Craps (version 2) – Part 3 of 5

Michael Shackleford: Hi I’m Mike Shackleford otherwise known as The Wizard of Odds and this is part three on my series of Craps. I’m here with the lovely Angela Wyman, my student and in parts one and two I talked about some of the main bets in Craps like the pass, the come, the odds and betting the numbers. So Angela where did we leave things off at the end of part two?

Angela Wyman: We left off at your least favorite part of the Craps table which is all those crazy bets in the middle.

Michael: Yes, otherwise known as the sucker bets.

Angela: Bets. [laughs]

Michael: So I can’t emphasize strongly enough that everything in the middle of the table is a sucker bet that you should have nothing to do with. I think that they should paint an “S” on your forehead if you ever bet these things. But I’m only talking about them to be thorough not to imply an endorsement. So if you’re the kind of person who wants to stay away from lousy bets you can watch part one or two of the video, this is the sucker bet portion. And there is a whole bunch of them, I could start anywhere but I think I will start with the Hardway bets. There are four of them; the hard 4, 6, 8 and 10.

Question 1 - [01:26]

Angela: What do you mean by hard 4, 6, 8, 10? What makes it a hard number?

Michael: Good question, so you may have heard the dealers saying hard four or easy eight. That refers to the specific combination of the two dice, how they add up to that number. For example a hard 10 is a five and a five, an easy 10 is a four and a six. And the reason they have this terminology hard and easy, is it’s harder to throw a five and a five than it is a four and a six because there is two dice and they can be ordered in either way for the four and the six but just one way for the five and the five. So when you roll a 10, one third of the time it’s a five and a five, two thirds of the time it’s a four and a six [interlude sound].

So let’s start talking about the hard six and the eight. The hard six for example will win if the shooter rolls a three and a three and only on a three and a three, it will lose on a total of any seven and it will also lose on easy sixes, meaning a two and a four or a five and a one. So it’s a difficult bet to win but when you do win it pays nine to one which may sound good but don’t be deceived by that because the probability of winning is only 9.09% which is coincidentally also the house advantage. 9.09% which is terrible, so this is a bet you want to have nothing to do with but nevertheless you know how it works.

Angela: Appreciate the thoroughness, now I know it hurts [laughs].

Michael: Yes, I try to cover everything. And a hard eight is much the same way. It wins on a four and a four and it loses on a seven or an eight composed of a five and a three or a six and a two. The suckers at the table love the Hardway bets, and lots of times when anyone rolls a Hardway, suddenly they become popular, but no matter how much excitement they generate, leave them alone. Just say no.

Question 2 - [03:41]

Angela: [laughs] Just say no. [interlude sound] Mike what about the hard four and ten? They can’t possibly be that bad.

Michael: They’re actually even worse mathematically. They way those work is very similar, for example on the hard four it takes a two and a two to win and any seven or an easy four -- meaning a one and three will cause it to lose, it pays seven to one and it carries a probability of winning of 11.11% which is coincidentally also the house advantage; 11.11% that’s even worse than the 9.09% on the hard six and the eight. So it is just a terrible bet, but never the less it’s very popular. Let everyone else make it but you should have nothing to do with it.

Question 3 - [04:27]

Angela: And the 10 doesn’t redeem it at all Hardways?

Michael: No, the 10 is equally as bad. It’s like the mirror image of the hard four.

Angela: All right.

Michael: That’s all there is to say about Hardways.

Angela: Okay, stay away.

Michael: Stay away.

[interlude sound]

Question 4 - [04:41]

Angela: Since those are so terrible, how about I want a really big payoff, what should I bet?

Michael: Well if you want a really big payoff which you shouldn’t want in Craps, but--

Question 5 - [04:53]

Angela: But if I do?

Michael: Right. Okay, if you absolutely must, throw a Hail Mary, you can bet that the next roll will be a 2, 3, 11 or 12 and those are all individual bets. So for example the odds on the 3 and the 11 are the same the probability of winning is one in 18, however if they pay fair odds they would pay 18 for one but as you can see on the table they are only 16 for one. That causes a house advantage of 11.11% which is really high. You should have nothing to do with the house advantage that high. But that’s how it works, it’s always just a simple one roll bet; one roll and it’s done, if you lose you got to keep making it. So that covers the 3 and the 11, I should warn you that as bad as that is some Vegas casinos-- and I won’t name them here because it will get dated-- they don’t even give you the 16 for one on the 3 and 11, they only give you 15 for one which is really, really stingy. That increases the house advantage from 11.11% all the way to 16.67%.

Angela: Oh, yes.

Michael: Right, that is really, really, really bad it doesn’t get any worse than 16.67 in craps.

Angela: Wow, are you sure you don’t want to name shame anyone?

Michael: Okay, well you asked.

Angela: I’m just kidding [laughs].

Michael: No, it’s my understanding that all the Caesars owned casinos except Caesars Palace itself pay those stingy 15 for one odds on the 3 and the 11 namely such casinos as the Flamingo, Harrah’s, Paris, Bally’s, Planet Hollywood. But again you shouldn’t bet them either way, but if you see 15 for one on the 3 and the 11, that’s just really a sign of-- just a casino that not only offers bad odds on that but they’re probably are going to be stingy on all their gaming rules.

Angela: That a good tip.

Michael: It is, when a casino-- there are exceptions, but generally a generous casino is generous in everything and a stingy casino is stingy in everything.

[interlude sound]

Question 6 - [07:24]

Angela: All right Mike, you’ve got me totally convinced that the 3 and the 11 are terrible, but what about the 2 and the 12? We haven’t talked about those yet.

Michael: Yes, I’m afraid those are even worse in general, so the way those work is, again it’s just a one number, one roll bet on the 2 or the 12-- pick one or both and the odds will vary depending upon the casino you’re in. This table here is from the Sunset Station which pays the typical 31 for one odds which fair odds would be 36 for one. So that equates to a house advantage of 13.89% which is just--

Angela: That’s bad luck percentage.

Michael: Yes, it’s a very high percentage so you would want nothing to do with that and to make matters even worse, some stingy casinos out there don’t even give you 31 for one, they only give you 30 which increases the house advantage to 16.67%. I don’t understand how 13.89% can be too low and they have to get higher than that. But what can I say, it is what it is, I would like to put in a somewhat good word for the Texas station, they pay 32 for one. That lowers the house advantage to, I believe 8.89%, but still that’s much too high. It doesn’t matter where you’re playing all these bets in the middle of the table are all sucker bets. Exactly. If you ever make them, put a big “S” on your forehead.

[interlude sound].

Question 7 - [09:05]

Angela: I know it’s going to make you cringe but-- and I won’t bet it-- but what is the seven bet?

Michael: That is the worst bet on the table.

Angela: The worst?

Michael: The worst.

Angela: The worst.

Michael: It’s very simple. It wins if the next roll is a seven, otherwise it loses. Fair odds would be six for one but it only pays five for one and that results in a 16.67% house advantage and those are always the odds. It’s not one of those things where some places have it a little better, it’s just consistently the worse bet on the table or tied for the worst. So I’ve nothing good to say about that one.

Question 8 - [09:49]

Angela: Nothing good to say about that -- but that means the next terrible bet I ask you about has to be better. How about any Craps?

Michael: Yes it had to be better.

Angela: Had to be better?

Michael: Yes.

Angela: Still not good?

Michael: It’s still awful but it’s not as awful. The craps numbers are 2, 3 and 12. Those, as you may remember, are the numbers that cause you to lose on a come-out roll and the dealer if you roll one of them that will say craps two or craps three. And if you want to hedge your bets which you shouldn’t do, but a lot of people use it as a hedge, so again it wins on a 2, 3 or 12 it pays 8 for 1 and it carries a house advantage of 11.11%. So to have nothing to do with that one either.

[interlude sound]

Question 9 - [10:38]

Angela: While you’re already cringing, what’s the Horn Bet?

Michael: The Horn Bet is yet another sucker bet and it is four bets in one. It’s a bet on a 2, 3, 11 and 12. So you would bet in increments of $4 and they will just divide it equally between those four bets. We already talked about them. They’re all sucker bets. So an average of four sucker bets is still a sucker bet.

Angela: Sucker bet square-

Michael: It’s like a potpourri of sucker bets.

Angela: All right, well. I did see at one casino I was in, and I’m sure it’s a terrible bet but it looked cool. It was like a picture of the earth.

Michael: Yes, that’s called the world bet. This table doesn’t have it but most casinos do. That’s like the Horn Bet but they throw in the any seven so it’s a combination of five bets. So bet in increments of $5. So it’s a bet on the 2, 3, 7, 11 and 12 and they just divide a 20% to each one. So again an average of bad bets is still a bad bet.

Angela: Two wrongs don’t make a right and--

Michael: Five wrongs don’t make a right. Exactly.

[interlude sound]

Question 10 - [11:53]

Angela: While you’re hoping we’re annoyed about all this, what do the Hop Bets mean?

Michael: You can see up at the top of the table there it says “Hop Bets” and there’s pictures of dice. These are like the bets on 2, 3, 11 and 12. But you can actually bet on any combination of two dice. For example, a three and a five, a one and a six, two fours. Whatever you want there’s a bet for it and those are called Hop Bets. They pay exactly the same odds and percentages and house advantage as a 2, 3, 11 and 12 which we already talked about. The way you might make one is you would give the dealer your bet and say for example, I’ll take two, six for $5 and that would be a Hop Bet that the next roll would be exactly 1, 2 and 1, 6. So again just sucker bets there. They’re not very popular--

Angela: I’d be better off just giving my money straight to the dealer and telling them to burn it [laughs]

Michael: Well, that would have a house advantage of 100%.

Angela: I’ve found something that was better then.

Michael: Yes, hop Bets have nothing to do with them.

Angela: All right hop away.

Michael: Hop-- Very clever.

Angela: Bad, bad, bad plan.

[interlude circle]

Question 11 - [13:19]

Angela: Well Mike, what are the little circles with C’s and E’s?

Michael: Okay, those are bets on any craps and an 11 which we’ve already talked about. These are popular bets so they made extra spaces for them, one for every position at the table. So that makes it easier for the dealers to remember who bet it. So a common thing you’ll hear at the table is for example two-dollar C and E which means $1 on any craps and $1 on the 11. Mathematically they’re the same as what we talked about before the any craps in any 11. Why there are two different places to bet it on the table, I don’t know. But they’re equally as bad. So stay away from those.

[interlude sound]

Question 12 - [14:07]

Angela: It’s going to make you cringe but I don’t see it on this table. But I’ve been to casinos where people are playing craps and there’s a Fire Bet and people get really excited about it and they’ll place it. What is it?

Michael: I’ll give credit for the makers of the Fire Bet that it’s really popular. It is a new proposition bet that pays if the shooter establishes at least four of the six possible points. Mathematically speaking I can’t recommend it but I have to concede that the sucker players love it. I’ve heard so many stories about “I won the Fire Bet” and it gives you great bragging rights if it hits but I’m a nervous guy. I can’t recommend it.

Angela: Fair enough.

[interlude sound]

Question 13 - [14:57]

Angela: Are there any other proposition bets like the Fire Bet?

Michael: Yes. Another popular set of Fire Bets are called the All, Tall and Small. The Small for example wins if the shooter throws a total of two, three, four, five and six before seven out. The Tall is the opposite but with the big numbers 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 and The All is covering all of those numbers before seven out. It’s a sucker bet. It’s one of those things that gives you great bragging rights if it hits especially The All. But at least it kind of stretches your money out because it’s not a one roll thing. Your money could be up there for dozens of rolls and as it gets closer and closer to winning it builds up more and more excitement. So I’ll give it credit that it’s a fun bet but mathematically speaking it’s still a sucker bet.

Angela: Yes, its way more fun to actually make money.

Michael: Yes. In the long run I like to win as much as I can or lose the least. That’s in any casino game you should have that long-term attitude. It shouldn’t be about walking away from money every single sitting but just making good bets. It’s all about not whether you win or lose, it’s whether or not you had a good bet.

[interlude sound]

Angela: I think I’ve got to handle on all of this, both these horrible sucker bets that I’ll never place and then all the things that you explained to me earlier which is more basics. But there is one thing that you haven’t explained to me yet.

Michael: what did I forget?

Question 14 - [16:32]

Angela: You didn’t forget I just didn’t ask you about it yet. So I think we’re saving the best for last. But what about the Don’t Pass Line or the Don’t Come Line?

Michael: Very good question. Those are the best bets on the table. So I’m happy to finally get to those. And this would be a good time to end this part on the Proposition Bets and in our next section we’ll talk about the Don’t Pass and Don’t Come bets.

Angela: All right, bets I can actually place.


Angela: All right.