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Why can you take back Don’t Pass but not Pass bets at craps

30 September 2013

By Alan Krigman
Question: Say you bet "pass" or "don't pass" at craps, and it's after the come-out roll. You can take back the "don't pass" bet if you think you'll lose because the shooter will make the point. But you can't take back the "pass" bet if you think you'll lose because the shooter will seven-out. Why one and not the other?

Answer: When you bet on "don't pass," you're the underdog during the come-out and are have the edge thereafter. The odds against you while the shooter is coming out are 8-to-3 but the payoff is only 1-to-1. Subsequently, the payoff remains at 1-to-1 but the odds are for you by 2-to-1, 3-to-2, or 6-to-5 when the point is four or 10, five or nine, or six or eight, respectively. Casinos are happy to let you take down bets on which you're favored.

When you bet on "pass," you're favored during the come-out and the casino has the edge thereafter. The odds for you are 8-to-4 while the shooter is coming out but the payoff is 1-to-1. Subsequently, the payoff remains at 1-to-1 but the odds are against you by 2-to-1, 3-to-2, or 6-to-5 when the point is four or 10, five or nine, or six or eight, respectively. Casinos would be foolish to let you make a bet while you're favored, then take it down when the edge switches to their side.

Incidentally, you can put up or remove "odds" any time after the come-out roll on either of these bets. The reason is that there's no edge associated with the "odds." Although a bet with no edge is attractive to the player, it makes no difference to the casino's bottom line when averaged over the long term.
 

If you don't want to double down at blackjack, can you let someone else do it for you?

23 September 2013
Question: At blackjack, I had an 11 against a dealer's nine. I asked for a hit. Another player inquired "Can I take your double?" The dealer said it was up to me. What was this about? Answer: Most casinos let you "double down" on any two cards. This involves making an auxiliary bet equal to or less than your first, then drawing one and only one additional card. ... (read more)
 

Where do the casinos put the slots that pay the most?

16 September 2013
Question: Casinos used to position "loose" slot machines near doors or at the ends of aisles to show passers-by that people were winning. Are these still where they put the best machines? Answer: Play wherever strikes your fancy. Clever placement of high-payout slots is a phony "secret casino bosses don't want you to know." Casinos may have tried such things occasionally in the remote past. ... (read more)
 

If you bet colors at roulette, should you pick the same or opposite whatever just hit?

9 September 2013
Question: Some friends of mine bet on the same color at roulette – red or black – that's just hit, thinking this raises their odds of winning. I don't think previous results matter. Do you? Answer: You're correct. Apparent "patterns" have no meaning. Roulette is a game of independ-ent trials. Probabilities associated with the bets are invariable. ... (read more)

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Alan Krigman
Alan Krigman was a weekly syndicated newspaper gaming columnist and Editor & Publisher of Winning Ways, a monthly newsletter for casino aficionados. His columns were focused on those interested in gambling probability and statistics. He passed away in October, 2013.