Oscar’s Grind - The One Unit Wonder

Setting and influencing the dice roll is just part of the picture. To beat the dice you have to know how to bet the dice. Whether you call it a "system," a "strategy," or just a way to play - this is the place to discuss it.

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Oscar’s Grind - The One Unit Wonder

Post by heavy » Sat May 14, 2016 5:21 pm

There are gaming legends about a craps player back in the sixties who developed a system that allowed him to win more than he lost while flat betting. His name was Oscar, and from time to time you may even run across a Vegas dealer who claims to have known him. I met one at Harrah’s years ago who said Oscar was once a regular there. Oscar was reportedly a player with a large bankroll that he didn’t mind risking for a one-unit per decision win. The strategy, which he eventually shared with others, is known as Oscar’s Grind.

The grind itself is simple enough. The objective is to win one unit, so the strategy begins with a one-unit bet. If that bet wins the series is over and the player starts another series - again with a one-unit bet. On any loss the player makes the same sized bet as the prior loss. On any win he increases his wager by one unit until he completes the series. Remember, the objective is to win one unit per series, so if the increased bet size is sufficient to result in more than a one-unit net win then the player scales it back so that a net one-unit win results. Clear as mud, right? Well, let’s go down to Perfect World Casino and play a series on the Don’t Pass.

First bet - $10 Don’t Pass
Decision - Lost to a Come Out Seven. Down 1 unit.
Second bet - Same as first bet - $10 Don’t Pass (note that you could alternate between Don’t Pass and Pass bets or bet the same as the last decision if you wished - it makes no difference.)
Decision - Win - Shooter Sevened Out. Up/Down 0 units.
Third bet - $10 Don’t Pass (even though you won the last decision you do not increase your bet as betting two units would result in a two unit win. Remember, the grind limits you to a one unit win per series)
Decision - Lost - Shooter made his Pass. Down 1 unit.
Fourth bet - $10 Don’t Pass (never increase your bet size on a loss).
Decision - Lost - Shooter tossed and Eleven on the Come Out. Down 2 units
Fifth bet - $10 Don’t Pass
Decision - Win - Shooter Sevened Out. Down 1 unit.
Sixth bet - $20 Don’t Pass (increase your bet on a win to achieve a one unit series win)
Decision - Win - Shooter tossed an Ace-Deuce on the Come Out. Up 1 unit.
Since the player is now up one unit he begins the series again with a one unit wager.

Notice that of the six bets only one was greater than one unit. This conservative approach is at the heart of the power of Oscar’s grind - particularly on a choppy table. It forces you to minimize your betting level during a streak of losses while gradually increasing your bet size during a winning streak. With that said, as losses outnumber wins the amount you must wager to recoup prior losses increases. Your series stretches longer and longer and can be a recipe for disaster unless you utilize loss limits. If you found yourself down ten units on a series of ten consecutive losses, however, you could grind your way back to “even” with a series of just four consecutive wins - a one unit wager, followed by two units, three units, and four units after successive wins.

Oscar’s Grind may be the best system around for steadily digging yourself out of a hole after a succession of losses. Still, from time to time you’ll find yourself down an amount you are uncomfortable with. With that in mind, I would recommend a loss limit of no more than twelve units per cycle. Remember, it is a mathematical system and over the long run these systems don’t work.

On the other hand, the Oscar is a strategy you might consider when betting on yourself at the casino - particularly if your toss has been off and you’re booking table time primarily to practice your tossing on a live table. In addition, if you are going to take a shot at precision shooting from the Don’ts this may be one of the best ways to bet it while you are at the bottom end of the learning curve. Since it is generally played on the lowest vig bets on the table it’s also an effective way to build comp credit without a lot of exposure.

Systems can be a lot of fun to experiment with, and occasionally will perform well over long periods of time. But before you get too cocky playing them remember the old saying among casino bosses. “Show me a system player and I’ll send a limo for him.”

Here are Oscar’s rules one more time:
Rule 1: The goal is to win one unit at the end of each progression.
Rule 2: Whenever a larger bet might be dictated by the other betting rules, the bet will be resized so that it is just large enough to gain one unit. This rule overrides the following rules:
Rule 3: Bet 1 is one unit.
Rule 4: If Bet 1 is lost, Bet 2 is one unit.
Rule 5: After a loss, the bet is the same as the bet just lost.
Rule 6: After a win, the bet is one more than the bet just won.
And remember - the best way to win with Oscar’s Grind is to quit when you are ahead.
"Get in, get up, and get gone."
- Heavy

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