  If you’re a controlled roller with a proven edge and a documented dominant number or two then just bet those numbers and the six and eight.  Focus on the lowest house edge bets and on the power part of your game.  But if it’s the wee small hours of the morning in Downtown Vegas and you’re hanging out at a $3 table at Binions at 3AM because – what the hell?  It’s Vegas.  Maybe it’s worth $18 across.  Remember – at the end of the day it’s still gambling.  If it’s not fun – it’s time to run.