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Deal Me In: This game is crap for the unsuspecting

16 October 2015

Dear Mark: How does a crapless table measure up to a conventional craps table as far as house advantages? Also, a floor manager at a casino suggested I go to a website named wizardofodds.com. He said it would help me to understand better the world of probability. Do you have any experience with it? Jerry

What you stumbled upon, Jerry, is an offering called Crapless Craps or Never Ever Craps. Here we go again, Jerry. Here is another example of a casino game designed to relieve you of your hard-earned cash when you belly up to this form of a craps table.

In this modified variation of a regular craps game, you do not lose on the come-out roll when the shooter tosses a craps, a term for the numbers 2, 3 or 12. Instead, the number rolled (2, 3 or 12) automatically becomes your point, just as 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 does on a standard game. Additionally, you do not win if the shooter throws a natural 11. It, too, becomes the point.

With these shabby extra rules, the house now holds a 5.4% edge on your pass line bet versus the 1.4% edge on a typical craps game.

I would highly recommend passing on Crapless Craps, whose house edge on the unsuspecting player is nearly quadrupled.

You also mentioned wizardofodds.com in your question.

For math junkies like Yours Truly, it has no peers. The Wizard of Odds is Michael Shackleford, a professional actuary who has made a career of analyzing casino games. Shackleford’s site provides the mathematically correct strategies and information for nearly every casino game in existence.

In this column, I am spreading smart gambling to the masses at a Gambling 101 level, all while working off Sister Cyrilla's fifth-grade arithmetic. The Wizard’s gambling information level is more like Gambling 105.

If you have any inclination to study gambling mathematics at the highest level, then yes, Jerry, I highly recommend the wizardofodds.com.

Dear Mark: With the proliferation of sports betting taking place online, and with illegal bookies, do you think it will ever become legal to bet on sports in other states besides Nevada? Jeff W.

Of the kazillion of dollars bet on sports each year, only 2% of the action is legal. The remaining 98% is wagered with a bookie named Vito, in a long narrow dark bar called Creedon’s, ask for Snuff, or online through gambling websites overseas.

Four states allow some form of wagering on NFL games. Of course, there is Nevada, plus limited betting in Delaware, Oregon and Montana. New Jersey keeps trying, but it continues to be rejected at the appellate level.

Also standing in the way is the 1992 federal law called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. That law would need to be repealed before other states can allow sports betting.

Delaware, Oregon and Montana were permitted to sanction NFL betting because they offered some form of legal sports betting before 1992. Those states loop-holed in by tethering sports betting to a state lottery or a fantasy game that they already operated, hence, they were grandfathered in.

By the way, Jeff, I am sitting on multiple questions regarding weekly fantasy football and its legitimacy and legality. A topic worthy of all 600 words that I am allotted, an – albeit negative – column on this form of fantasy football is coming soon.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: A priest rebuked a gambler for the time he wasted at play. "Yes,” replied the latter, "there is a lot of time lost in shuffling the cards." – Charles William Heckethorn, The Gambling World (1998)
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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.