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27 September 2000

Once again, it's quiz time. This time, let's tackle craps.

There are enough betting options at the craps table that I could pop quizzes just about every week without repeating myself, but we have to start somewhere. Test your knowledge on these 10 questions about casino craps. The answers appear at the bottom of this column.

1. The version of craps played in casinos is:
1. Street craps
2. Bank craps
3. Barracks craps

2. Among table games in U.S. casinos, craps is:
1. The most popular
2. The second most popular
3. The third most popular

3. It is possible for a craps player to narrow the house edge to:
1. 1.41 percent
2. 0.6 percent
3. 0.03 percent

4. A "wrong" bettor is one who:
1. Bets against the shooter
2. Bets after the dice have left the shooter's hand
3. Calls one bet and places his chips on another

5. A player may bet by placing his own chips on the layout:
1. If he's betting pass or don't pass, come or don't come, or the field
2. If he's betting on one-roll propositions
3. If he's betting on the hardways
4. On any wager

6. A roll of 7 is:
1. A lucky number for all craps players
2. A loser more often than it's a winner on most bets
3. The least frequent roll using two dice

7. Of bets that may be placed independently of all others, the house edge is lowest on:
1. Don't pass or don't come
2. Pass or come
3. The hardways
4. Place bets on 6 or 8

1. 6 or 8
2. 5 or 9
3. 4 or 10
4. All of the above
5. None of the above

9. Big 6 and Big 8:
1. Have a lower house edge than place bets on 6 and 8
2. Are the same as place bets on 6 or 8
3. Have a higher house edge than place bets on 6 or 8

10. If two 3s are rolled:
1. It's 6 the hard way
2. Place bets on 6 pay true odds of 6-5
3. Winning bets pay triple

1. The version of craps played in casinos is:
B. Bank craps. In a casino, the house banks the game. It collects losing bets and pays off winners. That differs from street craps, where the players bet against each other. In street craps, if someone calls out a bet on 6, there's no action unless another play- er offers to cover it and take the opposite side of the bet. In bank craps, the house covers all bets.

2. Among table games in U.S. casinos, craps is:
B. The second most popular. Until the early 1960s, craps was the most popular casino game. It first was surpassed by blackjack, then later by slot machines and video poker. It remains the second most popular table game, and fourth most popular casino game when electronic devices are included.

3. It is possible for a craps player to narrow the house edge to:
C. 0.03 percent. This depends on the amount of free odds allowed, but a player who backs a pass line wager with the 100x odds now available at the Empresses in Joliet and Hammond lowers the overall house edge even a shade more than the lowest choice given, to about 0.021 percent. Of the other choices given, 1.41 percent is the house edge on pass or come with no odds, and 0.6 percent is the house edge on pass or come backed with double odds.

4. A "wrong" bettor is one who:
A. Bets against the shooter. There's nothing wrong with betting on don't pass or don't come, but the players who do so are called "wrong" bettors in crapspeak. Those who bet with the shooter by betting on pass or come are "right" bettors.

5. A player may bet by placing his own chips on the layout:
A. If he's betting pass or don't pass, come or don't come, or the field. When making place bets, or betting the center-table propositions, players must put chips on the layout and tell one of the dealers what bets they want to make. On pass or don't pass, come or don't come or the field, players may put their own bets down.

6. A roll of 7 is:
B. A loser more often than it's a winner on most bets. For many bettors, 7 is so unlucky that they don't refer to it by name. It's "Big Red" or "El Diablo." That 7 is a winner if you're betting on 7, if it's the comeout roll and you're betting pass or come, or if a point has been established and you're betting don't pass or don't come. Otherwise, a 7 will sweep your money away.

7. Of bets that may be placed independently of all others, the house edge is lowest on:
A. Don't pass or don't come. The house edge is 1.4 percent on don't pass or don't come, marginally lower than the 1.41 percent on pass or come. The lowest house edge at the table is on the free odds, which have no house edge at all. But you can't place a free odds bet unless you're betting pass/don't pass or come/don't come, and a point has been established.

C. 4 or 10. When you buy a number, you pay the house a 5 percent commission. In return, your wager is paid at true odds. The house edges on place bets on 5, 6, 8 or 9 already are lower than 5 percent, so paying a 5 percent commission is no help at all. However, buying the 4 or 10 lowers the house edge from 6.67 percent to 4.76 percent.

9. Big 6 and Big 8:
C. Have higher house edges than place bets on 6 or 8. Big 6 and Big 8 play like place bets on 6 or 8 in that the player wins if his number rolls before the next 7. But Big 6 and Big 8 pay only even money, while place bets on 6 or 8 pay 7-6 odds.

A \$5 bettor is better off adding an extra buck to his wager to get the 7-6 odds by placing 6 or 8 rather than taking an even-money payoff on Big 6 or Big 8. The house edge on placing 6 or 8 is 1.52 percent, while on Big 6 or Big 8 it's a whopping 9.09 percent.

10. If two 3s are rolled:
A. It's 6 the hard way. If you bet 6 the hard way, you're betting that the roll will be two 3s before a 7 or any other combination totaling 6 turns up. The house edge is 9.09 percent.

Beat the Craps Out of the Casinos: How to Play Craps and Win! by Frank Scoblete
The Captain's Craps Revolution! by Frank Scoblete
Sharpshooter Craps Audio Cassette Tape (60 minutes) with Frank Scoblete
Winning Strategies at Craps! Video tape hosted by Academy Award Winner James Coburn, Written by Frank Scoblete
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Best of John Grochowski
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.