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Best of John Grochowski

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Should controlled shooters still favor the odds bet over the pass line bet?

2 September 2008

Tom is a dice controller. At least he says he would be if he had time to practice.

"I read [Frank Scoblete's] Golden Touch Dice Control Revolution, and I understand the theory," he told me on the phone. "Putting it into practice is something else again. I tried to do it in a casino first, and I decided I really need to practice without putting any money on the line."

That much is true, I told him. Dice control is a physical skill that requires a lot of practice. You don't need to invest either the space or the money to put a craps table in the house, but you can build or buy a box to throw into. Set it the right distance away, at the right height, and you can simulate the dice rolling experience.

"I understand that," Tom said. "I'll get there. But that's only part of what I'm calling about. What I really want to know is how controlling the dice affects your betting strategy.

"Here's what I'm thinking. You usually recommend that you make the table minimum bet on the pass line, and save your money for the odds, right?"

Correct. The house has a 1.41% edge on the pass line, but there is no edge on free odds. The odds wagers are paid at true odds of 6-5 when the point number is 6 or 8, 3-2 if the point is 5 or 9 and 2-1 if the point is 4 or 10.

Better to have the bulk of your money on the portion of the bet that pays true odds than the portion with a 1.41% house edge.

"Makes sense. That's what I do. But the situation changes with a dice controller, doesn't it?"

Yes, it does. A dice controller can get an edge over the house.

"OK, so say I'm good enough to get an edge on the pass line. I'm not, but let's say I was."

All right.

"Since I have an edge on the pass line, wouldn't I be better off to put my money on pass, where I have an edge, and skip the free odds, where there is no house edge?"

One thing I can say for craps players. They're always thinking about how to get an edge, and this was a better thought plan than most I've heard. The usual collection of combinations and hedge bets I'm asked about make no sense at all.

But even though this was a novel idea, it's not one I'd like to put into practice.

"Why not?"

There are a couple of different components that go into a skilled shooter turning the edge around. One is by increasing the frequency of 6s and 8s on the comeout, making the point the most frequently rolled winning numbers. Another is depressing the frequency of 7s, so that there are fewer losing rolls after a point is established.

Once the point is established, the pass bet and the free odds win and lose in the same way. You win if the shooter repeats the point number, and lose if the shooter rolls a 7.

At that point, I want more of my money in free odds, because I'm paid more per unit wagered on the odds. If the point is 6, for example, and I've wagered $5 on the line and $5 in odds, a 6 by the shooter will win me $5 on the line, but $6 on the odds.

"Ah," said Tom. "I'm catching on. Regardless of whether the shooter has the edge or the house has the edge, I get paid more money on the odds. So that's where I want my money."

Right, I told him, and then proceeded to throw him a curve.

There is an exception to all this. I've met and had the pleasure to watch some very skilled dice controllers. I'm not one, but I've seen a few. If one of those very skilled shooters was able to dramatically INCREASE the frequency of 7s, leading to many more winners on the come-out — where 7 is a winner rather than a loser — it just might pay to invest extra money on the pass line bet.

"Hah," said Tom. "I can see that. But most of the basic work seems to be going the other way, for a better chance to win with the point numbers. So it's not my betting pattern that changes, just the way I roll the dice."

Right.

"Well then, my mission is clear."

And that is?

"Practice, practice, practice."

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