You can nudge your odds at craps table
John Grochowski firstname.lastname@example.org May 2, 2012 5:46PM
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Updated: May 2, 2012 6:51PM
The most frequently rolled number in craps is 7, with 6 and 8 being next in line. That’s because of 36 possible combinations of two six-sided dice, six total 7, five add up to 6 and another 5 add up to 8.
Seven is a losing number unless you make the “any 7” one-roll wager, which carries a house edge of 16.67 percent. So naturally enough, 6 and 8 are the most popular numbers among bettors, and the easiest way to get instant action on those numbers is with place bet.
Place the 6, and you’re wagering the shooter roll a 6 before the next 7. Of if you place the 8, you’re rooting for an 8 to roll before a 7. Either way, winners pay at 7-6 odds, and the house edge is 1.52 percent.
There’s a way to reduce that edge, but it’s not always available. That comes when the shooter already has established the 6 or 8 as the point number on the pass line.
You can make a pass bet at any time, but you usually want to do so only on the comeout roll. A pass bet after the shooter has established 6 or 8 as the point gives the house a 9.09 percent edge instead of the 1.41 percent edge if you make the bet before the comeout.
However, a pass bet gives you the opportunity to tack on a free odds wager. You can back the pass bet with an additional wager that pays at true odds. When the point is 6 or 8, that means your pass pays at even money and the free odds pay at 6-5.
There’s a line to be drawn. If you bet on the pass line after a point of 6 or 8 has been established, then add 5x odds — meaning you bet five times your pass wager in free odds — then the house edge is the same 1.52 percent you’d get for placing the number. A $5 bet on pass with a point of 6 back with $25 in odds is the equivalent of a $30 place bet on 6.
With more odds, the house edge decreases. With 10x odds, the edge drops to 0.83 percent, and with 100x odds, it falls to 0.09 percent. But with less than 5x odds, the place bet remains a better percentage play. Reducing the house edge while getting instant action on the most frequent winning numbers requires enough bankroll to take the odds.
John Grochowski is a local free-lance writer. Look for him on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44); Twitter (@GrochowskiJ) and at casinoanswerman.com.