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Hop Bets

Sometimes, 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. Here's why:

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 be made.

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 run.

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 constantly done.

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.

Evening Out the Odds
Outs 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.
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