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Best of Alan Krigman

Gaming Guru

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Betting $32 Across at Craps: more Action, less Distraction

8 November 2004

Craps offers the excitement of spreading bets all over the layout with lots of action and money flying to or fro whenever the dice come to rest. It's a feature that makes the game appealing to veterans, and simultaneously intimidating to recruits.

A newcomer can avoid confusion by betting on a single outcome and waiting for it to be settled. This isn't necessarily bad. But it may result in a table where everyone is raking in dough except one sadsack who's on a number that never hits and ends up losing.

An alternative for a fast-paced but easy-to-follow game is to bet multiples of "$32 across." Say you bet at the $32 level. Drop this much or more on the table anywhere in the areas marked "Field" or "Come" and announce that you'd like "32 across." The dealer will take the money and apportion it on all the "numbers," as $6 each on six and eight, and $5 each on four, five, nine, and 10. Double all the amounts for $64 across, and so forth.

You needn't remember which numbers you're on, because you've bet them all. Just watch the dice. A two, three, 11, or 12 is a push. A seven will cost you the whole $32. Anything else is a winner -- $9 on a four or 10 and $7 on a five, six, eight, or nine.

The details will all be handled for you. The dealer will book the bet, give you change, move the chips to the correct spaces on the layout, pay you when you win, and sweep away your money when you lose. After a win, you're presumed to want to keep everything in play for the next throw, so you'll be paid what you've earned and you'll continue to have all the numbers covered. Of course, you can instruct the dealer "down on all my bets, please."

Your money will normally not be in action during "come-out" rolls when shooters are trying to establish their points. You can override this convention if you wish by telling the dealer to make your bets "work."

Covering all the numbers gives you 24 ways out of 36 to win, six out of 36 to lose, and six out of 36 to get no decision. So your chance of scoring is four times as great as that of getting whacked, but you need four or five wins to outweigh one loss.

Putting $32 at risk on every throw of the dice may seem scary, despite the much greater odds of winning than losing. Solid citizens should therefore understand how much of a bankroll they should have to support this strategy. To address this question, assume a person wants at least two hours at the table. Betting $32 across, a $500 stake affords over 99 percent confidence of lasting this long. With $200, the likelihood of bettors still having their bellies to the rail at the end of two hours falls to 72 percent. And, going in with only $100, the chance is a relatively poor 39 percent of surviving for the desired period.

A related issue is the probability of earning various profits as opposed to depleting a stake. Starting with $500, $200, and $100, the chances of doubling a bankroll by betting $32 across are 17, 35, and 42 percent, respectively. Were the objective to grab $100 and quit, the prospects of emerging triumphant with a $500, $200, or $100 purse are 68, 56, and 42 percent, respectively.

Is "$32 across" a good bet? The casino's edge exceeds that on Pass or Come bets at craps or in well-played blackjack, but is on a par with wagers at baccarat and below those in most other table games. The decision rate is high so the toll of house advantage can add up fast. But since a thrill a minute was the impetus for the bet, this is hardly grounds for grievance. Another weakness is that a run of sevens, or a series of shooters who hit one or a few numbers then miss-out, can quickly decimate a bankroll.

Conversely, $32 across offers adequately-funded players heavy action, a fair shot at an extended session and a modest profit, and a chance to collect big bucks on a hot shooter. More, it's easy for neophytes to implement and understand while they're getting familiar with the game. A benefit foreseen by Sumner A Ingmark, the crapshooter's Kipling, in this couplet:

A time-proved key to having fun,
Is learn to walk before you run.

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 focused on gambling probability and statistics. He passed away in October, 2013.
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 focused on gambling probability and statistics. He passed away in October, 2013.