Comparisons in wagering options at casino games usually are made in terms of the house edge. Craps players know the house edge on place bets on 6 or 8 is 1.52 percent, far better than the 4 percent on 5 or 9 or the 6.67 percent on 4 or 10.
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Sometimes, I get a request to break down what that means in terms of dollars and cents. My early April email brought a reader request for the breakdown on the place bets.
“I know the edges make the differences on the various numbers look huge, but how big is it in real dollars? Isn’t there a difference in how long it takes to settle a bet, too?”
Place bets on 6 or 8 are settled more quickly than the others because there are more rolls that will yield a decision. On either number, 11 of the possible 36 rolls bring a decision since there are 6 ways to roll a loser 7 and five ways to roll a winner 6 or 8.
There are four ways to roll 5 and four to roll 9, so together with the 7s, there are 10 rolls that will decide the bet. And with three ways each to roll 4 or 10, there are nine rolls that will decide either of those bets.
We can account for those differences by looking at the house edge per roll, presented in a chart by Michael Shackelford at wizardofodds.com.
You can look at the 1.52 percent edge on 6 or 6 as .46 percent per roll, the 4 percent on 5 or 9 as 1.11 percent per roll and the 6.67 percent of 4 or 10 as 1.67 percent per roll.
Let’s look at what that does to average losses per 100 rolls. There won’t necessarily be a whole number’s worth of decisions in 100 rolls, but we just want an average here.
I’m going to assume a $30 wager so equal amounts are bet on each number. Place bets on 6 or 8 are bet in multiples of $6 to take advantage of 7-6 payoffs, but players bet in multiples of $5 on 5 or 9, with 7-5 pays, and 4 or 10, with 9-5 pays.
A $30 bet per roll means $3,000 totals on each number. The .46 percent house per roll on 6 or 8 tells us that after 100 rolls, the average loss will be $13.80.
On 5 or 9, the 1.11 percent edge per roll tells is that after 100 rolls, the average loss will be $33.33. And on 4 or 10, the 1.67 percent edge per roll yields an average loss of $50.
Bets on 6 and 8 still come out looking better on a dollars and cents basis if you assume minimum bets at a $5 table. Then 6 and 8 bettors would wager $6, or $600 per 100 rolls, while those playing other numbers would wager $5, or $500 per 100 rolls.
Average losses would be $2.76 on 6 or 8, $5.55 on 5 or 9 and $8.35 on 4 or 10. Even though you’re betting more money on 6 or 8, you lose less because of the huge difference in house edge.
I usually use results per decision instead of per roll. Then, per $3,000 worth of bets played to decision, average losses are $45.60 on 6 or 8, $120 on 5 or 9 or $200 on 4 or 10.
By any comparison – house edge, dollars per roll or per decision – place bettors are far better off sticking with 6 and 8 and skipping the rest.
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