Last issue I offered to our readers a few players who articulated their craps strategies – some of these strategies were good, some were mediocre and some were awful. I didn’t comment on these strategies because I wanted our readers to savor them without my own strategic articulation – meaning “Hey, I’m right but I’ll let most of these poor souls have their moments in the sun.”
The next two issues will have me offer my opinions about these various strategies. My first player is Marty, our model of a smart player.

Marty said that he makes a $10 pass line bet and he backs that with up to 10 times in odds. He also makes two come bets and will back those with odds as well. If he plays a 5X odds game he makes a $15 pass line and only one come bet and these with odds of $75 on the 4 or 10, and $100 on the 5 or 9 and $125 on the 6 or 8. He only makes two bets on a 5X game, a pass line and one come. He makes no other bets at the game.

Marty’s strategy is indeed a good one. He has selected the best bets as pass line and come betting is only fractionally worse than darkside “don’t” betting and most players refrain from being darksiders for emotional reasons. The placing of full odds is a wise choice as this bet can be made with no extra house edge added to the bet.

If Marty bets his $10 on the pass line and two come bets he will face a 1.41 percent house edge against him on them. In terms of money that means he will have a losing expectation of 14 cents per $10 wagered, making that 42 cents against those three bets, which is not bad at all. In fact, this is one of the best bets offered in the casino.

The $100 in odds on a 10X game is a break even proposition and while the game will have Marty experiencing many ups and downs, if he plays long enough those odds will be close to evening out. Years of playing once a week will give him plenty of decisions and the more decisions the better the math works itself out. If he plays a lot during his sessions, we can see that the math of reality should come close to the math of theory. (At least he and we can hope so!)

Marty is also smart in keeping his overall risk the same in a 5X odds game by increasing his bets to $15 on the pass line and come but only making two bets on these. That means in a 5X odds game he is betting $30 combined on the pass line and come bets, the same amount he is betting at the 10X odds game by making three $10 wagers. The odds bets on that 5X odds game will come out to be somewhat more than on the 10X odds game but the difference (hopefully) will be something of a washout over time.

Making the odds bets at the 5X odds game based on $15 allows the dealers to pay $165 per win – a flat $15 on the line and on the come, with $150 on the odds bet.

Now Marvin has a decent strategy as he too is a traditional bettor of the pass line and come; but he is throwing too much money on the layout. He makes the lowest bet on the pass line and come, and backs these with full odds or the odds he can afford at a given game. So far, so good. But here is where he goes wrong: Marvin likes to just keep making those bets, one after another even if he winds up on all the box numbers without many or any wins being recorded. A seven-out can cripple him with so many bets hanging out there waiting to be lost.

Keep this in mind; the more bets you make the more money you are wagering against the house edge and you must realize that each bet should be considered a totally different game against the casino. One bet is one game.

Marvin is opening himself up too much with too many wagers. Marty is doing it somewhat more conservatively by making just three wagers. I have to say that I will make just one pass line or one come bet with full odds more often than not. That gives me one game against the casino. My number against their number; me against the dreaded seven!

One issue I did not cover with my fellow players was their comps. Suffice it to say that Marty will get minimal comps, a buffet, perhaps a café meal, a reduced price or maybe a free room midweek. Marvin will probably get more since he is betting more.

It is rare that comps can make up for one’s losses so I would not consider these in relation to a proper playing strategy. Keep the house edge low, don’t make too many bets, these are the way to go!

By: Frank Scoblete

Visit Frank’s web site at Frank’s latest books are Confessions of a Wayward Catholic!; I Am a Dice Controller and I Am a Card Counter. Available from, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, e-books and at bookstores.