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Best of Mark Pilarski

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Deal Me In: No disparity in payoffs on this terrible bet

22 August 2014

Dear Mark: As a person having an interest in numerical odds and veracity in casino payout according to what's true and correct — as posted on the craps' green felt — I am perplexed by a particular issue.

On 'Any Seven' in the Indian casinos of California, the payout is as indicated, 4:1; you receive $4 for every $1 bet. The same applies in Northern Nevada casinos (Reno/Tahoe), as well. However, the Las Vegas craps tables I have personally seen (Caesars, Bellagio, Venetian, etc.) indicate 5:1 on that same bet, and only pay the same $4 for every $1 bet as do the aforementioned casinos. I have attempted to get an explanation of this disparity from LV dealers, but their answers are as obscure as they are convoluted. Just wondering if the NV Gaming Commission stands by such an overt misrepresentation and if so, is there an explanation? Mike D.


Good question, Mike, although I am a somewhat puzzled as to why a seasoned crap dealer couldn’t answer your question directly.

Let’s begin with an explanation of the bet; move on to the true cost of the wager, answer your inquiry and, finally, offer my recommendation.

Any Seven, also nicknamed "Big Red," is a bet that the shooter will roll a seven on the next roll. You will find this wager clearly marked on the craps layout in the middle of the table closest to the boxman. To place this bet, all you need to do is toss a chip towards any dealer and say “any seven.” The dealer will then position your wager in alignment with your playing position on the crap table so as not to have it mixed up with other players on the same bet.

With the next toss of the dice, Mike, you now are competing against all other number combinations. The ensuing sound you want to hear could be any of the following: “Seven out, line away,” “Cinco dos, adios,” “five two, you’re all through,” “six ace, end of the race,” “six one, you’re all done,” “seven’s a bruiser, the front line’s a loser,” “up pops the devil,” or “Benny Blue, you’re all through.”

That said, the next time you are on a crap game, count how many times the stickman promotes this proposition bet. I highly recommend that you stay away from ALL proposition bets found in the center of the layout. The stickman barking his performance is doing nothing more than inducing play on wagers that are all “house bets,” carrying a casino advantage, and in the case of an Any Seven bet, higher than 16 percent.

That’s right; the true odds of an Any Seven bet are 5 to 1, yet the casino only pays 4 to 1, giving the casino an enormous 16.67 percent house edge, making it the worst wager on the craps table.

Finally, Mike, let me address your question as to why payoffs in LV seem to be different from what appears to be promised.

Depending geographically on where you play, you will see the “Any Seven” payout listed in one of two ways. It will be labeled either “to” or “for” to one. As you noted, in Northern Nevada you will see the payout wager printed as “4 to 1,” in Las Vegas, it is “5 for 1.” When the casino lists the payout as 4 “to” 1, this means you are paid four dollars, and you preserve your original dollar bet. When the payout is listed as 5 “for” 1, you will be paid $5, but the dealer keeps your original dollar. Either, way, Mike, be it “4 to 1” or “5 for 1,” your payout is the same amount. There is no overt misrepresentation going on, nor are you getting screwed here, with the exception of making that bet itself.

When it comes to betting opportunities, the craps table offers the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The Good, which keeps the casino advantage to under 2 percent, would be a Pass Line bet with full odds and/or placing the 6 or 8. The Bad is anything the stickman is advertising, and the Ugly, the Any Seven. Immediately drop this wager from your betting repertoire.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “Nathan Detroit's crap game is apt to be anywhere, because it moves about every night.” – Damon Runyon, Blood Pressure (1929)
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Best of Mark Pilarski
Mark Pilarski

As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.
Mark Pilarski
As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.