I was recently invited to come to Las Vegas and participate in what was described as a free craps tournament. This particular casino sweetened the deal by informing me I would get free entry into the tournament, which awarded a $3000 grand prize, and three free nights at the hotel. The deal sounded really great so I called to make my reservations. The receptionist said all the other rules will be explained at the welcome cocktail party held for all the people invited to the craps tournament. My first mistake was to assume that this competition would be just like all the other ones I have been to in the past: each player uses house chips and the prize is awarded based on which player wins the most over the course of the tournament.
When I arrived at the casino, I attended the welcome party eager to learn more about this free craps tournament. The first thing I was told was that, instead of a normal craps game, this contest was actually a Sharpshooter Marathon. This means that each player’s roles would be tracked constantly and whoever rolled as the most over the 34 hour torment time limit would win. The next detail was even more unsettling. Each player was required to use his or her own money to play and place bets at the craps table.
The first rule was not very unusual. Each entrant was required to place a minimum $10.00 bet on the pass line or the don’t pass line. Line bets around $10.00 are not unusual or outside the bounds of normal craps tournament practices. It is also not very unusual for players to be required to use their own money. However, the people explaining the procedure went on to reveal their other rules and this is where things became strange.
Every person at the craps table was required to make that $10.00 bet on every other person at the table. This included other tournament participants and people not even taking part in the competition who might come over to the craps table to join in on the fun.
Despite this very strange and expensive rule, I decided to join in for the first tournament day. The cause of the high number of entrants and other players in the casino, I only got ahold of the dice to shoot two times in 90 minutes. It became painfully obvious that the casino would earn much more money than the $3000 prize just by making it the tournament entrance place a bet for everyone at the table with such a limited opportunity to actually shoot craps. I dropped out of that tournament early and spent the next two days kicking myself for making this trip to Las Vegas without first researching the rules and properly evaluating the craps tournament before I made the trip.
How can you avoid the same mistake I made? Learn this lesson in the next part of this article How to Evaluate a Craps Tournament (part 2)