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Frank Scoblete - The Number of Craps: 11 and 12

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  • Frank ScobleteConservatives of the political persuasion will love the numbers 11 and 12 because they represent the far right wing of the craps spectrum, whereas 2 and 3 represent the radical left. No good can come of betting those 2s and 3s, with their high house edges of 13.89 percent and 11.11 percent respectively. Right? Of course! Unfortunately, no good can come from betting that 11 or 12 either. In craps, as in politics, the best winning bets are generally centrist, middle of the road, and not at the fringes.

    The 11, known to everyone and all as the ?yo-eleven,? is my favorite number at craps because it comes from the department of redundancy and repetition department. After all a ?yo? is an 11 and obviously an 11 is an 11, so why say ?yo-eleven?? Why not just say ?yo,? or, if you?re hesitant to sound like Rocky Balboa, why not just say ?eleven? when making this bet? To top it off, the house edge on the yo-eleven is, holy cow!, 11.11 percent. Something?s up. The yo-eleven, which literally means 11/11 comes in with an 11.11 percent house edge. Hmmm.

    Well, I can clear up one mystery. The reason the dealers refer to the 11 as ?yo-eleven? is to distinguish it from the 7 on the come-out roll. Seven and eleven sound very similar, especially in the heat of a craps battle, so by inserting the ?yo? before ?eleven,? no one can be confused about which number has just been rolled by the shooter on his come-out. There can?t be any: ?Was that a seven you just called or an eleven?? Once yo, sorry, I mean once you hear that ?yo? you know it?s an 11. Gabish?

    As for the 11 having an 11.11 percent house edge, all I can say is that God works in mysterious ways. No matter. A bet on the 11, whether alone or in conjunction with other numbers such as the bet ?craps-eleven? or C and E, is a waste of money. At craps, you can see 120 rolls an hour. Betting just a single dollar on the 11 on all those rolls will give you an expected loss of $13.33 per hour. Not good. There are only two ways to make the 11 (oh, my, the 11, which is 1 and 1 will equal 2 ways in craps ? more mysterious stuff, huh?) out of 36 possible combinations of the dice. It can be made 6:5 or 5:6. A straight up bet on the 11 will pay off at $30 for $1. The true odds are 35 to one.

    It?s a winner on the come-out roll for the Pass Line bettor and a loser for the Don?t Pass bettor. Except on the come-out roll, the 11 is best ignored.

    However, one cannot ignore its numerologic qualities. You see, with Judas swinging in the branches of a tree after his betrayal of Christ, Jesus was left with 11 Apostles who were eager to do his will, teach and serve God. Thus, the number 11 stands for loyalty, steadfastness and a desire to preach to your fellow man. Eleven also represents spiritual revelations that God gives to a man and that man passes on to other men. One such revelation which I had was: Don?t bet on the 11 because it has a high house edge. I pass this on to you.

    That number 11 fits me to a tee as I am on the right, like to preach to my fellow men (which is what I do in these articles, basically) and I occasionally get revelations, another being that if I keep eating as I?m doing I?ll not be able to fit into my tuxedo for my son?s impending wedding.

    The 12 is the outermost number in craps along with the 2. It can only be made one way: 6:6. It is affectionately known as ?boxcars? by the craps cognoscenti. On the come-out roll, it loses for the Pass Line bettor but pushes for the Don?t Pass bettor. If the casino allowed the 12 to win for the Don?t Pass bettor, instead of pushing, the house would lose its edge on the Darkside of the game, and nobody wants that to happen, except, perhaps, the players. The 12 is also one of the two field numbers that pays 2 to 1; the other being the 2. Betting the 12 straight up is even dumber than betting the yo-eleven since it has a house edge that is 13.89 percent. Bet this boxcar for 120 rolls and you?ll find that even at a dollar a pop, you can expect to lose $16.67 per hour! That?s awful. That?s also lunch.

    In numerology, the number 12 represents the ?New Jerusalem,? a place of peace and happiness and beauty, where the lion will lie down with the lamb (then rise with a full stomach?). It also represents the entire cycle of life, as a year has 12 months and a day has 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness (more or less). The Romans and other ancients looked upon 12 as a sacred number. There were 12 Olympian gods, 12 tablets of the Roman law, and 12 signs of the Zodiac. There would have been 12 commandments but Moses wanted to be different. There are 12 tribes of Israel, 12 Apostles, 12 Days of Christmas, and I once had a neighbor who had 12 kids (all, except one, rotten) but some other time for that. Aaron?s breastplate also had 12 precious stones and it is believed by some religions that at the end of time the final Judgment will see only 12,000 people/souls from each tribe of Israel get to heaven. So out of all the individuals who ever lived on earth only 144,000 (12,000 X 12) have a shot at the pearly gates, and the rest of us have to content ourselves with casinos. Craps and numbers, numbers and man, looking at the world and counting the ways, somehow it all ties in. Perhaps the fact that craps is a very primitive game -- a group of (mostly) men hunkered over a large altar-like structure, trying to divine the will of the deities through the dice -- makes it the best possible game for gaining insights into reality.

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