Strategies versus Systems

Is there a difference in craps strategies and craps systems? Yes and no. To my way of thinking a strategy is simply a method of play. You may have learned it from a book or a friend. You may have developed it yourself and tested it out on the computer or at the casino. You’ve tweaked and refined it to your own bankroll, buy-in, and comfort zone. It’s yours.

A system, on the other hand, is something you buy – usually for an exorbitant price. Like strategies, systems are methods of play. Someone has invested the time and energy to develop the system, publish and market it. That’s how the free market system works. Unfortunately, what many players end up purchasing is usually no better than a strategy they could have come up with on their own.

My biggest problem with System Sellers is how they market their product. Frequently their claims are couched in terms that are deliberate attempts to mislead the purchaser. Here are some headlines I found on several on-line system selling sites and my take on what they’re really saying:

“Easy to learn and play.” An effort to appeal to the lowest common denominator, the system seller is using the KISS principle – keep it simple, stupid. Take a tip – if the system is easy to learn and play you can come up with it on your own.

“Totally mechanical system.” Falls into the same category as the first one I mentioned. The seller is telling you that you don’t have to think to play his system. If you are at the tables with money at risk you had BETTER be thinking.

“$25 bet pays $875.” There is no guarantee you are going to win a $25 straight up bet at roulette, but that is exactly what this advertisement seems to imply.

“Cuts the house edge to nothing.” The only thing that will do that is card counting combined with perfect strategy at a blackjack game with favorable rules. You can learn that from a second-hand book you can pick up for under ten bucks, but you may never find a game with favorable rules.

“Originally sold for $10,000.” Sold or offered? If it was sold then all I can say is that a fool and his money are soon parted. Do the math. If you could gain, say, a 2% edge over any casino game, how much action would you have to give the casino over what length of time to recoup that $10,000 investment? And remember – even if you HAVE an edge over the game – you still have to win.

“Beats the book.” This is one of the worst of the bunch. In Roulette they’re talking about the Zumma Roulette Rolls book. In craps it’s the 48 Hours in a Casino book. In both cases the results are useless. Why? Because system designers know the results of those rolls in advance. That’s an advantage nobody has in the casino.

Are there good systems out there? Certainly. Just as there are a few good system sellers. But remember, it’s a “buyer beware” market. And before you believe that money back guarantee – you’d better read the fine print.