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Dodging Bullets as a Darksider


To Begin With…

I’ll start by telling you this:

The chance of a random-roller making multiple Point-winners in a row is as follows:

       There is a 40% chance that a player will make his 1st PL-Point.

       There is a 16% chance that a player will make a 2nd PL-Point in a row.

       There is a 7% chance that a player will make his 3rd Point in a row.

       There is a 3% chance that a random-roller will make a 4th winning PL-Point in a row.

       There is a 1.2% chance that a player will be able to make his 5th PL-Point in a row.

       There is a 0.5% chance that a player will eventually make six PL-Points in a row.

These numbers have been rounded-off, and were kindly provided by Mike Shackleford (The Wizard of Odds) and Alan Krigman (Winning Ways).

At First Glance…

The numbers indicate that a random-rollers chances of putting together a long string of Pass-Line winners, diminishes more and more as a hand progresses.

Although each random throw is totally independent from every other roll, the math of the dice are inexorably drawn to an inevitable 7-Out. 

While we never know exactly when a 7-Out will occur, we do know that each new roll in an extended-length hand brings us closer and closer to the unavoidable 7-Out.

Surely, armed with this information, an astute craps player with a decent betting-method should be able to derive somewhat of a relatively predictable profit-stream.  

You Asked For It

I get quite a bit of e-mail from readers asking for reliable “back-line” betting methods.

Using the numbers that I just set out for you, we’ll take a look at one of my favorite DP-methods that has always kept me in pretty good stead at choppy or cool-trending tables.

Understanding My Philosophy

At the craps table, I mostly have to rely upon my own Precision-Shooting skills, iron-willed discipline and conservative money-management methods, to generate a steady and very lucrative income. 

I don’t bet on poker, Sic Bo, blackjack, tennis, Red Dog, baseball, slots, Pai Gow, hockey, baccarat, golf, beach-volleyball, Let It Ride, backgammon, motor-racing, keno, or tiddly-winks.  I don’t gamble on horse-racing, football, Caribbean Stud, yacht-racing, greyhounds, lotteries, soccer, bingo, basketball, Three-card Monte, rugby or unnatural sex acts. 

I only bet on craps.

Others may tell you that you have to master some or all of those other games to be a “well-rounded gambler”.  I wouldn’t know; but I can tell you that I personally only play craps to fuel a rather semi-extravagant lifestyle.  If that confirms that I am NOT a well-rounded gambler; then to my mind, that is GOOD thing.  

I DO NOT want to be a full-time gambler who has mastered 38 different games, and still lives hand-to-mouth.  I earn all of my money from playing craps, and specifically from Precision-Shooting.  Instead of being a jack-of-all-games, I would rather be the master-of-one, especially because Precision-Shooting can generate a sufficient income to grant a decent lifestyle (see my  Lifestyles of the Precision-Shooter article).

It is my objective to engineer as much RISK as possible OUT of the game, and to GAMBLE as little as possible, by perfecting my craft.  Some people love the thrill of casino-RISK.  I get my thrill from consistent casino-PROFIT. 

The difference is not subtle; but it is tangible, especially to your wallet.

Some people like the prospect of throwing the dice while they have one eye on the TV monitor for the basketball game; the other eye on the Keno-board; one ear-jack tuned into the baseball game on their Walkman; while the other ear-piece is linked to the nightly Lottery, Hockey and Racetrack results; and their beeper is subscribed to several sports-tout services.  In the meantime, they use their unoccupied, non-dice-shooting hand to ensure that their bingo-dauber, Lucky Lottery Number-Picking machine, and Daily Racing Form hasn’t fallen out of their pocket. 

If you aspire to that kind of professional gambling lifestyle, then you are probably on the wrong website, because you are DEFINITELY reading the wrong article!   If you eke out a living by following that path, then I’ll sincerely wish you the best of luck.

Oops, I just realized that I forgot to add Roulette and the Big 6 Wheel to the list of “must have” gambling skills that the “well-rounded gambler” is supposed to have.  Anyway, we take a look at that entire subject in my Professional Precision-Shooter vs Full-Time Gambler article.

Let’s focus on making some money from craps.

Maximizing Opportunities

If you’ve read my Flushing Money Down The Random-Roller Toilet article, you know that the lions share of my income is derived from my own shooting (~80%), other qualified Precision-Shooters (~15%), and a much smaller portion comes from the lucky throwing of random-rollers (~4.5%).

Clearly then, I try to maximize my shooting opportunities by playing at sparsely-populated tables.  In addition, I often employ a hit-and-run method.  I’ll use that “shoot ‘n’ scoot” approach, especially if the table starts to fill up while I am shooting, and it doesn’t looks like I will get the dice again for a fair bit of time, unless of course, all of the players pass the dice right back to me. 

However, there are times when I’ll want to stay at a particular table, especially if I’ve got it dialed-in and substantial profits (but still within the “tolerable” comfort-levels of the casino) have been flowing my way.  

While most casinos will allow you to stay at your spot with little or no betting action, some are much less tolerant.

If I choose to bet at all on any random-rollers, and the table has been choppy or trendy “cool”, then I’ll possibly venture onto the Darkside.

What is the Temperature?

The game of craps is very streaky:

       The dice are “red hot” about 4% of the time.

       The dice are “ice cold” about 6% of the time.

       The table “trends warm” about 20% of the time.

       The table “trends cool” about 30% of the time.

       The tables are “CHOPPY” about 40% of the time.

I’m not going to get into long explanations about the definition of each of these terms.  They are discussed elsewhere on this site in very fine detail.  The important thing to note is that the tables are mostly in that center-ground area of choppiness or cool-trending about 70% of the time.

What Are The Chances?

Remember, we are specifically talking about ANY and ALL random-rollers grouped together.  Let’s take a closer look at what the numbers tell us:

1st Point           

There is a 40% chance that a random-roller will make his first PL-Point.   So 2-out-of-5 players, or 4-out-of-every-10 shooters are likely to make their first PL-Point. 

2nd Point           

There is a 16% chance that a random-roller will make his second PL-Point in a row.  So 4-out-of-25-players, or 1-out-of-every 6.25 shooters are likely to make their second PL-Point.

3rd Point           

There is a 7% chance that a random-roller will make his third PL-Point in a row.  So 7-out-of-100 players, or 1-out-of-every 14.28 shooters are likely to make their third PL-Point. 

To put that in perspective, an average full-table will have about fourteen players at it, and you can expect that overall, one of them will throw three Pass-Line Point-winners.

4th Point           

There is a 3% chance that a random-roller will make his fourth PL-Point in a row.  So 3-out-of-100 players, or 1 out-of-every 33.3 shooters are likely to make their fourth PL-Point.

5th Point           

There is a 1.2% chance that a random-roller will make his fifth PL-Point in a row.  So 1-out-of-83 players are likely to make their fifth uninterrupted Pass-Line Point. 

To put that into perspective, that means that in six trips around a full 14-player table, only ONE player will probably make five PL-Points in a row.

6th Point           

There is a 0.5% chance that a random-roller will make their sixth PL-Point in a row.  So only 1-out-of-200 random-rollers are likely to make six PL-Points in a row.

Remember, these numbers refer only to PL-Point winners.  It specifically ignores the Come-Out roll where a 7 or 11 is a winner, and a 2, 3 or Barred (pushed) 12 is a loser for the PL-thrower (and just the opposite for the DP-player). 

Right now we are just looking at his chances of making multiple PL-Points in a row.  Don’t worry; we will factor in Come-Out winners and losers very shortly.

What Do These Numbers Tell Us?

These numbers tell us that a Darkside player has a better chance of scoring a win AFTER a random-roller has thrown one PL-winner.  In other words, your best chance to win would come if you bet against a player AFTER he makes one Pass-Line Point-winner.

Let me put it in simple terms. 

When a new shooter has the dice, he only has a 40% chance of making his first PL-Point.  We avoid making any bets during his first Point-cycle.  If he makes his first PL-Point, then the astute Darksider proceeds to subsequently bet against the random-roller on the Don’t Pass Line, because that shooter’s prospects of making a second PL-Point winner is now only 16%.

By bypassing a new shooters first Point-cycle, the DP-player stands to profit consistently when the shooter tries to make his second PL-Point.  If by chance the shooter manages to make that second Point, the DP-bettor knows that the prospect of the same random-roller successfully throwing a third PL-winner is now approximately 7%.  That means that only one out of every 14 players will manage to get this far.

This number-discussion really is leading us somewhere…so just bear with me a little longer as I pour the foundation for what is actually a very decent method.

A Logical Solution

If you believe that “7” is the most powerful number in craps, and you want a way to capitalize on it; then the logical solution is to take full advantage of it.

This is NOT a new concept, and it is NOT an earth-shattering never-fail method, but it sure does work most of the time.  Most importantly, it provides a pretty steady profit, with minimal-risk, if that sort of thing appeals to you. 

Don’t Take My Word For It

The method that I am about to show you not only works well in real-world Choppy-table or cool-trend situations; it does just as well in computer simulations like Win-Craps. 

Just set the proper parameters of what accurately qualifies as a choppy-table or cool-trend situation; then apply my Choppy-Table Short-Leash method.  When the trend changes, we simply stop betting on the Darkside until the choppy-table or cool-trend situation arises again.

My Choppy-Table Short-Leash Method

As usual, I’ve used the lowest common table-minimum ($5) as the basis to explain this bet, and I would caution you that your bankroll should be sufficient (at least $5000) before you even consider using this method. 

When the table is choppy or trending cool, here is the betting sequence that I currently use:

       Wait until a random-roller makes one Pass-Line Point.

       Then, we make a $5 Don’t Pass bet (no Odds).

       If our bet wins, then we wait for the next player to make one Pass-Line Point-win, and we start the process over again.

       If our first DP-bet loses; then we increase our Don’t Pass bet to $15 (no Odds).

       If our second DP-bet loses; then we increase our Don’t Pass bet to $35 (no Odds).

       If our third DP-bet loses; then we increase our Don’t Pass bet to $75 (no Odds).

       If our fourth DP-bet loses; then we increase our Don’t Pass bet to $155 (no Odds).

       If our fifth DP-bet loses; then we stop betting on random-rollers for that session with a cumulative $285 loss.  Remember, that I generally use this method if I want to stay at a table to shoot again, and the table is choppy or cool.


Why Use this Method?

You’ll probably recognize this betting-approach as a short-leash Grand Martingale.  Yes, I said the “M” word, and I know that “Martingale” is truly a dirty word for most bettors.  But indulge me for a moment, and I’ll show you why it is so compelling; why it is generally profitable; and why the infrequent losses won’t prove fatal to your sufficient bankroll.

How Often will Lightning Strike?

How often will someone throw six Pass-Line Point winners in a row, and wipe out $285 worth of your bankroll?

The answer, is that 1-out-of-every-200 players will accomplish that particular feat.

We’ll address the effect of the Come-Out roll 7’s and 11’s in a moment.

Do Lay-Odds Fit In Somewhere?

Yes, but not with this method.  In “Part Two” of this series, we’ll look at a Darkside method that gets us safely past the Come-Out roll unscathed; then uses a unique approach to Odds by inversely matching them to the relative-risk that a DP-player faces as a random-rollers hand progresses.

Odds-Bet vs. Martingale Progression

Many people who see me occasionally using this method in a casino ask, “Isn’t it better to use your money to Lay Odds instead of leaving your Martingale-progressed Line-bets ‘naked’?”

That’s a good question.

Let’s see if the numbers bear that out.

Take a look at what happens to the same amount of money in a winning situation on a 3x/4x/5x-Odds table (or where 6x Lay-Odds are permitted).

Pt #  


Net Win

DP w/Odds

Net Win


$5 DP bet


$5 DP/$0 Odds  



$15 DP bet 


$5 DP/$10 Odds



$35 DP bet


$5 DP/$30 Odds



$75 DP bet


$15 DP/$60 Odds



$155 DP bet 


$25 DP/$130 Odds


The Grand Martingale yields one unit ($5) of profit for EACH subsequent loss, while the DP-with-Odds gets worse and worse as you throw more and more money at it.

Again, don’t take my word for it, do the math for yourself, or run some computer simulations with WinCraps. 

Getting Past The Sheriff and the Deputy

The worst part about betting on the Don’t-Pass Line is that you have to get past the Sheriff (the 7) and his Deputy (the 11) on the Come-Out Roll.

We know that the 7 is numerically expected to show up 1-out-of-every-6 rolls, and the 11 is expected once-every-18 rolls.  This is partially offset by the 2 (1-out-of-36 rolls) and the 3 (1-out-of-every-18 rolls) when they roll as DP Come-Out winners.  That means that the DP-player is at a pretty lofty -45.5% disadvantage on the Come-Out roll.

While today’s Choppy-Table Short-Leash method does not overcome that initial disadvantage, it is offset by the overriding benefit that the DP-player enjoys against a random-roller trying for his second Point (+84% advantage), third Point (+93% advantage), and fourth Point (+97% advantage), etc.

Again, I’ll remind you that this method works best on choppy tables or where the dice are moving towards the cool-side of the trend equation.

Risks and Rewards

While there is no guarantee that a lucky shooter won’t come along and wipe out your $285 session investment-limit, it doesn’t happen often.

By waiting for a random-roller to make his first Pass-Line Point-winner before we bet against him on a choppy or cool-trending table, we move our own chances of winning (and profit) one BIG step further up the probability-scale.

By using a Grand Martingale progression (double, plus one unit), we ensure that we aren’t just betting to earn one unit of profit.  Rather, we are earning one unit of profit for EACH loss that we endure on our way to winning. 

This “ever-increasing-profit” scale works to offset the Come-Out Roll disadvantage and the occasional 1-in-200 lucky rollers who make more than six Pass-Line Points.

Reasonable Limits

By limiting the Choppy-Table Short-Leash method to five steps of betting, we ensure that our wagering-exposure doesn’t spiral out of control, and it keeps our bankroll from being smashed to smithereens.

In addition, I need to remind you that you CANNOT play this method all of the time!  You need to wait for choppy tables or a cool-trend, and you need to stop betting with this method if the table starts to warm up. 

Remember that to be successful on the Darkside, you have to continually dodge bullets.  In this case, if you are always going deep into the progression (past the 3rd or 4th betting-step), then the table is probably warming up, and this method obviously becomes vulnerable to failure at that point.

Look at it from this perspective: if several players in a row are each throwing three or four Pass-Line Point-winners, then the table is DEFINITELY turning WARM, and it’s well past the time to switch betting-methods.

Simply Put…

This is a method that is perfectly suited to the random gyrations of real-world casino tables.  When you apply it to the right conditions, it is a consistent money-maker, and it’s an excellent way to dodge bullets when you are playing on the Darkside.

Good Luck & Good Skill at the Tables…and in Life.


The Mad Professor


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