A shuffle through the Gaming mailbag:

Q. Assume I can’t afford to back my pass or come bets with odds. You can assume that because it’s true. I buy in for \$100 at a \$5 table if I can find one, or sometimes \$200 at a \$10 table, and that buys me a little time with pass or come with no odds and place bets on 6 and 8.

Is that the low roller system you’d use? Is it the same live or online?

Also, my father-in-law likes to mix in one-roll props. We know a place that’s closed like everyone else right now, but when it’s open, it had \$1 props. So maybe he bets \$10 on pass and mixes in \$1 on any craps and \$1 on any 7.

I tell him the difference in house edge is ridiculous, but he insists it’s cheap fun. I tell him the single roll means it’s not so cheap compared with a multi-roll bet. Can you back that up?

A. The bets you’ve chosen, along with don’t pass and don’t come if you care to walk on the Dark Side, are the best choices for cheap craps regardless of whether you’re playing live or online.

If you wanted to have up to three numbers working, you could bet on pass, then follow with two come bets. The house edge on all bets is 1.41%.

Alternatively, you could bet on pass, then if the point was not 6 or 8, you could place those numbers. If the point was 6 or 8, you could place the other. Then you face a 1.41% edge on pass and 1.52% on the place bets.

As for the props, the house edge is very high, as you note. On the two you mention, the edge on any craps is 11.11% and on any 7 it’s 16.67%.

They’re decided on every roll, while it takes an average of 3.36 rolls to decide a pass or come bet and 3.27 rolls to decide place bets on 6 or 8.

Imagine you bet \$6 on 6 and, rounding down, it’s decided in three rolls. If you have \$1 on any 7 and \$1 on any craps on each roll, then in three rolls you risk \$3 on each prop. Combined, you have as much money at risk on bets with 11.11% and 16.67% edges as you do on the 1.52% place bet.

In that three-roll sequence, your average losses would be 9.1 cents from the \$6 on pass, 33.3 cents out of the \$3 total on any craps, and 50 cents from the \$3 total on any 7.

The 83-cent loss on the props dwarfs the 9-cent loss on the place bet in just one three-roll sequence.

Q. I found a video poker game that didn’t look too bad. It was 8-5 Bonus Poker, but the max bet was 10 coins instead of five. If you bet five coins, you didn’t get 4,000 on the royal, you only got 1,250. A royal with 10 coins wagered was 8,000 coins, so I guess a max bet would have the same payback percentage as a five-coin game with a 4,000 royal. But what about the royal with a five-coin bet?

A. You are correct. With a 10-coin bet and an 8,000-coin royal, 8-5 Bonus Poker has the same 99.2% return with expert play as a five-coin game with a 4,000-coin royal.

With a 1,250-coin royal for a five-coin bet, the return drops to the same 97.9% expert play would bring with a one-coin bet.