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Frank Scoblete - The Numbers of Craps: 8, 9, 10

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  • Frank ScobleteCraps and life are games of numbers. From the very first, we?re asked how old we are; how tall we are; what grade we?re in ? and how much that engagement ring cost. The numbers 8, 9, and 10 bring with them both good and bad bets, and also good and bad qualities. Let?s take a look, shall we:

    The number 8 (known as ?Ada from Decatur?) is one of the two best numbers for right bettors at craps. Right bettors, as we know, are rooting for the shooter and against the 7 on the point cycle of the game. The 8 can be made five ways with two dice: 6:2, 2:6, 5:3, 3:5 and 4:4. Only the 7 can be made more ways, six ways to be precise. The odds of the 7 being made before the 8 are six to five.

    The Placing of the 8 comes with a manageable 1.52 percent house edge. It must be Placed in multiples of $6. A winning wager pays off at $7 for $6. So far so good. However, many craps aficionados love to bet a Hard 8, that is, an 8 made 4:4. Here you are wagering that the 8 made with the other combinations, and also that the 7, will not show before that 4:4 is rolled. The true odds of the bet are ten to one; the casino pays nine to one. The house edge is a whopping nine percent!

    In numerology, if your name has eight letters, you are the hard-driving, money-obsessed, status-conscious materialist. Eight is considered the number of the rich and powerful; those who hunger, not for righteousness, but for the right investments. Those who fit the sign of 8 can expect a difficult time of it in life, as they are never quite satisfied with what they have and are always seeking more. Eight is also the first cube number and, as such, is considered the Guardian Number for craps. Eight is a perfect fit for craps. You play craps to make money; but the tendency on the part of craps players is never to be satisfied with their small or medium wins ? they want to go for the gusto and wind up disappointed. Typical 8! Eight has some positive connotations, however. It is considered the number of ?a new beginning.? Thus, baptism is often given on the eighth day after birth, as is the bris (circumcision) and name for a baby boy in Judaism. Eight also represents resurrection and life after death. That means, I take it, that if you lose tonight?s craps game, you can always come back tomorrow. Nine (or ?Nina from Pasadena?) is the Center Field number and can be made four ways: 6:3, 3:6, 5:4, and 4:5. It is a six to four (or three to two) underdog against the 7. Placing the 9 comes with a heavy four percent house edge; although that can be reduced if the casino where you play allows the buying of the 9 for $36 or $38 for a $1 commission. Then the edge is cut to about 2.5 percent, still a little steep. If you can?t buy the 9 for the above prices, then Placing it must be done in units of $5. A winning Place bet on the 9 pays $7 to $5. Nine is often Placed in conjunction with the 5 and, when coupled with the 6 and 8, is one of the ?inside numbers?; when coupled with the 4 or 10 is considered one of the ?outside numbers.? Thus it?s Janus-faced. In numerology, people who are characterized by the number 9 are considered to be possessed of a great gift for religious and social service. Nine is also considered the number of great mystic and spiritual insights (perhaps that?s why the Beatles incessantly chanted ?number nine, number nine, number nine? on ? what was it? ? the White Album).

    Nine does have some negative characteristics. While high-mindedly concerned with ?humanity? as a whole, those characterized by 9 don?t particularly care for individual human beings and are often short or ill-tempered when dealing with the plebs. There?s that Janus face, again. Still, 9 is the last ?real number? as 10 is just a repetition of 1 with a zero thrown in for good measure. As such 9 is considered the most complete number. Christ completed his earthly mission and died during hour number nine, you?ll recall. Cats have it a little better than divinities as they have nine lives. (My neighbor?s cat has about 99 lives as it?s been hit by several cars; attacked by dogs; shot by a deranged escapee from a local hospital and fed God-knows-what by some of the people it mooches off of.)

    The number 10 (or ?Big Ben?) can be made three ways: 6:4, 4:6, and 5:5. It is one of the two outside point numbers. It is a two to one underdog to the 7. Placing of the 10 is big mistake because the house edge on such a Place bet is 6.67 percent. Ten is placed in units of $5 and a winning bet pays $9. However, if you buy the 10, you can reduce the house edge substantially, especially in games where the casino takes the commission from winning bets only. Then a buy of the 10 for $25, comes in with a house edge of only about 1.3 percent. Not bad.

    As with any even number, reckless craps players like to bet the Hard 10. This is even worse than betting the Hard 6 or Hard 8, since the house edge is 11 percent on the Hard 10 and only (only?) nine percent on the Hard 6 and 8.

    The number 10 has special properties for numerologists as it can be made by adding up the first four numbers 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10. This is important because we have ten digits on our hands. And why is having ten digits such a big deal? Because it represents the basics of all constructs: 1 = a point; 2 = a line; 3 = a triangle; and 4 = a pyramid. And a pyramid is where pharaohs and cats get buried when they?ve exhausted their one or nine lives. Hey, one and nine = 10! I?m getting good at this; I think I?ll become a numerologist!

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