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Frank Scoblete - Craps Crap and Craps Gold

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  • Frank ScobleteWhat do the following sayings have in common?
    ?An apple a day keeps the doctor away.?
    ?Better late than never.?
    ?High fences make good neighbors.?
    ?Always play the Pass/Come and take full odds.?

    Answer: The above statements are true.

    Yes, some people might quibble and say that you can eat as many apples-a-day as you like, but that fateful day when you drop like an apple off a tree will come no matter what. A groom arriving an hour late for his wedding day might find he?ll never get to marry his lady-love. True, high fences keep out the nosy neighbors and give you privacy, but they also make it easier for bad guys to burglarize your house. And playing the Pass/Come with odds, while the mathematically best overall strategy, can?t guarantee that you?ll win at craps in the long run; such advice can only guarantee that you?ll lose the least amount in the long run based on your total amount wagered. So, for want of a better way to say it, the above are ?true-truths.?

    Now, what do the following statements have in common?

    ?If something that should happen a certain percentage of the time and it hasn?t happened that percentage of the time, it will happen in the future.?

    ?Win 80 percent of your decisions at craps - guaranteed!?

    ?Win 99 percent of your betting sequences at craps - guaranteed!?

    ?Protect your Pass Line bet from the losing on the Come Out - guaranteed!?

    The above statements are all true as well. Yet, they are as false as ?dicers? oaths,? as Shakespeare put it. Thus, the above are ?false-truths.?

    True Truths

    True truths are mundane, especially in craps. Pass/Come betting with odds is boring for many craps players who just love the action and can?t be bothered with making this two-step process of going up on the Pass and/or Come, waiting for the dice to roll a point number (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10), then placing the full odds (or as much as they can afford) on the number and pray that the number hits before the dreaded 7. Even the eight times in 36 when they win on a 7 and 11 during Come-Out rolls just isn?t all that exciting to such players.

    So what have craps players done? They?ve invented or bought systems to beat the game. With one exception (which I will discuss in the final paragraphs of this piece -- stop! don?t rush to the end), all such systems at craps have failed utterly to establish themselves as winners or, as in the case of the Pass/Come with full odds, as ?less losers.?

    First, let?s quickly establish why Pass/Come and Don?t Pass/Don?t Come with full odds are the absolute best betting approaches to the game of craps. It?s all in the math. When you bet a Pass or Come bet of ?X? and then take ?2X? in odds, the casino?s overall edge on you is a mere 0.61 percent (fractionally less on the ?don?t?). That?s right, your expectation is to lose a measly 61 cents for every $100 you bet in this fashion. In a 5X odds game, the casino edge is 0.33 percent, in 10X odds games it is 0.18 percent, and in 20X odds games, it is 0.10 percent -- one dime for $100 wagered. That is about as close a mathematical contest as most players are likely to see in a casino.


    When someone creates or buys a ?system,? he is looking to overcome the math of the game by utilizing some kind of betting scheme that outwits the game?s probabilistic theoretical underpinnings. In craps, some systems have a kind of compelling though superficial logic behind them. Some systems are absolutely ridiculous. And some seem to actually work until you realize they aren?t saving you money, they are losing you even more money.

    The Ridiculous

    Ridiculous systems are usually poorly thought-out exercises in ?the gambler?s fallacy,? which just means if something hasn?t happened for a while it must be ?due? to happen soon. You?ll find that many people who bet the hardways and those one-roll Crazy Crapper proposition bets will tend to fall for this type of thinking. ?Hey, the yo-eleven hasn?t come up for awhile, it must be due!? Crazy Crapper bets have edges bordering on 10 percent or higher. The ?yo-eleven? (which actually means eleven-eleven) has an uncanny 11.11 percent edge (who says God doesn?t work in mysterious ways?). You?ll lose $11.11 for every $100 wagered on the ?eleven-eleven.?

    Here?s another fallacy, the term for which I just invented: It?s called the ?Fallacy of the Small Wager-Big Payoff.? This fallacy was eloquently stated by one craps player thusly: ?Man, I only bet a stinkin? dollar on the hardways and dem other bets and look how much I can win!? Slot players fall for this fallacy all the time. They think because they only play, say, three quarters per spin that they are betting ? a little? but they can win a lot.

    It is just the opposite. They are betting a lot to win a lot less. Here?s why: Take that bet, yo-eleven, from the department of redundancy department. Let?s say our wagerer bets it on every single roll of the dice but only for one ?stinkin?? dollar.

    In an hour of play, it is not unusual for 120 rolls to take place. That?s $120 dollars wagered into that 11.11 percent house edge. That?s a loss of $13.33 -- per hour! If this person is looking to get a full range of comps and plays for four hours in a day, his expected loss for one ?stinkin?? dollar over that time is $53.32, often the cost of a room for one day in Las Vegas! Yes, occasionally you?ll win these bets, but make them enough over a long enough time and the house edge will cut your bankroll to ribbons. Next Issue: More Systems

    Some of Frank's most popular books can be purchased by clicking one of the image links below:

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