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Frank Scoblete Presents: When less is still more, by Skinny

15 May 2009

Frank Scoblete presents an article by Skinny.

There seems to be a trend occurring on the private pages of the Golden Touch Craps (GTC) website. Another reader posted a question which led me to write a follow-up to a prior article which was a follow-up to a prior article of that. No, this is not the "Who's on First" comedy routine. It just seems that way.

The reader wrote the question below.

I vowed on another thread I will not shoot in the casinos anymore until I hone my skill (practice and go to the March refresher) I didn't however vow to stay out of the casinos. I have cut down to only once or twice a month. Which brings me to my question. After somehow learning about this Iron Cross (in all my years of playing craps I have never heard of this method) I did some more digging. I read Stickman's articles and I know what he will say. I have fooled around with this at home and it seems like a grind but it seems like you can make some money while not going through your bankroll very fast. Has anyone had any success using this method on random rollers? What is the correct way to bet this? I tried the following. On come out roll bet one unit on the pass line. If a point is made, place double odds behind the pass line bet unless the point number is the 4, 9 or 10. In that case take no odds because what you win on the field bet if the point is made makes up for not taking odds. If the point was 5, 6 or 8 I would use double odds and not place that particular number. Ex: if your point is 5, place double odds behind the line and only place the 6 and 8 and place the field bet. Stickman I have a feeling I know what you're going to say but I thought I would ask anyway. Maybe you can run a simulation and see what happens.

Thanks,
AD

Dear AD,

Your post is the exact reason I wrote my response to T***** on a different thread. If you have not read it yet you should do the following two things.

First, go to that thread and read my article "Probability or Odds: Same or Different?" at the following link:

http://www.goldentouchcraps.com/skinny0010.shtml

Second, read T*****'s question and my response at following link:

http://www.goldentouchcraps.com/skinny0013.shtml

Now you should have the information to understand why I said your post is the reason I wrote that response. You are doing exactly what I said many gamblers do in trying to come up with a way to improve their chances of winning more money (or losing less money) at the craps table. You have come up with a method for trying to give yourself a better chance of winning more bets on the table by combining bets which seem to complement each other. You have correctly assumed by having more bets on the table you have a better chance of winning a bet more frequently than if you have fewer bets on the table. You have avoided making the worst bets on the table such as the any seven, any craps, hop bets, C&E, horn, whirl (aka world) or hard way bets.

Nevertheless, you have not come up with an optimal way to bet to provide yourself with the BEST opportunity to win more money. In reality, when it comes to random rollers, this should be stated as the optimal way to lose less money.

The reason for this is simple. You have taken one of the best bets on the table (pass line with odds) and diluted it with other bets that are much worse. These other bets will only serve to increase the house advantage (HA) that is working against your initial amount wagered. This in turn will translate into bigger losses for you rather than bigger wins.

If you read and understood the two links I gave you above, you should now have the knowledge of how the HA works. It is worth repeating what I said about the HA to be sure we are clear on this point.

"It tells you how much you can expect to lose in relation to the initial amount wagered on bets that are resolved. The HA essentially looks at the payout in relation to the probability of winning the bet and does the calculation for you. If you make bets which have the lowest HA, you can expect to lose less money on those bets in the long run."

Conversely, if you combine low HA bets with higher HA bets you dilute the low HA bets and end up with a combination of bets that have a HA someplace in between the lowest HA and the highest HA bet you have on the table. One definition of dilute is to lessen the force, strength, purity or brilliance of... Thus you lessen the force, strength, purity or brilliance of your low HA bet when you combine it with higher HA bets.

By now you are probably asking yourself what specific bets am I talking about and what should you do instead. I am glad you asked that question. I will give you the HA for the bets you are making in ascending order. In other words, the best (lowest HA) bets to the worst (highest HA) bets that you have mentioned in the method you are trying. There is no need for Stickman to run a simulation on your method unless he really wants to because, as I will demonstrate, it is a method that is guaranteed to lose money in the long run. All a simulation will do is come up with the same numbers I present to you by simulating millions of throws with your betting method. The math of the game dictates what will happen in the long run. A simulation cannot alter the math of the game. It will only prove what we know the probability and odds to be based on the math of the game.

You stated you make a pass line wager with double odds if the point number is 5, 6 or 8 and no odds if the point number is 4, 9 or 10. You make a place bet on the 5, 6 and 8 unless one of those numbers is the point, in which case you only place the other two numbers. Finally you make a field bet. If any number other than a 7 is thrown, you will win one of your bets and make money. If a field number is thrown, you will lose the field bet but make a net profit because your place or pass line bet will pay more than what you lose on the field bet.

  • Pass/come bet with double odds has a HA of 0.61%.
  • Pass/come bet without odds has a HA of 1.41%.
  • Place bet on the 6 or 8 has a HA of 1.52%.
  • Field bet has a HA of 2.78% if the 2 pays double and the 12 pays triple or vice versa.
  • Place bet on the 5 has a HA of 4.00%.
  • Field bet has a HA of 5.56% if the 2 and 12 pay double.

Your pass line bet with double odds has a low HA of 0.61% working against you. This means if you bet $10 on the pass line with $20 in odds behind it and you made that bet 1980 times, you would wager a grand total of $46,200. You could expect to lose only $280 out of that $46,200. The math does not mean it would happen this way exactly over 1980 bets that get resolved. But you could expect it to be fairly close to that with random shooters. If you get lucky you could lose less or actually win. If you get unlucky you could possibly lose more than that. A simulation with millions of rolls taken into consideration would get those results exactly for that specific bet.

The HA takes into consideration the probability of all possible outcomes of your wager over the long run. You can win, lose or tie (push) your base bet on the pass line if a 2, 3, 7, 11 or 12 are thrown on come out rolls. Once a point is established you can either win or lose your pass line bet with double odds. The HA takes into consideration the probability of all those possibilities. It calculates the probability of throwing a non-point number or establishing each of the six various point numbers and then either making or not making each of those different points.

If you don't take odds on your pass line bet you will be facing a HA of 1.41% against you. But since you are not taking odds you will be wagering less money. In the long run you can expect to lose the exact same amount of money as if you had taken odds. For example, if you wager $10 on the pass line without odds 1980 times you can expect the following results. You will wager a total of $19,800, which is significantly less than the $46,200 wagered when taking double odds. But you can expect to lose the exact same $280 out of that $19,800. This should not be surprising to those of you who have a grasp of the math in the game of craps. The odds portion of your pass line wager is paid at the "true odds" for the wager when it wins. This means you are paid an amount which correlates exactly to the probability of winning that wager. The HA is 0% on the odds so over the long run neither the player nor the casino can expect to win or lose any money on the odds portion of any line wager.

A place bet on the 6 or 8 carries a HA of 1.52%. GTC recommends making wagers that have a HA of less than 2%. You can expect to lose a smaller portion of the total amount you wager if you follow that advice. If you want to make more than one bet to give you more chances to win a bet, do it with low HA wagers. The best way is to make pass line and come bets, with or without odds. Whether you take odds or not depends on your tolerance for risk. Odds will create a larger variance in your wins and losses. It will give you a better chance of winning more if you happen to fall into the small range of people who do better than the expected results. On the other hand, it also gives you a greater chance of losing more money if you fall into the range of people who do worse than the expected results. The longer you play, the greater the chance is for both of those to extremes to average out and you will find yourself more in the middle range conforming exactly to the probabilities of expected results. You can also make a pass line bet and follow it up with place bets on the 6 and 8 if one of them is not the point if you want to have three numbers working for you. This will increase the HA working against you but not significantly so. As you can see a pass line bet without odds has a HA of 1.41% and a place bet on the 6 and 8 has a HA of 1.52%. These are not too far apart.

But once you dilute those wagers with a field bet that has a HA of 2.78% or 5.56% along with a place bet on the 5 that has a HA of 4%, you are significantly increasing the HA on the amount of money you are wagering. The standard Iron Cross carries a HA of 2.49% or 3.87%, depending on whether either the 2 or 12 pays triple. Your method would have a slightly lower HA because you are not placing the 5 when 5 is the point. Offsetting your pass line wager for a place bet of the 6 or 8 when they are the point is not all that significant. Therefore your method only improves slightly on the standard Iron Cross because you trade off a pass line bet for a place bet on the 5 which occurs 11.11% of the time on the come out roll. This small improvement will still not get the HA on your method below 2%. I would estimate it would still be around either 2.3% or 3.7%. It is not worth the extra exposure in facing that high of a HA when the alternative is to play against a HA of under 1.5%.

You are much better off taking the money you want to wager on both the field and 5 place bets, and using it either for the odds portion of your pass line wager, making additional come bets with/without odds or increasing your place bets on the 6 and 8. You will not win as many bets as frequently as you will with your method. But you will lose far less money in the long run and give yourself a better chance of winning more money if by chance you happen to perform better than the probabilities dictate. This is because you cannot overcome the larger losses you can expect when you lose all your bets when the 7 appears with your method as opposed to doing what GTC recommends and I have stated above instead.

This is another good example of when "Less is More."

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Best of Frank Scoblete
Frank Scoblete

Frank Scoblete is the #1 best selling gaming author in America. His newest books are Slots Conquest: How to Beat the Slot Machines; Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo and Pai Gow Poker!; Beat Blackjack Now: The Easiest Way to Get the Edge; Casino Craps: Shoot to Win!; Cutting Edge Craps: Advanced Strategies for Serious Players; Casino Conquest: Beat the Casinos at Their Own Games! and The Virgin Kiss.

Frank and Casino City Times columnist Jerry "Stickman" teach private lessons in dice control. Frank's books are available at Amazon.com, in bookstores or by mail order. Call 1-800-944-0406 or write to Frank Scoblete Enterprises, PO Box 446, Malverne, NY 11565. Frank can also be reached by email at fscobe@optonline.net.

Frank Scoblete Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com

Books by Frank Scoblete:

> More Books By Frank Scoblete

Frank Scoblete
Frank Scoblete is the #1 best selling gaming author in America. His newest books are Slots Conquest: How to Beat the Slot Machines; Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo and Pai Gow Poker!; Beat Blackjack Now: The Easiest Way to Get the Edge; Casino Craps: Shoot to Win!; Cutting Edge Craps: Advanced Strategies for Serious Players; Casino Conquest: Beat the Casinos at Their Own Games! and The Virgin Kiss.

Frank and Casino City Times columnist Jerry "Stickman" teach private lessons in dice control. Frank's books are available at Amazon.com, in bookstores or by mail order. Call 1-800-944-0406 or write to Frank Scoblete Enterprises, PO Box 446, Malverne, NY 11565. Frank can also be reached by email at fscobe@optonline.net.

Frank Scoblete Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com

Books by Frank Scoblete:

The Captain's Special Report

> More Books By Frank Scoblete