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Submitted by: David Herman
Craps is a game enjoyed by millions of casino patrons all around the world. It is a truly glamorous game of betting chips, dice, careful wagering and chance. Part of the appeal of craps, perhaps, is the way it can truly feel like a team sport, particularly when each player backs the shooter s roll. The basic concept is this: you lay a bet on what’s called the Pass line and make your bet before you roll the dice. If you roll a 7 or 11, then you ve won. If you toss a 2, 3, or 12, however, you don’t win. Any other number is set as the point, indicating that number has to be tossed again before the 7 for you to win money. If you roll a 7 before you roll the point, you ve lost.
Bets can only be placed on the pass line during the come-out roll, but there are some casino houses that allow for betting on any point during the game. A come-out roll that comes up with a 7 or an 11 is a win for bets placed on the pass line, while a come-out roll that comes up with a 2, 3, or 12 is a loss for pass line bets. In these instances, the game automatically ends. All other numbers rolled would mean the series will continue and the shooter now would need to continue rolling until his chosen number comes up (which would of course make him and all the other pass line bettors winners), or until the roll comes up with a 7, at which point a 7 would now mean a loss for the shooter and all the other pass line bettors.
Taking the odds carries no house edge. The casino makes no profit on this bet. Did you hear us right? Did we really just mention a casino game that has a fair payout? Is there something rotten in the state of Denmark? Nope. Not at all. The simple fact is that taking the odds is the only bet you can make on a table game where the odds are not against you. How can the casino make this bet available when they don’t make any money on it? Simple: Most players aren’t smart enough to make this bet. If all craps players took the odds and avoided the other bets, the casino wouldn’t be able to offer craps.
How are the odds calculated? Let s take the roll of 4 as an example. There are six combinations of the dice that result in the number 7. Those combinations are: 1 & 6, 2 & 5, 3 & 4, 4 & 3, 5 & 2, and 6 & 1. But there are only three combinations of the dice that result in the number 4. Those combinations are: 1 & 3, 2 & 2, and 3 & 1. So, the true odds for the number 4 are 6:3 or, when reduced, 2:1. The payout for taking the odds on a 4? Well, $2 will pay $4 and so on. That s 2:1. In other words, that s a statistically fair payout. The same method is used for the other numbers. There are 4 combinations of the dice that make the numbers 5 (and 9), so the true odds are 6:4 or 3:2, and there are 5 combinations of the dice that make the number 6 (and 8), so the true odds are 6:5. So what s the catch?
There isn t one, though it is crucial to keep in mind that a loss is still a loss. But a win is a fair odds win, not a casino odds win. In the long run, this can definitively shape the outcome of play because it strips the house of paying slightly below the true odds line.
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