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Pass Line Bet On The Craps Table

Dear Mark,
I have been following your advice and making casino bets that have less than a two percent house advantage. I now consider myself a reformed player. My blockhead brother on the other hand makes bets with no rhyme or reason. Since we both play craps, show me why my pass line bet versus his favorite bet, hardway sixes and eights, will always do better? Susan M.

Susan, by using a simple mathematical formula, I will prove that by playing smart, your play will generally outperform your brother’s.
Let’s first analyze your action, Susan. A pass line bet, with no odds, has a house advantage of 1.4%. With a $5 wager and 50 playing decisions per hour, your theoretical loss (all bets lose over time) is$5 X 50 X 0.014, or $3.50 per hour. Relatively cheap entertainment. In comparison, your brother’s bet,

the hard six or eight, has a house advantage of 9.1%. The damage to his bankroll would be $5 X 50 X 0.091, or $22.75 in the same amount of time. Multiply that by 15 hours of play and you’ve got a sniveling, unhappy camper with a long car ride home.
Sibling rivalry aside, glad to see you’re reforming your play. Now let’s convert the blockhead.

Dear Mark,
If, like you say, the house has only a 1.4% advantage on a pass line bet, how can the casino make any money by offering that wager? Jordan P.

It doesn’t matter who wins this one bet but who ends up with all the money. The casino realizes few players are sophisticated enough to restrict their craps betting to just smart wagers.
But let’s look at the bet in question, Jordan: a pass line wager. If you were to play 100 bets on the pass line, you can expect to win about 49 times and lose the other 51. The casino will gladly take this itty-bitty 49/51 ratio and multiply it by thousands of decisions daily, weekly and yearly, and guarantee themselves a generous long-term profit.



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