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The mystery of craps

30 July 2015

By John Grochowski
Writing this column brings me in contact with players of all skill levels, and what seems obvious to a casino veteran often is a mystery to a beginner, or to a player whose experience falls in different games.

Solving the mysteries of craps can be particularly perplexing, as a reader reminded me with her tale of playing on her own for the first time.

“I’d played a few times with my boyfriend helping me, and I thought I had everything right,” Lisa explained. “He taught me to play the pass line, and sometimes place the 6 and 8. I know about odds.

“Some girlfriends and I have a casino day once every couple of months, and we always play slots. I was going to be different this time and play craps, too. I got to the table, and out $5 on pass. The first roll was a 7, and I figured I was going to win $5. Instead, they took my money. I said, ‘Wait, shouldn’t I get paid?’ I was told, ‘No, it wasn’t a come-out.’

“Why didn’t they tell me that in the first place? How come I could even make the bet if it wasn’t a come-out? What should I have done differently?”

Apparently Lisa’s boyfriend hadn’t emphasized how to tell if the next roll is a come-out. Each craps table has a laminated disc that is turned black side up to show the word “Off” if the next roll is a come-out. If there’s already been a come-out, the disc is turned white side up, showing the word “On,” and is placed on the point number.

“So I should look for the disc before I bet pass,” Lisa said. “Still, shouldn’t the pass bet just be disallowed if it’s not a come-out?”

I explained to her that if you make a pass bet when there’s already a point, it becomes a “put bet” on the point number. It’s used by players who want to take advantage of betting free odds on a known point.

If you don’t take the odds, the put bet is a terrible bet. One of the attractions of a pass bet is that on the come-out, the six ways to make 7 and the two ways to make 11 are all winners, and the only losers are the one way to make 2, the one way to make 12 and the two ways to make 3. That’s eight ways to win and only four ways to lose.

On a put bet, the come-out is past, so you don’t get that boost. The put bet works just like a place bet – if the shooter rolls your number before a 7, you win, and if a 7 comes first, you lose. However, put bets pay only even money, instead of the 7-6 you’d get for placing 6 or 8, 7-5 on 5 or 9 and 9-5 on 4 or 10. Without taking free odds, you’re much better off with a place than a put.

However, there is no house edge on free odds, and if enough odds are allowed, a put bet becomes better than place. Put becomes as good as place with 4x odds on 4 or 10, 5x odds on 6 or 8, or 6x odds on 5 or 9. With more odds, the house edge is lower on put than on place.

Lisa narrowed all that to the information she needed.

“I’m not going to worry about put bets or the odds,” she said. “I’ll just know now to look for that disc.”

Look for John Grochowski on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44) and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at fscobe@optonline.net.

 

Can I be a professional?

26 July 2015
QUESTION: I can usually get a royal flush every 30 days. Can I be a professional player? I play video poker every day. ANSWER: How often you get royal flushes gives me nowhere near enough information about how good a player you are, but I’ll get back to that in a minute. Playing video poker professionally ... (read more)
 

The break-even point in video poker

23 July 2015
Most of the questions I received about progressive video poker machines have to do with the break-even point. A reader will ask, “How big does the jackpot have to be to reach 100 percent payback?” And I can answer: The expected return with expert play reaches 100 percent with an 8,666-coin royal at 8-5 Jacks ... (read more)
 

Double exposure and Pete Rose

19 July 2015
QUESTION: My wife and I went to Detroit to visit relatives, and some of us went to a casino. Her brothers are blackjack players and so am I, but they like a game called double exposure. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it before, but I know I’d never played it. In blackjack, the house has an edge because you ... (read more)

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John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago, with podcasts at www.wlsam.com/sectional.asp?id=38069. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook (tinyurl.com/7lzdt44) and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago, with podcasts at www.wlsam.com/sectional.asp?id=38069. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook (tinyurl.com/7lzdt44) and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

The Craps Answer Book

> More Books By John Grochowski