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Are bigger bets worth the extra money?

Are bigger bets worth the extra money?

John Grochowski

John Grochowski

A shuffle through the Gaming mailbag:

Q. I have a craps question about betting on Big 6 or Big 8 vs. placing 6 or 8. I know the house edge is higher on the “Bigs,” but to get the better odds on the place bets you have to bet in multiples of $6.

What if I’m really short-bankrolled and betting $5 on Big 6 is going to make a difference to me vs. placing 6 for $6? Or what if I just have a thing about betting in multiples of $5?

Is the difference in the house edge enough to make up for having the bigger risk of betting an extra dollar? Might I bet getting a better percentage but actually losing more money by making the bigger bets?

A. Place bets on 6 and 8 and the Big 6 and 8 bets work in much the same way. If the shooter rolls your number, you win, and if he rolls a 7 you lose. No other numbers matter in deciding the bets.

The difference is that winners on the place bets pay at 7-6 odds, provided you bet in multiples of $6. Big 6 and Big 8 pay even money, regardless of your bet size. House edges are 1.52 percent on the place bets and 9.09 percent on the Bigs.

Let’s say you and I are at the same table, getting the same results. I place the 6 for $6 and you bet Big 6 for $5. Then assume we have average luck with winners in normal proportions. We each win five bets and lose 6.

For those 11 decisions, I bet a total of $66 while you bet $55.

On each of my winners, I get my $6 bet back and get $7 in winnings for $13. With five winners, that means I have $65 of my original $66, leaving a $1 loss.

On each if your winners, you get your $5 bet back and get $5 in winnings for $10. Five winners leave you with $50 of your original $55, leaving a $5 loss.

I’ve bet more than you, but you’ve lost five times as much as I have.

You can make your own decision, but that doesn’t make the Bigs seem like a viable budget play to me.

Q. I’m a new craps player, and I’ve been trying to figure something out that doesn’t make sense to me.

The house edge on pass is listed at 1.41 percent, and the house edge on placing 6 or 8 is 1.52 percent.

I don’t get how pass can have the lower house edge when sometimes the point number is going to be 4, 5, 9 or 10. House edge are 4 percent on 5 or 9 and 6.67 percent on 4 and 10.

How can the pass edge be lower than the lowest place edge and include all those high-edge numbers?

A. You’re missing the effect of the comeout roll, natural enough for a newcomer to overlook.

Place bets don’t have a comeout, but on pass, the first roll of a sequence is a win for players on 7 or 11, and a loss on 2, 3 or 12, and if any other number is rolled it becomes the point. There are six ways to roll 7, two ways each to roll 11 or 3 and one way each for 2 or 12. That’s eight ways to win on the comeout and only four ways to lose.

That one roll favors players to the extent that the overall house edge on pass is lower than any of the place bets.

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