CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Best of Alan Krigman

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

Do and Don't Craps Bettors Look Alike to the Casinos

23 June 1997

Several casino games accommodate bets on opposite, mutually-exclusive outcomes of the same events. When one wins, the other usually loses. Examples? Banker or Player at baccarat. Red or black, odd or even, high or low at roulette. "Do" - pass, come, place or "don't" - don't pass, don't come, lay at craps.

Only in craps do bettors on opposite sides loathe each other.

Picture this. Reds are rallying roundly at roulette. Everyone's on multiple 35-to-1 red numbers - $10, $20, more. A newcomer drops $5, 1-to-1, on black. Up pops 13-black. The upstart wins $5. Everyone else loses big. Nobody blames the beginner for upsetting the tempo of the wheel and ball.

Or this. Banker is booming at baccarat. Everybody's pressing - $100, $200, more. A rookie drops $10 on Player. Player wins, natural nine to zero. The neophyte grabs $10. Everyone else loses big. Nobody castigates the contrarian for changing the flow of the cards.

But, let a solid citizen approach a hot craps table and bet don't pass. A pall descends. Sparks may fly. Why? "Right" bettors think "wrong" bettors cool off the dice. And the ill will goes both ways. Wrong bettors think fighting the inevitable seven is dumb.

Perhaps you've let yourself be annoyed by craps players who bet opposite from you. It may help to understand a few things.

First, everybody at the rail has one goal. Get the house's money.

Next, the house has an edge on either side. The casino bosses don't care which you prefer.

Last, the sole statistical difference between do and don't bets is a property called "skewness." Pass, come, and place are skewed toward fewer but larger wins and more but smaller losses. Don't pass, don't come, and lay are skewed toward more but smaller wins and fewer but larger losses.

Here's an idea of how skewness works on a single wager.

Bet $10 on pass, take 5-times odds. You're risking $10 to win $10 coming-out, $60 to win $70 to $110 thereafter - depending on the point. The $70 to $110 wins are less likely than the $60 losses.

Now bet $10 on don't pass, lay 5-times odds. You're risking $10 to win $10 coming-out, $70 to $110 to win $60 thereafter - depending on the point. The $60 wins are more likely than the $70 to $110 losses.

"Do" bets yield occasional major triumphs, bought with repeated minor defeats. "Don't" bets yield frequent modest victories, paid for with sporadic costly routs. Neither strategy is inherently the better or the worse. What suits different folks is determined by rewards that motivate and penalties that retard them.

If you're irked by or contemptuous of players who bet opposite to you at craps, you may know less about the game than you believe. Players who think their bets or someone else's influence the dice don't know their telekinesis. Wrong bettors who think they're privy to secrets that give them an edge don't know their arithmetic. Right bettors who think going against the shooter is for wimps don't know their history. Before casinos started "booking" all the action, shooters bet they'd pass; everybody else "faded" - took part of - the wager they wouldn't. If nobody bet against the shooter, there was no game.

Sumner A Ingmark, whose verses critics often bet against, poked poetically at the craps myth that darksiders affect the outcome of a roll:

Oh wouldn't it be awfully nice,
To know who influenced the dice.
I'd bet their way and parlay twice,
To make a killing in a thrice.

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.