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The fire bet: the hottest new craps attraction28 October 2010
Craps has a cornucopia of bets; some good, some bad, some horrible. Smart players stick to the good bets with house edges under 2%, such as the pass, don't pass, the come, don't come, the placing of the 6 and 8, and also the buying of the 4 and 10 at $25 and $50 if the commission is paid on wins only. All these are strong bets for the players.
The bad bets on the lightside also known as the right side of the game -- and these bets are legion -- go from placing the 5 and 9, placing the 4 and 10, betting the field, betting the hard ways, and betting all those wacky proposition bets such as the 2, 3, 11, 12 and betting combinations of those numbers such as the horn and the whirl.
On the darkside, also known as the don't side, things are not much better. Except for placing against the 6 and 8, all the other darkside bets come in over 2%. Not really worth throwing your money at them.
For years the absolutely most horrible bet, called the any seven, has been far and away the king of crap at craps, coming in with a skyscraper of a house edge at 16.67%. Translated into language, that means an expected loss of $16.67 for every $100 wagered over time. The bet is a simple crazy crapper proposition -- the very next roll will be a 7 (six chances to appear) and you win; or it won't be a 7 (30 chances to appear) and you lose.
Now the true odds of the bet are five to one; you have five ways to lose and one way to win. If you were playing a game offering true odds, the payout on a win should be $5. You'd lose $5 when you lost those five appearances of a non-seven but you would win $5 when your 7 did appear. The game would be a push. You and the casino would break even over time.
But the casinos can't make money doing that. So instead they pay only $4 to $1, gaining for themselves an edge of 16.67%. Yuck! By the way, with no irony intended by the casinos, the nickname for the any seven is big red. Hint? Think of your bankroll being in the red if you make this wager because that is exactly what will happen.
And so it has stood for many years, big red towering over that slushy mob of awful craps bets, until a new and completely regurgitative bet, the Godzilla of bad bets and simultaneously the most tempting of all craps bets, was introduced. This bet is called the fire bet, and it is a bet that was made in the hellish mind of a brilliant casino strategist and casino supervisor, Perry Staci.
The bet is a cumulative bet. When the shooter is on his come-out roll, you can place a fire bet. You are now betting that he will successfully make four, five or six box numbers as points. Thus, he must make the 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10 for the bet to win the full jackpot. The numbers do not have to be made in order, but even repeats of successful points only count as a single hit for the fire bet.
The bet is beginning to show up all over the country, like a California brush fire raging from the West to the East and it is, in craps terms, just as deadly, with the house edge ranging from around 20 to 25 % depending on the payoff structure the casino uses. Translated into English, your long-range expectation is to lose between $20 to $25 for every hundred dollars you wager.
The fire bet is such a monstrously poor bet that it even towers over big red, the former worst bet at craps. The fire bet is without mercy and it burns to a crisp the hapless, hopeless craps players who bet it all over the country. The bet been has likened to betting a six-spot keno ticket -- keno being another bloodbath for casino gamblers.
But the fire bet has intrigued even astute craps players. Since the betting limits are $1 to $5, players figure, "Hey, that isn't costing me much." Like slot players unaware of how the fierce edges at the machines whack away at their bankrolls, fire bettors are also lulled into a suspension of their gambling-math intelligence. With every shooter you fire-bet on, you are giving the casino a hefty 20 to 25 cents on a $1 bet and $1 to $1.25 on $5 fire bets.
Make such bets over and over again and those times you win the bet will not overcome the long-range donations you are making to the casino treasuries. Despite its tempting nature, especially for dice controllers who fool themselves into thinking their skill can overcome such massive house edges, the fire bet should be avoided.
When you see it made by some shooter or other, and the dealers or those winning on the bets scold you for not making it, you did the right thing. Over time those who are whooping and cheering this instant will be crying in their losses.
Be smart. Stay away from all the bad bets at craps. Give yourself a chance to win by making only the best bets at the game.
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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