Exploring our full potential as advantage craps players means we have to
expand our exposure to the many dimensions of the game. Through this
newsletter, we share the knowledge gained from our playing experiences.
Helping us realize our full potential for winning and prospering from the
game is just one mission of Dice Setter newsletter.
As craps players, we come to the game with a unique mission. Each of us
has to clearly determine what our purpose is for choosing to enter a game.
For some, it is financial freedom, wealth, camaraderie, meeting friends,
peak performance, and the list continues among a multitude of
Whatever our purpose and mission that motivates us to play, each of us has
to consciously decide for our selves what our true purpose is for being at
Personally, I have always chosen to surround myself with wise people
experienced in the many dimensions of the game. These wise men have
always implored me to “never play just for the money.” Playing for money
will only make me a slave to the game.
So instead, I have always emphasized the joy of being an individual
player, independent and free, just like the many players who write us with
their experiences or contribute their insight through their written work
for my newsletter.
My mission, fueled by the passion I have for the game, has more to do with
the freedom of choosing the game outcome I wish to have when I wish to
have it. This freedom has everything to do with separating from mass
consciousness of losing and transforming some pretty outdated paradigms
about what I wish to experience from the game.
My wish for my readers is this: Find your own personal connection to the
game and self-facilitate your own personal gaming evolution. I know my
"wise men" have and so can you.
Enjoy the newsletter and I wish you all the best the craps table games
have to offer you.
PS If you have any suggestions for the
new Dice Setter website or newsletter please send them to me at Ed@dicesetter.com
and I'll have a look and see how we can incorporate them into our future plans.
Mike In Hawaii is a fascinating individual
in the way his passion for craps is driven straight to his
creative ability to sort out the math, and answer the “wonder questions” about the game. We get
into some tight crevices discussing craps and Mike says, “Oh, that is
interesting, let me work on it and get back to you.” The next day,
Ka-boom! I open my email and I find an article like Fair Market Value.
I thought I would share his personal note
to me, the day he sent his article published in this month’s edition of
Dice Setter Newsletter. I feel it goes a long way to helping the reader
understand his article in this edition.
Mike In Hawaii writes:
Ed, the entire point in using fair market
value is that each bet is independent when done this way. All the
complicated future paths are taken into account. Whatever entanglements
those paths may have with the future paths of other chips are thus also
taken into account. No massive state tables and decision trees. You have
already done that for each one individually.
The super whammy, the real important
point, is that now things that were
very tricky to think about and analyze
such as hedge betting, and fancy
composite bets all over the felt, become
easy to analyze exactly and quickly.
Do a proper fair market value on each one
and then use the killer axiom.
All bets are independent when viewed as
fair market value. The total fair market value of all bets at a given
moment is the sum of their fair market values. The total house advantage
on the composite of all bets is the sum of their fair market values minus
the sum of their face values divided by the sum of their face values.
It is like having a magic wand or pixie
dust to sprinkle on a mind-bending problem, and see the answer magically
Viewed through the crystal ball of fair
market value, we see the come box for
what it really is. Yet another sucker bet
when used in combination with anything
else. We also see it is actually a dark
side bet! Its one moment of glory when it
is working for the bettor it is a dark
side bet. Another victory for the old saying
"If the casino devoted a lot of felt space
to the bet, watch out!"
The editor of Dice Setter asked me to clarify
a bit of confusion about an email question received from a Dice Setter
newsletter subscriber. The question has to do with the come bet and the odds of
it winning verses losing.
Dear Dice Setter Editor,
I subscribe to several gambling newsletters
including Dice Setter. In a different craps newsletter, I read something
confusing about the come bet and the odds for the bet to win. I copied the gist
of the question that was asked, followed by the questionable answer that was
given. The odds for a come bet to win are referred to as 2:1. I know that the
odds are 1.41% against the come bet winning, same as with a pass line bet. This
answer does not make sense to me. What is your take?
I have a quick question about the five count. Say the shooter gets to the five
count, I place a bet in the come field and the shooter rolls a three. Even
though I lose in this situation, do I hold at the five count and continue to
make come bets until the hand ends with a seven out?
You have it exactly right. Even though you are a two-to-one favorite when you
put a Come bet up, (eight ways to win with a 7 and 11 combined and only four
ways to lose on the 2,3,12 combined), those craps numbers do appear half the
time. You just go right back up with another Come bet if that happens. The seven
out is the end of it all obviously.
At first glance it is obvious that the person
answering the question has the math sort of right but mostly wrong. It is wrong
enough that the little old lady just off the bus for her first game of craps
finds out the hard way for herself.
Dice Squad Detective: “Just the facts ma’am! Can
you tell me what you were doing just before you lost your money?”
Little Old Lady from Pasadena: “Well, I was
making come bets. I read where the come bet was twice as likely to win. There
are six ways to win with a seven, and two ways to win with an eleven. Compare
that to the four ways of losing to craps, I’d have a 2:1 advantage making a come
bet. The information went on to say, “of course you can expect craps half the
time,” so I figured my chances of winning would be twice as good as my chance of
losing. It sounded like it was a great bet to me.”
The statement, that the odds for a come bet to
win at 2:1, is wrong as most craps players reading this will recognize. The
three crap numbers, 2, 3, and 12 do not have a combined probability of a 50%
occurrence any more than the 7 and 11 combinations have a 100% occurrence. In
fact, it does not make any sense at all. (If craps numbers appear half the time,
then .5 times 2 would equal 100% for 7/11.) There are the other 24 combinations
of numbers… 4,5,6,8,9,10, which have their own probability of appearing.
Together, all of the 36 combinations, 7/11, craps and the six box numbers add up
to 100% of the total possibilities every time the dice are picked up and rolled.
Perhaps the person writing the answer had his or
her fingers ahead of their thoughts when typing out the answer and simply did
not pick up on their hasty erroneous answer. Still, comparing 7/11 to 2/3/12 as
a ratio of probability for winning at 2:1, is not justification for making a
come bet any more than dice counting would be.
Mike In Hawaii has written several articles with
the math and odds for many of the bets in a craps game. (Distance Between
Sevens, June 2007 and others published in Dice Setter Newsletter archives)
The casino operates the game with a distinct advantage over every single bet,
including the mislabeled “Free Odds” bet. No bet in the game of craps provides
the player with a 2:1 shot of winning over losing and there is nothing free in
craps… okay, advice and a cocktail…you’ll have to get your own drink here.
In addition to clearing up the 2:1 probability
for the come bet in the answer above, while I am at it, I want to address the
misrepresentation that the come bet is just like the pass line bet. Sure, it
pays the same and has the same house odds, 1.4%, but the come bet is not
like the pass line bet. If you are a come bettor, this is where you
should probably stop reading and close the page. I come bet to bury Caesar, not praise him.
The biggest problem for the come bet is the
seven. Manipulate the math any way you wish, but the seven either puts an end to
the game when it shows up in the middle of a hand or it wipes off all
established come bets when it appears during a come out roll.
Going out on a limb here, but winning one come
bet does not make much money in the come field on a winner seven which ends the
game. As a flat bet that is paid even money, it is of little consolation and a
poor hedge to collect a winner seven come bet. One reason for making a come bet
hinges on the hope of catching a hand with repeating box numbers. Taking another
risk here, I do not believe that the average come bettor is playing the come
field hoping to win on a seven-out.
Once the come bet is on a box number,
(4,5,6,8,9,10), it becomes a contract bet and is never safe from any seven
rolled from that point on. That is to say, the come bet number must repeat as
the only way of salvaging a come bet from the “odds-on-favorite”, the seven.
Only by repeating the come bet number does the come bet win and is removed from
Contrast that to the pass line bet, which is
always 7/11 friendly for every come out roll. And, by the way, 7/11
combined has a probability of 22.222% of appearing every time the dice are
tossed. Unfortunately for the come bet, the same probability 22.2222% holds
true, but it does not provide the same advantage. With the exception of when a
come bet is first played in the “come field”, and the seven is the very next
roll, the seven is otherwise death for the come bettor. The come bet in the come
field may win on a seven-out while any other come bets up on numbers are lost,
including any odds, and the game is over.
Math is a powerful tool and too often
manipulated to make certain dice plays or systems look better on paper. Just
because it is on the Internet, be careful what you accept as truth. Push to
shove, use a pencil and paper along with a calculator to prove it yourself. Does
the math add up? I like the way Mike in Hawaii puts it. There is “God’s Math”,
and there is “Monte Carlo or Machined Math”…. And I guess from the answer above,
there is also made up math.
This is the oldest craps betting system known to
man. It is believed the Minoans taught it to the Egyptians who taught it to the
Greeks who taught it to the Romans.
In this betting system you bet the pass line and
then bet the come box working to establish two come points. Variations call for
odds on the pass line bet if it survives the come out roll and even odds on the
come points if you get good ones. One of its strong points is that it “tracks”
the hot numbers according to its supporters. You hope to end up with three
numbers working for you. One on the pass line and two in point boxes. It is a
bit tricky to think about because both the pass line and its out of phase cousin
the come bet are multi-roll bets whose rules change but their odds do not. Also
the bets interact since they are out of phase with each other in spite of having
very similar rules.
With all the possible things that can happen in
all the possible combinations, this would seem difficult to analyze. But not
with Fair Market Value.
If you can calculate the present fair market
value of each chip in play at a given moment, the value of your combined
position is simply the sum of the fair market values of all your chips in play
at that moment. The current house advantage on your position can be easily
calculated by comparing the total Fair Market Value of your chips with their
original face values. Since fair market value takes into account everything that
can happen in each individual chip’s future, all the complicated interactions
associated with several chips in play in parallel fade away. The key concept is
that each bet faces its fate independent of the others. Failure to observe this
rule is what leads to concepts such as placing the six and eight in “parallel”
in order to gang up on the “poor seven”.
Back to the case at hand. The come bet is
nothing more or less than a pass line bet made after the come out roll. Each one
is another “pass line bet” with its own “come out roll” and if it survives that,
setting its own come point number.
It may look different because the bets are made
in the Come Box instead of on the Pass Line. And if they survive their personal
moment of glory during their individual come out roll, they get physically moved
to one of the point boxes. But the math is the same. And they are contract bets.
Enter our Minoan hero with a fist full of nickel
chips all bullish on the Come Box. A new hand is about to start. He plunks down
a $5 chip on the pass line. “Kaching!”. That chip is now worth $4.93. That is
its fair market value. It has been devalued by the well known minus 1.41% house
advantage on a pass line bet. The very best thing that can happen at this point
for our hero is a natural win. Everything else goes down hill from here and he
is going to be throwing good money after bad faster than he really needs to.
Assume a point is set. We know from the previous
article that which point is set determines the remaining Fair Market Value of
the chip trapped on the pass line.
Check out the bad news. If the Point is 6 or 8,
then your pass line bet is still worth $4.55. If the point is 5 or 9, its value
drops to just $4.00. And if the point is 4 or 10, the damage is massive. The
fair market value of that chip is just $3.33. The house advantage on the poor
thing is minus 33 percent!
Point 6 or 8
Point 5 or 9
Point 4 or 10
Since a come bet is a pass line bet by another
name, the future possibilities are the same and the numbers are the same. Only
the timing changes. So when our hero proudly implements his strategy and plunks
down another nickel in the Come Box, it immediately becomes worth $4.93. So now
he has two chips working. One of which is worth from $3.33 to $4.55 and one that
is worth $4.93.
Suppose he gets what he wants and another point
number, not the winning point number, is rolled. Now his chip in the Come Box
gets promoted to one of the point boxes. There it is worth from $3.33 to $4.55
depending on which box it went to.
Down goes another nickel into the come box. “Kaching!”
It is now worth $4.93. At this point he has a chip worth $4.93 on the layout and
two other chips worth from $3.33 to $4.55 each.
Suppose he again gets his wish and a third point
number appears. Now he has the felt like he wanted it. A bet on the pass line
and two come point numbers.
Let’s take the best case scenario for his
glorious established position, the one he worked so hard to get to. He has a
pass line bet with a point of five and come points of six and eight. His total
fair market value is $4.00 + $4.55 + $4.55 or $13.09. The face value of the
chips used is $15. The composite house advantage on his position now that it is
established is ($13.09 - $15.00) / $15.00 or minus 12.73%. (Gasp!).
Let’s take a worst case scenario. He has a pass
line bet with a point of five and come points of four and ten. His total fair
market value is $4.00 + $3.33 + $3.33 or $10.67 for a whopping house advantage
of minus 28.89% (Argggg!) Beware the Sevenator.
It gets worse. What is the moment of glory for a
pass line, or its cousin the come bet? It is the come out roll or the come
bet’s equivalent. That is when these particular bets are weighted in the
player’s favor, heavily. But wait! With a chip on the pass line and a chip in
the come box, you have “hedged away” most of the “come out roll” advantage of
the chip in the come box. If it wins with a seven, that same seven cleans off
your pass line bet. The one roll you have a decent bet in the come box, you have
nullified nearly all of the advantage by having a second bet on the pass line
praying “please no seven, please no seven…” The only natural win left for the
come box which will not hurt you on the pass line is an 11.
Is this starting to look like a really lousy way
to establish point numbers yet? The following table shows the fair market value
of an established comes point bet. I have used $30 just because it can be paid
off evenly on any point as a place bet. This should be familiar as it is the
same as the value of a bet stuck on the pass line with the same point
established after the come out roll. The thing to look at is the Vig amount.
Meanwhile down at the other end of the table is
another better. He has a different strategy. He is going to bet the pass line
and if a point is set he is going to Place Bet two numbers.
Right off his strategy is more flexible because
his point numbers are not going to be contract bets. He can take them down. He
can also select which numbers to bet right off the bat, not have to “roll for
them”. He does not have to fiddle around passing them through the Come Box, but
can place his numbers any time he wants. Finally he gets paid off at something
other than 1:1 odds if he wins. True he does not get paid off at correct odds,
but a lot closer to them.
Finally, his payout varies based on which point
number he risks his money on. If he is going to choose any number pair other
than 6 or 8, that is going to make a very significant difference in the fair
market value of his Placed chips compared to the Come Box established chips in
the same box.
Our place bettor’s two equivalent positions are
a pass line point of five and $6 place bets on the six and eight. When he makes
the place bets, his pass line chip has a house advantage of minus 20%. His two
place bets have house advantages of minus 1.52%. They are also $6 bets in the
interest of integer math. So his composite house advantage on this position is
$15.82 / $17 or minus 6.95% composite.
With a pass line point of five and $5 place bets
on the four and ten, he is looking at $13.33 / $15 or minus 9.80% composite. But
wait, he gets to choose his points with his place bets. There is no reason for
him to make these six percent house advantage bets. He can stick with the place
six and place eight for minus 6.95%. The come better has to live with what he
gets. If he gets points of 4 or 10, he is just stuck with the bad news.
The place better can do even better. He can skip
the pass line bet all together. In that case the place six and the place eight
have the well known 1.52% house advantage. If our hero skips the pass line bet,
his situation is still on average going to be a minus 12.5% when he manages to
get his two come points established. (Since his numbers are chosen for him at
random we use the average value of all possible points, minus 12.5%).
The sharp eyed might also point out that our
come better can skip the pass line bet if he wants, as long as he is not the
shooter. This is true, but he still is in the position of having one good roll,
the next one, followed by a lousy paying point number if he does not immediately
roll a 7 or 11 or crap. After he manages to establish his first point and starts
working on his second point with another bet in the come box, he is back in the
same leaky boat. If he scores a natural win with a seven in the come box, he
instantly loses the first point bet he already established. So he is back to
hoping he does not see a seven while he has chips in the come box. Again
throwing away the one real advantage of a come bet or a pass line bet. Having
the seven work FOR you on your come out roll. That is what generates that nice
reasonable house advantage of just minus 1.41% you keep hearing about. Take that
away and the deal goes sour.
The only come bet that makes any sense is a
single come bet with no pass line bet working. Just remember this is actually a
bet on the dark side at the moment you make it. Your best result at this point
is a seven and that is not going to make most of the people at the table happy
since most are right bettors. Made all by itself so it can take full advantage
of a seven on its personal come out roll, a single come bet does have a decent
house advantage. But when it sets a point, it suffers the same lousy house
advantage from then on that its cousin the pass line bet does. Stacking up lousy
bets by trying to get a lousy point bet working on the pass line and two more
lousy bets working as come points just does not make any sense.
Bottom line on the point numbers is placing is
much better than getting there through the come box. If you want chips in a
point box, just place them there!
The only slightly tricky part is to know how
much to place. That is not even that hard. Place multiples of five on everything
but the six and eight, and place multiples of six on those two numbers. Why? The
payouts are 6:7 on the 6 & 8; 5:7 on the 5&9; and 5:9 on the 4 & 10. So
multiples of five can be paid off evenly except on the 6 and 8. You need to
place in increments of $6 on the 6 and 8 to get paid off evenly. You would need
to be increments of $30 (5 * 6) to be paid off evenly on any number. But you can
place any multiple of $5 on 4, 5, 9 and 10, and any multiple of $6 on the 6 and
Compare the Vig amounts with the chart above.
The two stacks of chips may look similar sitting in a point box, but the ones
that got there by a place bet are very different than the ones that got there
through the come box. Even the much maligned place bet on the 4 and 10 with its
minus 6.7% house advantage, is much better than the best of the points
established through the come box, those on the 6 and 8 with their minus 9.1%
Place bets don’t change value because neither
their payoffs nor the rules for their payoffs change from roll to roll. The
house advantage on a 6 or an 8 starts at minus1.52% and stays there for as long
as the bet lasts, or it is taken down at which time it goes back into the rail
and reverts to being worth the full $5 face value.
The same bet established through the Come Box
sits in the 6 or 8 box waiting to be paid off at 1:1 odds. It gets there
sporting a minus 9.1% house advantage and stays there as long as the bet lasts
(period so to speak).
Reality Check. What about ganging up on the poor
seven with parallel place bets on the six and eight? Well $30 placed on the six
is worth $29.55 and $30 placed on the eight is also worth $29.55. So we have
(($29.55 + $29.55) - $60)) / $60 which is a composite house advantage of minus
1.52%. Exactly as expected. No magical ganging up on the poor seven.
By rolling up all the confusing stuff into one
package for each individual bet using fair market value, it becomes easy to
analyze composite bets. Even multi-roll bets that change value. Of which one of
the worst cases is a combination of pass line betting with its out of phase
cousin the come bet. This probably explains its long run as probably the most
taught single craps betting strategy in existence. The important thing to
remember is that neither the pass line bet nor the come bet is something you
want to use to cover a point on the right side. If you want to cover a point use
a more direct approach, at least on the right side.
What is the level of control you exert?
Are you rushing around like crazy? Have you relinquished control to others? If
so, why? Did you do so because you felt powerless or perhaps it felt comfortable
to allow another to drive the bus? Why?
By exercising control you command and
become responsible, but also you have the ability to alter things to suit
yourself and are not prone to the whims of others.
Remember, it's OK to get what you want
Stuart Wilde - "Life Was Never Meant to
be a Struggle"
Queen Bee: I received an interesting tid-bit of
information. It came on the luckiest day of the year. It just goes to show how
much goes on behind the scenes of a game a craps that is never found in the
“book of rules”. Enjoy!
Dear Queen Bee,
Happy 777 to you guys! FYI - if
you are not already aware of this please share it with your readers.
Living in Las Vegas, I continue to learn something everyday at the Craps tables.
The other night, at Bellagio, I had the table all to myself about 2 AM. I got to
toss the dice continuously for quite awhile. After a few bad hands, I finally
got on about a 25 hand roll before the “Devil” showed up. The stickman tossed in
the other 3 dice and shoved the 5 dice back to me.
WARNING - those that don't believe in requesting the "Same Dice" after 1
bounces off the table should NOT read the rest of this post.
Jesting, I suggested to the stickman that I sure would have liked to use those
same two dice I just had just rolled a hand with. To my amazement, the boxman
said I could. I only had to mention it to the stickman before he mixes the all
the dice together.
I took this new found rule and tried it at a few other casinos to test their
tolerance. So far, 99.5% acknowledge the rule and allow the request.
At Caesars, the dealers do not
even hesitate when you request the same dice from the previous roller.
At Paris, I found a woman
random roller that was chipping the dice off the mirror on a long roll. I
requested her same dice and had a long roll.
At New York, New York, on their
long tables, make sure you loudly yell the stickperson's name as you request
the same dice.
At Luxor, no problem with the
At Sam's Town, The boxman and
dealers did not have a problem with "same dice" requested from the previous
roller except "Randy" who told me he would "only allow it this one time".
Setter.com Newsletter™ is published by DiceSetter.com. It is
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