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Best of Frank Scoblete

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Place betting versus pass and come betting

31 October 2011

There are many heated debates in the world of craps, some actually involving intelligent examinations of the game's math and patterns, others actually and totally involving idiotic notions. The idiotic arguments usually deal with such silliness as the efficacy of trend betting (there is none), the idea of hot or cold tables existing based on immediate past experience of that table (no such thing) and hot or cold shooters based on immediate past experience of such shooters.

There is a tendency on the part of almost all gamblers to want to establish some rhyme or reason or predictability to randomness, which is just what the typical craps game is all about -- random throws by countless random shooters. In such a game, all arguments are defeated by simply realizing that what happened in the immediate past has no influence on what will happen in the immediate future. Some gamblers never learn this lesson and they are doomed to the wishful thinking that somehow, in some way, they are going to overcome randomness with their trend-betting system. It isn't going to happen, but go to most craps websites and you will see flaming idiots making inflaming arguments heatedly defending their incorrect theories.

However, there is one area where debate has actual merit and that is concerning the question: Is it better to use pass line and come betting with odds or is it better to place your bets directly on the box numbers?

The arguments for directly placing your numbers go like this:

  • You can choose which numbers you want to bet on.
  • You can call your bets off or remove your bets whenever you feel like it.
  • On the placing of the 6 and 8, the house edge is almost as low as on a pass or come bet.
  • On the buying of the 4 and 10 at $25 and $50 paying a $1 or $2 commission on wins only, the house edge is actually less than the house edge for pass and come betting.

In place betting, there is no doubt that you can choose which numbers you wish to bet on. When you use the pass line and come bets, you cannot choose your own numbers. The roll of the dice decides that. Yes, in place betting you can take your bets down at any time, whereas in pass line and come betting once these bets are on a number they must stay there until they either win or lose.

But now the sticky areas must be considered. While the placing of the 6 and 8 has a low house edge of only 1.52%, and the buying of the 4 and 10 as indicated above has an even lower house edge of 1.3%, these percentages can mislead players into thinking such bets are actually almost as good as or even better than using the pass line and come bets, which have a 1.41% house edge.

But let's take a closer look at the situation. If the minimum bet at the table is $10 and I bet this on the pass line or come, my expected loss is 14 cents. The player who wishes to place the 6 or 8 must do so in multiples of $6, so he would have to bet $12 and his expected loss is 18 cents. I would rather lose 14 cents than 18 cents.

Now, those buy bets of the 4 and 10 are excellent bets with a very low house edge. But first you must buy them at $25 or $50 to get that low edge -- if you bet lower than $25 the edge is higher; if you bet higher than $50 the edge is also higher. Still, you have to be able to afford such bets and the majority of players just can't afford to bet that high. Second, if you wish to bet $25 or $50 on a combination of the pass with odds or the come with odds, you can do it in such a way that this $25 or $50 gives you a far better return for your money -- or rather a far lower loss for your money.

Let us say we are at a 5x odds game. This will make it easy for me to show the math. Bet $10 on the pass or come and back it with $15 or $40. If the odds are $15, then you are betting a total of $25. If the odds are $40, you are betting a total of $50.

And what is your expected loss using the pass and come this way? The loss is still 14 cents on both $25 and $50.

Now, what is the expected loss of buying the 4 or 10 for $25 or $50 paying the vig only on wins? It is 33 cents and 65 cents, respectively. I'd still rather lose 14 cents.

Now, you can reduce the hit of the casino by removing or calling off your place bets, but you would have to call these bets off a host of times to bring your expected loss down to 14 cents per bet over time. I have never seen or talked to or read articles by anyone who ever claimed to take down his or her bets often enough to bring the expected loss down this much.

Now, all other place bets, such as the 5 and 9 or placing but not buying the 4 and 10, are in the realm of the ridiculous. With edges of 4% for the 5 or 9 and 6.67 percent for the 4 or 10, you are asking to be degutted at the table. The expected loss for a $25 place bet on the 5 or 9 is $1; the expected loss on a normal place bet on the 4 or 10 is $1.67. I'd still rather lose 14 cents using the pass line and come bets with odds.

There is one way to significantly reduce the hit of random rollers on your total bankroll and that is to use the Captain's 5-Count which I write about in my recent book Casino Craps: Shoot to Win!

In the argument over which bets are better place or pass/come, I have to throw my vote with the pass/come advocates.

Recent Articles
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:

> More Books By Frank Scoblete