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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Winning Money at Craps the Hard Way

17 September 2002

This story from John Walsh, an MIS director, computer systems specialist, and marketing strategist based in the southwest suburbs, will make craps players everywhere take notice. On a recent outing to the Empress Casino & Hotel in Joliet with a group of friends and associates, John witnessed his buddy, Skip Slaten, roll the dice 17 consecutive times on the come-out without making a point! Skip's incredible run included a mix of "crap dice" (2, 3, or 12) and "naturals" (7 or 11), but there wasn't a single point (4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10). Talk about a slap in the face of mathematical probability!

"It was unbelievable," Walsh said. "There were players making all kinds of money betting the 'World' (a one-roll wager on 2-3-7-11-12). Pass line bettors were making money on Skip's naturals and there were even some bettors capitalizing on field bets. One guy on the 'hook' (a corner of the table) was pressing his world bets. He had a rack-full of chips by the time Skip finally rolled a point."

There is a predictable epilogue to this unusual casino tale that all craps players will appreciate. Slaten, a publications manager, "sevened-out" two rolls after establishing a point.

Such a run of numbers is highly improbable. For it to happen on the come-out roll paved the way for a lot people who are inclined to make such wagers as the World (or Whirl), the Field, the Horn (2, 3, 11, or 12), any Craps (2, 3, or 12), or an occasional "Big Red" (7) to make some windfall profits.

As for me personally, had I been at the table I would have either lost some money or I would have been watching from the sidelines in amazement. Such proposition wagers are not for me simply because there is too high a price to pay from the standpoint of casino advantage.

The fact of the matter is this: The World bet carries an obscene casino edge, a whopping 16 percent. In fact, the only craps bet worse than the World is Any 7. The true odds against winning Any 7 are 5 to 1 but the casino will only pay you 4 to 1, a hefty 16.67 percent house edge.

The true mathematical odds against winning the World bet are 20 to 5. The casino will pay you only 16 to 5. For every dollar you wager on the World, the casino is extracting 16 cents. It is one of the worst bets you can make at any game in the casino.

You may ask, "But if you win money, what difference does it make?". The answer is PLENTY. Let's analyze the situation from a couple of different standpoints. First, let's imagine the casino would pay you off at true odds on the World. You'd win twenty dollars for every five you bet. Win five World bets and you would expect to profit $100.

Now let's return to the real world where the casino pays you 16 to 5. Under these conditions, win those same five World bets and your profit amounts to just $80. Sure, you've won money, but not as much as you should have. The price you pay to the casino for winning is a silent tax. It is present whether you win or you lose. The difference is that when you lose, you don't feel the pinch.

Look at it another way. Say you bet five bucks on the world and lose. You are still paid 80 cents (16 percent) for the privilege of making the wager but you really didn't feel it because you lost. If you win your bet you'll be paid sixteen dollars. The price you pay is four dollars because you should have won twenty dollars.

A proposition bet once in a while is manageable. It creates some additional fun and excitement. Some proposition bets carry a less burdensome price. But a steady diet of the bets will eat your bankroll alive, unless, of course, Skip "Round the World" Slaten is rolling the dice.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp