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# Is the Pass Line Bet the Best for Someone Who Can Control the Dice?

14 February 2009

Conventional wisdom (along with the math to back it up) states that the Pass Line bet is among the best in the game of Craps. Buying the 4 or 10 for \$25 and paying a \$1 vig only on wins is slightly better (at 1.3%), but as the buy bet approaches \$100, the house edge moves to 1.6%, which is worse than the 1.4% house edge on the Pass Line bet.

Many craps players do not know that the low house edge on the Pass Line bet comes from a two-to-one advantage on the come-out. Here is how it works. On come-out a 7 or 11 wins the pass line bet, a 2, 3, or 12 loses. Out of 36 possible combinations of the two dice there are 6 ways to throw a 7 (1-6, 2-5, 3-4, 4-3, 5-2, and 6-1) and 2 ways to throw an 11 (5-6 and 6-5) for a total of 8 ways to win the pass line bet on come-out. There is one way to throw a 2 (1-1), two ways to throw a 3 (1-2, and 2-1), and 1 way to throw a 12 (6-6) for a total of 4 ways to lose the pass-line bet. There are eight ways to win versus four ways to lose - a 2-to-1 advantage on come-out. Once a point is established, the edge swings dramatically to the house.

I was asked recently what happens to the house edge for someone who can reduce the number of 7s to something less than 6 in 36 - or more simply - 1 in 6. Since the appearance of the 7 on come-out adds so much to the player edge, reducing its appearance should reduce its favorable impact in the come-out cycle. However, reducing the 7 during the point cycle will reduce the house edge for that portion of the pass line total edge.

So what is the answer? Where is the 7 more powerful - the come-out cycle or the point cycle?

To get the answer I once again turned to some specialized craps software called Smart Craps. This software allows programming any betting system and simulating the results. The results can be influenced by specifying the shooters skill in reducing the appearance of the 7.

A random shooter will throw six 7s out of every 36 rolls on average - or, simplifying, 1 out of every 6 rolls. A random shooter has a Sevens to Rolls Ratio (SRR) of 6. If a shooter is able to eliminate just under one 7 out of every 36 rolls, that shooter will have an SRR of 7. Math has shown that achieving an SRR of just 6.3 (one 7 in every 6.3 rolls) and betting only the best bets will swing the edge to the player.

I programmed Smart Craps for nothing but a pass line bet (no odds) and ran simulations of one million hands at various SRRs. As expected, an SRR of 6 (which is random) showed a house edge of 1.4%. For a shooter with an SRR of 6.5 the edge became 0.2% for the player. Should someone possess the skill to have an SRR of 7 the player's edge climbs to 1.8%. This is a swing of 3.2% from -1.4 to +1.8. So the answer is clear - reducing the 7 is more powerful during the point cycle than at come-out.

But that is only part of the answer to the question. Is a pass-line player's edge of 1.8% without odds the best bet for someone with an SRR of 7?

To answer the greater question we need to compare the pass-line edge with those of other good bets. For a random shooter placing the 6 or 8 carries a house edge of 1.5%. I programmed betting only the 6 and 8 and ran simulations with SRRs of 6, 6.5 and 7. With an SRR of 6, the house had the expected edge of 1.5%. Improving the SRR to 6.5 shifted to a player edge of 3.6%. An SRR of 7 more than doubled the player edge to 8.3%.

So let's compare:

 SRR Pass Line Edge Place 6/8 Edge 6.0 -1.4 -1.5 6.5 +0.2 +3.6 7.0 +1.8 +8.3

The question is answered - clearly, even a slightly improved SRR favors placing the 6 and/or 8 over a pass-line bet without odds.

A future article will explore the impact of putting odds behind the pass line bet at different SRRs.

Until then...

May all your wins be swift and large and all your losses be slow and tiny.

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Best of Jerry Stickman
Jerry Stickman

Jerry “Stickman” is an expert in craps, blackjack and video poker and advantage slot machine play. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. He authored the video poker section of Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo, and Pai Gow Poker! You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanjerryg@gmail.com.

#### Jerry Stickman Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com
Jerry Stickman
Jerry “Stickman” is an expert in craps, blackjack and video poker and advantage slot machine play. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. He authored the video poker section of Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo, and Pai Gow Poker! You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanjerryg@gmail.com.

#### Jerry Stickman Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com