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The better the name, the worse the bet

12 March 2012

Which wagers in the casino have the dullest-sounding names? Why, these are given to the very best bets. It is interesting to note that dull in terms of sound usually means good in terms of house edge. So let's take a look at some of the best bets in the casino, those bets that come in with the dullest sounding names.

In baccarat you have the boring-titled bank bet (1.17 percent house edge) and the drab player bet (1.36 percent house edge). At craps, there's the pass line bet (1.41 percent house edge), the don't pass bet (1.40 percent house edge), the come bet (1.41 percent house edge), the don't come bet (1.4 percent house edge) and the truly lackluster odds bet (no house edge). The two best wagers at sic bo are the big and the small, both having a 2.8 percent house edge.

Check out blackjack. The breakthrough in this game was the computer-derived "basic strategy," which two words are about the dullest-sounding words you can get. Basic strategy holds no allure for a player; the sounds are as bland as bland can be. And the most exciting strategy discovery of all time for blackjack players was "card counting," which sounds as if it is so boring it would kill you if you tried doing it! The other words of blackjack are equally as dull: stand, split, hit and double down. You could double over hearing the words "double down."

Yet using basic strategy at blackjack and standing, splitting, hitting and doubling down correctly makes blackjack a very close game between the players and the casinos. In most cases the house edge hovers around one-half a percent, give or take, depending on the rules. But the game just doesn't sound that interesting if we base our opinion on the words used in it.

Now, compare the above names the following names:

From craps: Yo, yo-eleven, snake eyes, post holes, hardways, horn, horn-high-yo, Big Red, world, whirl, C&E, hop, boxcars, Big 6, Big 8, uptown, downtown and across the board. All of these are good names but bad bets. All of these bets come with edges between 9 percent and 17 percent. That means your expectation is to lose between $9 and $17 per $100 wagered. The good bets come in with expected losses of between 50 cents and $2.80 per $100 wagered. That is some difference.

The newest and best-sounding craps bet is the fire bet. It will burn through your bankroll in short order. Why? Because the fire bet comes in with a house edge of between 20 and 25 percent, depending on the payouts. Just think that craps players are making a bet where their expected loss is between $20 and $25 per $100 wagered. The fire bet is probably worse than the worst slot machine currently being played in any casino in America. Rotten bet; great name. And sadly the bet is catching on and can be found in casinos all over America.

How about these truly exciting names for new bets at the game of blackjack? Royal match, triple sevens, multiple action, and blackjack switch? All of these bets and all the new side bets at blackjack are bad bets. But players love to play them because they sound good and so sounds make players believe they have a shot at some darn good money in the long run. They don't.

From roulette we get the straight up, the street and the corner. They all have the same house edge on their individual components, which is 5.26 percent on the American wheel and 2.7 percent on the European wheel. One bet has a cunningly dangerous-sounding name and that is the "Five Number Bet," and it is the absolutely worst bet on the American roulette wheel. The house edge is 7.89 percent; an expected loss of $7.89 per $100 wagered.

Many of the carnival games with high house edges sound the most exciting: Caribbean Stud (va-va-voom!), Let It Ride (hot), Casino War (chilling), Russian Roulette (deadly), Red Dog (frisky). Compare those with: craps (disgusting), 21 (yawn) and blackjack (a hard stick cops used in the old days).

So why do the games, strategies and bets with the highest house edges have the most alluring monikers in the casinos? Obviously, the substance of the carnival games can bang hard on your bankroll with their speed and edges; and the strategies and bets with all those desirous names leave something to be desired. The name becomes the primary reason for playing the game, using the strategy, or making the bets.

If you have played craps, you know that many players make a big show of throwing out wonderfully named bad bets and they make these bets with their own personal flourish. They spin the chip and flip it up into the air and as it descends they bellow out: "I'll take a yo!" or "Give me a horn!" or "Hard eight, my man!" Somehow they must get a strong feeling of massive power when making weak bets that can dwarf a player's bankroll.

We all know that most casino players are looking for excitement and if the executives believe that such players will be drawn into high-house-edge bets with great names, then you can expect just that. But savvy players are not fooled by the names of bets. They study the games and make the best bets possible, even if the names of those bets smack them as dull.

A bad bet with a flowery name is still a weed.

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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:

Baccarat Battle Book

> 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