03/28/2008 02:45 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

On The Rolling Of Dice

You know, a lot has been made of this bit of banter from the Charlie Rose Show:

And fairly so. But, in truth, is a "roll of the dice" really so chancy? The fact is, if you are jaded enough to see a risk in any of the candidates for President, and are a savvy enough gambler to boot, then a "roll of the dice" is actually a pretty attractive proposition. Certainly more so than say, a "spin of the wheel," or a "turn at the slots," or "attempting to play blackjack at the same table as some Swingers wannabe from Silverlake who hits on all the wrong cards." Indeed, there are certain advantages to holding the bones in your hand, and when you add them up, you should let them roll.

1. Compared to other gambles, the roll of the dice has favorable odds.

The average craps table is a riot of dizzy and seemingly complicated betting, but with just a little knowledge, you can make bets that dramatically drop the house advantage. The Wizard of Odds informs that on "the most fundamental bet in craps," the pass line, the House edge is a low 1.41%, and from there, there are wagers you can make in any given round that raise your advantage considerably. Larry Edell at About.com notes, "Some of the more popular bets are pass line with maximum odds, don't pass with maximum odds, come bet with maximum odds, and don't come bet with maximum odds. If you play at a 100X odds table, the casino advantage here is only .02% or less! Where else can you find a better deal than that?"

2. It's a gamble that pays off in the long haul.

Edell notes two craps selling points that should be of interest to all Americans. First, "There are long, profitable streaks in craps." Second, "You can make money just by riding along with a good shooter." Given enough "dice rolls," over time, everyone can benefit. Now, it's been said that the irony of Bill Clinton's comment is that when he ran for President, he could have rightly been termed a similar "roll of the dice." But game recognizes game, right? And the "record economic expansion" - that long, profitable streak that benefited all of us along for the ride - that Clinton is said to have authored is still quite legendary in Democratic circles.

3. If you're looking for a quick reversal of fortune, a couple rolls of the dice can put you up fast.

And with a minimum of buy-in, too! Quoth Edell: "Bet just one lowly dollar on the two or twelve. If it wins you get $30! Let the $30 ride and if it wins you get $900! You've turned $1 into $900 in less than a minute! It's highly unlikely, but where else can you possibly win this kind of money in such a short amount of time?"

As it turns out, you could do a lot worse, as a gambler, to be betting on a "roll of the dice." And when you look at history, the dice roll has led to great things. Why, Julius Caesar, standing at the edge of the Rubicon, once said, "Alea iacta est (The die is cast)," and the Roman Empire was built on all the coming, seeing and conquering that followed.

A word of caution, though: In the end, things didn't turn out all that great for Caesar.