Reader Albert sent this following email, which I publish with his permission:

First and foremost I like your videos on craps, I just watched one where you were doing 100 X odds on a $10 minimum. I’m a novice, usually only play once or twice a year. My questions are on random shooter(s) bets:
1. Why do you make pass line bets, rather than waiting on a point and then making Place bets with odds, on say 6 or 8?
2. After the point is set, why make Come bets (contract bet), instead of place bets with odds? Since the shooter will have to hit the number again to win.
Thanks again for the videos.

First, Albert, you’re very welcomed for the videos. I appreciate you watching and sending in your questions. I also appreciate that you would allow me to answer your question in public, as many other people have asked similar questions.

This issue has been brought up many times, so I’ll address the issue by quoting common misconceptions of the same myth.

QUESTION 1

Let me answer question 1 by stating that the house edge on the total bet of a $10 pass line + $1000 odds is much less than the house edge on a $1000 place bet.

The expected loss from the house edge of a $1010 pass line + odds bet is approximately 14 cents. Whereas the expected loss on a 6/8 place bet of $1000 is approximately $15. I would rather pay 14 cents than $15.

But the real crux of Albert’s question is found in question 2.

Let’s address this issue that the ‘shooter must hit the number again to win’ by exploring one of the biggest myths in craps…

QUESTION 2, ADDRESSING THE MYTH THAT THE COME BET MUST HIT TWICE TO WIN

On its face, it appears that the come bet must hit twice to win. After all, if one were to track the number of rolls for any given shooter, it appears that the come bet must hit twice to win.

To simplify the issue, let’s think in terms of a 50/50 coin flip. Later, I’ll relate the issue back to craps, just to keep it on point.

If you flip a coin, are the odds that heads will flip 5 times in a row?

THE COIN FLIP GAME

Let’s play a coin flip game where for you to win, you must call your side of the coin correctly 5 times in a row to win.

Here is the probability of you winning…

Flip 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5

H H H H H

Probability of winning is 1 in 32.

So if you and I were to play a coin flip game, and you called heads every single time, and I called tails every single time, the odds of you winning 5 flips in a row is 1 in 32.

However, let’s look at it this way…

You and I play the coin flip game again. You have heads and I have tails.

What are the odds that you will win the first flip? 1 in 2, or 50/50.

Flip 1:

Probability of Heads – 50/50

You win the first flip. Now what is the probability of you winning the second flip?

Flip 2:

Probability of Heads – 50/50

You win the second flip. Now what is the probability of you winning the third flip?

Flip 3:

Probability of Heads – 50/50

You win the third flip. Now what is the probability of you winning the fourth flip?

Flip 4:

Probability of Heads – 50/50

You win the fourth flip. Now what is the probability of you winning the fifth flip?

Flip 5:

Probability of Heads – 50/50

The probability on each flip does not change. The probability of the next flip will always be 50/50, regardless of what happens on the next flip.

The difference in the two coin-flip games – described above – is found in the fact once an event has happened, the past has no bearing on the future. Heads could come up 100 times in a row. What are the odds that heads will appear on flip #101? You guessed it…50-50.

BACK TO CRAPS AND THE COME BET

In the game of craps, the player must first make a come bet. On this come bet, the player does not have a point established. The house edge on this come bet is 1.41%. There are no odds in play, thus the odds are not at risk.

Point of 6 has rolled (or really, you can use any point). The come bet travels to the point of 6, and the bettor bets $1000 on the odds. What are the win-loss probabilities on this bet? Simple…there are 5 ways to win and 6 ways to lose. The fact that the 6 already rolled has no bearing on the future of this bet.

Just like in the coin flip, once heads has flipped, the past has no bearing on the next results.

USING AN ABSURD EXAMPLE TO ILLUSTRATE THE FACT THAT THE PAST HAS NO EFFECT ON THE FUTURE

What are the odds of 7 showing on any given roll? 1 in 6, as any seasoned craps player will tell you. What are the odds that two 7s will show on two specific rolls in a row? 1 in 36 (1 in 6 each time).

Have you ever heard of the term ‘schooling’ the dice? Schooling the dice is when a shooter does a practice roll on the dice. The shooter will roll the dice into the back of the wall, nearest him or her, prior to actually shooting the dice. Schooling is a common pre-shoot ritual of many craps players.

If you do not believe that the past has no effect on the future, I prefer this method of play…

School the dice until the dice roll a 7 shows. Once you are able to do a practice roll where a 7 appears, shoot the dice immediately. Because a 7 has already appeared on the dice when you schooled it, the odds of a 7 showing are no longer 1 in 6. You now have a 1 in 36 chance of the next roll being a 7.

‘That’s absurd’ you say! The odds of the next roll being a 7 is always 1 in 6.

Well, then why do you think that the come must hit twice?

The dice do not care or know that you have already rolled a 7. The odds of a 7 appearing on any single roll will always be 1 in 6, no matter how many times 7 has already appeared.

Look at this come bet with the odds on it…do you think it knows that the 6 has already rolled? Do you think that the dice knows that it’s already rolled a 6?

I can assure you that this come bet does not know or care that 6 has already rolled. The odds of the bet winning are 5 to 6, i.e., 5 ways to win and 6 ways to lose.

A CASE OF SELECTIVE MEMORY: ‘YOU WOULD HAVE ALREADY BEEN PAID IF YOU HAD A PLACE BET INSTEAD OF WAITING FOR A COME BET’

Next time you are at the craps table, make a place bet the moment you step up to the table. Do this enough, and eventually, you will lose the bet without even having been paid.  You walk up to the table, make your place bets, then the dice will 7 out, without having collected a penny.

That’s the balancing factor behind the ‘you would have already been paid’ argument. Because you are not risking money on the immediate roll, your come + odds bet cannot lose to the 7 out (only the come portion of the bet can lose to 2, 3, or 12).

Of course, players being mostly hopeful only remember the times when the come bet travels and will think to themselves, ‘I would have been paid if it was a place bet instead of a come bet and odds’. They forget about all the bets that were saved by not having them work immediately.

It’s pure selective memory.

THE CONSEQUENCES OF BUYING INTO THE MYTH

In the end, it’s your money. You should do what makes you comfortable and allows you to enjoy the game, even if it comes at a higher cost. I regularly play slots and roulette, even though those games have a higher house edge than craps. It’s part of my entertainment budget.

However, it’s one thing to know and willing pay. It’s another thing to pay without knowing the reality.

The reality is that if you chose to buy into the myth that the ‘Come Bet Must Hit Twice To Win’, you will pay 1.5% minimum on all your place bets. If you start drifting out to the outside numbers, the house edge grows to 4% on the place 5 and 9, and 6.67% on the place 4 and 10. That’s an expensive price to pay. You can pay it, but you should know why and how you’re paying it.

CONCLUSION

I also do not claim to have a perfect craps game. My major weakness is that I allow my come bet odds to NOT work on the come out roll. I do this because it allows me to enjoy the game more. I need breaks, and I’m willing to pay the cost associated with the breaks.

As such, I am never offended if you disagree with me. My point is that I want you to know, so that you can make informed decisions. That’s the difference between winning and losing. It’s also the definition of playing smart, so that you can make your own luck.

Whatever you do and whatever method you employ, just be sure that you enjoy this wonderful game.

Good luck at the tables!

 

Posted in: Casino, Craps, Gambling

8 thoughts on “The Craps Myth That Will Not Die: The Come Bet Must Hit Twice”

  • I also vacillate back and forth on keeping come odds working when I’m playing (I agree with your sentiment that you should do what gives you more enjoyment). That being said, given that taking odds has no house advantage, wouldn’t the math say it makes no difference whether you keep odds working on any given roll?

    • Yes and no.

      There is no change in the final theoretical loss total, but there is a change in the ratio of flat bet to odds bet, which results in an overall higher HE.

      For simplicity sake, let me draw a very rough analogy, so you can see the point.

      Let’s say you have $1000 worth of total action. Your total action is comprised of $500 worth of flat bets and 1x odds that are always working.

      In the example above, your flat bet is 50% of your total action and and your odds bet is 50% of your total action. And since it’s 50/50 between the flat and the odds, you can say ROUGHLY that the house edge is .705%, i.e., half of the house edge of a pass line bet.

      Again, this is very rough math. If you want a more accurate explanation, see the last paragraph in my response.

      For illustration purposes, let’s say you do the exact same thing as I described above, but every single time you give the odds bet to the dealer, you to him, ‘odds are not working’. Since your odds never work, it’s as if the odds aren’t there, in which case the house edge on your total action, which is $500, is 1.41% on a bets resolved basis.

      This sounds like an odd thing to do, but this actually what you are doing when you don’t allow the odds to work on the come out roll.

      Notice that in both examples, the expected total losses are $7.05 for each scenario. However, in the first example, since you are betting $1000 total, that $7.05 loss represents only .705%.

      In the second example, since your action was only $500, your same $7.05 loss represents 1.41% of the action. 1.41% is greater than .705%, obviously.

      I mentioned that this was a rough analogy. It’s rough because in the first example, the odds bet actually would not compromise 50% of the total action. Rather, the odds bet, when betting 1x represents approximately 40% of the action, so the actual HE on a 1x game is .848%. It’s .848% because on the come out roll, the flat bet is naked and has no odds, thus the flat bet accounts for share greater than 50% of the total action.

      If you were to prorate the numbers, you’ll get a more accurate figure than my rough example above, but the same concept applies.

      The end result is that anytime you don’t allow the odds to work, you are then increasing the ratio of the flat bet to total action.

      Hope that makes sense.

  • I like to play like you do (pass line/full odds, 1 or 2 come bets with odds), but notice that most of the time I am in the minority playing that way. Seem that once the point is made that most of the bets are place or buys. The redeeming thing for me is thatI leave the table with more than I bought in for, or my loses are manageable. Probably the most important lesson I’ve learned is knowing when to color up.
    Really enjoy watching your videos because it gives me the confidence to keep playing my game. Keep up the good work.

  • First I would like to thank you for your sight.

    Pass line with come bets is a strategy like many others.

    One of the nice things about this strategy is it gives the player a calmer piece of mine while enjoying the game. Roadgambler drops 5 or 10.00 on the pass and really doesn’t care if it’s knocked off. It’s the price of doing business to get to where the real money is. After the bets are in place he sits back and enjoys the game. Of course winning those bets is where the real enjoyment is.
    Takes a bankroll to play this way.

    I use a couple of strategies while playing the right side.
    I’m more along the line of 5.00 pass line with 3x4x5 odds and placing 12 or 18.00 6 & 8 and breaking them down on first hit and going across, then collect and press from there.
    With this type of play I’m really involved in the game as I have many bets going, very stressful over the long run compared to RG’s way.

    With this being said, I have a question?
    What, if any is the advantage of pass line with odds compared to placing the bets when the casino only offers 3 x4 x5 x odds?

    Thank You For Your Time

    Clay…….Press the 6&8

    • Hi Clay. Good question.

      The house edge on a place bet of 6 and 8 is 1.52%. The house edge on the place bet of 5 and 9 is 4%.

      The house edge on a combined 3,4,5 table is .37%, which is still lower than the house edge on any of the place bets.

      That’s not to say that I never play place bets. I do. I like place bets, but I just limit my place bets to 6 and 8.

      Some players play by ‘feel’ or intuition or instinct. I play by the math because combined with various other techniques and strategies, I believe that, when everything is taken into account, it is possible to beat craps.

  • The Come Bet in Craps. C ome bets work like Pass Line bets, but the key difference between the two is that you make a Pass Line bet before the shooter establishes a point; whereas, you make a Come bet after the shooter establishes a point.

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