Some gaming experts who write books and articles are convinced that there is a mathematical way to overcome the house edge at craps. They believe that by hedging this bet with that bet they can overcome the edge on both bets and beat the game.
We usually see this with ?right? bettors as they place a Pass Line bet and an Any Craps bet in order to ?protect? their Pass Line bet from the 2, 3 or 12 being rolled -- all losers on the Come-Out part of the game for a right bettor. So what actually happens? Are the bets really protected? Have the hedgers found a magical way to beat the math of the game in doing this?
On the contrary, they lose more!
If we look at a $25 Pass Line bettor who ?protects? his bet by hedging it with a $5 Any Craps, here?s what happens. On the Come-Out roll, the 7 or 11 will win the $25 Pass Line player $25, but he will lose $5 on the Any Craps. How often will he win on the Pass Line? Eight times in 36 rolls for a win of $200 minus $40 for the losses on Any Craps. Now, he is up $160.
However, what if he hits the Any Craps? He wins seven times his $5 bet for a win of $35! He?ll do this four times every 36 Come-Out rolls for a total of $140. But he lost $25 on each of those four rolls, so his net profit was only $40. Still, he?s ahead of the game at this point because he won $160 on the Come-Out 7s and 11s, and he won $40 on the Any Craps. He?s ahead an impressive $200.
What if he had not protected his bet? Why he would have won $200 but lost $100 when the 2, 3, and 12 rolled. He?d have only been up $100. But by hedging, he is up $200, not $100. Great!
If the game stopped there, it would be great indeed.
But craps doesn?t stop there. You see, every time the shooter establishes his point -- the numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10 -- our hedger loses his $5. And the shooter will establish his point 24 times. That?s a loss of $120 for the point numbers. Our player who hedges on the Come-Out roll -- where he has a two-to-one edge over the house, and where he would be up $100 after the 36 Come-Out rolls on average -- is now up only $80. And that is $20 less than he would have won had he not ?protected? his Pass Line bet and just let it stand out there alone.
So hedging on the ?Do? side of the board is a don?t, and you can use the same kind of analysis for all possible hedges at craps, and the result will be the same -- you?ll actually lose more by trying to protect otherwise good bets with otherwise bad bets.
The Any Craps is a bad bet because it has a house edge of 11.11 percent, whereas the Pass Line bet only faces a small 1.41 percent house edge. A bad bet cannot protect a good bet.
There are exceptions to most rules. That?s what makes life interesting. In craps, the only exception to the above rules (those rules being it is always best to bet the Pass/Come with full odds or as much in odds as you can afford) is an area of craps play I have been exploring for some dozen years now. This area has nothing to do with ?betting or hedging systems? overcoming the math, but it does have to do with shooters who are changing the nature of the game due to some physical control of the dice. These shooters are dubbed ?rhythmic rollers? (also known as dice controllers) since they seem to have a set pattern to their rolls consisting of a careful setting of the dice and a consistent, soft delivery that allows the dice to die when they reach and ?touch? the back wall.
To be sure, most players who set the dice are emphatically not rhythmic rollers. I?ve seen players who take extraordinary care setting their numbers just so -- before winging the dice down the table where they bang the back wall and bounce all over the place. That kind of throw is strictly random and cannot affect the house edge one bit.
I have covered the ins and outs, pros and cons, of such ?advantage-play? craps in my book Forever Craps: The Five-Step Advantage Play Method! I also teach dice control in my Golden Touch Craps dice control classes. It is a method that physically overcomes the house vig by influencing the outcome of your roll. It?s a tough skill to learn and takes a lot of practice, something most craps players are not interested in. Most craps players are looking for magic bullets and quick fixes; dice control is just too much work for them. After all, dice control is a skill, not a system.
Still, for just about every player in just about any craps game, the tried (Pass/Come with odds) is the true. It?s the high fence and the apple a day that can keep that horrible house edge at bay. If you have been playing the wrong way all these years, switch right now because -- better late than never!
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