From The Mailbag
Here are two questions I received about craps.I thought I would answer them in this column.
The Grand Casino in Mississippi, offers crapless craps. Under this variation the 2, 3, 11 & 12 are active numbers and odds bets pay off at true odds. The 2 and 12 odds bets return 6X and the 2 and 11 return 4X. Is this arrangement a better bet for the right shooter? Can you furnish a mathematical explanation for your opinion? Who developed this variation? JR
I first saw this game years ago at Bob Stupak's Vegas World (Now the Stratosphere Casino). It should have died there along with Vegas World. This is not a good game. You don't lose your pass line bet when 2, 3 or 12 is rolled because these become point numbers. The biggest disadvantage is that you no longer win the come out roll with an eleven because it becomes a point number as well.
When they figure the 1.5-% house edge on the pass line they take into account that the 11 is a winner. There are 2 ways to roll 11 and added with the 6 ways to roll a 7 your have 8/36 or 2/9 ways to win on the come out roll. Taking away the 11 as a winner makes the house edge on the pass line about 5.35%. This is worse than the roulette table. If you end up with 2, 3, 11 or 12 as your point your will roll: 2 or 12 once for every 6 times a 7 will roll and 3 or 11 twice for every 6 times a 7 will roll.
I advise you to avoid this game al together. It is a gimmick game that takes advantage of the uneducated craps player.
Are there any studies on biased dice in casinos? JD
You won't find biased dice in a legitimate game. In my "Understanding Dice Odds" feature, I explained that the dice are changed usually every 8 hours because they are actually precision instruments. I know that some of the casinos actually use a micrometer to check all new dice that they order. If a die goes off the table you will see the "Boxman" inspect them before returning it to play. He is checking for any nicks or cracks that could occur if the dice are flung off the table. The fact that they can be damaged so easily is the reason you are required to throw with one hand only. He is also inspecting to make sure that not "foreign" dice were put into action on the table.
There are studies however of shooters being able to control the dice. These people set the dice and try to roll them in the same way every time trying for repeating numbers. Author Frank Scoblete calls this Rhythmic rolling.
Frank explains it this way, "I think the important thing to remember is that some people might be controlling the dice with their rolls. The Captain calls these shooters rhythmic rollers. I practice a very precise way of shooting that I have been successful with for the past several years. I position myself to the right of the stickman. Then I set the dice in a "V" and loft them gently to the other side. I try not to have them bounce too much -- the more the dice bounce; the more the roll is randomized. I don't have great rolls each and every time I shoot but I do tend to get a good number of decent to excellent rolls. By utilizing the 5-Count with the controlled dice throw and low house edge bets, the player has a good shot at taking home the money."
I was in Las Vegas with Frank and during one his roll at Binions, he held the dice for over 45 minutes. Larry Edell, editor of the "Crapshooter Newsletter, who writes a craps column that I post on the site each month also believes in dice control. He devotes a chapter to it in his book " How to Make Your Living Playing Craps".
I also will set the dice and try to roll the same way each time. This is a controversial topic. Some will argue that it won't help. My opinion is that it doesn't hurt anything so why not try it. The next time you play look closely at the shooters who take the time to set the dice before they roll. You may find a rhythmic roller.
Until next time, remember: "Luck comes and goes...Knowledge stays forever."