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Best of Alan Krigman
You Needn't Overbet your Bankroll to Shave the Edge at Craps15 November 2006
One missing element is an understanding of bet sizing, absolutely as well as in strategies involving progressing and regressing. This is a volatility issue. It hinges on the downswings solid citizens are financially and emotionally prepared to withstand, and on the profits they deem adequate to pocket then depart.
An additional key consideration is the edge associated with various betting
options. Ignorance here is evident when players "protect" bets having
low house advantage using propositions that give the casino juice enough to
shame a loan shark. A more subtle form of this nescience involves failure to
capitalize on opportunities afforded by wagers on Pass, Come, Don't Pass, and
Don't Come to shave the edge without overbetting a bankroll.
In principle, this suggests taking or laying the maximum allowed as Odds consistent with the initial bet. Say, for instance, a casino offers 5-times (5X) Odds. Betting $10 plus $20 Odds has a $0.14 penalty 0.47 percent of the $30 total. Not too shabby! With $5 plus the full $25 Odds, the damage is 1.4 percent of $5 or $0.07 0.23 percent of the same $30 total. Less shabby yet.
Taking or laying the maximum allowable Odds, of course, may conflict with sensible bet sizing. Picture a gambler with a $100 budget at a table with a $5 minimum and 10X allowable Odds. The risk of losing $55 on one throw of the dice may make a $5 bet on Pass with $50 Odds unwise. Alternately, envision someone with a big enough stake to justify having $50 or $60 vulnerable to a single seven, and wanting several numbers up to win at once. For this person, taking $25 Odds behind $5 on Pass, and spreading $25 on two or more other numbers, may be preferable to putting the whole $55 on the point just to lower the overall edge.
Good players know that taking or laying Odds trims the effective edge. The
truly adept are also aware that without Odds, edge on these wagers is still
below that of anything else on the layout.
This suggests using Come bets if you want several numbers at work during a roll while keeping edge as low as possible. Take Odds when you can afford to, or skip them. The casino has less edge than with Place or Buy bets either way. Of course, you can't choose your numbers, but unless the dervishes in the dice are sending you signals in advance, your guesses are garbage anyway. And, the fact that Come bets pay 1-to-1 while Place and Buy bets return higher multiples is compensated for by your being favored during the come-out. Or, maybe you balk because Come bets must hit twice to win while Place or Buy bets pay the first time the number shows. Those worried about this irrelevancy might ponder the proverb posited by that prominent poet, Sumner A Ingmark:
Fallacious theories oft seem sensible,
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