FROM MARK: My first bet is $220 inside. After three hits I make a15 come and go down with full 75 odds. Playing in Atlantic City I can go 5x odds. Am I better off just pressing to 75 or continue to make the Come bets?
FRANK RESPONDS: Dump the placing of $220 inside. You are putting $50 on the 5 and $50 on the 9 and bucking a 4 percent edge. That's a major edge and means your expectation is to lose two dollars for each number. That’s four bucks for those two bets. That’s way too much money.
Placing the 6 and 8 is OK but you are still far better off going with Pass and Come (after the 5-Count). By betting $15 at a 5X odds game in AC you can put $75 in odds on the 4 and 10; $100 in odds on the 5 and 9; and $125 in odds on the 6 and 8.
The Place bets are only superficially interesting because you can Place the numbers you want directly, call off the numbers when you feel like it and take down the numbers at any time. This is how the bets are sold by many gambling writers because at first these options seem to be quite good.
Well, they are and they aren’t. Here’s why:
Let’s take a look at the best of the Place bets, the 6 and the 8. The house edge is 1.52 percent – pretty good, right? You have to make these bets in increments of six dollars and based on the size of your betting you are placing these numbers for $60 each. With a 1.52 percent house edge, your expectation is to lose 91 cents per bet for a total of $1.82.
Not too bad.
Now take a look at a Pass Line or Come bet. Atlantic City has 5X odds so a Come bet of $15 bucking a house edge of 1.41 percent will lose the player 21 cents; meaning 42 cents for two numbers. Keep in mind that when the Come bet goes up on a number you can put the odds on the bet that I stated above – your potential losses are small and your potential for wins is far greater than using Place bets.
You can see just how much better the Pass Line and Come is compared to Placing the 6 and 8. And the 6 and 8 are the best Place bets if you feel compelled to make Place bets.
The other Place bets are simply awful.
The 5 and 9 come in with 4 percent edges (as stated a loss of $2 per $50 wagered) and the 4 and 10 come in with a hefty 6.67 percent edge, which means a loss of $3.34 on each number if you are betting $50. These bets will shred your bankroll in short order.
Even “buying” the 4 and 10 in Atlantic City is not a great deal. If you buy them for $35, paying a $1 commission on both winning and losing bets, the house edge is 2.8 percent.
So stick with the Pass Line and Come bets with odds. Math is the key to the game of craps; the casinos know that and the players should know that. Those who tell you otherwise are wrong.
Frank Scoblete’s new book is “Confessions of a Wayward Catholic” available from Amazon.com and on Kindle. Join Frank on his website at frankscoblete.com.
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