Playing with an advantage but still can’t win? If you continue to do what you’ve always done – you’ll continue to get what you always got.”
A while back a good friend of mine complained that after years of practice the best he could achieve was an SRR of 7.12. To his way of thinking he was not playing with enough of an edge, and his results at the table seemed to support this. He just wasn’t making a lot of money.
Let’s look at what it takes to get an edge at banker’s craps – then consider where my pal might be going wrong. Over the long haul, in a fair craps game the seven will show up an average of once in every six tosses. This fundamental fact is the basis for all odds calculations in casino craps. The six or eight, for example, will show up an average of once in every five tosses. So the true odds of a six or eight showing up before the seven is 6-5. Hence the “free odds” payoff of 6-5 behind the line. Everyone who has ever read a basic craps book has seen the graphic that depicts this, showing six ways to make the seven, five ways to make the six and eight, four ways to make the five and nine, and three ways to make the four and ten.
These are “average” expectations. In no way does it mean that a seven will magically appear exactly once in every six rolls. Instead, small deviations from “average” occur all the time. Sometimes the universe gives you an abundance sevens. Sometimes the universe gives you an abundance of box numbers. And these random “streaks” may last a day, a week, or even years for individual players, depending largely on being in the right place at the right time.
Precision craps shooters seek to influence the randomness of the game by setting the dice to specific arrangements and executing a careful, controlled toss. My friend is partial to the 2-V (mini-V) pre-set arrangement. His typical action is to play a table minimum Pass Line bet with no odds, then to Place the four and ten for $10 each, and buy the number out of the first “hit.” After a hit on one of his buy bets he takes single odds on his line bet and presses it up a unit on each successive hit on a buy bet. He is playing to what he believes to be his signature numbers – the four and ten – and his “best bet” – the line bet with odds.
Now let’s head to Perfect World Casino and toss a hand. Five on the line and the shooter establishes the six as his point. No odds taken. Placing the four and ten for ten each. Second toss – nine. Third toss – eight. Fourth toss – eleven. Fifth toss – four. Buy it and get $2 change. Sixth toss – eight repeats. Seventh toss – ten. Buy it and get $2 change. Now we’re prepared to rake it in. Eighth toss – seven out, line away. Net loss – $21. So where the heck did the advantage go?
Now, to be fair, I’ve seen this gent step up to the table and throw half a dozen fours in a single hand, locking up a quick hundred or more. And on some occasions he catches a streak and really cleans up. But by far, the Perfect World Casino results I just discussed come closer to what happens to him on a daily basis.
So how do you fix it? In my opinion you simply have to bet it correctly. If you know for a fact that you have a long-term SRR of 7.12, then you have to lock up a profit within seven rolls. And that gets us back to our old friend – regression betting. Using the same series of numbers we used at the Perfect World Casino – let’s risk just six additional dollars and play a simple regression. We’ll play a table minimum pass line bet for $5. No odds taken. The point is six. Place $26 across. Second toss is a nine. Collect $7 and come down off the four and ten. We’re removing the highest vig bets – the wagers we have the least advantage on – first. The third toss is an eight. Collect $7 and come down on the five and nine. You now have just the $5 flat bet and the $6 eight working, and you have a guaranteed $3 win locked up. Fourth toss is an eleven. Fifth toss is a four. Sixth toss is a repeater on the eight. Collect $7 and bring down the eight. You now have a $10 guaranteed win locked up. But the six is a good number and taking free odds makes it even better, so you take single odds – retaining a guaranteed $5 win. On toss seven the ten shows. Then, on toss eight you seven out.
How did we fare that time? Instead of losing $21 our player made $5 – a positive swing of $26. Of course, this is a Perfect World Casino example and it plays directly to the point I am trying to make. If your SRR is 7.12 – why would you have your bets working on toss seven – eight – or nine? You have to play YOUR percentages. Now, the math guys will disagree with me and tell you that if your SRR is 1:7.12 on your first roll that it’s 1:7.12 on your last roll. And technically they are correct. But the seven is always lurking out there and sooner or later it’s going to get you. Why not lock up a profit early?
What does it take to get the edge at banker’s craps? Frankly, not a lot. But it doesn’t take a lot to swing the edge the other way either. And even WITH an edge – you have to play it to your advantage. Play smart – use regression moves to lock up a win early. Then, if you catch a streak you are positioned to take advantage of it without betting the farm.