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Best of John Grochowski

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A Shuffle through the Gaming Mailbag

10 December 2002

Q. Thanks for your recent column on buying numbers at the craps table. After I read the column, I started thinking about put bets--specifically put bets on the 6 and 8.

When I go to Las Vegas, I play at Casino Royale, which has $1 tables with 100x odds. Using the mathematics you supplied to calculate house edge, I calculated the difference between placing the 6 or 8, and putting the 6 or 8.

To place the 6 or 8 at any amount, we know the house has a 1.52 percent edge. Now if we put the 6 for $1 with $5 odds, the house still has a 1.52% edge. Assuming 11 decisions, with five wins and six losses for the five ways to make 7 and six ways to make 7, we risk $6 times 11, or $66, and get a $65 return. The house keeps $1 of the $66 risked, or 1.52 percent.

If we up our odds bet to $10, we get 11 decisions at $11, for $121 risked, and a $120 return. Now the house edge is only 0.83 percent.

As we increase the odds bet on the put, the edge goes down to 0.43 percent at 20x odds, and 0.09 percent at 100x odds, according to my calculations:

Granted this is for a table with a $1 minimum and 100x odds, but I was wondering if you could tell me if my calculations are correct, and if so wouldn't I always want to put the 6 for anything more than a $6 place bet, given a $1 line bet and the rest in odds?

Finally, I am assuming if I went through the come line or pass line the house edge would be even lower than my calculations above, as I get the benefit of the advantage to the player on the comeout. I am just trying to see if I can reduce the house edge by putting the 6 or 8 instead of placing them.

R.F., via e-mail

A. For the benefit of those who don't know what a put bet is, it's a pass-line wager placed after a point has already been established on the comeout roll. Without free odds, it wouldn't even be worth considering. The put bettor skips the best part of the pass line--the comeout, where there are eight ways to win and only four ways to lose--and skips straight to the portion of the bet where the bettor becomes a big underdog.

With the most frequently rolled point numbers, the 6 and 8, the house edge is an unacceptably high 9.1 percent, and it gets far worse with the other numbers--27.3 percent on 5 or 9, and 33.3 percent on 4 or 10.

But as R.F. points out, when backed with 5x odds, the house edge on putting the 6 and 8 is the same 1.52 percent as when we place 6 or 8. If we take 6x odds or more, the put bets on 6 or 8 actually has a lower house edge than the place bets.

So if your choice is between putting the 6 and 8 and placing the same numbers, then yes, you have a lower house edge if you put the numbers as long as you back them with more than 5x odds.

The house edge is lower on a pass bet plus odds than on a put bet with the same amount of odds. The house edge on pass with 5x odds is 0.33 percent, and drops to 0.18 percent with 10x odds, 0.1 percent with 20x odds and 0.02 percent with 100x odds, far lower at every step than the put bet at 1.52 percent with 5x odds, 0.83 percent at 10x odds, 0.43 at 20x odds and 0.09 at 100x.

Q. You have asked readers for their anecdotes on winning slot sessions. I'd like to tell you about a winning session a friend of mine had at craps. After seeing a Roy Clark show at the Orleans (my favorite spot off the Strip), we wandered through the casino and found an open $5 table. Things had already been going well when my friend hit a huge streak. He probably only made seven or eight passes, but he held the dice for just under an hour (we timed him at 57 minutes). He would establish a point, then proceed to roll anything but his number or a 7.

This pattern repeated after each pass, whether his point was a 6 or a 10 or any number. It was amazing. They brought over an extra box man, and the pit boss was anxiously watching every pay out. Using a basic $5 pass, two come bets, and taking the "3x, 4x, 5x" odds, he won nearly $2,000. A very aggressive bettor next to him colored up over $30,000!

I did very well betting pass and one come bet plus straight odds. I wanted to bet more, but I was afraid to break the aura at the table (imagine that: superstition in a casino). Being part of red hot run has got to be the most exciting experience in a casino. It was every craps player's dream come true.

B.B., via e-mail

A. Most of the tales of unusual wins I've received have been from slot and video poker players. Thanks for one from the tables. If other table players have stories of big streaks or freak wins, please e-mail them to me for use in future columns.


For more information about craps, we recommend:

The Craps Answer Book by John Grochowski
Forever Craps by Frank Scoblete
Beat the Craps Out of the Casinos: How to Play Craps and Win! by Frank Scoblete
The Captain’s Craps Revolution! by Frank Scoblete
Sharpshooter Craps Audio Cassette Tape (60 minutes) with Frank Scoblete
Recent Articles
Best of 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

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