There is no real mystery to craps or any other game in any casino. The odds are all laid out right there on the page for anyone to read. There aren't any "systems" that work, "runs", "hot" tables, "good" dice, or anything else. It is all just where you land on the time space continuum. In other words, over time (and this is very important) you will eventually revert to what is statistical. And that is losing your money.
Craps is an extremely social game. People yell (guilty), have superstitions such as rubbing the table before tossing the dice, or having an attractive woman blow on the dice before throwing them (guilty). It is all nonsense, of course but all in fun. You definitely meet a cast of characters at any crap table. But math, as always in a casino, rules the day.
Most of the time you get free drinks, and you can get branded booze, not rail garbage. Being able to have fun and drink "for free" makes any losses less painful. But on to Carl's article.
If you play craps in what seems to be a rather basic way (the pass line, plus odds) you roughly have 50/50 odds.
Almost. The correct way to say this would be that over time playing the pass line gives the house a 1.41% advantage. The odds on the pass odds bet are even (and yes, this is the only bet in any casino that gives the player true odds).
Doing a few other things like "buying a 6 or 8" can increase the house odds against you a little bit, but not enough to matter unless you play a lot over a long time.
False. The house advantage on PLACING a 6 or 8 bet, to which I am sure Carl was referring to is 1.52% per bet resolved. BUYING a 6 or 8 is a terrible bet, and the results depend on if the house takes a vig on that. If they take a vig every time, the house has a 4.76% advantage. If they only take it on the win, the house advantage goes down to 2.27%. But Carl and I have spent many an hour at many a crap table and I have never seen him buy a 6 or 8 so I will assume he meant placing it.
It is likely true that playing the come out roll after a "number" has been hit and putting odds on THAT number is also near 50/50 odds....
False. Putting down a pass line bet and odds after the come out roll (called a "put" bet) is a huge loser. How bad of a bet it is depends on the point. Per the Wizard of Odds:
- 6 and 8: Bettor must combine a put bet with 5X odds to have the same overall house edge of 1.52% as a place bet.
- 5 and 9: Bettor must combine a put bet with 4X odds to have the same overall house edge of 4.00% as a place bet.
- 4 and 10: Bettor must combine a put bet with 19X odds to have the same overall house edge of 1.67% as a buy bet, assuming the commission is paid on a win only. If the commission is always paid then the bettor must combine a put with with 6X odds to match the 4.76% house edge.
Something I have never seen and a fine way to deplete your bank roll since you lose every time. Sure, you win every time as well, but the house advantage (again, over time) on the pass bet will wear you down.. The absolute optimal strategy, by approximately a tenth of a percentage point, is the Don't Pass with full odds. The pass with odds is more fun since the vast majority of people play the positive side, and in general, is a relatively safe strategy.
So how do I play? $5 pass line and full odds, 3-4-5. If I start getting into the money I will toss down some numbers bets like 54 across or something like that just to keep it interesting and for a joke I will bet a hard six for Carl but in general, you can last a LONG time at a crap table playing low stakes like this and drinking their booze all along the way and having a good time. I play a lot looser with house money if I happen to go up.
As with any gambling, if you can't afford it, don't do it. But the real lesson here is that there really aren't any secrets inside a casino. The Wizard of odds has done all of the calculations for you. It never changes.