Everything Has A Reason
by Larry Edell
My friend Bob is a conservative straight shooter and never does anything without a reason. Except when he plays craps. As we headed towards the tables one day Bob was grousing about our wives current shopping expedition. They didnt need anything in particular, so why they would rather go shopping than play craps was beyond him. He maintained that shopping is just one of those things that people like to do, for no particular reason at all. He of course would never do anything like that.
He was still mumbling about having reasons for everything when we got to the tables and colored in. I put $10 on the pass line and the shooter obliged by coming out with a new point of six. Dollar hard six, Bob suddenly called out, as he threw a white chip toward the stickman.
Huh? What kind of bet is that? I asked, adding odds to my pass line bet.
Just a dollar, doesnt hurt anyone.
Know what the vig is on that dollar?
I know, its high, but so what, just a dollar.
The shooter rolled an eight. I placed the eight. Lets look at the house advantage for a sec. On hard ways its either 9% (on the 6 or 8) or 11% ( on the 4 or 10). On a six or eight place bet its 1.5%. Pass line is 1.4%
Well, look around. How many craps tables do you see?
He counted. Um, ten.
Do you think that the casino built any of these tables with a 1.5% profit?
What do you mean?
The shooter rolled a five, a ten, a nine, and another five. I should have been on the come instead of talking. The casino depends on making a certain level of money from its games in profit. Lets say that its break even point is 5%. This means that if it consistently makes over 5% it does well, and if it makes consistently under 5% it does poorly.
Bob shook his head and shrugged. So what does that have to do with me?
The shooter rolled an eight! Wow, I won my place bet! Look Bob, the casino really doesnt care if you win because it makes a percentage of every bet, and thats where most of their profits come from. But they dont get significant profits from pass and come bets because the edge is too low. They get most of their profits from hard ways, field bets and proposition bets.
A cheer went up! The shooter threw a six! I won again!
Bob looked thoughtful. So youre saying that if I won my hard way bet the casino wouldnt mind because of the built-in 9% edge? But the bets you won dont make a significant enough profit for them? You got it. I said, collecting my chips, Maybe thats why dealers always call out Any Hard Ways or Anyone on the field? instead of pass or come with maximum odds!
Bob grinned. Okay, so lets say my hard way bets are the main supplier of the casinos statues and waterfalls. Cant I do things just for fun, because I want to?
I smiled. Oh. Kinda like going shopping?
Larry Edell is the Editor of The Crapshooter Newsletter and author of two craps books and numerous articles about the game of craps. I have been a subscriber to his newsletter since 1995. In 1996 I met Larry at a Gaming Convention and was impressed with his passion and knowledge of the game. Larry's monthly articles appear here as a regular feature. YOU can get a FREE issue of The Crapshooter, the only newsletter devoted solely to craps, just by sending two 33 cent stamps to The Crapshooter, Dept INT., PO Box 421440, San Diego CA 92142-1440. Youll also receive a FREE catalog, and, a special FREE offer!