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Best of Mark Pilarski

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Deal Me In: The dangers of the 'any craps' bet

10 October 2008

Dear Mark: Is there any chance that you could spend a portion of your column explaining the "any craps" bet on a craps game? In all the years you've been writing your column, I don't believe you have ever covered it. Buck D.

Yes, Buck, I have not explained the "any craps" bet in any drawn-out answer to a reader's question, but I have in the past briefly mentioned that it is a wager that you should definitely avoid. Now is no time to waste hard-earned money.

The bet is quite simple. Typically employed on the come-out roll, an "any craps" bet is wagering that 2, 3 or 12 will be the result of the next roll of the dice.

By and large, most players make pass line bets and they win with a 7 or 11 on the come-out roll, but lose if a 2, 3 or 12 appear. These three numbers are the "craps" numbers, and a bet on "any craps" is a combination bet on any one of those three numbers.

Pass line bettors in the dark like them because they want a "hedge" against their pass line bet -- which is where the "any craps" bet comes in. So instead of a flat loss of your pass line money if a 2, 3 or 12 rolls, it is "hedged" by winning an "any craps" bet.

Here's an example: Suppose you have a $10 bet on the pass line and you toss the dealer a $1 chip and yell out "Any craps!" He or she will place it in the "C" circle (for "craps") on the layout. Now you have two bets working, a pass line bet and an "any craps" wager. On the next toss of the dice, you will experience one of three things.

1) A point rolls, and your wager stays on the pass line but loses your $1 any craps bet or...

2) Either 7 or 11 is tossed, and you win your pass line bet of $10, but you lose your $1 any craps bet. Here your net win would be $9 instead of $10, or, finally …

3) A craps number rolls -- either 2, 3 or 12, and you lose your pass line bet of $10 but win your $1 any craps bet, and you are paid 7 to 1. So, Buck, instead of losing $10 you would lose only $3.

Whether you play the "any craps" hedge bet is up to you, but I'm going to give this wager two thumbs down because the odds against any craps happening are 36 to 4 or 9 to 1. The correct payoff should be 8 to 1, but the casino is only willing to part with 7 to 1, creating a house edge on this one-roll bet of 11.1%.

Dear Mark: If a casino advertises 98% return on their slots, does that mean all of their machines, or is it specific denomination machines, return that amount back to the customer? Carol G.

If a casino advertises slots that return 98%, this does NOT mean that for each dollar you put in, you will automatically get back 98 cents. All that the 98% return means is that over the life cycle of that particular slot machine, it will average payoffs equal to 98% of all money inserted.

Also, Carol, if you look closely at the casino advertisement, it will probably say, "on select machines." Typically that means dollar machines, but the return usually it is not posted on the machine itself, and generally will be limited to a single carousel of machines, or possibly just one or two slots.

On top of that, it becomes your responsibility to find them. The easiest way is to ask a slot employee, and if he or she doesn't know, have one of them ask their direct supervisor. The secret here is to ask, ask, and ask.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "Poker is a delicate dance of knowing when to stick your neck out and when to turn turtle." --John Vorhaus

Recent Articles
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.