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Best of John Grochowski

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Hedge bets at craps

22 April 2008

The following e-mail exchange is real. The names have been withheld to protect the innocent.

What do you think of using C&E as a hedge?

For those unfamiliar with craps lingo, C&E is shorthand for "craps and 11." It's a one-roll proposition that puts half your wager on any craps — 2, 3 and 12 — and half on 11. The house edge on either half is 11.11%, and a winner on one half still costs you the wager on the other half.

I don't recommend using one-roll propositions as hedges against anything. The house edges are too high, and they wind up costing you more money than just letting your pass, don't pass, come or don't come wager fend for itself.

Well, what about yo, just to add a little interest?

Ah, that craps lingo again. "Yo," or "yo-leven," is gambling slang for the one-roll proposition on 11. There's the same problem as C&E. The house edge is too high at 11.11%.

Never bet on the one-roll propositions.

Never? That's pretty strong. I like to bet on don't pass for the better odds, but I like to have that yo working for a little fun. Besides, on the come-out, it works as a hedge. I lose my don't pass bet if the shooter rolls an 11, but I can win overall if I bet yo.

That's great, on the two rolls per 36 that the shooter rolls an 11. On the other rolls, it doesn't work out so well.

The presence of your wager on 11 doesn't change your results on your don't pass bet. On the come-out, the danger point on the don't side, you still have three ways to win (two ways to make 3, one way to make 2), one way to push (12) and eight ways to lose (six ways to make 7, two ways to make 11). The other 24 possible rolls are point numbers, and your money stays in action until the shooter either repeats the point number and you lose as a don't bettor, or 7s out and you win.

Your "yo" is a separate matter. In a perfect series of 36 rolls in which each possible two-dice combination turns up once, you win on the two 11s. If you're betting $1 a roll, you risk $36. Each of the two 11s brings you $15 in winnings plus gets your $1 wager back, making your total return $32. The house keeps your other $4.

By adding the 11 bet, you haven't changed your don't pass outcomes, but you've lost an extra $4.

Still, when I bet $5 on don't pass, it's fun that a $1 bet on yo can make a $5 loser turn into a $10 winner every time 11 shows up.

Is it fun when your yo turns your $5 winners into $4 winners, or turns your $5 losers into $6 losers, or has you starting $1 in the hole every time the come-out is a point number? When the come-out is a point, the don't bettor becomes the favorite to win, but it's tough stuff when you're already behind going in.

You've chosen to bet don't pass because of a house edge that is 1.36% instead of the 1.41% you spot the house on the pass line. You're worried about a difference of five-hundredths of a percent, yet you're willing to add on a bet with a house edge that's 222 times as large as that difference.

Thanks for your input, but I love that yo.

It's your dollar. Good luck.

** ** **

I'm sometimes asked why some sources list the house edge on the don't pass and don't come wagers in craps as 1.36%, and some say 1.40%. It all comes down to the way the analyst handles the push on 12.

When the shooter rolls a 12 on the come-out, the don't pass bettor neither wins nor loses. He or she just gets the wager back. If the calculations accept the push as an outcome of the wager, the house edge comes to 1.36%. If, however, the analyst assumes that the player will leave the wager in action until it either wins or loses, and ignores the push in calculations, the house edge becomes 1.40%.

Let's say I make a $5 wager on don't pass, and the come-out roll is a 12. I then leave that same $5 chip in action for the next come-out. Have I made one $5 wager, or two separate $5 wagers? If you think I've made one wager, then the house edge to you is 1.40%. If you think they're two separate bets, then you're in the 1.36% camp.

That's similar to the baccarat situation in which the house edge on banker is 1.09%, or 1.17%, and the edge on player is 1.24%, or 1.36%. It's all in how you look at the ties.

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