How do YOU play the hardways?

Setting and influencing the dice roll is just part of the picture. To beat the dice you have to know how to bet the dice. Whether you call it a "system," a "strategy," or just a way to play - this is the place to discuss it.

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How do YOU play the hardways?

Post by heavy » Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:51 am

Okay, I know some of you think hardway bets are sucker bets. In fact, they are if you bet them incorrectly. Let's take the player who, for whatever reason, wants an "all day hard eight." That's the only hardway he bets. In fact, other than his Pass Line wager and odds - that's the only BET he has on the table. Smart play? Depends on who you ask.

SIA and I were visiting earlier this evening and got into a bit of a discussion on the hardways. I told him about a session I played in North Kansas City at the Harrah's property a few years back where the player next to me announced to the table that he was going to have to "roll his own," and proceeded to go on a hardway tear. This guy started out with $5 each on the hardways and $110 even numbers. Whenver one of his hardways hit he parlayed it. If the number rolled easy he replaced the hardway for $5 out of his payoff from his place/buy bets. In fairly short order he had all of his hardways parlayed up to table max - I believe it was $500 per number. Then he tossed the dice for another half-hour or so, raking in over $45K for his efforts (He colored up $25K at the table. When I saw him at the cage he pulled another $20K in chips he had rat-holed out of his pockets). I have to tell you, that hand impressed the hell out of me.

Back in the day I used to play only the hardway numbers that I felt I had an edge on based on my tracking. I used to toss a lot of off-axis hard eights and hard tens. Then, somewhere along the line, I started betting all of the hardways for a buck each WHENEVER I CHARTED HARDWAYS as being hot on the table. Typically I played the hardways in conjunction with an even-numbers place bet or something like $64 across. I'd rarely press my place bets. But whenever the dealer paid me $14 for a hit on one of my numbers I'd toss the $4 from the payoff to the box and tell him to spread it around on the hardways. I'd just keep feeding dollars into the center action until, often when I'd gotten eight to ten dollars stacked up, one of the hardways hit - providing me with a parlay or a serious press opportunity. How has this play worked for me? Not bad, actually. I think it's a fairly decent way to play.

Do I advocate playing continuous hardways as a serious method of play? No. But I also play craps for the entertainment value of the game, and I have to tell you that hitting a parlayed hardway is a heck of a lot of fun.

There are, of course, other ways to play the hardways. My friend John Patrick will tell you that the only sensible use of the hardway bet is as a hedge for a Don't Pass or Don't Come bet where you want to reduce your exposure to a potential loss by one more number. Yep, I've used them for that as well. In fact, one of my larger Don't session losses involved a $600 lay bet (odds) against the four with a $75 hard four hedge. Yeah, that worked out . . . for the casino.

So tell me about your experience with the hardways. Who bets them? Do you bet all of them or just one or two of them? Do you use them to hedge - or are you just looking for a lightning strike? Or do you take the money you'd spend on hardway bets and put it to some other use - like toking the cocktail server with the big . . . er . . . beverage tray.
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Re: How do YOU play the hardways?

Post by heavy » Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:26 am

I'm almost afraid to get into this next discussion on hardway betting, because it takes you waaaay outside the box and into the realm of AVERAGING the house advantage on hardway bets. The hard four and hard ten are paid off at 7 to 1. The true odds are 8 to 1. The hard eight and hard six are paid off at 9 to 1 while the true odds are 10 to 1. If you look at the four bets as ONE bet - say all the hardways for $4 - your AVERAGE odds are 8 - 1. Now, if you beta ll of the hardways as a single bet you have four ways to win hard, twelve ways to lose easy, and six ways to lose on the seven. You can cover those twelve ways to lose to the easy ways by placing the points. Place the four, six eight and ten - then bet one unit each on the hardways.

Now here is the question. If you are using the AVERAGE odds of 8 - 1 on the hardways when viewed as a single bet, do you have a mathematical edge on the hard six and eight?

Ah, those thorny math questions. I've probably confused the hell out of you with this one. Thoughts?
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Re: How do YOU play the hardways?

Post by Riggs » Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:19 am

Heavy, you've almost given me a headache LOL!
I have a buddy who I used to play with quite a lot years ago. When we were pooling money and out for a big kill or lose our stake -- gambling :D -- we'd play pass and maybe 5x or 10x odds, $52 or $54 across and hardways $1 each, parlaying first hit and pushing hard on the hards after that.
Best of all time was a roll at Grand Vic in Chicago area where we got the 6&8 place to $1,500 and a hard 8 to 1-10-25-50-100-200 (hitting all but the 200).
Cashed out $7,200 on a $1,600 buy-in that night.
Crazy fun way to play if you catch any hot hands!

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Re: How do YOU play the hardways?

Post by heavy » Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:55 am

I've had crazy "power press" sessions like that where I take my 4 and 10 from $25 to $75 to $150. $250 (locking up a profit) to $500 to $1500, then max out at $2500. I will point out that I have NEVER gotten a hit at the $2500 level on the four or ten, but one of these days . . .

Meanwhile, back on those hardways . . .
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Re: How do YOU play the hardways?

Post by memo » Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:25 am

The only hardway bets that I have made were two way bets to involve the dealers. If they hit, then I would put them back up and do some kind of parlay.

If they start hitting it is fun and the dealers like it. If not hitting, I go to something else..Never gotten into it as a serious bet, although I have witnessed some doing well at it.

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Re: How do YOU play the hardways?

Post by Laguna Flats » Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:43 am

Those of you who have played with me know that I track every roll on every shooter. By doing this it gives me an overview of what the table is doing. When hard way’s start to roll I always bet them starting off with two or three dollars on each of the HW’s, that investment totals $8-$12. As an example if I have a two dollar hard eight and it rolls I get paid $18 I take $12 of that and press each hard way $3 bringing my total hard way bets to five dollars each, I rack in the six dollars and now have two dollars invested in all the HW’s. Let's say a hard six rolls next, bam, a $45 payoff. I rack $25 and press each of the hard ways five dollars each. The next hard way that rolls will pay $70 or $9o. I will press ea. of the HW’s $5 on that hit and rack the rest. Well, you get the idea. By starting out with a minimum bet on all the HW’s, and using your earnings to press them up while racking a profit seems to work well for me. The key is not to bet the HW’s until you see them start to roll. I have found that more often than not once the HW’s start rolling they tend to repeat. As a side note if I get knocked off during the session I will usually replace the bet once regressing back to the minimum amount I started with thereby allowing that hard way to “earn its keep”. If they continue to get knocked off I will not replace the bet but instead wait until the HW’s start rolling again before I start to bet them.

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Re: How do YOU play the hardways?

Post by heavy » Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:41 pm

Exactly. I look at the hardways sort of the same way that Dice Doctor used to look at Pass or Don't Pass decision. You always back a winning horse. Wait until the hardways start streaking - then dogpile on them. Man, I am starting to get excited about next month's Biloxi class. I'm thinking the hardway parlay opportunties will be there.
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Re: How do YOU play the hardways?

Post by awyborny » Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:39 pm

I'm a big fan of the "building a bomb" method of playing the hardways. If I'm up at a table I start taking aside $2 or so from every win. Once I have $10 or $20 set aside I place them on the hardways. Usually just $10 on two of them. I watch and if there is one that is hitting all of the time I bet that...and then one I haven't seen at all or not in at least 20 rolls. So far I've won 4 of these bombs and lost 2. Not too bad. I don't press them up but I do leave the original $10 up. Stick the rest of my winnings in the lock up portion of my rack. I don't get to do this every session but it's a nice treat for disciplined play or lucky play. Last night I was playing and I noticed a DI. I was qualifying him...no money out on the table and noticed him using the hardways set. He was throwing on axis so I threw out my $10 bomb to the hard 10. He won it for me 3 rolls later. Unfortunately that was the only bet I had going on him as he did not make his pass line point. I had another $10 saved up for another hardway on him but he took off before the dice got back around to him. Bummer for me but still a good win especially with my really conservative play on that table(it was very choppy).

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Re: How do YOU play the hardways?

Post by Golfer » Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:33 pm

The biggest win I ever had on the hardways was during my BIL's 1 hour 20 min roll in Joliet. He just kept rolling and I hit a bunch of hardways and started pressing them up and adding to them when winning other bets. He was shooting for a point of 8. I felt an urge to hop the 8's and tossed $45 to the dealer. The call was "hard" 8. Got paid on my flat with $200 in odds, got $480 and down on the hopper and took $2000 and down on my $190 hard 8. Biggest payoff in my life from one rol of the dice.

The dealers had about $50 up on the hard 8.

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Re: How do YOU play the hardways?

Post by Riggs » Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:46 am

Whoops! LOL!

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Re: How do YOU play the hardways?

Post by kenb » Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:22 pm

Streaks--every gambler's objective is to catch them. They happen, although they're too few and far between. Making a nominal bet on hardways on every roll is not unreasonable. I start with a nickel on both 6 and 8. During a hot roll, I'll include the 4 and 10. If they hit a few times during one roll, I'll gradually press them; I've never parlayed any bet!

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Re: How do YOU play the hardways?

Post by dork » Sun Jun 03, 2012 12:08 am

I've only been playing for about a year, and only once/twice a month at that up until ~March this year. I keep a log of my wins and losses at the casinos, (including approximate table time). I'm down for the year, but I'm reducing my losses as I get to understand different betting options; not a surprise, I guess. What is a surprise is, dollar for dollar, I think I'm getting the most mileage out of my hard-way bets--as a percentage of my overall stake, I think hard-ways probably don't account for more than 7% of my bets. It seems odd to me that my hard-way parlay history has probably kept me in striking range of my sum-total losses--the odds are so long to repeat numerous times.

I wait until all my place bet-parlays generate a little surplus and the table seems to warm up, at which time I'll bet an $8 two-way piggyback on all the hard-ways. I've only had success 4 or 5 times parlaying the hard-way into a 3rd-time repeater, but it's paid off well enough.

I tried something recently that made the 2nd-parlayed $100/100 hard-way bet much more palatable for a budget player like myself. On the hard-6, I parlayed $1/$1 to $10/10 and when it hit again and paid $90/90, I skimmed some of the winnings off into a 2-way place bet.... leaving $70/70 on the hard-6, and a $30/30 on my place-6. That way if the soft-6 had come, I could replace the losing $70/70 bet and get another chance. (and I still would collect for the existing $18 place-6 bet that stood in the face of the 3rd "6") The first $70/70 hard-6 got hit immediately on the next roll though, and it paid the obvious $742 (inc. the piggybacked place bet for each of us- me and the dealers- plus an extra $21 for me for the 'first' $18). Unfortunately, the immediate next roll was a 7, so we never got to "go back for seconds" with this system; that same roller had run us up to $40/40 on the hard-10, with $25/25 on the place-10, so it wasn't all that was at stake. But just knowing that skimming $260 off the potential winnings (by reducing from $100 to $70) 'guaranteed' us a second chance at a $700 hard-6 made me and the dealers much happier than holding our breath on the single $100/100 chance. I've seen my $100/100 hard-way bet die there about 5 times (~50% of the time) over the last year, so it was a comfort to know I had a 'second chance' after a soft number. I just wish I'd thought of it sooner...

But ya'lls suggestions and hard-way betting methodology has me thinkin', too.

Thanks!

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Re: How do YOU play the hardways?

Post by Mad Professor » Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:07 am

How Often Will a Parlayed Hardway Payoff?

Reprinted from the always-free Mad Professor’s Archives


Let’s say that a player bets $5 on each of the Hardways.

A Hard-10 rolls and it pays $35 with the H-10 still up to win.

~I would guesstimate that about 20% of the bettors that make Hardway bets, keep their wagers at the ‘same-bet’ level when one of the HW’s wins.

~I would guesstimate that at least 60% of Hardway-bettors out there usually press their HW-wagers on a win by at least one unit; in this case pressing their $5 Hardway-10 to $10, thus racking the remaining $30 of their $35 win.

~I would further guesstimate that about 15% of what we would term ‘steady-action’ Hardway-players will press all four of their HW’s by at least one unit each; thus making them all look like $10 each, and racking the remaining $15 of their $35 win.

~]I would also guesstimate that about 5% of the hardcore Hardway-bettors out there, fully parlay their first paying-hit directly back onto the specific Hard-number that just rolled. In this case then, the entire $35 payout would be re-wagered onto the H-10 and on top of the $5 that was already on it; thus making it a $40 Hard-10.

Now obviously I’m just using an educated guess on those percentages since some gaming-jurisdictions are heavily populated with Prop junkies, while other have a lower and less-addicted population of Prop-o-holics.

Overall though, I think those numbers probably come close to reflecting the nationwide average of how Hardway-wins are generally treated by the random-gambling population.

Have you ever wondered, how often, on average, a Hardway bet will repeat a second time without falling to either it’s Easy-way twin or to a hand-ending 7-Out?

Today we’re going to find out.


How a Hardway Pays is Reflective of How Likely it is to Roll


~We all know that a Hard-4 or Hard-10 pays 7-to-1 (or 8-for-1, which is exactly the same thing), and we all know that a Hard-6 or Hard-8 pays 9-to-1 (or 10-for-1, which, again, is exactly the same thing).

So how does the house come up with that universal payout scheme, and why do the Hardways carry such a high negative house-edge of -11.11% for the Hard-4 or the Hard-10, and -9.09% for the Hard 6 or the Hard-8?



Hard-4 or Hard-10

We already know that:

~The probability of a random-roller throwing a Hard-4 on any given roll is 1-out-of-36.

~The probability of a random-roller throwing an Easy-4 on any given roll is 2-out-of-36.

~The probability of a random-roller throwing a 7 on any given roll is 6-out-of-36.

~So while there is a 2.77% (1-out-of-36) probability that a random-roller will throw a winning Hard-4 on any given roll; there is a 22.22% (8-out-of-36) probability that he will throw an H-4 losing Easy-4 or a 7.

~With only one way to win a Hard-4 bet…and eight ways to lose it; that 1-in-9 chance means that the house enjoys an 11.11% advantage over anyone who bets a H-4 or H-10 on a random-roller.

~On average, it will take 4.0 rolls of the randomly-thrown dice (9-out-of-36 tosses) to produce a Hard-4 win-or-lose decision...where 11.11% will win…and 88.89% will lose. The same obviously also applies to the Hard-10 wager.



Hard-6 or Hard-8

We also already know that:

~The probability of a random-roller throwing a Hard-6 on any given roll is 1-out-of-36.

~The probability of a random-roller throwing an Easy-6 on any given roll is 4-out-of-36.

~The probability of a random-roller throwing a 7 on any given roll is 6-out-of-36.

~While there is a 2.77% (1-out-of-36) probability that a random-roller will throw a winning Hard-6 on any given roll; there is a 27.77% (10-out-of-36) probability that he will throw an H-6 losing Easy-6 or a 7.

~With only one way to win a Hard-6 bet…and ten ways to lose it; that 1-in-11 chance means that the house enjoys an 9.09% advantage over anyone who bets a H-6 or H-10 on a random-roller.

~On average, it will take 3.27 rolls of the randomly-thrown dice (11-out-of-36 tosses) to produce a Hard-6 win-or-lose decision, where 9.1% will win…and 90.9% will lose. The same obviously also applies to the Hard-8 wager.

That leads us to today’s question:


How Often Will a Parlayed Hardway Payoff?

In a random game…

~The chance of a parlayed Hard-4 winning (that is, occurring twice before either an Easy-4 or a 7 rolls), is 1.23%. That means a randomly-tossed parlayed Hard-4 has a 1-in-81 chance to win. The same applies to a parlayed Hard-10.

Wanna go for a three-in-a-row double-parlay?

~A randomly-tossed Hard-4 will show up three times before either an Easy-4 or 7 rolls, about once every 729 tries. As usual, the same numbers apply to a three-in-a-row Hard-10.

~The chance of a parlayed Hard-6 winning (that is, occurring twice before either an Easy-6 or a 7 rolls), is 0.83%. That means a randomly-tossed parlayed Hard-6 has a 1-in-121 chance to win. The same applies to a parlayed Hard-8.

Wanna go for a three-in-a-row double-parlay on this one too?

~A randomly-tossed Hard-6 will show up three times before either an Easy-6 or 7 rolls, about once every 1333 tries. As usual, the same numbers apply to a three-in-a-row Hard-8.


Many people like the emotional high that comes from hitting back-to-back-to-back Hardways, especially when the first payout has been parlayed. Considering the chances of a random-roller actually accomplishing it, makes the anticipation of actually collecting it, more than a little naive...and that's what the casinos continue to bank on, dollar by Hardway-dollar at a time.


On the other hand, if you are a skilled-shooter with a validated in-casino edge over any of the H-way bets; then that's definitely an entirely different conversation that would be well worth having.


As always,

Good Luck and Good Skill at the Tables…and in Life.

The Mad Professor

Copyright © 2009

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Re: How do YOU play the hardways?

Post by memo » Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:45 am

Most of my experiance with the hard ways comes from observing others..

Recently at Bellagio, a gentleman bought in with 40k in markers..
When they finally counted out his chips and pushed them across the table to him, he asked for all the hardways at table limit. 1500-1800 each. The guy stood there and watched as they fell one after another...replacing them each time. Every once in awhile, they would count out around 14k and push it across to him, for a win. (aprox numbers..I wasn't watching that intently..I was frying my own fish. But it was interestig)

When I was leaving (I wouldn't leave unless the table was not, giving up much) He was adding big bucks to the box numbers...

This very quiet, focused man, had a very bald head, and a t-shirt that in big bold letters proclaimed, "I'm Still Alive".
I am sure that he felt he could continue to buck the odds. :?

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Re: How do YOU play the hardways?

Post by heavy » Sun Jun 03, 2012 9:37 am

Using hardway winning to fund a place bet on the number that hit, splitting your parlay like you suggested, seems to me like an excellent idea. Very good out of the box thinking. I know some of the guys do the same thing with Field bets - e.g. a $25 Field Bet win on the nine turns into a $25 Place Bet on the nine. If you continue to play the Field and the Nine rolls again you win $60 total off the combined bets.

One thing I would suggest is that you not put quite as much out there for the dealers. For example, I'd rather see you toss out $10 in hardway action - $2 each for your self and $1 each on the six and eight for the boys. On a hit on the six and eight I'd tell the dealer to drop $5 and press the hardway that hit to $5. If it hit a second time drop $25 and go to $25. It's not the bets you make for the dealers that count so much as it is the winnings you put in the box for them.

Regarding the stats that MP tossed out - I agree as regards a random game over the long run. However, anything can and does happen in the short run of a single session. You'll see shooters toss five and six hardways in a row sometimes - mathematically it's almost an impossibility, but it happens. On the flip side, it is easy to get caught up chasing hardway losses during a hand. I suggest you set aside a specific amount of money per session - say $20 - and use that for your prop action. If you lose that $20 then you stop playing the props for that session. If you win you continue to play. If you win big you press aggressively and go for the big win.
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Re: How do YOU play the hardways?

Post by dork » Tue Jun 05, 2012 8:20 am

When people come up to the table and see all my hardway bets accumulating (when they do) they probably think I'm either a 'high roller' or an addict. Maybe I'm crazy, but when I'm up (any amount) I keep a goal of ~20% as a tip. (no offense to any readers) I figure the dealers are taking 'way better care of me than any waiter/waitress I've ever sat to--they suggest the best odds when I get them wrong, they're patient with my string bets, and they ask every time I go contrary to a previous personal practice. When I'm up, I don't mind being down 'net minus 20%'... I kind of see it as the cost of playing. Maybe it's real naive, but they put up with a lot of s***, and some of it is unintentional from me, personally. (Yes, I know it's 'part of the job', but still...besides, just as "people" they were always more friendly and watchful even before I started the bets-as-tips practice. That's why I did it. That's what really impressed me about this crap table--they watched me, for me--when I walked up, the employee crosstalk stopped. Hell, I've been at tables where they never even greeted me--and I'd be the 3rd/4th person at the rail--listening to employee troubles, sports, or family gossip while I laid down my bets.)

If I'm ahead, I'll match the lost bet about a third of the time (up to $10); if I'm behind, I'll have'm take down their winnings and re-split my bet to a piggyback again. When the HWs aren't hitting, I'll usually bet the PL& odds for them. I feel guilty standing at their table for 3-6 hours, and walking away without leaving ~20%. It probably amounts to minimally $15/hr, and that ain't squat for the help they offer me, especially considering what's "at stake" ("MY MONEY" :D)

I like the idea of boxing up 50%. Thanks very much for that scheme. It's not like a big portion of my "tip action" results in winners.... though for the money wagered for the house, it's probably generated 3x-plus versus the cost of the 'stake'. (that is to say, over a year's HW bets, I've probably bet as "tips" $1080, to net ~$3500+) But that hot streak can't hold up. (Even so, nothing felt as good as the Xmas-season win--we hit two numbers for ~$1400. The dealers went nuts. I wonder what each dealer nets personally... )

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Re: How do YOU play the hardways?

Post by heavy » Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:32 am

Yeah, I've hit two-way Fire bets for me and the dealers a couple of times - they do indeed go nuts.
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Re: How do YOU play the hardways?

Post by heavy » Tue Jan 12, 2016 12:00 am

Earlier today we were talking about the house edge on the hardways on another thread. To that end, I thought I'd bring this thread up once again for your review and additional comments. How do you play the hardways?
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Re: How do YOU play the hardways?

Post by London Shooter » Tue Jan 12, 2016 3:54 am

This thread is a good read with the varying ideas on how to play the hardways. I liked reading about the hardway/place bet combo and using winnings from one to offset the other. Seems sensible enough.

How do I play them? Well hardly ever.

Here in the UK we have a £5 passline minimum, but you have to play £3 minimum on a hardway. That can soon add up, especially from a small buy-in, so I think it actually does me a favour in that for £3 I am not playing them. We are able to do £1 dealer bets however, so occasionally the boys and girls get action from me that way.

In the States I am more likely to play them, simply because I can throw out $5, get each one covered and then put the spare $1 on something for the crew. I don't parlay if hit. I will just go $1, $2, $5 in a very conservative press approach. Never hit more than two back to back, but then given how rarely I play them it is not surprising.

Strange thing is, if I am going to be playing them anywhere it should be in the UK rather than the US. We get 7½ and 9½ to 1 as our payouts, so our house edge is half that of the US, namely 4.55% for the 6&8 and 5.55 for the 4 &10.

One thing I do want to do this year though is be a bit more aggressive in my betting, so I could imagine taking some 6&8 payouts and starting to build up some hardways action from these as a means to "shoot for the moon" occasionally.

Dork, if you are still around and reading this, are you still playing your hardways the same today as you were back in 2012?

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Re: How do YOU play the hardways?

Post by heavy » Tue Jan 12, 2016 1:13 pm

One of the ways I'll tiptoe in on the hardways is to take $4 of a $14 pay off on a place bet and use it to play all of the hardways. Whenever one of the hardway numbers gets knocked off I'll take $4 from the next place bet hit and spread it around on the hardways - replacing the one that fell for $1 and pressing the rest to $2. Sometimes I'll continue this approach until one or two of the numbers may have $10 - $15 on it - then surprise! The hardway rolls and you rake in the dough. Or the seven shows and it all goes away.
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