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Best of Mark Pilarski

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Salvo cannonade of craps questions

3 November 2000

Before I Deal: Craps can be mind-boggling entertainment, making mincemeat out of those who don't understand the fundamentals. My guess is that fewer than 1% of players truly grasp dice. The only thing greener than the felt on your typical crap game is not the money won, but the players. What proves my 1% theory is that on any crap game, most, if not all, players make at least one wager that has a house advantage of between 6-16+%. But if you've read my column long enough, you know that I feel any wager, on any game, with a house edge in excess of 2%, is a SUCKER bet.
Anyhow, questions on craps continue to be numero uno in subject matter received, so I decided to shorten, and answer, some of those pesky little buggers collecting dust on my desk.

What is better, placing the 6 or 8 or betting on the Big 6/Big 8? Kenny W.

It's exactly the same wager BUT the Big 6 and 8 pays even money, whereas placing the 6 and 8 pays 7 to 6. House advantage on the Big 6 or 8 is 9.1%. Placing the 6 or 8 has only a 1.5% house edge. Eliminate the former from your betting repertoire.

Are the bets the stick man recommends good wagers? Chris A.

NO! Repeat, NO! The suggested wagers the stick man is barking-field, hard way and craps wagers-all own a high house advantage. These bets should be limited to the tootsie pop crowd — a.k.a., the sucker born every minute club.

What is the difference between a throw and a roll? Larry, I

A throw is one roll of the dice. A roll is a series of rolls until a decision (seven or the point) is made.

Can I remove my bet before the next throw? Martha M

Any bet can be removed from the table with the exception of a pass line or come line wager if the point has been established.

What is a horn-high eleven Bet? Bob. T

A one roll wager, the horn-high eleven is a five-unit bet; one unit on the number two, one on three, one on 12 and two units on 11. Sucker bet.

Is there any absolute way to beat the game of craps? Jerry H.

Absolute way? Absolutely. DON'T PLAY.

Should I place all the numbers? Randy T.

Only place the six and eight. The 4 and 10 have a house advantage of 6.7%. The 5 and 9 is 4.0%. And what are they, Randy? Sucker bets.

What is the difference between 5 to 1 and 5 for 1? Susan L.

5 "for" 1 returns five units, whereas 5 "to" 1 returns six units on working wagers.

How many different possible rolls of the dice are there and which number appears the most? Cheryl. G.

There are 36 possible combinations with the seven coming up six different ways, or 16.67% of the time.

Why is the seven so important in craps? Toni C.
Because after a seven rolls, a decision is made on most bets, win or lose.

Name all the wagers on a craps game that have less than a 2% house advantage? Becky C.

Pass line, don't pass, come line, don't come, odds and placing the six and eight.

The best bet on a craps game is? Larry V.

Odds on your pass or come line bet. House edge — ZIPPO.

Should I ever place a wager on the pass line after a point has been established? Mark B.

Never. At this point the house has a much bigger edge because the point has been established. On the come-out roll you need those sevens and elevens to maintain that low house edge of 1.41% on a pass line bet.

Can I sit down and play craps? Bobby C.

Generally no, unless you're blessed with Saudi Arabian oil wealth or a high roller of the same magnitude.

What is a call bet? David L.

A voice bet, acknowledged by the stickman, without chips on the selection.

What did the dealer mean when she asked me if I wanted to "press" my bet? Shirley M.

To increase or double your previous wager and return any excess winnings to you.

I found a 25-cent craps game in Las Vegas. Can I just bet 25 cents on the pass line? Brian P.

Generally, yes, and you still get free cocktails to boot. Some casinos may request a 50-cent minimum wager.

How many throws of the dice occur on an active game per hour? James M.

Good dealers can push the dice well over 200 times per hour, making craps the most consistent live action game the casino offers.

Can I request my place bet to be working when the point marker (puck) is marked off? Robert A.

Yes, but you must inform the dealer that you want your bet working.

What do the two dice signifying 12 on the don't come or don't pass line mean? Ronald M.

It means if the 12 rolls, it's a tie. You neither win nor lose.

Why are odds and place bets generally "off" on the come out roll? Randy T.

To avoid confusion. Besides, you're rooting for a seven on your pass line bet.

What do they mean by throwing numbers? Linda L.

A thrower, with a hot hand, is tossing the box point numbers of 4-5-6-8-9-10 and avoiding the dreaded 7 (cinco dos, adios) from appearing.

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.