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Frank Scoblete - Betting Systems at Craps: The Field vs. Betting Inside

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  • Frank ScobleteMost gamblers are convinced that there are betting schemes and systems that can overcome the house edge at craps and at other games. In this thinking, they are, of course, completely wrong, as math and long run experience will ultimately prove to them. Still, hope springs eternal in the gambler?s breast and not a day goes by when some gambler somewhere will scream out, if only in his mind: ?Eureka, I got it!?

    The gambling system that most novice gamblers ?invent? is the Martingale, the double up as you lose progression. When I first started gambling, I ?discovered? this system as well and thought I would make a billion dollars from it. I kept my knowledge a secret lest anyone discover this simple method for beating the house. When I discovered it I wondered why no one had ever discovered it before. Maybe I was a genius?

    After I started reading about gambling, and after I had my head handed to me on a platter at the Sands in Atlantic City playing this method, I realized I wasn?t a genius and that the entire Western gambling civilization had discovered this gambling system before me ? and those who had utilized it for large sums went broke. At least I was smarter than they as I didn?t go broke using it. Why? Because I quickly abandoned it!

    Several days, weeks, months or years later, that same gambler who shouted ?Eureka!? will scratch his head as I did and think: ?Gee, it seemed so good. I wonder why it didn?t work??

    I recently received a letter from a craps player touting his ?simple? method of play. ?I bet the Field, you have seven of the 11 numbers! And you have 16 ways to hit those seven numbers.?

    He?s right, as far as he goes. In fact, the Field is even better than he said it was because on two of those numbers, the 2 and 12, the player gets paid off at two to one. So he actually wins $18 when those seven numbers hit if he?s betting $1 a pop on them. Of course, he loses $20. If we consider a ?cycle? to be the complete win/loss on every number, then the house is a $2 winner for every ?cycle? of 36 rolls, an approximately 5.6 percent house edge.

    You can also have 18 wins if you place the 6 and 8, 5 and 9, as these numbers, combined, will come up 18 times. Is placing the ?inside numbers? a better bet than the Field? Well, let?s see.

    If you bet $22 inside, which is $6 each on the 6 and 8, and $5 each on the 5 and 9, you will win 18 decisions for a win of $126, since you get paid $7 for every win. However, when the 7 rears any of its ugly face combinations, you will lose all $22 and that will happen six times in a 36 roll cycle for a loss of $132. You?re a net loser of $6. This is an approximately 2.6 percent house edge.

    Based strictly on house edge, placing the inside numbers appears to be the better bet. But is it actually the better bet in the real world? Yes and no.

    If you are a player who can easily afford placing the inside numbers, then avoid the field bet. Why give the casino more than twice the edge on you? However, if you are really on an extremely limited budget, then you can make the Field bet for a mere $1 at most casinos. Granted you?ll be in on every roll as the Field is decided each and every time the dice are thrown, approximately 120 decisions per hour. So you will wager $120, have the 5.6 percent house edge cut into it to the tune of almost $7 per hour. But if you like to drink and don?t tip the waitresses, you can probably drink more than the value of the loss of your money (but perhaps not more than the value of your liver!).

    And what of our place bettor? In 120 rolls of the dice, the ?inside betting? strategy will see a decision two-thirds of the time, that?s 80 decisions, that?s $1760 wagered, with the house keeping approximately $46.

    So if you are extremely short on cash, then you can just keep betting the Field, but once you can afford, and actually start, to make bets that come in with lower house edges, you abandon the Field in favor of those bets.

    There is one caveat to the above advice. Some casinos in their infinite generosity will pay triple on the 2 or 12 Field bet. That lowers the house edge to 2.7 percent on the Field bet. Now that becomes just about as good a bet as the placing of the ?inside numbers? in terms of the house edge.

    Are there betting systems that can overcome the Field edges? No, there aren?t. But some players like to play around with raising or lowering their bets, in the hopes of riding a streak.

    One of the best methods for making a profit in a streak on the Field is the ?Four-Step? which is to place the field for ?X? amount and when it hits, just let everything ride. On the second hit, take your win. On the third hit, let it ride again. On the fourth hit, take everything down to its initial bet. So you bet 1 unit, then 2, (win and keep 2) then 2, then 4, (win, then take the 4-unit win and bring your bet down to 1-unit, keeping the additional 3 units). In this four-win sequence you have won a total of 9 units. At this point you would start again.

    Looking for short streaks is the best way to exploit the Field wager for extremely low-rollers. But if you are already in the medium roller league and can afford to play the game of craps for table minimums, then the Field is just another sucker bet, even though you are betting so many numbers and they seemingly hit so many times. The Field?s money-making potential is an illusion to be sure.

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

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