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Good Edge or Not?

9 August 2020

By John Grochowski
QUESTION: Is the field bet a good bet or a bad bet? That 2.78 percent house edge doesn’t look too bad. It’s a lot better than placing 4 or 10 (6.67). It seems viable when you want to cover a lot of numbers.

ANSWER: The field is a one-roll bet, which means you have to replenish your wagers a lot more often than on multi-roll bets such as pass or come, don’t pass or don’t come, and the place bets.

The effect is that you actually lose more money per rolls on the field than on the worst place bets – 4 or 10.

Let’s review the basics of the field. If the shooter rolls a 3, 4, 9, 10 or 11, you win even money. You win extra on 2 or 12. Some tables pay 2-1 on either of those numbers. Some pay 2-1 on 2 but 3-1 on 12, while a few pay 2-1 on 12 but 3-1 on 12.

If the payoff is 2-1 on both 2 and 12, the house edge is 5.56 percent. If one or the other pays 3-1, the edge is reduced to 2.78 percent.

Assume you and I are at a table with the better version of the field. For 100 rolls, I bet $5 per decision on place bets on 4, and you bet $5 per decision on the field.

It takes an average of four rolls to decide a place bet on 4, so in 100 rolls I can expect to see 25 decisions. That makes my total risk $125, and with a 6.67 percent house edge, my average loss would be $8.34.

The field is decided on every roll, so if you bet $5 on the field for the same 100 rolls, you’d make 100 bets for a total risk of $500. A 2.78 percent house edge on the better version of the field would mean average losses of $13.90.

Even with a lower house edge, average losses are higher on the good version of the field than on a place bet on 4. Placing 4 ranks among craps’ bad bets with its high house edge, but the 2.78-percent version of the field is a more costly wager.


QUESTION: Is there really any such thing as a penny slot? Most of the games you have to bet on every payline. If it’s a 40-line game, you have to bet at least 40 cents. I was at one casino that had deactivated the one-coin per line option and on 40-line games advertised as pennies, you had to bet at least 80 cents.

To me, those aren’t penny slots at all. They’re 40-cent slots or 80-cent slots.

ANSWER: The public seems to have accepted “penny slots” as meaning “slots with minimum bets of 1 cent per payline, even if I have to bet on multiple lines or not at all.” There are a few older machines still in use in which you can choose the number of lines at have a minimum bet of 1 cent, but they’re rare.

That puts penny slots in a different category than three-reel quarter slots, where you can bet 25 cents at a time, or dollar slots, where you can bet $1. The terminology sleight of hand is even worse in your example of a 40-line “penny” game with an 80-cent minimum.

If we were being consistent with earlier practice, then yes, games with 40-cent minimum bets should be 40-cent games and games with 80-cent minimums should be 80-cent games. But as long as the public accepts the “penny slot” terminology, it’s here to stay.

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.

 

Table Game Tales

6 August 2020
When I receive reader tales of first casino visits, they nearly always involve slot machines. Slots are the games that attract the most players, and slot jackpots are always memorable. Lately, several readers have emailed first trip reports that involve table games. The variety is welcome, so let’s share a few. ... (read more)
 

Hitting Choices in Blackjack

2 August 2020
QUESTION: I’m a stubborn old coot and I refuse to bust with 16, and I don’t really like to hit 15, either. I’ve played blackjack for a long time. I went to Las Vegas for the first time in 1956. I’ve just seen too many busts with 16. I just don’t see that I’m any worse off waiting to see if the dealer will bust. ... (read more)
 

The Nature of Paybacks

30 July 2020
Given optimal strategy in video poker, you’ll see full houses just about as often as flushes and flushes just about as often as straights. Paybacks differ widely. The goal of designers is a game that’s fun to play, attractive to players and makes a profit for the house. Reflecting true odds in the pay table takes a back seat to all that. ... (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. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook 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. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski