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Best of Frank Scoblete
Are They All Bad?18 May 2006
The greatest single question I receive when I do a talk is, "Frank, are most casino bets as bad as you say they are?"
My answer is an emphatic, "Yes, they are; in fact, most casino bets are awful. Make them and you will lose money and find it very hard to even have winning nights - unless the gods of luck are really with you, which they rarely are, since the gods of luck are really fickle."
I then go on to explain how the casinos take the money from the players - either by beating them on more decisions or by taxing their winnings. When you play roulette, for example, you know that true odds payoff of a direct hit on a number should be 37 to 1. However, the casino can't make money on a true-odds payoff, it's a break-even situation. Casinos have to make money to stay in business, so they pay you 35 to 1 on a winning bet in roulette. That translates into a 5.26 percent house edge.
Understanding the house edge is not something that takes advanced degrees. At craps, the Pass Line has a 1.41 percent house edge because the casino wins 251 decisions to the player's wining 244 decisions. That means quite simply that for every $100 you bet on the Pass Line, you can expect to lose $1.41. Since that percent is rather low in the casino scheme of things, you'll find that as a Pass Line bettor, you will have many winning sessions.
Luck is more a product of knowledge than it is of chance - especially in the long run of casino play.
Now, compare the excellent Pass Line with some other bets in craps and you can get an idea of how the casino can really sock it to the player who makes foolish bets.
The single worst bet at the craps table is the Any Seven or Big Red wager. Here we are wagering that on the very next roll the number will be a 7. Yes, the 7 does come up more than any single number in the game of craps, six times for every 36 rolls in fact. The true odds of hitting the seven on the very next roll are therefore 5 to 1. So what does the house pay you if your psychic abilities are working and that 7 pops? Why they pay you 4 to 1 - which means the casino has a 16.67 percent edge on the Any Seven or, more appropriately, the Big Red, which will be the color of your bankroll if you keep making that bet.
I have seen players not only make the Big Red a favorite bet, but also include other horrendous bets in their repertoire. At craps, bets with great-sounding names will often have awful edges. Yes, the better the name, the worse the bet!
One roll bets (that is, bets that must be decided on the very next roll) such as boxcars (the 12) and snake eyes (the 2) come in with 13.89 percent edges; while the 3 and the yo-11 both come in with 11.11 percent edges.
Yes, there are some bets that come in with lower edges but these are also a waste of your hard-earned money. The hardways bets, the 4, 6, 8, 10, made in doubles (i.e., 2:2, 3:3; 4:4; 5:5) have house edges scratching the 10 percent range.
Some players love to put their money on the Field, figuring that they have all those numbers working for them. Unfortunately, all those numbers still come in with a bad house edge at 5.26 percent! Yuck! Do you really want to lose $5.26 cents per $100 on these bets? Answer yes only if you are looking to lose pretty fast!
The Place bet scenario is also pretty dreary. Place the 4 or 10 and the house takes a 6.67 percent rake on you. Place the 5 or 9 and the house has a 4 percent edge on you. The only good place bets are the 6 or 8, which come in at 1.5 percent house edge. The "don't" Place bets, while somewhat better than the "do" Place bets, are still not worth making.
Now, if you are lucky enough to play in venues that allow you to "buy" the 4 or 10, 5 or 9, and only pay the 5 percent commission on wins, these "buy" bets are actually good ones, bringing the house edge down to around 1 to 1.3 percent.
The other fancy-sounding bets (the whirl or world, the horn, the hop bets, etc.) are all awful as well.
So, at craps, what are we left with? Just the very best bets: the Pass Line, the Don't Pass line, the Come, the Don't Come. Once up on the numbers, it's smart to put up odds on these bets. The odds bet, which has no house edge, is a great way to reduce the overall house edge to around a half percent or less! Here's the rule to remember: bet the minimum on the Pass Line, Come, Don't Pass, and Don't Come, and place as much as you can afford in odds.
If you want to bet $15, make a $5 Pass Line bet, and back it with the $10. That house edge of 1.41 percent is only working on the Pass Line bet; it is not working on the odds.
If you play this way at craps, you will have a very good chance of having many winning sessions in your craps play and you will be a very tough opponent for the casinos. However, if you get caught up in the wild whirl of the craps table and begin to make those high house-edge bets, you'll find your money being depleted at a rapid rate.
Smart play in the casinos is always cautious play - that's a rule that should always be obeyed. That might sound boring but in this case, boring is good!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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