SCOBE’S GOLDEN TOUCH CRAPS:
TANNED, TOURTURED, AND BANNED IN LAS VEGAS
by Frank Scoblete
Frank Scoblete, is the #1 best-selling gaming author in America. His books and tapes have sold over a million copies. For a free brochure call: 1-800-944-0406 or write: Frank Scoblete Enterprises, Box 446, Malverne, NY 11565. Frank’s websites arewww.goldentouchblackjack.com, www.goldentouchcraps.com, and www.scoblete.com.
The Last Day: Wednesday, June 29
He got right into my face. "We’ve all read your books and we know what you are doing. We don’t like it. We don’t want you here!"
This guy was new to me; he was an "upstairs suit" at my favorite Las Vegas casino – well, my formerly favorite casino, and he came from on high with his loud clarion call, broadcasting to everyone near me that it would be best if I left his property and went elsewhere.
"I wouldn’t give you any comp time if you hadn’t taken out a marker," he snarled. "Why don’t you go across the street to Caesars? They’d love your action. You’re rich, you can play anywhere."
The upstairs suit then added, "One of your guys roughed up one of our pit people last night at the craps table. We have it on tape."
One of my guys? My guys? I don’t have any guys.
I turned to my friends: Skinny; he was red-faced. He had never been through something like this at a casino. Skinny is a man of reason but he was now confronted with loathing. I looked at Stickman; he was staring at the upstairs guy. Stickman can be scary when he stares. I looked at Not2Soon and he seemed to be calm and relaxed. He’d been through this in his own playing career before.
Even though this has happened many times to me, I never like it; so this morning was another bad day for me in the casino world; another casino boss misunderstanding the math of his own games and becoming enraged; another tale of being told to leave an establishment that I had brought hundreds of players to because this place didn’t want me there any more.
Oh, it fit in with the week. It fit right in; right, right in.
The First Day: Thursday, June 23
A highly foggy week should start with a highly foggy day, and my June trip to Vegas started just that way. When I awoke and looked out my bedroom window, I saw almost nothing but haze. When I left Kennedy Airport in New York that early morning, the fog was so thick you couldn’t see more than 50 feet. We got on the plane at the correct time but waited on the tarmac for 20-30 minutes before we could take off. That is recorded as an "on-time" flight even though we got to Vegas about a half hour late.
On Thursdays, we set up the hotel banquet rooms for our dice control classes. We had 19 teachers, all of whom are elite dice controllers, coming in to teach our students how to beat the casinos at craps. But first, we had to set up the rooms.
Now this Thursday during set-up of the practice room, my partner Dominator was in something of an emotional turmoil, which is usual for him. He wants everything the way he wants it and that’s that. He is something of a perfectionist and gets heated when perfection is not achieved. You can see this during his long rolls at craps. He gets increasingly angry as the roll progresses because somewhere deep inside him is the knowledge that this roll will end, as all rolls must end, and so much for the perfection he is experiencing, and that pending inevitable end angers him.
Unfortunately, nothing goes entirely as planned when we are putting together such a big event, especially in a new hotel. Last-minute changes are often greeted with charges from the hotel; which can be annoying, but understandable, since the hotel is not there to accommodate us for free.
We were doing our classes at the Alexis Park Resorts, a beautiful non-casino property on Harmon Avenue, across the street from the Hard Rock. It really is a resort too, with three swimming pools, a restaurant, a gym, and every room is a suite.
Setting up our practice room on Thursday is tough work. We have three full craps tables; two half tables; and anywhere from four to eight throwing and receiving stations depending on the size of the class. The student teacher ratio, a key to the intense personal instruction GTC gives, is usually four students to two teachers. Each four-student group has a mentor and each station has an instructor. You are given truly up-close, hands-on experience with the best dice controllers in the world.
As always, there were some small glitches in setting up the various rooms for our weekend. We found that the room where we were to hold the "Meet and Greet" party on Friday evening was not as air-conditioned as the room next to it that had been set up as the classroom or as cool as the practice room where we had set up our tables. The classroom was cool; the practice room was cool, but the party room was not so cool.
It was too late to change rooms without a fee from the hotel (which annoyed Dominator no end, so we didn’t go that route), and we also didn’t want the attendant hassle of doing such a mass moving. Therefore, we shut the lights, opened the doors, and tried to get the air-conditioning from the practice room and the hallway into the party room.
When Thursday’s work was said and done, my craps team (called The Five Horsemen), composed of Dominator, Stickman, Nick@Night, Skinny and me, along with Marilyn "the Goddess," Charlie "Sandtrap," and Arman "Pit Boss" headed to Craftsteak at MGM-Grand for a great meal. The owner of Craftsteak is Chef Tom Colicchio; the leading judge on the reality show "Top Chef" – a show my wife, the beautiful AP, and I love.
I have never had a bad meal at this restaurant. However, something happened between this visit and my previous visit in June. One of Golden Touch’s interns, John "the Rolling Rooster," twice sent me a couple of dozen steaks from a new company he had bought and, well, even Mr. Colicchio never tasted steaks that were this good. While I again enjoyed my meal at Craftsteak, I kept thinking that if some cows descended from heaven, the "Rolling Rooster’s" were those cows.
The Second Day: Friday, June 24
My normal day at home usually goes something like this: I wake up, do some work – usually answering emails – go swimming three mornings a week, box two mornings a week and work out on the treadmill two mornings a week. I am fat but in decent enough shape.
However, when I am in Vegas during a class things radically change, and I rarely get to workout while the class is on.
However, I wanted this trip to be different; I wanted to do my workouts every day as I do at home. So Stickman and I decided on Friday morning to get up really early and head to the gym to use their treadmills, only one of which actually worked, causing Stickman to volunteer to use the Stairmaster, a torturous device, especially if you have never used one, and then we’d go to the pool where I could swim laps.
After the treadmill and "Stairslaughter," we headed for the pool. Of course, early in the morning, there were no lifeguards but I went in anyway. After 13 minutes, a really large gun-toting security guard stood at the edge of the pool. Obviously, I couldn’t ignore him.
"Oh, please don’t tell me that I have to get out," I said
"You have to get out," he said. "The lifeguard doesn’t come until 9:30. It’s only a little after seven."
"I never refuse a man with a gun," I said, and slowly made my way out of the pool.
Stickman prefers to lounge and get some sun and he had one hell of a tan. He uses no tanning lotion and it amazes me that he never burns. Satan would have a hard time frying him in hell…if there is a hell.
That Friday the Elite Video Analysis created and taught by NoFieldFive, and our tune-up lessons where GTC’s Bob "Mr. Finesse," our director of tune-ups, helps unleash the students’ abilities under his well-known "eagle eye," were huge successes. The Elite Video Analysis is one of the most innovative and insightful programs Golden Touch offers.
We were expecting well over 70 people to attend the "Meet and Greet" that night – although some wound up not coming due to airline delays. I think we had a 62 count.
Friday evening’s "Meet and Greet" party is tough – tough on me that is. My audience has heard that I am funny, and many have seen me do "my thing" before, so I do feel a pressure to be just such as I introduce our instructors, mentors, and students. The problem is that I can’t prepare myself for humor; it comes or it doesn’t come. I ad lib my way through my entire stint on stage and hope for the best. So far so good, but I do know that one night – one horrible night – I will bomb and know that my humor days are over. That night has not yet come but like a seven-out, it surely will.
I gave out an award to Charlie "Sandtrap," one of our first two students (his wife Marilyn "the Goddess" was the other) for his blistering 90-roll hand (before sevening out), the fifth longest hand we have ever recorded.
Except for occasional dustups when Dominator got really angry by something someone did that he didn’t like, usually someone from the resort; one such moment being the fact that we had to pack up our own leftovers from the party because Clark County law does not allow hotels to wrap up food that has already been served – or when one of our instructors did something he didn’t like (which happens on rare occasions), Friday went smoothly. I was (thank you Lord!) funny; the students and guests at the "Meet and Greet" had a great party, and we looked forward to two days of teaching novice (Primer) and intermediate players (Refreshers) the secrets to unlock their potential to beat the house, using dice control and proper betting.
The Third Day: Saturday, June 25
Stickman and I were too tired to get up early and work out. There goes mimicking being home.
Teaching students from 8AM to 5PM is not an easy thing. By the end of the day, the instructors are exhausted as are the students. The scariest part of the day is when the instructors demonstrate their own controlled throws. I mean, here we are – live and in person – doing before them what we tell them they can learn to do. There is no guarantee that our throws will look good, and we know that our reputations as dice controllers are on the line when we do our demonstrations. So far, after more than nine years, we haven’t bombed out once.
The fun break of the classroom day is lunch with the students. In a relaxed atmosphere, we can really get to know them and they can get to know us.
Saturday evening, Dom, Stickman, Skinny, Nick@Night, Marilyn "the Goddess," Sandtrap, Pit Boss, Dice Pilot, his lovely wife Lilly, and I had dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant, Fiamma at MGM-Grand.
As we entered MGM-Grand, we were greeted by a horde of young "ladies" heading out to the Electric Daisy Carnival at the Las Vegas Speedway, a dance marathon starting at 8PM and going until dawn. None of our party is easily shocked, but these young "ladies" shocked the hell out of us. Many were either in their underwear or almost naked. One young "lady" was wearing only a bra and a g-string!
All of us agreed that we would be completely depressed if any of our daughters turned out this way. "Ladies" indeed….
Unfortunately, Fiamma was a major disappointment.
Fiamma had been a restaurant with the best homemade pasta I had ever eaten. My mouth would water just thinking about eating there; but it wasn’t to be this night. The new chef had created pasta dishes that sounded lackluster – one of which had mint flavor! You can’t feed Italian appetites with mint-flavored pasta (that’s what Don ended up with); it is a mortal sin.
Dom decided to take the bull by the horns and he requested some meals like those that we used to have at Fiamma. The chef attempted to make them but they were a disappointment, except for Stickman’s raviolini, which had actually been on the menu.
When the bill came, for the first time ever Dom looked at it. We usually just split it up and pay.
"What the hell is this?" he asked nobody in particular.
"What?" I asked him.
"It says ‘ice’ and ‘no ice,’ with a charge next to each."
He called the waitress over...
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