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Hedging your bets in craps isn’t worth it

21 August 2012

Hi Stickman,

I like to play craps and I win good at it. But I need your help. I place \$10 on 5, place \$12 on 6 and 8, place \$15 on a hard 4 and \$7 in the field and lay the 4 for \$120 where vig is \$3. I win \$7 on every roll but lose the lay bet if a soft 4 is rolled. Is there a way I don't lose my lay bet? Would buying the 4 solve my problems?

Blake

Dear Blake,

Placing \$10 on the 5, \$12 each on the 6 and 8 and \$7 on the field is also called the iron cross. It is popular because you win something on every number but the 7. The problem with the iron cross is you only win a little on most bets but lose everything when the 7 shows.

Depending on the payoff on field bets and the amount bet of the 5, 6, 8 and field the house edge ranges from over 1.5 percent to under 5.5 percent. Your combination of bets has a house edge of 2.8 percent (\$1.15) if the field bet pays double on both the 2 and 12 and 2.3 percent (96 cents) if the field pays triple on either the 2 or 12.

The lay of the 4 for \$120 is a totally separate bet. The house edge is 1.67 percent (\$2.00) if the vig is collected on a win only and 3.33 percent (\$4.00) if the vig is paid up front. The \$15 bet on the hard 4 has a house edge of 11.11 percent (\$1.67). If you added a \$60 buy bet on the 4, the house edge is 1.67 percent (\$1.00) if the vig is paid on wins only and 3.33 percent (\$2.00) if the vig is paid up front.

Each of the bets is treated as a separate bet totally independent of the other bets you have working. Adding hedge bets only puts more money on the table for the house edge to work against.
In your example you will lose about \$5.82 on the \$176 bet on the 5, 6, 8, field, hard 4 and lay of the 4 if the vig is paid on wins only. If you add a buy bet on the 4, you will lose \$6.82 on the total bet of \$236. Adding a buy bet on the 4 will not help your long term losses, it will increase them.

The bottom line is hedge bets do not work. They just put additional money at risk and subject to the house edge. If you are willing to risk \$120, put that \$120 on the lowest house edge bets possible. This means forgetting about the hard 4, and buying or laying the 4 if the vig is collected up front. Instead consider placing the 6 and/or 8 or better still placing a pass line bet with full odds that totals \$120. The house edge on the 6 and 8 is 1.52 percent or about \$1.82 on \$120 bet. The house edge a \$40 pass line bet with \$80 odds is .61 percent or only 73 cents! You bankroll will last longer betting this way.

Best of luck in all your casino and life endeavors.

Jerry “Stickman”
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Jerry Stickman

Jerry "Stickman" is an expert in dice control at craps, blackjack, advantage slots and video poker. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. The "Stickman" is also a certified instructor for Golden Touch Craps dice control classes and Golden Touch Blackjack's advantage classes. He also teaches a course in advantage-play slots and video poker. For more information visit www.goldentouchcraps.com or www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 1-800-944-0406 for a free brochure. You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanGTC@aol.com.

Jerry Stickman Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com
Jerry Stickman
Jerry "Stickman" is an expert in dice control at craps, blackjack, advantage slots and video poker. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. The "Stickman" is also a certified instructor for Golden Touch Craps dice control classes and Golden Touch Blackjack's advantage classes. He also teaches a course in advantage-play slots and video poker. For more information visit www.goldentouchcraps.com or www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 1-800-944-0406 for a free brochure. You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanGTC@aol.com.

Jerry Stickman Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com