Colonel Craps System

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Conventional wisdom says that sometimes a betting system can make your gambling experience more intense, and if you’re lucky you can have some short-term success. But, you cannot beat the house edge in the long term. This is because each roll of the dice, spin of the wheel, or hand of cards dealt, is a completely random event. Independent and unrelated to the others.

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Against this conventional wisdom, I believe you can increase your chances of winning by changing your betting patterns. You cannot remove the house edge for an individual game, but the chances of you winning or losing a successive number of games in a row are substantially less. This is where betting systems play a part to increase your overall returns, lower your losses, and/or limit your risk depending on the strategy employed, and luck experienced in a given session.

It’s not necessary to win 50% of your hands to come out ahead. By structuring your bets correctly you can still come out ahead in a given session whilst loosing more than 50% of the time.

As an example, I use this betting strategy at the European Roulette table on even bets Red/Black, Odd/Even, and regularly come out ahead. Start with 1 unit/chip i.e. $10. If you win the first game stay at a $10 bet for the next game. If you loose, add another unit to make your second game in the round a $20 bet. If you win you’ve come out ahead for the round by one unit, in this case $10 and go back to a single unit bet of $10. If you loose add another unit betting $30 for the 3rd game. If you win this game, you’ve broken even for the round. Go back to a 1 unit bet of $10. I usually have a goal of winnings in mind that I need to reach before finishing the session. This would depend on the amount you’re betting, i.e. with a single unit of $10, my goal will normally be $200 before I end the session. If you are a high roller, add some 00’s to these numbers.

There are many different betting systems listed below that can be used for table games such as Roulette, Craps, Blackjack, Baccarat, etc. If we’ve missed any, send us a message, so that we can add it to the list.

Select the below links if you wish to access the full article for each Strategy.

  • Alexembert – An improvement of the d`Alembert progression system primarily used in Roulette.
    The increments between a stage of this progression are higher than in the original d`Alembert. Whereas the d’Alembert had a progression of 1, 2, 3 etc, with the Alexembert method, you can use 1, 3, 5 or 1, 4, 7 so the bet amounts increase by 2 or 3 each time as opposed to by 1. This aims to place lower bets during losing streaks and higher bets during winning streaks.
    Starting with a bet of 1 unit, after a loss the bet amount is increased to the next value, with a win it is reduced to the previous value or remains at 1 if this is not possible.
  • Anti-Martingale – In this betting system mainly used in Roulette a player can capitalize on a winning streak by doubling his bets. If you lose, you place the initial bet amount. There is no bankroll size limitation and the casino limits don’t effect you.
  • Ascot – This system is mostly used in Roulette but may also be applied with casino games like craps and baccarat.
    The Ascot betting system sees winning bets increase by one step at a time in an agreed list of amounts. Losing bets see the next bet decreased by one step.
    The Ascot series can be between 7 and 11 numbers, an example is 2 3 5 8 13 20 30.
    Your first bet would be a number in the middle such as 8. If you win this bet, move to 13 units for the next bet, if you lose decrease to 5 units and so on. The series will end when the last bet in the series, in this case, 30, is won or the first bet of 2 is lost.
  • ASM System – A simple betting strategy used primarily in Roulette. For this system, divide your bets into 30 equal units. The system is betting the following number of units: 1-1-2-2-4-4.
    Start betting 1 unit, if you win move to the next amount. If you lose on bet 1, 2 or 3, go back to bet number 1. If you lose on bet 4 or higher, go back to bet 3. Continue until you either lose your 30 units or win an amount you are happy with.
  • Beresford Progression – A progressive betting system for Roulette. This system is flexible and can be used in lots of different ways. Although it can result in good profits, the losses are limited making it a good system to try. The Beresford Progression works on a similar basis to the Labouchere System. However, reductions in bet amounts take place after lost bets as opposed to won bets using the Beresford Progression System.
    Starting with 1 1 1 1 1, each bet amount is determined by adding the first and last digit together, the total is then added to the end of the string of numbers. If the bet wins, the next bet is again the total of the first and last digit, with the new amount added to the end, if the bet loses, the first and last digits are crossed off and the next bet is the total of the new first and last digits.
  • Cancellation System by Henry Labouchere – The Cancellation System is for bets in Roulette such as Red/Black, Odd/Even or Pass/Don’t Pass in Craps. It is based on the idea that 2 even bets will come in around the same amount of times and if that happens in the short term whilst you are playing then you will finish the session ahead.
    Starting with 10 1’s on a sheet of paper, each time you bet you add up the left and right digits to determine how much you bet.

    If you win, cross both the first and last numbers out. If you lose the bet, add the total bet to the right-hand side of the row of numbers. The next bet will be the total of the new left hand and right-hand number added together.

  • Capitalization of profits – The Capitalization of Profits system is for casino games where you are playing against the house. Increase your bet size from wins, whilst building up a reserve at the same time.
    This system works by increasing the bet amount when winning and adding to a reserve pool to protect your initial bankroll.

    Split your starting stack into 20 separate bets and then you have ‘attacks’ which are a set number of bets together – when you gain 4 units, these are placed into a reserve to protect the starting capital.

  • Deance Progression – A Martingale double-up progression system for games where you are playing against the house. This system is based on the Martingale system, with less risk involved. The aim of this system is to gain a total of 4 units. Units are placed evenly into 4 columns, the first bet is the total of numbers in column 4, the 2nd bet the total of column 3. You will start with 4 columns with 1 in.
    If you get a winning bet, it is removed from the appropriate column – you will then have 3 columns with 1 in as the last column will be crossed off. If the bet is a loser then it is added to the far left empty column or added to each column from left to right. Therefore, if you lose your first bet, you will have 2, 1, 1, 1 in your four columns. If you have a losing bet of 2 or more units, these amounts are spread equally and added from left to right on the row below.

    By splitting any lost bets evenly over each column, the bet amount rises slower and means more than 40 consecutive losses are needed to reach the maximum bet size. With the Martingale double up system, each bet doubles after a loss so the table maximum can be reached very quickly meaning you cannot always recoup losses. Remember, the aim is only to win 4 units, so once you have won this amount, take your winnings and start again if you prefer.

  • Differential Betting System – A Modification of The Contre D`Alembert Progression for games where you are playing against the house. This system sees bet amounts increase after a win and decrease where possible after a loss.
    Starting with a one-unit bet, if you win, increase your next bet by 1 unit. If you lose on the first bet, place a further bet of 1 unit, if you lose after a win, reduce your next bet by 1 unit. All bets should be made on even money bets.
  • Double Street – The Double Street strategy is a low risk and conservative Roulette strategy. It is low risk as you are betting just 6 chips each round but covering 17 numbers in total.
    Place 6 chips of equal amounts as follows: 2 chips on a six-line bet, 2 chips on a different six line bet covering new numbers, 1 chip on a straight-up bet on any number and 1 chip on a corner bet covering 4 numbers.

    This results in a win of 4 units if you hit any of the numbers in the 2 six-line bets, 35 to 1 if the straight-up number comes in and a 2 unit win if any of the corner bet numbers come in.

  • Dual even money progression – A multiple progressive betting system for Roulette.
    This system involves placing 2 bets the opposite side of an even money bet – for example, Red/Black, Odd/Even or High/Low on Roulette.

    Following the Fibonacci progression on one bet – 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, you place another bet on the opposite side using the following units: 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256. The logic behind this is that you will lose at some point and this system minimizes losses by doubling the bet on the opposite colour meaning that when this colour comes out, you regain any losses on that colour plus one unit.

  • Even Chance Bets – An even chance betting system for Roulette players. In this system, we increase or decrease our next bet depending on the outcome.
    Choose your starting bet and if you lose, increase your bet by 20% for the next bet. If the bet is a winner, decrease your next bet by 10%.
  • Famous Progressions – A summary of well-known progressions. This is a simple system to learn but you will need a big bankroll in case of a bad run. Choose how much you want to bet to start and go for an even money bet. If you win, collect your winnings and start again, if you lose, double your previous bet. Continue like this until you win, after which time start from the initial bet amount again.
  • Fast Double Bet – An aggressive strategy for Roulette, Blackjack, or other games where house edge is low. Playing all 3 even money chance bets on the Roulette table at the same time, place 1 unit on each. If you get a win, place the winnings plus 1 more unit, so 3 units again, if this wins, place the winnings – 6 units – plus one more, so 7 in total. If you lose, start with 1 unit again.
  • Flat Bet Counting – The Flat Bet Counting system is a Money management system for Roulette.
    You need to split your play into 3 equal segments – this could be time or number of spins – and decide on a loss amount at which point you will take a break. The aim of the 1st level is to make a profit equal to 10% of bankroll, the 2nd level is to try and win any losses from the 1st level if necessary and the 3rd level is to win back total losses and try and make a small profit. You will only move to levels 2 and 3 if the current level fails.
    Level 1 is about winning 10% of bankroll so we recommend you place bets equal to 1% of bankroll and continue until you either win 10 units – 10% – or reach the limit for segment 1.
  • Fractional Betting – In Baccarat, Blackjack and Roulette this strategy considers 2 losses, or 2 wins as the beginning of a trend where you will bet accordingly. Starting with bets totaling 3 times the table minimum, you increase your bet amount by a third after 2 wins and decrease it by two thirds after 2 losses. You may need to get some small denomination chips to get the bet amounts as accurate as possible.
    This is aimed at maximizing winning trends and minimizing losses on losing trends. Although this system will not get you big wins, you will get a nice profit when you hit a good winning streak.
  • Garcia System – When playing Roulette this system takes advantage of the occasional long runs of ‘Even Chance’. The 3 bet amounts are 1 unit, 3 units, and 7 units.
    Watch the first spin, then bet one unit on the opposite of the winning bet. For example, if red comes in, bet 1 unit on black. If you win, the sequence starts again on the opposite bet, so if you bet 1 unit on black and black comes in, you start the sequence – 1 unit – on red.
    If you lose the first bet, stay with the losing value but bet 3 units. If this wins, start the sequence again on the opposite value, if you lose, stay with it and bet 7 units.
  • The Guetting Progression – The Guetting Progression system is a progressive system for even number bets in Roulette. It is based on the idea of a progressive system, which starts small and then increases at a faster rate if wins are coming. There are 4 levels of play – in level 1 you bet 2 units per spin, level 2 either 3, 4 or 6 units, level 3 is 8, 12 or 16 units and level 4 consists of bets of 20, 30 or 40 units.
    Starting at level 1, any 2 consecutive wins see you move up to a higher bet in your current level or move to the lowest amount in the next level up. Any loss at the first attempt of a level means you go back to the lowest bet on that level or back down a level.
  • Guetting Progression Part II – Same as above.
  • Half Peak – The same as the Alexembert with a slightly helpful modification: the half peak mechanism. This is a very simple betting system to learn. Start with any bet amount you wish, if you win, decrease the bet by 1 unit, if you lose, increase it by 1 unit.
    If you win and then lose or lose and then win, you will make a 1 unit profit, keep going with the system for as long as you wish and if you win one of the last 2 bets you will end up with a small profit.
  • Hollandish System – A progression system for table games. Starting with a bet of one unit, you continue at this level until you get your first win, then increase the bet to 3 units. Again, continue to bet 3 units per spin until your next win when you increase to 5, the next win 7, then 9, etc. Continue until you reach an amount where you are either happy to walk away with the profits or hit your maximum loss amount.
  • Martingale – The Martingale system is one of the most popular and is for even money bets like Odd/Even, Black/Red or High/Low for Roulette and Pass/Don’t Pass in Craps.It is a very simple system to learn – every time a bet is lost, double your stake for the next bet. On even money bets, by the law of averages, you won’t be far from a winning bet and when you do you will get all your losses back.
    However, following this plan can lead to high bet amounts if you go on a bad run so you will need to ensure you have a good bankroll and the table limits are high to allow you to keep playing for as long as possible before hitting them.
  • Oscar’s Grind – The Oscar’s Grind system is a popular system with many players.Starting with a bet of 1 unit – the amount is up to you and will depend on bankroll – keep betting on any even money bet until you win one. If you lose, the next bet remains the same amount, if you win then it is increased by 1 unit for the next bet. This continues until you recap any previous losses and come out 1 unit ahead at which point you start the series again with a bet of 1 unit.
  • Piquemouche Method – Based on the Martingale betting system, the Piquemouche sees you bet each level 3 times instead of the 1 time before doubling the bet amount. This sees your betting more prudent than the Martingale system but it does mean that you need more than 1 win before you break even. Whereas the Martingale system doubles the bet amount after you lose, with this system your bet amounts would be 1,1,1,2,2,2,4,4,4,8,8,8, etc.
    On each level, you only double the bet when you lose 3 times more than you win. If you win 3 times more than you lose on any level, you are in profit and you start again from 1 unit.
  • Pluscoup Progression – The Pluscoup Progression system is a winning or ‘up as you win’ system. It is similar to other systems in that it is for use on even money bets but is more aggressive than most so you will need a larger bankroll. Start with a bet of 1 unit – the value of which will depend on your bankroll. Should this bet win then you take your profit and bet 1 unit again. If you lose, the bet amount stays as 1 unit until you register your first win, after which it increases to 2 units.
    If you are still down after a win, continue this way by increasing the next bet by 1 unit each time you win until you find yourself ahead, at which point go back to 1 unit for your first bet and start the system again.
  • Pyramid System – Known as either the D’Alembert system of Pyramid system, this is one of the most popular systems for roulette.Based on the Martindale system but with smaller risk, you start by betting 1 unit and continue to do so until you lose. After your first loss, the bet amount goes up by 1 unit. After the next bet, if you win the bet amount reduces by 1 unit, if you lose again it goes up by one unit.
    Continue this way – increasing the next bet by 1 unit if your bet loses and reduce it by 1 unit if your bet wins.
  • Small Wins System – The aim of this system is to win a small percentage of your bet over a number of spins. The formula for working out what to bet is X/Y where X is the amount you wish to win and Y is the number of spins over which you want to win this amount. Start by placing a bet of the amount you wish to win – so X – if you win a bet, deduct the amount you won from X and 1 from Y and play again. When you lose a bet, add the loss amount to X and add one to Y.
  • Stan’s System – This is a simple to work out system that sees you reduce your bet when you win and increase on a loss. To start, write down consecutive numbers up to double the number of bets you are happy to lose, so for example, if we take 10, you would write down 1 to 20. Starting in the middle, so in the above case 10, bet 10 units on an even money bet. If you win, reduce your bet by 1 to 9, if you lose, increase it by 1 to 11. Keep going this way until you either get to the 1 or 20.
  • Star alternative progression – The Star system works by slowly increasing bet amount when a bet is lost and works best for Blackjack.Betting each level twice, you start off with a bet of 1 unit and continue at this level until a bet is lost. The first time a bet loses, the bet amount stays the same, the next time you move up a level and bet 2 units. You continue in this way until you either win an amount you are happy with or you lose twice on the final bet level, at which point there is a recovery level which has bigger bets, lose on the recovery level and there is a 2nd recovery level to try and recuperate losses.
    Should a game of blackjack be lost that involves either doubling or splitting – so the bet amount is doubled – this counts as 2 losses instead of one.
  • Stepladder System – In this system, each number is the equivalent of a rung on a ladder.The aim is the get to the top of the ladder by increasing one rung at a time. As with a normal ladder, each rung must be fairly close together. Each number represents a betting unit of your choice depending on your bankroll.
    Start by betting 5 units and simply move up a rung when you win and down one when you lose.
  • Stretched d’ Alembert – This method is unsurprisingly based on the original d’Alembert method. The Stretched d’Alembert method involves several bets at each stage thus ensuring we never bet too much in a single go.The new levels would be as follows: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 3.1, 3.2 etc.
    The sequence of 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4 and 1.5 are bets using 1 unit before we raise the bet to 2 units. We then play the sequence of 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4 and 2.5 with 2 units before raising to 3 units etc. The betsize is reduced in the same manner.
  • The Sure Win Method – A system for even money bets in Roulette, Blackjack, Craps, and Baccarat. The principle for this method is that all even chance bets repeat themselves quite frequently. Put your first bet on any even chance outcome. If you win, leave both units on that bet. If you win a second time, return your next bet to one unit. Repeat the above on every session. If you lose, use the next bet in the progression to try and get a parlay.


    Remember, on any profit return to the start of the series. Decide before you start where your level of comfort is and use that as your decision as to how long to go on for.

  • The Zero Factor – The Zero Factor betting system aims to cover all even money bets – including both sides of each.Whilst this may sound a losing strategy as you will lose if zero comes out and break even if it doesn’t, the key is the amount you bet on each side of the even money bets.
    You can reduce the amount lost if 0 comes out and if done correctly, is not as silly as it may sound.
  • Thomas Elrod System – This system uses a debit column and control number to determine the amount of the next bet. Elrod himself used 100 units as the initial debit amount and 20 as the control.
    Divide the debt amount by the control amount to determine the amount for the next bet, if you lose, add the loss amount to the debit column and divide again, if the bet is a winner, subtract from the control figure, and the win amount from the debit column and divide again.
  • Tier et Tout – This system is a winning progression and therefore sees the total bet amount rise slowly depending on how you are doing.
    Decide how much you wish to bet and then take 1 third of it for your first bet. If this bet loses, bet the remaining 2 thirds of the bet on the next go. If the first or second bets win, increase the original bet amount to include the profit and then bet 1 third of this amount next go. If both bets lose, start again with the same bet amount and bet 1 third.
    If you can avoid 2 losses in a row, the winnings can go up at a nice rate.
  • Unorthodox Even Chances – This system is a combination of the Martingale and Cancellation Systems.
    Watch 15 spins on the roulette wheel and make a note of which even money bet comes in the most. You can then choose whether to play with an unorthodox Martingale or unorthodox Cancellation System.
    The Martingale plays for a couple of wins whilst the Cancellation plays through one full set of numbers.
  • Whittacker Progression for Doz & Col bets – This system uses bets with odds of 2 to 1 rather than even money bets, so for example on Roulette, it may be Column bets.
    The following starting sequence is used:
    1. bet 1 unit
    2. bet 1 unit
    3. bet 2 units if you win on the first bet, your profit is 2 units. If you win on the second bet, your profit is 1 unit. If you win on the third bet, your profit is 2 units. In each of these cases you start the progression again with the same sequence: 1 – 1 – 2

    If you lose the first 3 bets, the next bet is determined as follows: If you have a negative balance of between 4 and 9 units the balance is divided by 2. If you have a negative balance of between 10 and 21 units the balance is divided by 3. If you have a negative balance of between 22 and 100 units the balance is divided by 4. If you have a negative balance of over 100 units the balance is divided by 5. If the result of the division is not a whole number, then this number is always rounded up.

  • Winning Edge Roulette – This system works best on even money roulette bets, so red or black, odd or even etc.
    Starting with 1, 1, 2, bet the first number in your sequence. If you win, you bet the first and last numbers in the sequence. If you lose, you add the total bet lost to the right of the numbered sequence and then start by betting the first number again.
    Continue like that – If you win, bet first and last, if you lose add the total bet to the right and play with the first amount again.

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The following is a list of characters in the 1961 novel Catch-22 by Joseph Heller.

Significant characters[edit]

  • Yossarian

Captain John Yossarian is a fictional character in Joseph Heller's novel Catch-22 and its sequel Closing Time, and the protagonist of both books. In Catch-22, Yossarian is a 28-year-old Captain (later Major) and the bombardier of a North American B-25 Mitchell in the 256th Bombardment Squadron of the Army Air Corps, stationed on the small island of Pianosa off the Italian mainland during World War II. Yossarian's exploits are based on the experiences of the author; Heller was also a bombardier in the Air Corps, stationed on an island off the coast of Italy during World War II. Yossarian is described as a tall, broad, Assyrian man, who frequently causes vast amounts of panic by starting rumors or orchestrating events that either keep him out of direct battle or somehow usurp authority. Examples of these exploits include: poisoning the mess hall with bath soap, accepting an award for his achievements without clothing, and moving the bombing line so his squadron won't have to fly.

  • Chaplain Tappman

Tappman (also called R. O. Shipman in some editions) is a naïve Anabaptist minister from Kenosha, Wisconsin. As he is extremely timid and terrified of authority, the chaplain is tormented throughout the novel by his rude, manipulative, atheist assistant, Corporal Whitcomb. Easily intimidated by the cruelty of others, the Chaplain is a kind, gentle, and sensitive man who worries constantly about his wife and children at home. He is described as a man of 32 years of age with tan hair, brown eyes, and a narrow, pale face. His sister is a Master Sergeant in the Marines.

  • Colonel Cathcart

A full colonel, Chuck Cathcart is a group commander at the U.S. Army Air Corps base in Pianosa and is obsessed with becoming a general. As such, he does whatever it takes to please his superiors, in particular, by repeatedly raising the number of missions the men have to fly to complete a tour of duty beyond that normally required by other outfits. Ironically, this provokes no reaction from the generals, who are apathetic to the war efforts, but becomes the bane of Yossarian's and Hungry Joe's lives. He is a 36 year old man with short graying curly hair, a tall yet beefy build, extremely pale skin, and a huge host of self-confidence issues. He is described as mildly conceited, and yet is found to be constantly comparing himself to others, often finding himself displeased with the conclusions he reaches. Cathcart is also obsessed with forging and maintaining a public image of extreme masculinity, most likely due to his apparent insecurity.

  • Doctor Daneeka

Dr. Dan Daneeka is the squadron flight surgeon and a friend of the novel's protagonist, Yossarian. Doc Daneeka's main motivation is for his own welfare, whether that be making money or protecting his own life. He generally forgets his moral duty as a physician except in the most extreme of circumstances. Doc Daneeka feels the military is responsible for him being drafted into the war effort and putting him in harm's way, because they were distrustful of him when he lied on his drafting papers about his health. He is constantly scared of upsetting his superiors who may see fit to then ship him off to the far more dangerous South Pacific. Already he sees it as military cruelty to have been assigned to the Air Corps even though he is scared of flying. His catchphrase could be seen as 'You think you have it bad? Well what about me?' since his self-centeredness ensures his thoughts are constantly centered on himself.

  • Milo Minderbinder

First Lieutenant Milo Minderbinder is the mess officer at the U.S. Army Air Corps base and he becomes obsessed with expanding mess operations and trading goods for the profits of the syndicate (in which he and everyone else 'has a share'). Milo is a satire of the modern businessman, and beyond that is the living representation of capitalism, as he has no allegiance to any country, person or principle unless it pays him and profit is generated. Milo even begins contracting missions for the Germans, fighting on both sides in the battle at Orvieto and bombing his own squadron. He is capable of extreme self-justification by means of his own personal virtues or morals; in a way, his personality is almost sociopathic.

  • Lieutenant Nately

Nately's family originally enlisted him to serve in the Air Corps, believing the war would be over by the time he finished his training and that he would mingle with 'gentlemen.' Therefore, Nately could gain the pride of enlisting without actually having to fight. Instead, he mingled with Yossarian and Dunbar, and was sent overseas. He lives in a tent with McWatt next to Havermeyer's tent. His most notable contribution in the book is his involvement with a whore, 'Nately's Whore,' who is for the most part uninterested in him until he saves her from a sleepless night with generals, thus giving her an opportunity to get some sleep. He is often filled with American optimism, shown by his desire to marry his whore and send her kid sister to a respected college in the United States. He is killed on a mission when Dobbs flies his plane into Nately's. Nately's Whore blames Yossarian and spends the rest of the book trying to murder him.

  • Orr

A bomber pilot in the squadron who is continually being shot down and having to crash land in the sea. Described as 'a warm-hearted, simple-minded gnome,' Orr is the only person in the group considered to be crazier than his good friend Yossarian, with whom he shares a tent. Orr appears to take great joy in thoroughly confounding those around him by being completely nonsensical, however this is later revealed to most likely be a part of his escape plan. He is declared 'missing in action' halfway through the novel after crashing his plane in the Mediterranean, but by the end it's revealed that he had rowed to the neutral zone in Sweden to escape the army. That’s why is name is “Orr” (oar). At this point, Yossarian realizes that Orr's constant crashes had been part of his plan and his survival inspires Yossarian to finally flee the army.

  • Snowden

Snowden is a radio-gunner, a member of Yossarian's crew; when their aircraft is hit by anti-aircraft fire and Snowden is wounded, Yossarian attempts to treat his visible wounds, but misses a terrible, fatal, wound hidden by his clothing. This incident is generally referred to in the novel as 'the death over Avignon'. Snowden's death acts as the catalyst for the change in Yossarian's mentality.

  • Captain Aardvaark

Captain Aardvaark (called Aarfy) is the navigator in Yossarian's B-25 bomber (but only when Yossarian is flying in the lead ship – hence Aarfy's sporadic appearances in the air in the novel). He is oblivious to incoming flak, repeatedly gets lost on missions, and always smokes a pipe. Yossarian comments that Aarfy is just not intelligent enough to be afraid of the war. He befriends Nately in the hope of working for Nately's wealthy father after the war. Aarfy sees himself as moral and protects well-connected women from the sexual advances of other officers, but he ends up raping and murdering the innocent maid Michaela. When asked by Yossarian why he didn't simply hire a prostitute, he repeats his common admonition that 'Old Aarfy has never paid for it.' He shows no remorse for these crimes until he begins to worry that he might be brought to justice for them.

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  • Lieutenant (later Colonel and eventually General) Scheisskopf

Scheisskopf is the training unit commander for Yossarian and Clevinger, and takes a particular dislike to Clevinger. Even though Clevinger is just as serious about parades as Scheisskopf, and his ideas help the squadron win multiple parades, Scheisskopf still considers him a 'wise guy', and someone that needs to be 'brought down a peg or two.' He is also described as being at constant odds with his wife's masochistic libido as his severe love for parades leaves him too busy to pay any attention to her. Scheisskopf is an ambitious and humorless man who is absolutely in love with war and is only happy in life when the opposing side is losing.

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Other characters[edit]

  • Appleby – A fair haired, young pilot from Iowa. He is described as being 'as good at shooting craps as he was at playing ping-pong, and he was as good at playing ping-pong as he was at everything else.' Appleby's character appears to represent those who thrive to a certain extent within a bureaucratic system and feel threatened by others who do not play along as much as they would like them to. He follows regulations without question and does everything he is supposed to do, managing to succeed with minimal effort at whatever he does. He believes in God, the Motherhood, and the American Way of Life.
  • Captain Black – Because of the lack of risk involved in not flying missions, Captain Black wanted to take over Major Duluth's position as squadron commander when the Major was killed over Perugia. He was thwarted in this by the appointment of Major Major to the position. Captain Black also constantly mocks his fellow countrymen at the Pianosa airbase when they are faced by dangerous missions, by constantly telling everyone to 'eat your liver.' Since he is the camp's intelligence officer, he is not on combat duty and can therefore maintain his gleeful attitude to the men risking their lives in the air. Black is a paranoid anti-Communist and pressures all the men to take loyalty oaths, but out of personal spite prevents Major Major from taking one. He is also notable for deliberately seeking out Nately's Whore on his visits to Rome, and gleefully describing these meetings to Nately.
  • Colonel Cargill – Before the war, Cargill was a successful, though completely untalented, marketing executive who was well known for being completely terrible at his job. In the Air Force, Colonel Cargill provided his legendary lack of skills as General Peckem's troubleshooter.
  • Clevinger – A highly principled, highly educated man who acts as Yossarian's foil within the story. He is a Harvard graduate whom Yossarian characterises as having 'lots of intelligence but zero brains'. Clevinger is very unmoving in his own opinions and is further described as such: excessively philosophical, politically a humanitarian, lacking in social tact, and a person of all facts but no passion. His optimistic view of the world causes Yossarian to consider him to be a 'dope,' and he and Yossarian each believe the other to be crazy. Yossarian also comments that Clevinger crusades against bigotry by balking in its face, proving Clevinger to be an extremely submissive character. During basic training he is brought to trial and found guilty on phony charges by Lt. Scheisskopf. His plane mysteriously vanishes in a cloud and he's never seen again.
  • Lieutenant Coombs – The previous assistant intelligence officer. He also dies in the same plane crash that kills Kraft.
  • Nurse Cramer – Nurse Duckett's best friend. She is a shapely, pretty, young girl who refuses to have any relations with the men at all, so Yossarian dislikes her. After Nurse Duckett starts a relationship with Yossarian, puritanical Nurse Cramer stops speaking to her.
  • Major Danby – The fighting group operations officer. An intellectual college professor with a passive and somewhat melancholic yet serene outlook on life who sees himself as a poor match for the armed services due to his lack of aggression. He briefs the airmen on upcoming missions and often acts as a mediator for disputes between enlisted men and as a confidant to most of the officers.
  • Mrs. Daneeka – Doc Daneeka's wife. When the doctor is mistakenly declared dead after listing himself fraudulently on a flight manifest for a doomed flight, she finds herself suddenly rich and widowed, and moves away, leaving no forwarding address.
  • Major —— de Coverley – Major —— de Coverley has a terrifying visage in the Biblical tradition, so much so that men will do his desires without his even saying a word, and no one dares ask his first name. The exact nature of the Major's duties within the bomber group is uncertain. He is Major Major's executive officer, but at the squadron base in Pianosa his only official duties are pitching horseshoes, renting apartments for the soldiers on rest leave, and kidnapping Italian laborers to help around the base. He also rapidly put an end to Captain Black’s 'Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade' by demanding that he be “given eat” then demanding that they “give everybody eat”. His frequent appearance during the fall of major cities makes him an object of interest to intelligence agencies on both sides, neither of which can identify him.
  • General Dreedle – The commander of the U.S. Army Air Corps base in Pianosa, Dreedle is an exceedingly blunt, ill-tempered, simple, no-nonsense man. He is an archetypal no-nonsense military man who does not care what the men under his command do as long as they fight and die unquestioningly when given orders. Despite this, he is generally apathetic to the war effort (having lost all drive after he was made General and he found he had 'nothing more to aim for') and now mostly busies himself with harassing his son-in-law, Colonel Moodus. He despises Moodus simply because he hates weddings and does not wish to attend another one. His arch-rival is General Peckem, head of Special Services in Rome; the two men frequently have their disputes mediated without their knowledge by the desk clerk, ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen.
  • Dobbs – Originally a healthy young man, the effects of excessive combat missions have shot Dobbs' nerves, and when the narration of the book begins he is emotionally unstable and physically spent. He is described as being one of the worst pilots in the corps and his mid-air panic leads him to snatch the controls of the plane away from Huple, when Snowden is killed. He plots to kill Colonel Cathcart but will only do it if Yossarian tells him it's a good idea, which Yossarian never does. He dies in the mid-air crash that kills Nately.
  • Nurse Duckett – At the start of the novel Nurse Duckett does not like Yossarian but later on she has a relationship with Yossarian which jeopardizes her friendship with Nurse Cramer. She breaks off her affair with Yossarian when she decides to marry a doctor, and realizes she should not jeopardize her chances by carrying on openly with Yossarian.
  • Dunbar – An airman stationed at the same base as Yossarian, on the island of Pianosa. He and Yossarian seem to have similar personalities, and so they make fast friends. Like Yossarian, Dunbar's chief goal is to prolong his life to whatever extent possible, often by cultivating boredom. He frequently accompanies Yossarian in the hospital, faking injuries to stay out of combat like his friend does. He is later 'disappeared' by the army when he becomes rebellious and unstable.
  • Major Duluth – The previous squadron commander. He was killed over Perugia.
  • Dori Duz – Scheisskopf's wife's close friend. A lively “tart” who has relations with all the men in the company once as she refuses to sleep with anyone she finds to be mediocre again. Thus, she sleeps with Yossarian once and he spends a small part of the novel pining after her since he knows she doesn't want him.
  • Captain Flume – Captain Flume is the squadron's public relations officer, until he moves out of the trailer he shares with Chief White Halfoat after Halfoat jokingly threatens to slit Flume's throat open from ear to ear. He spends most of the book living like a hermit in the woods, which gradually drives him insane.
  • Giuseppe (the soldier who sees everything twice) – A delirious soldier who creates a panic in the hospital by shouting, 'I see everything twice!' Yossarian imitates him (by seeing two fingers regardless of whether a doctor holds up one, two, or none) and later impersonates him when he dies. The soldier's family does not notice that Yossarian is not their son.
  • Gus and Wes – Doc Daneeka's two orderlies, whose main activity is to paint airmen's gums and toes purple with gentian violet solution. They are extremely efficient and have a list of steps on determining if someone is sick so that there will be certainty when diagnosing. Daneeka hates them because they refuse to declare him ill so that he can go home.
  • Havermeyer – Havermeyer lives in the tent next to Yossarian's, and according to Colonel Cathcart he is 'the best damn bombardier we've got.' This was because he insists on flying his plane dead straight to, over, and past the target despite any anti-aircraft fire he receives. Yossarian despises him because of his insistence in putting his (Yossarian's) life at stake. He is also slightly unstable and enjoys shooting mice at night with the gun he stole from the dead man in Yossarian's tent. He and Appleby are the most hated enlisted men in the company. However, despite their love of duty, even Havermeyer begins to hate the constant raising of the number of missions and even considers going on strike with Yossarian by the end of the novel. He also shows a dislike of Appleby himself.
  • Huple – A fifteen-year-old pilot who lied about his age to get into the Army. He shares a tent with Hungry Joe on the wrong side of the railway tracks and is shy, nervous but is a thoroughly idealistic patriot, which is why Yossarian feels sorry for him; he feels he'll probably die too young. He has a cat that constantly sleeps on Hungry Joe's face. He is the pilot flying when Snowden dies over Avignon.
  • Hungry Joe – A perverted soldier who is noted for constantly trying to photograph women nude, claiming to be a photographer for Life magazine (which, ironically, he was before the war, although none of his pictures developed correctly). He is the only pilot who consistently finished the required number of missions (but was forced to continue flying as his paperwork was always delayed until the flight limit was elevated) and has screaming nightmares until he's ordered back onto combat status. He enjoys randomly choosing diseases to worry about at will. He dies when he's suffocated by Huple's cat.
  • Sergeant Knight – The turret gunner on Yossarian's plane; he accidentally begins a panic prior to the Bologna operation when he brings extra flak jackets, causing everyone to think the target is deadly.
  • Corporal Kolodny – Captain Black's despised assistant. He erroneously reports that Bologna has been captured by the Allies after Yossarian surreptitiously redraws the lines on the battle map. Kolodny is forced to sign hundreds of loyalty oaths in Black’s name each day.
  • Lieutenant Colonel Korn – Colonel Cathcart's intellectual assistant and right-hand man. Korn appears along Cathcart throughout the novel and it becomes clear to the reader that Korn does most of the thinking and most of the work for Cathcart, who only takes the credit. Korn is portrayed as much more relaxed and less ostentatious than his superior, but much more sadistic and cynical. Much like Cathcart he has ambitions for higher military ranks but chooses to be below Cathcart and remain outside the limelight so that, if something goes wrong, Cathcart will take the fall instead of him.
  • Kraft – A man killed at the bombing of a bridge at Ferrara. Yossarian blames himself, as he ordered the planes back after they missed the first time. He was a skinny, harmless kid from Pennsylvania who only wanted to be liked. It is later revealed that his death was actually Aarfy’s fault because he didn't accurately navigate them.
  • Luciana – A woman whom Yossarian briefly dates in Rome and whom he spends a great deal of the second half of the book looking for, without success. She refuses to marry Yossarian because she believes he’s crazy for wanting to marry her at all.
  • Major Major Major Major – The ineffectual squadron commander of the base in Pianosa, who was named Major Major Major by his father as a joke – passing up the lesser possibilities of 'Drum Major, Minor Major, Sergeant Major, or C Sharp Major' – and was later made a Major by an IBM machine with a sense of humor. He is disliked by most of the enlisted men in Pianosa because he was promoted so suddenly and he chooses to remain isolated from the other people at the base, letting Sergeant Towser handle the operations of the base. He doesn't allow people to see him in his office while he is in his office, they can only see him when he isn't there. He utilizes Yossarian's pen name, Washington Irving, to shirk out of official document duties which eventually leads to the terrible fate the chaplain is met with. Major Major is also extremely obedient because he just wants to be well-liked, however he is instead constantly being promoted because nobody actually likes him at all.
  • McWatt – The pilot of Yossarian's plane, one of his closest friends and Nately's roommate as well. A young man who appears to be very calm and serene and whom Yossarian considers to be crazy because he remains sane during the war. He enjoys flying his plane low to scare Yossarian, which eventually leads Yossarian choking him and threatening to murder him during one of their combat training sessions. After this, McWatt seems to realize that Yossarian might actually be going insane. However, he conceals his increasing panic and madness, which eventually erupts after he accidentally kills Kid Sampson by slicing him in half with a plane propeller, driving him to commit suicide by stalling and crashing his plane into a mountain.
  • Major Metcalf – One of the judges presiding over the Action Board during Clevinger's trial. He is extremely cowardly and strongly resembles Clevinger in many ways, inevitably leading to him being shipped away as well at the end of the trial.
  • Michaela – The poor, plain, simple-minded, hard-working young maid who works in the apartments where Yossarian and his unit stay while in Rome. She is a sweet and innocent girl who doesn't speak English and whom the enlisted men mostly leave alone, except when they mock her in English so she can't understand them. She is raped and murdered by Aarfy, who simply dismisses the murder as inconsequential because he's 'good old Aarfy, who never pays for it'.
  • Colonel Moodus – General Dreedle's son-in-law, whom the general hates and constantly tries to harass and have demoted. Moodus thinks Dreedle is a know-it-all that cannot take criticism.
  • Lieutenant Mudd – More frequently referred to as 'the dead man in Yossarian's tent,' Mudd was killed in action before officially joining the squadron. Due to the bureaucratic uncertainty over the status of Mudd, no one will accept responsibility for Mudd and his belongings, and Sergeant Towser refuses to accept the man existed at all.
  • Colonel Nevers – The colonel who held Cathcart's position before he was killed on Yossarian's 23rd mission.
  • General P P Peckem – A pompous, pretentious and highly delusional general who desperately wants to take over General Dreedle's post as the superior commanding officer of Pianosa. Because of this ambition, he has a vicious rivalry with Dreedle and constantly tries to undermine him and have him demoted. His attempts are mostly thwarted without his knowledge by desk clerk ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen, who enjoys making Peckem look foolish.
  • Piltchard and Wren – Two captains in charge of squadron operations that are always mentioned in tandem and are in charge of organizing combat crews for missions. They are sympathetic towards Yossarian, despite his desire to avoid missions. Both are described as mild, soft-spoken men who are average in pretty much every aspect and yet, strangely enough, love flying and so, they assign themselves to every single mission.
  • Corporal Popinjay – The clerk present at Clevinger's trial; he is imprisoned for being too specific in his shorthand.
  • Kid Sampson – An underaged soldier killed by the propeller of McWatt's airplane. The event drives McWatt to suicide which in turn causes Doc Daneeka's bureaucratic 'death'.
  • Major Sanderson – A neurotic psychiatrist who is convinced that Yossarian is mentally unstable because he acts rationally.
  • Mrs. Scheisskopf – Scheisskopf is always too busy planning parades to fulfill his wife's masochistic sexual fantasies. Instead, she sleeps with Scheisskopf's cadets, so they can all get revenge on her husband and she can get back at him for the lack of attention. She purports to be atheist but is actually a devout believer.
  • Sammy Singer – The tailgunner on Yossarian's bomber when Snowden dies. While he is just a minor character in Catch-22, he becomes one of the main characters in the sequel, Closing Time.
  • Corporal Snark – The mess sergeant before Milo Minderbinder. He was demoted for purposely poisoning sweet potatoes with soap chips, giving the squadron diarrhea, which he did at Yossarian's request. Snark is now referred to as Milo's 'first chef'.
  • Dr. Stubbs – The doctor in Dunbar's squadron who grounds any pilot who requests it. He falls into an existential crisis after Colonel Korn shuts down his medical tents.
  • Sergeant Towser – Major Major's assistant; he prevents anyone from seeing the Major while he is in his office, and only allows them in when the Major is gone. Due to Major Major's unwillingness to see anyone, Towser is the de facto head of the 256th squadron. He has a lean, angular build, extremely blonde hair, huge teeth, and sunken cheeks. Towser also holds no desire for a promotion or any interest in the war.
  • Corporal Whitcomb – An atheist who constantly antagonizes and looks to usurp Chaplain Tappman, his direct superior. He is openly rude and contemptuous, absolutely detests his seclusion in the woods, and is very easily offended.
  • Chief White Halfoat – An American Indian whose family was forced to move from wherever they settled because oil was always discovered. He is transferred to Pianosa after Wintergreen strikes an oil pipe and nearly drowns. In the army, he works as Captain Black's assistant. He jokingly threatens to slit Captain Flume's throat while he sleeps, which accidentally drives Flume to paranoid madness. After this, he becomes Doc Daneeka's tent mate and terrorizes him as well. During the Siege of Bologna, he decides that he will eventually die of pneumonia, which he ultimately does.
  • Ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen – An ex-P.F.C. because of his constant urge to go AWOL, Wintergreen has been demoted so many times that he entertains hopes of becoming an ex-general. Due to his position in charge of mail distribution, he wields a great amount of power in the novel. By forging documents and destroying mail, he becomes more powerful than the generals. His main concern throughout the novel is humiliating General Peckem because he was the first person to have demoted him. He also frequently butts heads with Milo as they are both in the black market business.

Unnamed characters[edit]

Colonel Craps System Reviews

  • The C.I.D. InvestigatorsThe first CID man is sent to investigate the excessive censoring being done by a soldier named 'Washington Irving', the alias Yossarian made up to supplement his own boredom with mild amusement. He enters the hospital, posing as a patient initially, then ironically comes down with pneumonia and is required to actually stay in the hospital. The second CID man is sent to investigate the continued use of 'Washington Irving's name, however this time it was at the hands of Major Major. He goes undercover as a pilot but blows his cover by telling everyone who he is. The two investigators end up pursuing each other instead of making any actual headway in their own cases.
  • Dreedle's girl – Allegedly a nurse, she follows General Dreedle wherever he goes. She is a very attractive woman and Dreedle keeps her around to torment his son-in-law, Colonel Moodus, hoping to catch him in an adulterous situation for which he can punish him.
  • The maid with the lime-colored panties A woman with whom Yossarian paradoxically falls in love because she is the only woman that Yossarian can't possibly fall in love with. Her charm lies in how willing she is to have relations with anyone who asks her.
  • Nately's Whore A whore in Rome with whom Nately is deeply in love. She despises Yossarian and is wildly apathetic towards Nately until he allows her to get some sleep. She has a young sister whom Nately is determined to send to college. After Nately dies, Nately's whore blames Yossarian for his fate and spends the rest of the novel attempting to murder him.
  • Nately's Whore's Kid Sister The young sister of the whore Nately fancies in Rome.
  • The new recruits – A group of new young officer-pilots whom Yossarian hates. They are friends from back home, and are excited to still be able to take part in the war. They practically run Yossarian out of his tent, and throw out all of Mudd's equipment.
  • The old man in Rome – A 107-year-old man who lives in the brothel frequented by Nately. He sides with whomever is in power and mocks Nately's idealism. He reminds Nately uncomfortably of his own father for the reason that the old man is absolutely nothing like his father.
  • The Soldier in White – An unnamed soldier wrapped completely in bandages. He is connected to two bottles of unidentified and similar looking liquid, one of which pumps the liquid through an IV into the soldier, while the other drains the liquid from the soldier through a zinc catheter. When the bottles are respectively empty and full, they are switched around. Dunbar claims there is actually no one under the bandages. It is understood later that the men avoid this soldier because they dislike the fact that he's worse off than they are. He eventually dies without anyone realizing.
  • The Texan – A patriotic soldier who keeps the men from staying in the medical ward to hide out from the war by being overly friendly. He is in the ward when Dunbar and Yossarian enter, attempting to escape their duties in their respective squadrons, but they are eventually chased out by his pleasant demeanor.


  • Heller, Joseph (1961). Catch-22, a novel. New York: Simon and Schuster. OCLC271160.

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