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Best of Frank Scoblete
The land of the lost21 October 2010
Craps players come in all shapes, sizes and styles of play. Some are loud extroverts; some are quiet and intense introverts; some are confused and bedeviled by the intricacies of the game; some are cynical and complain every chance they get; some are just happy to be at the tables with their fellow players.
But with the few exceptions of controlled shooters -- most of whom have trained with Golden Touch -- almost all of them are losers. The craps landscape is like the Atlanta Train Station scene in Gone with the Wind -- bodies, or rather bankroll bodies, strewn everywhere.
It makes no difference how you play the game, whether you make good bets or bad bets or horrendous bets, if the house has an edge that edge will win out in the end. So why do gambling writers such as me keep harping on making the good bets and forgoing the bad bets?
It is simple math, really. If you were one of the wounded in that Atlanta Train Station scene, would you rather lose a pinky, a hand, an arm or everything? Obviously, a pinky is better than all the rest.
The same is true in gambling. Even though the craps game you are playing is random and the casino has an edge over you, that edge goes from pretty low to pretty horrifying. You can have a Pass Line bet coming in at 1.41% in favor of the house (meaning you lose $1.41 for every $100 you wager) or you can go hog wild and bet the any seven, appropriately called "Big Red," with its 16.67% house edge (a loss of $16.67 per $100 wagered) or you can flip yourself off gambling's Mount Everest and make the fire bet, a hellish bet coming in at around 25%. Yes, you lose $25 for every $100 wagered on that proposition.
Now, in a relaxed and sane mind, no one but a maniacal ploppy would ever consider making any of the high house-edge bets. Why do so when doom awaits?
Yes, the low house-edge bets will lose in the long run too, but they will lose much less. Would you rather lose $1.41 or $25 for every $100 wagered? Is there really a choice here that any sane individual would actually consider a choice?
A choice at craps bets might be something like this: "Do I place the 6 or 8 where the house has an edge of 1.52%? Or do I make a pass line bet where the house has a 1.41% edge?" Yes, quibbling over a tenth of a percent is no big deal. But there is no quibbling with a bet such as the Any Seven, which is 12 times worse than the pass line bet, or the fire bet, which is 18 times worse than a pass line bet.
Yet, there are craps players who blithely make such horrendous bets and these players make such bets continuously. If they are the boisterous type of player, you might hear them whining that they can never win at the game. If they are intense and sullen, they might bite their fingernails and wonder what the heck is going on. It doesn't matter what personality type the player is. Bad bets make it harder to win tonight, tomorrow, this week, next week, this month and this year.
If you don't keep the house edge contained, well, the game is like Godzilla coming out of the water to destroy Tokyo for the hundredth time. You might get really, really lucky one night, but for most of the craps days of your life that luck just isn't going to be there.
Lady Luck has a rule about casino games, "Believe in the math." Don't try to pit your mind, your logic, your emotions and your highly fallible intuition against a game that was created to beat you into submission. The developers of the game didn't rely on luck to win; they relied on math. Therefore, you rely on math too. Make the good bets only.
Keep in mind something about Lady Luck. She is fickle. At rare times she might favor you, but mostly she cheats on you and enjoys watching you get crushed.
The casino holds out the temptation of winning big on the worst bets. That's what lures the unwary craps player looking to make a giant score. However, I've always had the reverse mindset. To me making a good bet, a bet I have a strong chance of winning, is far more exciting than making a bad bet. That actually sounds logical to me.
In my years of teaching craps and dice control to players, I discovered an uncomfortable fact. Most craps players have little actual knowledge of the house edges at the various bets. They might have a hazy inkling that this bet is good and that bet is bad, but they really have no grasp of how good or how bad.
Bad craps bets are the serial killers of craps players' bankrolls. My friends, the bet is called BIG RED -- doesn't that give a clue as to its effects on your money?
So next time you are at a craps table look around. You are in the land of the lost.
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 email@example.com.
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