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Ask the Wizard #70

How is the house advantage at craps calculated? If you PLACE 6 for $6 36 times you "should" win 5*$7 =$35 and lose 6*-$6 for a lose of $1. Or a per roll lose expectation of ~$.03 which on a $6 bet is only .5% Everything I read gives the house advantage as ~1.8% on this bet. Where is my thinking faulty?


Good question. When the house edge is quoted as 1.52% on place 6 bet, for example, it is per bet resolved. In other words it is assumed the player leaves it up there until a 6 or 7 is rolled. However if the player’s intent were to leave it up for one roll only the house edge would be 0.46%.

I play in a casino that offers ’match plays’ it is a coupon that if I bet $5 with the coupon and win I get paid $10. If I have 2 coupons per 3 hour playing time and a bankroll of $100 how much of an advantage do I derive from playing them as opposed to going to another casino that does not offer them to the player?

Edward from Clearwater, USA

Match play chips or coupons have an expected value of almost 50% of face value if used in blackjack or craps. If you get 2 $5 coupons for 3 hours of play you can expect to lose about $6 playing $5/hand basic strategy blackjack, but gain $5 from the match plays. So all other things being equal I would play where they give out the match plays.

What is the best blackjack program to purchase for my pc. I want to learn to play BJ but since I am a beginner the tables are too intimidating. Since we have to drive 130 miles one way to the nearest casino, that’s too expensive to learn.

Floyd from Mattoon, Illinois

I would download some Internet casino software and just play in free mode. However to learn proper basic strategy I would recommend making flash cards with every possible play. Dealing out cards at random will not test you often enough on the soft doubles and splits.

Recently found your site, really nice. Online casino reviews has been removed, will it return?

Floyd from Mattoon, Illinois

I’m not sure. The site continues to be very disappointing in terms of advertising revenue. I speculate the reason is partially that viewers were ignoring the ads and going right to the free links in the reviews. In other words I was giving away too much free traffic.

Some casinos are now offering a single-deck BJ game paying only 6:5 odds for a natural. What does this do to the house edge?

Marty from Redlands, CA

This increases the house edge by 1.39%! This is by far the worst blackjack game in Vegas.

Do you have or can you make up a basic strategy chart for Lasseters’s blackjack? I couldn’t find one on the internet.

Boyd from Canton, USA

Here you go...