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Best of John Grochowski

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Craps Offers Players a Wealth of Betting Options

7 August 2001

When it comes to betting options, nothing gives the player more choices than craps. Not all of them are good choices, but no matter what number or combination you desire, you can find more than one way to bet on it.

If you like to bet on 6 or 8, and many players do, because other than 7 they're the numbers most frequently rolled, you could make place bets on the numbers, or you could bet on Big 6 or Big 8. If you're smart, you'll choose the place bets, because if you bet in $6 increments, winning bets are paid at 7-6 odds and you face a house edge of only 1.52 percent. On Big 6 and Big 8, you're paid only even money, and the house edge jumps to 9.09 percent.

That's an easy choice. Only the truly ill-informed would pass up a bet that pays 7-6 for one that is essentially the same but pays only even money. But on some options, the differences aren't so readily apparent. Take a look at two bets on the same numbers, one wager called "craps and 11," or "C and E," and the other called the "horn."

A word of caution: I recommend you avoid both bets. The house edge is too high on either to make these wagers worthwhile. But for those tempted by the one-roll propositions, here's how C and E and the horn work.

Both bets pay on 2, 3, 11 or 12. But the horn does it by breaking down your wager into four separate bets. If you bet $4 on the horn, the dealer will break it down into $1 bets on 2, 3, 11 and 12. And instead of the overall 4-1 payoff you get on C and E, the horn pays as four separate bets. Any time you win, you'll also lose the other three parts of your wager, but you'll get either 30-to-1 or 30-for-1 on the winning portion of your bet if the roll is 2 or 12 and 15-to-1 or 15-for-1 if the roll is 3 or 11.

(Note: 30-for-1 means your original wager is part of your return. Win a $1 bet at 30-for-1, and you get $29 in winnings plus the return of your $1 bet. If the return is 30-to-1, a winning wager brings $30 in winnings plus the return of the $1 bet.)

Let's say we're in a casino that pays odds-to-1, and we bet $4 on the horn in a perfect sequence of 36 rolls in which each possible combination comes up once. We risk a total of $144. The one time the roll is a 2, we get back $31, $30 in winnings plus the $1 of our wager that was on 2. We also get back $31 on the one 12, and we get $16 on each of the two 3s and two 11s. Add all that up, and at the end of the sequence we have $126. Our total losses are $18. Divide the $18 by $144 we risked, then multiply by 100 to convert to percent, and we get a house edge of 12.5 percent. That makes the horn a little better bet than C and E, which has a house edge of 16.67 percent.

However, if we're in a casino that pays odds-for-1, our overall return is $1 less on each of our six winning rolls, and our average losses rise to $24 for our $144 in wagers. That's a house edge of 16.67 percent--the same as C and E.

Horn bets must be made in multiples of $4, so the wagers can be evenly divided among the four winning numbers. There is no such requirement on C and E--if you want to bet a $5 C and E, it's no problem, except to your bankroll.

There are three horn variations which must be made in multiples of $5. One is the horn high, in which a $5 bet gives the player $1 bets on 2, 3 and 11, and a $2 bet on 12. The horn low puts the $2 bet on 2, with $1 each on 3, 11 and 12. And then there's the horn high yo, which puts the $2 bet on 11.

If the house pays odds-to-1, the house edge rises slightly to 12.8 percent on horn high and horn low, while decreasing slightly to 12.2 percent on horn high yo. If payoffs are odds-for-1, the house edge remains steady at 16.67 percent.

Which should you bet? Odds purist that I am, I'll stick with neither.

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:

The Craps Answer Book

> 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