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# Beating craps

10 November 2019

QUESTION: I’m just learning craps and really like it a lot. One of my friends put me onto it, and he’s been a big help in learning.

I’ve been trying to think of ways that might help my odds a little, and thought about placing \$12 on 6 and betting \$3 on 7. The other numbers don’t matter, so if the roll is 6, I win \$14 while losing the \$3 on 7, and if the roll is 7, my \$12 win balances the \$12 loss on 6. So I either win \$11 or break even.

I told my friend, and he just laughed and said, “It doesn’t work like that. Skip the 7.” He didn’t really explain why. So tell me why.

ANSWER: Just about everyone who’s ever played craps has had thoughts similar to yours. I receive similar questions on combining bets on any 7 with other wagers several times a year. I answer them here from time to time.

The reason your system doesn’t work is that while numbers other than 6 or 7 don’t matter on your place bet on 6, they do matter on your bet on any 7. Any 7 is a one-roll bet that loses on all rolls except 7.

You’ll often have to replenish your bet on 7 if you’re going to have it in action as long as your place bet on 6 is up. If the shooter rolls a 5, for example, your bet on 6 stays in action, but your bet on 7 loses and keeping your system going will cost another \$3 bet.

Imagine a sequence of 36 rolls in which each possible combination shows up once. Further, you always have a \$12 place bet on 6 in action, and always have a \$3 bet on 7.

On the place bet, no money will change hands on the 25 rolls that are not 6 or 7. On the 11 rolls in which a decision is reached, you risk a total of \$132. You lose on the six 7s, but on the five 6s you’re paid at 7-6 odds. On each winner, you keep your \$12 wager and take \$14 in winnings.

You risk \$132, and at the end of the trial you have \$130.

Because any 7 is decided on every roll, the 36 rolls at \$3 a pop means you risk \$108. You lose on 30 rolls. On each 7, you keep your \$3 wager and get \$12 in winnings at 4-1 odds.

So on the 7s bets, you have \$90 of your \$108 at the end of the trial.

Far from insuring a profit, adding the 7s bets increases your loss from \$2 on the place bets alone to \$20 on the system.

Making bad bets to cover weaknesses in good bets is not a recipe for success. Any 7 has a house edge of 16.67%, much worse than the 1.52% on placing 6. The house edge on your combination is 8.33%. Run from it with all due haste.

QUESTION: Would you rather play a hand correctly or win?

The reason I ask is that I accidentally broke up a pair of aces in Double Double Bonus Poker. The draw filled in a royal flush!

Should I be celebrating the royal or kicking myself for a bad play?

ANSWER: I’d be celebrating the win, without doubt.

You don’t want to make mistakes. There’s a better chance of winning when you play the hand correctly. But when a royal mistake turns into a regal win, laugh at yourself and take the money.
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John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.