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Why You Should Trim the Hedges from Your Craps Game - Part 35 January 2002
Hedges in the Field
There is a way to win 83.33 percent of all your decisions at craps and it is a hedge system that is often sold just that way by unscrupulous systems sellers whose advertisements blare: WIN OVER 83 PERCENT OF YOUR CRAPS DECISIONS!
This method concerns betting the Field (the numbers 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, and 12) along with Place bets on the 5, 6 and 8. Doing this covers 30 of the 36 possible outcomes of a craps roll -- an 83.33 percent success rate!
Let's see how this can work for a $10 bettor. Our Field Hedger bets $10 on the Field, $10 on the 5, and $12 on the 6 and $12 on the 8 for a total wager of $44. Any time one of our Field numbers hits, we win $10, except on the 2 and 12 where we win $20 as these pay off at two to one. However, when the 5 hits, we win $14 but lose the $10 Field Bet for a net win of $4. When the 6 or 8 rolls, we also have a net win of $4 on each because we again win $14 but lose $10. In 36 rolls that perfectly reflect probability, the Field Hedger will win and lose as follows:
So far this system looks great but the clinker comes with the appearance of the evil 7. On the six occasions when the "devil jumps up," we will lose all of our bets -- $44 X 6 = for a loss of $264! So this hedging system costs the player $52 for a completed sequence of wagers in the long run. Yes, you will win 30 decisions and lose only six decisions, but those six losses will kill you.
Field hedges are poison ivy for the craps player; avoid them.
Hoisted with My Own Petard?
Readers of my books on craps might now be scratching their heads and saying: "Wait a minute! What is this crazy Scoblete doing writing such an anti-hedge article when one of the Captain's methods he writes about in his books is just such a hedge system called the Doey-Don't which, coupled with the 5-Count, he presumptuously calls the Supersystem?"
What am I doing, indeed!
First of all, the Doey-Don't, like all hedge systems, increases the house edge on the player. Strictly speaking, a Pass Line bettor will win 244 decisions and lose 251 decisions for a house edge of approximately 1.41 percent. However, if such a bettor decides to go the Doey-Don't route, he will lose one out of every 36 come-out rolls for a 2.78 percent house edge -- almost twice as much. In fact, unless the player takes or lays odds on the "Do" or the "Don't" respectively, there is no possible way to win a Doey-Don't bet.
Obviously, someone would have to be insane to make such a wager and not take or lay odds on one end or the other. The general reason given by players for utilizing the Doey-Don't style of betting is to take advantage of the Odds portion of the game. So, is this the best way to play the Odds game, all other things being equal? No, it isn't. At a 5X odds game, for example, taking full odds on the Pass Line bet sees the house edge at a low 0.326 percent. The house edge employing the Doey-Don't style of betting is 0.528 percent. That's the difference between losing 33 cents or losing 53 cents per $100 wagered.
In purely mathematical terms, then, the Doey-Don't is not a hedge that gives the player the opportunity to lose less than he would have had he not hedged.
Okay, so have I been blown away by my own analysis of the Doey-Don't's lack of efficacy in hedging ("hoisted with one's own petard" means being blown up with your own ammunition -- think of those poor souls who blow themselves up with their own firecrackers every Fourth of July). Not quite.
Mathematically there is little doubt that the Pass Line bet straight up is better than any hedge bet thus far discussed. However, the Doey-Don't coupled with the 5-Count is not a mathematical betting system so much as a system for finding shooters who are reducing the appearance of the 7 (these are called rhythmic rollers). If the occurrence of the 7 is reduced, the motivation for betting Pass (or Come) is reduced as well, since three-fourths of the Pass Line's power comes from the six appearances of that come-out 7. With a reduction in the appearance of the 7, and a subsequent increase in the appearance of point numbers, the Doey-Don't can become the preferred way to bet. Is this a controversial claim? Certainly. Do I believe it? Yes.
But in strictly mathematical terms, the Doey-Don't is no better than any other hedge I've discussed -- it can't answer in the affirmative the question: "Will I lose less using this method?"
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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