The Hydra is a monster from Greek Mythology. You may recall it. If you cut off one of its heads two more grow back in its place. So the two-headed monster becomes a four headed monster, etc. It’s also my name for any “hybrid” system that consists of bets on both the right side and the wrong side of the game. In other words, a system that combines Pass or Come bets with Don’t Pass or Don’t Come bets or, in some cases, Buy or Lay Bets.
Some are just simple Lay strategies designed to avoid the seven on the Come Out for Don’t Bettors. A familiar example to many of you is $41 No Four or No Ten on the the Come Out combined with a $20 Don’t Pass Bet. If the seven shows on the Come Out you win $20 minus the $1 vig, or $19 on the Lay bet but you lose $20 on the Don’t Pass. The hedge saves you $19. If any other number rolls then your Don’t Pass bet is established and you can remove your Lay be and receive your $1 vig back. At that point if you with to establish addition Don’t bets you can simply make smaller denomination Don’t Come bets – say $10 each – and the Don’t Pass bet effectively hedges them against the seven. If the seven rolls you lose the Don’t Come bet, but the Don’t Pass bet wins – so you lose $10 but win $20 for a $10 gain. All in all, it’s fairly simple and a decent way to grind.
To take this play a step farther, one might make an $18 Don’t Pass bet instead of a $20 one. You’d still Lay $41 no Four or Ten. That way if the seven showed you’d make $1 profit on the transaction. Plus, that opens the pathway for you to move into a different strategy – Shootitall’s One-Hit – Can’t Miss play. In the One-Hit – Can’t-Miss play we establish a Don’t Pass wager, then bet equivalent wagers on the six and eight. As it works out, an $18 six and eight are correct sized bets, so this plays perfectly with our $18 Don’t Pass bet combined with the $41 No Four or Ten play. From this point you only need one hit on the six or eight to turn a profit on the hand. You have ten possible ways to roll a six or eight versus six ways to roll a seven, so odds are you’ll win this wager most of the time. You’ll be paid $21, which will kick off a $3 profit guarantee for the series. From that point on you “can’t miss” on that shooter. Just sit back and collect on those subsequent hits on the six and eight until the seven shows – then collect on that bet as well. Of course, if the shooter makes his pass you’ll lose that $18 Don’t Pass bet – but as long as you’ve collected once on the six or eight you’re ahead of the game. And if not – you’re STILL in the game as long as the seven hasn’t rolled. It’s a great, conservative way to play.
Another system I recently read about that carries somewhat more risk is much more aggressive than the One-Hit – Can’t-Miss, but still has some of the same elements. In this example we’ll assume we’re playing a $15 game. We’ll start off with a $15 Don’t Pass wager. Once that bet is established we’ll lay $60 in odds. Now Place the Six and Eight for $18 each and play $15 in the Come. Next you establish two Come Bets with $30 Odds. Once you have two Come Bets with odds established you stop betting. If the Six or Eight are established as Come Bets you take odds and remove the Place Bet on the number that rolled, but you always have the Six and Eight covered – either with a Come Bet with Odds or a Place Bet, so if a Come Bet on the Six or Eight repeats you replace it with another Place Bet and put another Come Bet on the layout as well. This strategy will give you a good hedge over the first few rolls of a hand. As the hand develops you will lock up a few chips, making the hedge effect of the Don’t Pass wager less necessary. However, like all hedge systems it will cost you in reduced payouts over the long run.
Perhaps the worst hedge system of all time, and one of the most highly touted, is the Doey-Don’t. It was been put forward for years by a certain gaming author who was apparently, at one time, under the illusion that it reduced the house’s edge over the game. It does not. The house edge over the Pass Line wager remains the same. The house edge over the Don’t Pass wager remains the same. The player is simply paying the juice on a larger bet.
Don’t believe me? Rather than take you through the math, let me just help you look at it another way. If you are standing at the table with $500 in the rack playing the Doey-Don’t at the $50 level you’re risking $25 on the Pass Line and $25 on the Don’t Pass line. Now, you can tell me all day that you’re hedging your bets and that you’ll only lose on the 12. But mathematically the percentage loss is still the same. Now take $250 out of your rack, give it to your wife or best friend and send them down to the other end of the table. Instruct them to play the Don’ts for $25 while you play an equivalent amount on the Pass Line. At the end of the session you’ll pool all of your money back together and go to the cage. When you do – you’ll have the same amount of money you had if you’d played the Doey Don’t as before. And each of you would have been subject to the same 1.41% vig.
Of course, that’s only part of the problem with this system. You see, the famous gaming author that promoted this strategy through the years came up with the idea that once you get the bet established you should take odds on the do side. Oddly enough, the Do side wager will lose 50% more than the Don’t side wager, which is just one more reason why I say the famous gaming author does not really understand the the game he writes about. Meanwhile, old-timers like John Patrick, who is often chastised as being innumerate, have long suggested that if you’re going to play a Doey-Don’t type strategy you take a dark-siders approach and Lay odds instead of taking them. John even named that strategy after himself, calling it “The Patrick System.” And why not bet that way? After all, at that juncture of the game you have the advantage on every number you have covered.