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Best of Mark Pilarski

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Guy knows what he's talking about!

10 February 2003

Dear Mark,
I have a question for you on the subject of placing the 6 and 8. It seems to be open for some debate. People in the know, who I trust, like you and Anthony Curtis, say it's a good bet, and I agree. But others, like John "I write about craps for a living and never play" Gollehon say it is still too big a house edge, that you should go through the come instead with odds. Heck, I say do both and if it hits on the first roll after the point is established, use the place bet for odds. If it doesn't, well, you've got plenty of action — a pass line bet with odds on the point of 8, a place bet on the 6, and come bet with odds on the 9 (or whatever is rolled). Hopefully it¹s a $2 table. It seems as if you did nothing but place the 6 and 8 all night you would turn out OK. Please give me your side of the argument. Josh N.

There are plenty of reasons why I complement my Pass line wager and odds with a Place bet on the 6 or 8; two quickly come to mind. First, it's a wager with a small house advantage, 1.5%, and second, it's plenty cheap. A place bet can be made for as little as $6. (Quick side note: When making a place bet on 6 or 8, you should always wager in multiplies of $6 [$12, $18, $24, etc.]. Why? 6 and 8 pay off at 7 to 6, so I win $7 for every $6 bet. A win on any bet under $6 is spelled "shortchange", since the dealer will round down to the nearest dollar and pay you less than you actually won.)

As for Gollehon's guidance, playing craps is not a prerequisite to dispensing sound advice, nor is Gollehon's advice chasing the wrong rabbit. This column, as readers well know, has NOT slept through the topic of making Pass line and Come bets and taking odds. Why just last week . . . Also, neither Gollehon, Tony Curtis nor I represent the vanguard of faultless play on a crap game. A lot depends on the amount of K-Ching weighing down your pockets. Taking odds can be an expensive proposition, especially when dealing in multiples of 10x or even 100x odds, even though the house edge on the bet is a puny 0.09%. As minuscule as this sounds, Josh, you have to be capitalized to the hilt — no, a bit beyond that — to embrace this wager. A $5 pass line wager with 100x odds puts $505 of your hard-earned money in play. Add a Come bet with full odds, and after just one seven-out, line away call, you'll be begging for badly needed free drinks in the keno lounge.All the suggestions in your question are sound gambling strategies, Josh, and I especially like your pursuit of a $2 table. But let us all not forget one important thing: All craps bets come at a cost. Craps is a negative-expectation game, meaning, that no matter how you bet, even a $2 wager with 100x odds, the house has an edge on your action. No nuts-and-bolts plan from the Providential (well, cut that to prudential) wisdom of Gollehon, Curtis or me can beat a negative expectation game. Here's the bottom line, Josh. I recommend that all players treat craps like a bag of M&Ms. Eat (bet) only the colors (pass line and come bets with odds) you like, and can afford (a $6 place bet on the 6 and/or 8). Just make sure to keep your wagers under the 2% house advantage threshold.

Gambling quote of the week: "Because I know I'm the worst bettor on football, I always make my pick, and then bet against myself. -Mark Twain impressionist McAvoy Layne
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.