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The 5-Count: Yes? No? and hedge betting: Yes? No?28 August 2012
I have now been using the 5-Count for over a year and it has saved me a bundle on random shooters. But I know that some authors and "experts" are constantly criticizing the 5-Count. Why is that?
RESPONSE BY DAN PRONOVOST: [program developer of SmartCraps software]
Ironically, I just got nailed today on a different (far less civilized) craps forum, for having a slight reference to the 5-Count on my SmartCraps web site. The poster basically said that since I promote the 5-Count, then my software must be a waste of time and a scam.
I think the main reason that the 5-Count gets friction is that people assume it is intended by it's promoters to be a way to earn a profit or positive edge on “random” shooters. This is not what it does, or what I've ever heard Frank Scoblete (its formulator) or others promote it as. Hence, for some egomaniacs out there who want to put down the rest of the world and maintain a self-righteous point of view, the 5-Count is an easy target and a way to justify their prejudices ("Gee Dan, why don't you tell us what you really think?" OK... I'm still brooding). Shame on them, I say, for their lack of unbiased scientific scrutiny.
The 5-Count is promoted by Frank Scoblete [in the book “Casino Craps: Shoot to Win!”] as a way to keeps bets out there on unknown shooters and keep comps earnings, and to use as a metric to test known dice controllers' skill that day and decide if you want to bet on them. Both are mathematically valid.
Now, there is literature that claims the 5-Count can be used to make a positive edge off of 'rhythmic rollers.' The idea being that maybe a shooter actually is employing some skill in their throws unknowingly and getting an edge. Personally, I find visual observation a better way to make that conclusion (i.e. a wacky random whip shot is going to be random, no matter what). Yet, even what little I've played live in a casino, I've seen a shooter where I couldn't exclude the possibility that he was rhythmic roller, by the definition above (i.e. possibly exercising some control). The 5-Count would be a great tool to make bets then on such a shooter.
RESPONSE BY DON-G:
This is not a criticism of the 5-Count nor is it questioning the possible logic but rather another view. If a random shooter is rolling the dice he is just as apt to 7 out on his 6th roll (one after the 5-Count) as he is at any other time. There was a recent post, where the player was using the 5-Count for three days and got pretty well wiped out because Point, 5-Count, seven out, was predominant.
If the random shooter had SRR of 1/6, 1/5, 1/4 or worse, remembering that mathematically the 7 appears 1/6, then why not try to take advantage of this and make early place bets (three units on three different numbers) hoping for a hit within one to three or more rolls and then regressing to one unit on each number. At this point you can bet as you will, using winnings instead of your session bankroll.
If he sevens out quickly you have made a small profit, if he gets his "hot" roll, you are with him all the way, with the amount of your winnings only depending on your method of betting.
RESPONSE BY FRANK SCOBLETE:
The problem with attempts to "mathematicize" the 5-Count by using logic face a big danger - the 5-Count isn't a mathematical system but a way to reduce betting on random rollers.
What many craps players don't realize is that the casino has its edge over us on each and every roll of the random shooter. Even while a shooter is on a blistering roll, as occasionally some random rollers will be, we are losing money even as we are winning money. Place the 6 and 8 on a torrid random roller and you lose 20 cents every time he hits the 6 or 8. You don't notice that you are losing 20 cents because you are enjoying the $7 to $6 payouts. Those payouts should be $7.20 to $6 in a fair game.
If you string out all of the random rolls of all of the random rollers you ever bet on - you are a loser, probably close to what the house edge is on all the bets you made. (I assume you are all long-term players.) Now, what if you could reduce your past losses by 57 percent? Would you in retrospect do that? Unless you are a complete cranial case, of course you would.
Unfortunately you can't go into the past to correct the poor way you played back when. But you can go into the future and eliminate 57 percent of the random rolls you will face in that upcoming time. Will you do that?
If you said yes, as you should have, then the 5-Count is the method for reducing the impact of random rolls on your bankroll by 57 percent.
Now I also recommend that you reduce the total you bet on random rollers who make it through the 5-Count because you will lose money on them too. Random rollers are losing rollers, whether you use the 5-Count or not. But the 5-Count reduces the random impact by 57 percent. Bet low on the other 43 percent and your controlled throw should win the day – if you have a controlled throw that is.
If you ask me is it better NOT to bet on any random rollers, my answer is an emphatic “yes.” They lose you money. But most of you will find yourself at tables with random rollers and the next best thing to not betting on them is to use the 5-Count and bet small on those who make it through the 5-Count.
As has been shown, the 5-Count will keep your body at the table without your money being at risk. You'll generally get the full comping time for your body time. That is an added benefit to using it with random rollers.
The 5-Count can't give you an edge over random shooters.
But the 5-Count as mathematician Dr. Don Catlin [columnist for Casino City Times] has shown and as Dan Pronovost has shown, will get you on "rhythmic rollers" more often than the bet-all players. That too is a benefit to using it.
RESPONSE BY DYLANFREAK:
I always bet the Darkside and for a while I used the 5-Count and would make a DC or DP wager after the count was reached. It worked pretty good using it to play the Darkside.
Of course, I never risk a great deal on any one shooter, but playing the 5-Count on the Darkside was a lot of fun for this low-rollin' crapster.
I think the biggest misconception about the 5-Count is that it is a way to win money, when it really is a delaying tactic which helps to reduce the amount of money at risk per shooter.
Most players try the 5-Count and give up after one session because they lost money using it or because of the lack of adrenaline that it creates.
Have fun whatever way you play,
Like a Rollin' Stone, Dylanfreak
RESPONSE BY BILLY THE KID:
If you employ a method where you enter the game before the 5-Count you will not improve your chances of winning. In fact you will do the opposite since you will expose MORE MONEY to the house edge. Your chances of losing less are better by waiting longer thereby betting even less. This however is not practical in some venues since some places will not let you stand at the table waiting to shoot and not playing.
The only way you can know that shooters are sevening out just after the 5-Count is by looking back in time at past results which have no bearing on the next random shooter. All positive results on random shooters are just plain luck so if you can devise a method that improves your luck then you will have something.
RESPONSE BY DON-G:
I agree with you in regard to the luck. That is why, on any roll of the dice the odds are in your favor, 2-1, with three numbers placed against the 7 appearing. Betting only three units each and regressing to 1 each after the first hit is also a safety precaution. What you do at that stage is up to how aggressive or conservative you are.
RESPONSE BY BILLY THE KID:
I really don't want to sound like a jerk but I can't allow the things that you post to go unchallenged because there are people on this board that are new to the game that might think that they are true.
You seem to think that you can devise plays that somehow skirt the house advantage by ignoring the obvious ways that you will lose. Your posts frequently contain a phrase like "you have the advantage AFTER" while ignoring the losing that happens BEFORE.
Read closely: Using a place bet to hedge a don't bet will NEVER make up for the losses you will take while your don't bet is being established. Regressing place bets after a win will NEVER make up for the losses that you will endure to the 7 before you get to the regression. I don't know how you figure 2 to 1 on any combination of bets that ALL lose when the stickman calls seven-out, and can only be won on separate rolls of the dice.
Let’s take a hard look at the place bet/don't bet hedge. To insure a win AFTER the don't is established, you must have at least four $5 units established on the don't to make at least a one-dollar profit from the exchange.
Every 36 trials, three 4s and three 10s will be established. In those six trials two will repeat and four will fall to the seven. That’s $8 made on each repeat and $5 is made on each 7-out for $36 total. Leaving the $20 don't without the hedge wins $80 and loses $40 for a total return of $40. You are plus $4 WITHOUT the place bet hedge.
The 5 or 9 produces a plus $24 with the hedge and plus $40 without.
The 6/8 are plus $34 with and plus $40 without.
So with the hedge you would win less than if you just left the don't bet alone, and the come out rolls leave you minus $100 in every 36 come outs before you get those don'ts established. Where is this play going to get you? More money on the table to face the house edge equals more losses.
The regression play if done with all four inside numbers (not 3) has a 50 percent chance of winning ONE bet every roll since all of the inside numbers are 18 of the 36 dice combinations. All four bets lose once every six rolls and 12 of 36 rolls are neutral. Look at it this way, place $110 inside win three times for a $105 return and lose $110 once, yep down 5 bucks. The house edge wins again. If you use only three numbers you won't have that 50 percent chance of getting a win, with your chances being 14 of 36.
Now that I have covered these plays I must say that I do like some of them but for very different reasons. Regression is a good play when an advantage shooter feels that their shot is going bad because of a concentration or physical issue. This will allow the shooter to stay in action at a lower level whether they had won a bet or not. Regression does allow you to get into profit mode sooner by reducing your risk needing say two hits while betting four numbers instead of needing a win on every number but it is not an advantage play. But if an advantage shooter is throwing well then they would be nuts to reduce their bet because the higher their bet, the more money they would make since they have an advantage with every shot, right?
The issue is one that every player MUST understand. Every bet has a house advantage. Some bets are better than others but when someone says if you do this you will win, they are lying or they don't understand how the game works. There is no play progress, regress, hedge or see-this and bet-that system that will ever work. On a hot table just about every play will work and on a cold table Don't plays prevail, but these extremes are not the norm and you will need LUCK to be on your side when you depend on any play to win in a random game.
Learn to control the dice to get a real edge; it's that simple, yes simple but never easy.
Billy the Kid
RESPONSE BY DON-G:
Thanks to all of you for your comments on my different posts. That is what makes this members board so great. To be able to put out different thoughts and ideas and to have comments returned with everyone's different opinions, methods, thoughts and calculations.
I agree with all that the rhythm or controlled shooter does have a distinct advantage. Alas, so few of us can become very proficient at it (like any other sport}. But even here we can only prolong the inevitable, the horrible 7.
With all the correct mathematical answers, I still find it amazing that the figures are all calculated on long term, leaving us relatively short-term players in a dilemma. Again I do believe that controlled shooting and proper betting does cut down on the casino's advantage (for a while), however, Lady Luck please shine on us all.
Thanks again for all the responses,
P.S. I do want to also mention that the camaraderie you all show on this site is absolutely wonderful and a real pleasure to see. Had hoped to run into some of you the last time you were in AC, but a slight heart attack managed to change my plans (am doing fine now).
[This post appeared on the private, members-only Golden Touch website. Get a free 60-day subscription. Just e-mail Frank Scoblete at firstname.lastname@example.org.]
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