Dancing Around the Dark Side

If you’re new to craps or don’t have a lot of experience playing the Don’ts it can be easy to get confused at first. To help you over the hump here’s a quick primer on how the dark side is played.

The Don’t Pass bet is exactly the opposite of the Pass Line bet. Play the Don’t Pass line and your wager loses if the shooter tosses the seven or eleven. It wins on the two or three craps. The twelve is “barred,” which means it is a tie or push. It neither wins nor loses. If any point number is tossed it becomes the player’s Don’t point. Once a Don’t point is established the wager wins if the seven is thrown before the point-number repeats.

The Don’t Come bet mirrors the Don’t Pass bet, and is the exact opposite of a Come bet. The bet is made after a point is established. If the shooter tosses a seven or eleven on the next roll the wager loses. If he throws a two or three the bet wins. The twelve is a push, or tie. If any point number rolls that becomes the Don’t Come point. As with the Don’t Pass wager, the shooter must toss a seven before repeating the Don’t point in order for the bet to win.

The house edge on the Don’t Pass and Don’t Come is approximately 1.41%. If you lay single odds the vig drops to .83% and with double odds it goes down to .59%.

The Lay bet is the opposite of a Buy bet. The player pays a commission to the house for the right to choose which point he wants to play against the seven. If the seven rolls before that point is thrown the player wins.

The commission on the Lay bet is 5%. The correctly sized lay bets are $41 no four or ten, $31 no five or nine, and $25 no six or eight. You are laying an amount sufficient to win $20.

A wager with a house edge of .59% looks very attractive to many players. But remember – it takes a substantial bankroll to lay odds. If you have a $10 Don’t Pass bet working on the four and you want to lay double odds you will have to wager an additional $40. And while the lay bet does lower the overall vig, to some player’s thinking it also “waters down” the power of the flat bet. How? The $10 flat bet will be paid at even money. You risked $10 and you can win $10. But you have to lay 2-to-1 odds on the four, so you are getting paid $5 for every $10 in free odds you wager. Your total $50 action will win you a total of $30. How would you rather be paid? One-to-one or three-to-five? The fact is, the difference in a vigorish of 1.41% and .59% is just .82%. Why risk the additional $40 for that small of a payoff? This is not to say that the free odds bet does not have a role in conservative Don’t strategy. But that role is often limited to hedging other bets, as you will soon see.

Charting for Cold Tables. Before playing the Wrong side you must chart the tables for negative indicators. Those craps experts who rely solely on the math of the game scoff at such things.  Those players who routinely profit form dark side play do not.  Here are some of the primary indicators to look for:

• A table with few players or where players are walking away with few chips.
• A table where most of the players are standing straight out or dealer first.
• A don’t player at the table has more chips than any other player.
• A table with dealers who look bored and unhappy
• The previous shooter sevened out without making his Pass.
• The shooter throws a craps number on his come out roll (unless he had placed prop action on that particular craps number – in which case this is a Positive Indicator.)
• The shooter is shooting from the Don’ts.

Once you have charted for a negative indicator you are ready to begin your Don’t play. The following Don’t strategy is one I developed many years ago that requires a minimum session bankroll of $350. Your loss limit is $150. Your target win is $100. Utilize the same bankroll tracking techniques outlined in the beginning of the book to track your wins and losses. Once you have achieved a $100 win you should lock up your initial buy in and the win, but may continue to play with any surplus chips in an attempt to increase your session win.

Heavy’s Conservative Wrong Side Progression: Begin by making a wager one unit larger than the table minimum. For example, in a $5 minimum bet game the initial wager on the Don’t Pass is $10.

After the point is established make a table minimum wager on the Don’t Come. In this example make a $5 Don’t Come wager. This bet is hedged against the seven by the initial Don’t Pass wager, so even if the shooter sevens out at this point you will still win $5 for the game. This is the primary reason for making the larger $10 wager on the initial come out roll. When this strategy is played correctly the initial come out roll is the only time your bankroll is exposed to the seven.

Once both of your Don’t bets are established on a point you simply wait for a decision on them. If the Don’t Come bet loses as a result of a repeating number make one more table minimum Don’t Come bet. However, if a second Come bet loses due to a repeater do not place another bet. Wait for a decision on the Don’t Pass wager, then begin the series again.

If one or two of your Don’t bets win you will continue to play as outlined above. However, after the third consecutive win you add single odds to each subsequent point until any loss. With any loss you revert back to the beginning of the series and begin again.

After three consecutive wins with single odds you may increase your bets to double odds for one win. Then you will increase the size of your Don’t Pass and Don’t Come wagers, with no odds. Continue the flat betting strategy until you lock up two additional wins and continue with the progression. At no time should you have more than two Don’t numbers established.

As with Right side play, three consecutive losses are your cue to color up and leave the table. On an average table you can play the Wrong side for hours at a time without losing much money. On the flip side, the potential for large wins is much less than with Right way play. However, the Don’ts are an excellent way to play if you are willing to accept small but consistent profits.

Are you ready to dance around on the dark side? If so, why not tiptoe in in a small way. Who knows, you may find yourself wanting to learn how to shoot from straight out after you’ve tried it a few times.