Are some people walking around lucky and don't even know it?
By Johnny Sweet
I've been asked at times to write about some of my more interesting adventures. 
This is more of an observation than an adventure.

In the 1970's I owned and drove hydroplane racing boats. I had a chance to travel with some interesting guys and to observe some interesting things. 

In 1978 we where running hydroplane race boats in Canada. It was called the Grand Prix Circuit, or as some writers called it the traveling Grand Prix Carnival. At one of the races we where parked next to a race team from Washington State. At the time the big class, or fastest boats where in the Grand Prix class. Grand Prix boats race at speeds of 150 MPH plus. The engine of the day was a big block Chevy with a blower with over 1000 HP. The driver for the Washington State team was a young guy named "Chip" Hanauer. 

He had been racing from the time he was a youngster and came to the Grand Prix event with plenty of experience. While he was running some hot laps at speeds well over 150 MPH. He came down the front straightaway and the rudder casting on his hydroplane broke. He was traveling at 300' per second. Within a few seconds he got up and jumped out of the boat. The boat running at speed hit the shore line and traveled threw the park grounds for a distance of over 800' before coming to a stop. The boat didn't hit one person on it's trip across the grass and down a small trail. The driver wasn't seriously hurt, but had some bruises from the ordeal. He walked back up to the transporter truck and sat out the day. It seemed at the time that his team was more interested in there boat than if the driver was hurt. Our girls went over to see if he needed anything but he insisted he was OK. We ran our heats and made the finals with a respective finish. At the end of the day as we packed up for the trip back to the States we walked over and asked if they needed anything. The driver, Mr. Hanauer was a perfect gentleman and said "he was OK". The crew was another thing and not even worth mentioning. We made our way back home and got on with our lives never giving the event another thought.

Fast forward to November 1984 and we're at the APBA National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey. APBA is the American Power Boat Association. They're the sanctioning body that controls power boat racing in the US. Once a year they have their convention to go over rule changes and give awards for the past year's racing. A whole slew of things are covered at the National convention. The host hotel and convention center was at Caesar's Board Walk. Very similar to Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. During the daylight hours they had the world famous Miss Budweiser hydroplane parked on the board walk. As the dark would set in they would park the hydroplane at the entrance of Caesar's. It was a festive event with different functions going on all hours of the day and night. Not forgetting the casino and the gambling tournaments going on.

A few of my buddy's and I are old craps players and when we weren't racing hydroplanes and super modified race cars, we liked to compete in craps tournaments. That was the reason we where at Caesar's at the same time as the APBA convention. I was a CBF member. Canadian Boating Federation rules power boat racing in Canada. I raced hydroplanes almost exclusively in Canada and wasn't an APBA member. It was just by chance that we were there at the same time as the ABPA guys. It was on the second day of the convention at about 6:30 in the evening and we where playing craps at a table that had gone cold. Cold is when the table is loosing for what's called the pass line betters. As the players move on to other tables one by one the table became vacant on our end. A few minutes later up walks Chip Hanauer, Jim Lucero and Bernie Little, the owner of the Miss Budweiser hydroplane.

Craps tables are an interesting place. There always cramped and your shoulder to shoulder with the guy next to you and only a few feet from everyone else on your end of the table. By chance my buddy Brad and Chip are on opposite corners of the same end of the table separated by only two players. There almost looking into each others eyes. I had been saying for years that the two looked alike. They were about the same physical size except that Brad pushed iron. There hair was similar and they could pass for brothers. It was funny as hell these two guys looking at each other for about ten seconds. Just about this time another buddy of ours, Eddy, walks up to the table and starts laughing. Don't misunderstand me, Eddy laughs at everything. He looks at the two of them and can't believe it. He looks at me and said "you were right, they do". The whole time that this is going on the game keeps playing.

Bernie pulls out a couple of grand and throws it down on the what is called the come box. That's where you place your money for the dealers to pick up so that they can get your gambling chips. Bernie signals Chip to do the same. Hanauer places a few hundred  on the table. Lucero was another thing. He had no intention on doing any gambling and stood behind the two. In fact, he looked like he was pissed off just having to be there but these guys are true professionals and they always seem to do the right thing in public. Everyone gets there chips and the game continues. Bernie places his chips like an old pro. You could tell that he had played many a floating crap game in his time. You don't get that good without having played many an hour. A beginner he was not. He shows Chip how to place one green chip on the pass line directly below and in front of were Chips standing while he places a black chip on the pass line in front of himself. (Black chips are $100, green are $25, and red are $5). When you place your chip on the pass line your money is locked in. It's called a contract bet. When the game starts it's called a come out roll. The object of the game is for the shooter to throw a point 4,5,6,8,9,10. If a 2,3,or 12 is thrown then the front line, or pass line looses. If he throws a 7 or an 11 on the come out roll, it's a win. Any other number will be a point and the dealers mark's it up with a puck that's black on one side and white on the other. When the puck's black, it's coming out. Once the points established it's turned over and placed on the point with the white side is showing. The point is then marked on the table. Say it's a 5, then the 5 is what's called the point. The object of the shooter is to throw a point 5, before he throws a 7. A 7 is a loss.

The dice were coming from the other end of the table and they rolled a point. The shooter continued to roll and then the dreaded words "7 OUT, LINE AWAY". Everyone on the pass line lost. The marker (puck) was moved to black and the dealers call "place your bets there coming out, new shooter". Everyone places their money on the pass line. Bernie placed another black on the pass and Chip followed with a green. The sequence of events repeats itself a few more times and the dice are passed to Bernie. He repeats his pass line bet and makes a few side bets like an old pro. He throws the dice time after time and finally makes a point. The dealers hollers out "Winner, winner, winner, pay the line take the don'ts". All the pass line gets paid. It was the first win from the time they walked up and started playing. Dealers call "coming out shooter's has em". Bernie sends the dice down the other end. The whole time I was watching Chip. He had never played craps before but like all people that are full of life, he was in the zone as they say. His eyes where all over the table. Checking out the action. A craps table has a lot of activity going on There are 360 ways to win, or loose, and when the action is heavy it can get exciting. Bernie makes a couple of passes (wins) and finally 7's out line away. The dealer pass the dice to Chip. He picks them up and the dealer tells him he has to place a bet. In the excitement he forgot to place a chip on the pass line. He places a green on the pass line and throws the dice down the other end. He didn't hit the back board with the dice, and the dealer tells him "the dice must hit the back board sir". He threw a 7 on his come out roll. That was a win!, and all the table got paid. Whatever the bet that was down on the pass line they paid an equal amount. After all the players where paid, they pass the dice back to Chip and he threw them down the other end. The dice hit the backboard and he rolled an 11, winner! The dealers pay the line and the dice are passed to Chip. He sends them down the other end. 6 mark it up 6. The point was six. He continues to throw the dice and he makes his six. Winner 6! The line gets paid again. The strategy that I play is somewhat different. I'm a don't player. Meaning that I bet on the 7 to roll and then I win. I bet against shooter only three times.  If he's passing, I'm loosing. I stopped playing and was resigned to watch. Chip passed three more times and I new from experience that he was hot. But like an ass I stood there just watching and waiting for him to 7 out. He just kept passing and after he had passed 8 times  I placed a green $25 chip on the pass line. I had been playing in tournaments since '78 and had hundreds of hours at crap tables. When I guy is hot you have to go with him, but sometimes you're to late. My strategy when a guy is hot is to parley every win up to $5,000. (Parley is when you take the money you just won and stack it onto what you already have down.) $5,000 was the table limit. I works like this $25, $50, $100, $200, $400, $800, $1,600 ,$3,200. $3,200 will pay you $6,400. At this point you have to bet $5,000. and pick up the $1,400. The next win will be $5000. Ya, a lot of money. I was at $1,600 when Chip finally crapped out (7 out). If Chip had parleyed the original $25 he would have left the table with $31,400. Bernie made a few grand and was really pleased. Chip made a few hundred. Remember he lost over half of his by in earlier. You could see that he had a great time. It was probably the only time he ever shot craps and it was the best round  I ever saw. When your hot - you're hot, and when your not - you're not.

For those of you that don't know it, Chip Hanauer won the Unlimited Gold Cup for hydroplane racing an unprecedented  11 times. He must know that he's blessed but I always wondered if he knew how really lucky he was. I've been fortunate enough to be able to travel all over the world and view some very interesting events but this gentleman Mr. Chip Hanauer has got to be the luckiest man alive. It was an interesting observation. My buddy's couldn't believe his luck at the craps tables. 

They should have seen him racing hydroplanes.

I hope you enjoyed it.
Johnny Sweet

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