I have nothing against don’t pass/don’t come players. I’ve been known to visit the dark side during sessions at the craps table, though I really prefer the win-together feel of betting with the shooter.
The odds are slightly better on the dark side. A pass or come player faces a house edge of 1.41 percent. On don’t pass or don’t come, the edge sometimes is listed at 1.36 percent and sometimes at 1.40 percent. Either is correct, depending on how you handle the don’t-side push when the comeout is 12. If you assume the wager stays in action until it wins or loses, the house edge is 1.40. If you regard the push as an outcome in its own right, the edge is 1.36.
In any case, "don’t bettors" are sometimes the objects of scorn from other players. “right bettors" sometimes take it personally that “wrong bettors” are on the other side. Bettors on both sides are playing against the house and not against each other, but still, feathers sometimes are ruffled when a player essentially is wagering the rest of the table will lose.
I haven’t let a "don’t bettor" have his say in this column before, so I sought out Herm, a dark-sider from way back. Herm said the lower house edge is more important to him than any temporary friendships at the table.
“Mostly, I leave the 'right bettors' alone and they leave me alone,” he said. “They make their bets and I make mine. I get some ribbing when the shooter gets hot, but nothing I can’t take.
“Every once in a while there’s someone seriously angry that I would dare to bet against the shooter. Not often really, but I’ve been told there ought to be a law against my kind, that devil’s spawn like me should be ashamed of showing my face, and that there should be a special place on the deportation lists for people like me.”
Herm said sometimes there’s taunting by players who tell him he’s about to go broke.
“Just last week, a new shooter told me, ‘Man, you are going to lose so bad,’” Herm said. “He rolled a 6. I laid the odds and added a don’t come bet, and he came right back at me. ‘Are you listening at all? That’s more you’re going to lose.’ Then he rolled a 9, and I laid odds on that and added another don’t come bet."
Herm said the shooter shouted to the table, “We have a slow learner here. He insists on losing it all.” Then the shooter rolled an 8.
“I laid odds on the 8 and stopped there,” Herm said. I like to have the don’t pass working with two don’t comes, all with odds.
“Of course, there was more chatter. ‘Look at that — 6, 8 and 9. Couldn’t be better for the whole table, except you. Couldn’t be worse for you.’ Through all this, I basically said nothing," Herm said. "Just smiles, shrugs and the occasional ‘we’ll see.’"
Herm didn’t even say anything when the next roll was 4-3 for a 7 that won all his bets.
“I just added the chips to my rack and started with a new don’t pass bet,” Herm said. The shooter didn’t take it that well. ‘You got lucky, but your luck’s going to run out. You’ll see.’
“I told him it probably would, and left it at that.”
Herm readily admits he takes his losses too, just like any other player.
“I wish I could say things always worked out that well,” he said, “but of course they don’t.”
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