the masochists at the craps table, not satisfied with
the horrendous odds against them on center proposition
bets, seek out other, more exotic bets. One of these
is the hop bet. The gambler is wagering that the dice
will come up in a particular combination such as 2
and 2 on the very next roll. The casino will accommodate
this wager by giving him 30 for 1 that this will not
occur. Since any single combination of paired numbers
can only come up one way, the correct odds against
this bet are 35-1, and the house has a sweet 16.67
percent edge for itself.
One final word. We've written about paying off at
30 for 1 instead of 30-1. Don't be misled when you
see the term "for" at a craps table. Be
wary. What "for" means is that the actual
odds paid are reduced by one unit. Thus, a bet paying
off at 5 for 1 is in reality being paid off at 4-1.
When a bet is paid off at 5-1, you get back your $1
in addition to the $5 you've won. When a bet is paid
off at 5 for 1, you get back only $5, including your
dollar bet, reducing the payoff to 4-1. Remember that
the next time you see "for" on the layout.
Generally speaking, any for bet is a bad one and shouldn't
Despite the fact that all the center proposition bets
are bad ones for players, some get a lot of action.
Prior to a come-out roll, many right bettors wager
on any craps to protect their pass-line bets from
a craps being thrown. This is stupid, since the house
edge of 11.1 percent will eat them up in the long
There's no need to protect a pass-line bet that will
ultimately give the house only a 1.41 percent edge
by making a bet that gives the house an advantage
of 11.1 percent. It just doesn't make sense, yet it's
Many gamblers automatically heed the clarion call
of the stickman and bet "craps, eleven,"
which is any craps and the 11 bet on the come-out
roll. These bets, which are made out of ignorance
or habit, are very bad.
During the course of a roll, players are constantly
betting the hard ways, especially if the point is
one of the even numbers. They bet the hard way of
that point to bring it out, to make it occur. Unfortunately,
the dice don't have eyes and can't see the bets being
made on the layout, so betting hard ways has no real
effect on that outcome.
The best policy at craps is to avoid not only the
center proposition bets, but the continual calls of
the stickman to make this or that foolish bet. And
just because everyone else is doing it doesn't mean
you should. The casinos get richer each year because
of fools who crowd the tables throwing away their
money against overpowering odds. Be independent, not
one of the sheep. Avoid these wagers. Don't be tempted
by potentially big payoffs. Save your chips for those
bets which will give you the best odds and the best
chance to win.
are cards that will win the hand for you. If you are
drawing to a flush (with two hearts on board and two
in your hand~, there are nine hearts left in the deck
and you have nine outs. It's important to be sure
whether a card is truly an out. If you have two low
hearts in your hand, you could be up against someone
with two higher hearts. In that situation, hitting
your flush would be very costly.
Fortunately, the math on calculating most of the common
draws is easy to memorize. If you have a flush draw
(either because there are two hearts on board and
two in your hand, or three hearts on board and one
in your hand-the odds are the same), you have exactly
a 33 percent chance to make your draw, with two cards
to come. If you have an open-ended straight draw,
you have a 30 percent chance to make your hand with
two cards to come.
What happens if there's only one card to come or if
for some reason you can make adjustments because of
exposed cards? Fortunately, there's a very simple
formula for calculating winning chances. Just give
yourself 2 percent winning chances for every out you
have and multiply that times the number of cards to
come. This formula is quite accurate when you only
have a few outs; the more outs you have, the more
you need to make a slight downward adjustment.