We have a guest post today from Steve G who covers gaming topics at Phillygambles.com! We’ve been interacting on twitter for a while and he’s lending some numbers wisdom to a new craps bet that I found at G2E. Without further adieu…
The table was on display by Galaxy Gaming and the new bets were labeled as follows:
- All Small, 34 to 1, 2-3-4-5-6
- All Tall, 34 to 1, 8-9-10-11-12
- All or nothing at All, 175 to 1, 2-3-4-5-6-8-9-10-11-12
Marc asked if someone could determine true odds on those bets. That’s not as simple as it might seem because these are not one-roll bets like any craps, or a bet on one result compared to another like a hard 10. The bet is that all the numbers will be rolled before a seven, and that is not as simple to calculate directly.
A game simulation can estimate the odds, though. After 50 million trials, there is a reasonable estimate of the chances.
|Bet||Payout||Estimate Odds||Estimate House Edge|
|All Small||34 to 1||36.9 to 1||7.7%|
|All Tall||34 to 1||36.9 to 1||7.7%|
|All or Nothing at All||175 to 1||188.7 to 1||7.2%|
So these bets have a higher house edge than bets on a single number at the roulette wheel (5.26% for a double-zero wheel) with a similar or higher payout. Certainly other prop bets on the craps table like a hard 6 or hard 8 offer a smaller payout (9-1 payout) with a higher house edge (9.1%).
However, 7.7% is still a lot higher than the house edge on the pass line (1.41%). Gamblers are much better off sticking to front line bets and pressing those bets by taking odds with zero house edge.
That is a grind, though, and this would seem a nice way to take advantage of those hot hands where the shooter rolls number after number before sevening out.
True, but there are other ways to benefit from a hot hand that will cost a lot less over a session an average session of craps. Let’s look at a couple of them.
Many players make place bets at the table. When a point is established, bettors place numbers, looking to get action on numbers other than the point. The 6 and 8 are popular choices, and for good reason. The house edge on those bets is a small 1.52% (provided that the player makes bets in multiples of 6 to get the true payout of 7 to 6). Placing the 5 or 9 cedes a house edge of 4%, while the 4 and 10 give a house edge of 6.67%. Note, however, all those bets have a smaller edge than the Galaxy “All” bets.
So a player could place all the numbers once a point is established, and have most of what the “All” bets have working, for a lower house edge. It would put more money in action, however. Using a multiple of 6 for the 6 and 8, it would be $64 each point for a $10 craps bettor, compared to $30 on the full menu of the Galaxy “All” bets.
Instead of playing the pass line, a $10 craps player could also just place a come bet after a point is established, getting more action in the game. If the bettor keeps placing come bets until a few come points are established, they can have multiple numbers working, and all for the same low house edge as the pass line. As a bonus, odds can be taken on the come bet, just like the pass line.
This is the advice Darwin Ortiz gives for getting more action in his classic book, “Darwin Ortiz On Casino Gambling”. That’s the same book where he gives the odds on the prop bets in craps, but asks the reader not to tell anyone they read his book if they make them. Ortiz thinks of all the prop bets as sucker bets, so despite the kind words to Galaxy on their innovation, you can imagine what Darwin Ortiz thinks of these bets.
Let’s compare how a bettor might do if they follow four different modes of play after every point is established:
- Making all three Galaxy All bets, for $10 each.
- Making all place bets, for $10 each ($12 on the 6 and 8), and taking the number down if it hits
- Making $10 come bets, until there are at the most 4 come points established
- Making those $10 come bets, and pressing them for $10 odds when a come point is established
After another 10M simulations, here are some results:
|Approach||Average Result per 100 trials|
|Galaxy All bets||-282.2|
|Come bets with odds||-59.9|
Quick thoughts. Craps is a negative sum game. All the approaches lose money over time. The Galaxy bets fare the worst. The place bets are close behind. Even though the 6 and 8 offer low house edge, the poor odds in the 4 and 10 are what makes the difference.
The come bets offer a much smaller expected loss. In this case, taking the odds made a small change (and for the positive by a small amount in this run of simulated hands), but since there is zero house edge on the odds bets, the long-term expected loss for come bets with and without the odds should be the same.
The obvious counter to the come-bet approach by a Galaxy All bettor is that while those average losses may be larger for the Galaxy bets, when a hot hand does happen the payoff should be huge compared to what a few come bets could manage. After all, what’s even money on a few numbers compared to 34 to 1? We’re not playing 10 million hands, or even 100. Maybe 20-30 in a couple of hours at the table. If the Galaxy bet hits, that is a great night.
Here are some more figures for those 10 million hands, looking only at those events where one of the Galaxy bets would payoff, and what happens with our approaches:
|All Small Hits||All Tall Hits||All or Nothing at All Hits|
|Come bets with odds||63.3||69.5||113.3|
Quick observations. By definition, All or Nothing At All means all the placed bets hit, so the average payout should be exactly $92, and it is. Also, here should be no difference between place bet outcomes for All Small or All Tall hitting. The bets are symmetric. And that looks to be the case.
In contrast, there should be a difference for the come bets between All Small and All Tall since the 11 is a winner whereas the 3 is a loser. That is seen in the average results.
The Galaxy makes a fair point. Even with odds, the come bet play for a $10 bettor is less than a tenth the payout for the Galaxy bet for a very hot hand. For that one even when it hits, the payout is much larger.
Overall, however, that bettor will spend a lot more at the table in exchange for that one big payout. And in the meantime there are plenty of good, but not “all or nothing” hands where a hot shooter will make a winning session for a come bettor.
Darwin Ortiz has it right. Sharp players should stick to the come bets.
But hats off to Galaxy Gaming. They have come up with a new bet on an established game with a high payout, easy to understand rules, and a house edge attractive to casino management. And also worthy of a long blog post.