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# Getting the edge on the 12

25 April 2019

QUESTION: I was thinking about craps and betting on 12. The true odds are 35:1 and it pays only 30:1, so there’s a big house edge.

But what if I’ve been counting and I know there’s been no 12 for 10 rolls, or for 20, or for 30? There has to be a 12 at some point, doesn’t there?

How many rolls do I have to see with no 12 before the odds swing in my favor?

ANSWER: If you’re betting 12, the odds never swing in your favor. The house has the same 13.89% edge on every roll.

Each roll is an independent trial with one way to roll a 12 and 35 ways to roll other numbers, that doesn’t change no matter how long it’s been since the last 12.

There is nothing magical about long no-12 streaks that would suddenly make one appear. There is no outside influence that would make a 12 any more likely to appear on one roll than on another. There’s just the dice, the shooter and the odds on each roll.

Over a very long time, there will be long streaks with no 12s, and there will be streaks where several 12s are rolled in a short time. Unfortunately for players, there is no way of predicting when those times will come.

Streaks fade into statistical insignificance with repeated trials. Odds are that 12s will make up 2.78% of rolls. If you go 100 rolls in a row without a 12, then get the normal 100 12s in the next 3,600 rolls, then you have 12s on 2.70%.

There needs be no makeup time where the odds force extra 12s. The passage of time with normal results drive the percentages near the expected norms.

QUESTION: I’m getting tired of people thinking I’m dumb for playing the slots. I’m a middle school math teacher and I can do my sums, and yet I hear people saying the slots are a tax on people who can’t do math.

Even my husband and my friends laugh at me. We go to the casino together, and he heads off to play craps while I play the penny slots. When he loses, it’s a lot more money than I ever bet on the penny slots, but I’m the one who just doesn’t get it because he gets better odds.

I play slots for fun. I like the bonuses and the animation. They’re an escape for me. If I have a really bad day, I might lose \$50, but to me that’s \$50 dollars I’ve spent on entertainment, less than I’d spend on a concert or a ballgame.

Sorry to rant, but the condescension really, really irks me.

Slots are an entertainment choice. Players may enjoy other things, too, but sometimes they choose slots and a buffet over dinner and a movie as a way to spend their money.

That’s not to say winning and losing is incidental. The potential for jackpots and the thrill of the chase is part of the allure, but players who keep things in balance are happy when they win while still finding some entertainment value when they lose.

It’s your choice, and there’s nothing wrong with it as long as you understand that losing sessions are more common than winners and you budget accordingly and never play with money you can’t afford to lose.

You sound like you’re having fun on the slots while keeping spending under control. That sounds OK to me – have a good time!
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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.

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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.