A shuffle through the Gaming mailbag:
Q. I've been looking at craps charts online, and I get that the house edge is lower at 1.36 percent on don't pass than the 1.41 percent on pass.
What I don't get is that when you take odds on pass or lay odds on don't pass, the house goes down even more on the don't side. With single odds, I'm seeing 0.85 percent on pass and 0.68 on don't pass. Then it's 0.61 and 0.46 with double odds, 0.37 and 0.27 with 3x, 4x, 5x odds, 0.18 and 0.12 at 10x, and 0.02 and 0.01 at 100x.
That makes no sense to me because when you lay the odds, you're a favorite to win on the don't side. If the point is 5, why would I bet $6 to win another $4 when I'm already the favorite to win even money on my don't pass bet?
A. The house edges for pass-odds and don't pass-lay odds combinations are weighted averages for your total wager. The house edge on don't pass alone is reduced in the combo by having a percentage of your wager invested in lay odds.
If regard the odds as add-ons, then a don't bettor may well decide to skip them. If it's time to lay odds, you've passed the prime danger zone. That's the comeout, where you have eight ways to lose (six ways to make 7 and two to make 11), one way to push (12) and only three ways to win (2 and two ways to make 3).
Once the shooter has established a point, don't bettors are favorites to win.
However, lay odds bets are best looked at not as add-ons but as part of your total bet package.
If you're playing at a table with a $5 minimum bet and intend to bet about $15, then it's to your advantage to reduce your don't pass wager to table minimum and reserve the rest to lay odds.
That way, only $5 of your package is at risk at the most dangerous time. The comeout is so costly to don't players that reducing your exposure to the opening roll is more beneficial than having more money on don't pass after the prime danger is past.
Bottom line: If you bet $15 on don't pass, your average loss is about 20.4 cents. If you bet $5 on don't pass make up the rest with double lay odds, your average loss is about 6.8 cents.
So even though you're past the comeout when it's time to make an odds decision, the comeout has to be a factor from the very beginning in deciding your total wager.
Q. In a five-day period, I managed to hit 10 royals (in video poker). Pretty amazing since I usually manage maybe one or two a trip. The funny thing is, out of all that money I ended up net $900. Better than losing, but goes to show you easy come, easy go.
A. Wow! That's a lot of royals. Congratulations on your streak.
Royals occur an average of about 1 in 40,000-plus hands, with exact figures depending on the game and your drawing strategy. But there's nothing to stop clusters of royals to happen in times of good fortune.
You don't tell us what coin denomination you were betting. If we assume quarters and that each royal was worth $1,000, then leaving with a profit of only $900 tells us you were playing A LOT. That's a matter between you and your bankroll, but here's hoping the player rewards for your next trip are ample.