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Craps The Casino Advantage In Hardways

Dear Mark,

I enjoy reading your column in the Reno Gazette Journal each week. I am a craps dealer, but possibly a confused craps dealer. I always thought that the casino advantage was higher on the 6 and 8 hardways than the 4 and 10 hardways since there are more ways to roll easy sixes and eights. Your June 29th column lists the 4 and 10 casino advantage 11.1% and the 6 and 8 at 9.09%. Have you made an error or have I been under the wrong impression for 16 years? Please explain. Peter P.

I do thank you for those kind words, Peter P, and now to work.

The actual odds, Peter, pitted against the player's payout, determines what the casino's advantage is on a hardway bet, and NOT how many more ways you can roll an easy 6 or 8 versus 4 and 10. Let's examine this further, Peter, using the hard 10 and 8 as examples.

When betting a hard 10, there are eight ways to lose: six ways to throw a seven (4-3, 3-4, 5-2, 2-5, 6-1, 1-6) and two ways to throw a 10 the easy way (6-4, 4-6). This would mean that the correct payoff for a hardway 10 should be eight to one. Yet you, Peter, the 16-year Green Felt Jungle veteran, will pay the winning patron just seven to one, effectively giving the casino an 11.1% advantage on this wager.

As for a hard 8, there are ten ways to lose: again, six ways to throw a 7, and four ways for an 8 the easy way (5-3, 3-5, 6-2, 2-6). Because there are ten ways to lose, the correct payoff should be 10 to one on a hard 8, but your payoff to the player is only nine to one, which gives the house a 9.09% edge on this bet.

Yep, Peter, there is only one way to win a hardway bet, and oodles of ways of losing. So, with payouts not to the player's advantage, I'm hoping readers retain what they've just read and save their hard-earned money for more advantageous bets on the layout.

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