PENNY PINCHING CRAPS
Lower the house edge and slow things down
By Frank Scoblete
Einstein is credited with saying the following: “Craziness is defined as continuing to do the same thing time and again expecting different results.” Whether he said or wrote this, or whether it is a false citation doesn’t matter; the sentiment certainly makes sense. And it certainly makes sense when it comes to long-time casino players who have been caught in the trap of their preferred losing systems.
Now, everyone who gambles in a casino knows or should know that all the games and all the bets have a house edge with some exceptions exploited by that microcosm of advantage players. Of the millions of casino players in America and Canada, maybe one-tenth of one-tenth of one percent fit the advantage-play category. The rest are destined to lose sooner or later, except for some lucky slot players on tens-of-millions-to-one hits on progressive slot machines such as Megabucks.
Most of the strategies used by players are self-defeating – and the players are (or should be) fully aware that such strategies are losers. How could they not be? The math of the games is against the player and no betting scheme can overcome 1 + 1 = 2, no matter how much we wish such a result. The casino math ultimately beats the players’ luck.
Still we are not destined to lose the maximum amounts one can lose because if we lower the house edge and play slower, and the less we bet over time – our expectation of losing lots of money is diminished. This goes without argument.
THE PROBLEM WITH CRAPS
Most craps players who have sampled other casino games will probably agree that craps is the most exciting game in the casino. It certainly seems so when you hear players cheering (and moaning) during a game.
But craps can be an awesome trap because along with some of the best bets in the casino also come horrible wagers with house edges close to or in the double digits. Players who get caught up habitually making those bad bets – and so, so many do – are asking to be defeated, if not destroyed.
What is the point of putting your head in the guillotine? When you see an edge of, say, 10 percent that means over time the expectation is to lose 10 dollars for every $100 you bet on this wager.
The bad bets include some of the following: The Fire Bet (house edge between 20 to 25 percent), the Hard 6 or 8 (house edge 9.09 percent), the Hard 4 or 10 (house edge 11.11 percent), the 2 or 12 (13.89 percent), the 3 or 11 (house edge 11.11 percent), Any Craps (11.11 percent), Any Seven, also known as Big Red (house edge 16.67 percent), Craps-Eleven or C&E (house edge 11.11 percent), Field Bet (house edge 5.56 percent), Hardway Hop bets (house edge 13.89 percent), Hop bets (house edge 11.11 percent), Horn (house edge 12.5 percent), and the Whirl or World (house edge 13.33 percent).
Place betting the 5 or 9, which comes in with an edge of four percent, is a waste of money as is the Place betting of the 4 or 10 which comes in with an edge of 6.67 percent. Don’t bother with these bets either even though many players assume they are good bets since they are able to be point numbers.
THE GOOD BETS AT CRAPS
Here are the best bets at craps, a small group indeed: The Pass Line or Come bets with a 1.41 percentage house edge; the Don’t Pass and the Don’t Come bets with a house edge of 1.36 percent; the Placing of the 6 or 8 with a house edge of 1.52 percent. When you make the Pass Line, Come or Don’t Pass, Don’t Come you can use the option of Odds on these bets.
THE ODDS ARE NOT ODD AT ALL
Once the point is established or a Come or Don’t Come bet is on a number, the player is allowed to place Odds on those bets. These “odds” mean the house will pay the true value of the bet. So you should make the bet that has the house edge as low as you can go and place the full Odds behind the bet. These Odds keep the house edge at bay in a big way.
ONE AND DONE
Now comes the part of this article where traditional and action craps players might think I am crazy. I advocate only making one bet on shooters. That’s correct; do not have multiple bets simultaneously going at the game. Why increase the amount of money you are risking against the house edge? That makes little sense to me.
So let’s take the Pass Line bet: After the Come-Out roll where the player has an edge of 2-to-1, the shooter establishes a point of 6. You now hope for the 6 instead of the 7. All other numbers rolled are meaningless to you. That’s right; do not get into a frame of mind thinking, “Oh, my, oh, my, I wish I had the Place bet of 10 because it hit three times in a row!” It has hit three times in a row somewhere in some casino right this second, so what? You don’t care that you “missed it.” You don’t even know about it.
That attitude should be the same when you are betting one bet at the table.
If the shooter hits his 6, you make another Pass Line bet.
Make the bets I am suggesting, in the way I am suggesting them, and you’ll penny pinch the casino into something of a contest with you.
Visit Frank’s web site at www.frankscoblete.com. Frank’s books are available on Amazon.com, Kindle, e-books, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores everywhere.