A 43 Number Hand and a $43 Profit

I recall starting off one seminar last year with a statement that probably made a few of the attendees uncomfortable.  The idea was simple.  It’s almost impossible to lock up a decent win starting out with table minimum bets.  What do I mean by table minimum bets?  Let’s look at some typical examples.

First off, let’s take a $10 3-4-5X odds game.  The typical player I see in one of my classes will bet something like this.  $10 on the Pass Line, $10 – $20 odds, plus table minimum bets on the inside numbers – $32, $34, or $44 inside.  Let’s uses $44 inside on a point of ten for this example,  The player believes the ten is a difficult number for the shooter to make so he only takes single odds – $10.  He has $20 at risk on the Pass Line and odds and $44 on the inside, for a total of $64 action.  I will submit to you that the average player has given absolutely NO consideration as to how many HITS he has to score on his bets to “pay for” his action and turn a profit on the hand.  The number is somewhere around 4.57, so we’ll round it up to 5 hits.  That assumes he locks up every win along the way and does not press any bets.  So let’s assume that happens.  The shooter wins five $14 hits on his inside numbers and then the ugly number shows.  He wins $70 and loses $64 for a net profit of a whopping $6.  The problem, of course, is that things rarely work out this way.  So let’s take a more reasonable look at what might happen.

First roll – point of 10 set and the player bets $44 inside in addition to his Pass Line and Odds bet.
Second roll – 6 rolls – pays $14 – the player presses the six and eight to $18 each and locks up $2.  He now has $62 exposure to the sevens.
Third roll – 3 craps – no effect on bankroll.
Fourth roll – 11 yo – the see a horn bet a horn guy made a couple of bucks, but our guy did not.  No effect on bankroll.
Fifth roll – 9 rolls – collect $14 – same bet – $50 exposure to the sevens.
Sixth roll – 7 out – line away – the player is down $50.

You get the drift.

Okay, maybe not the best example in the world.  So let’s say the shooter catches a longer hand and instead of sevening out on roll six it stretches out to roll 9.  The average hand at craps is about 8.3 rolls so perhaps he’ll fare better.  Re-roll toss six.

Roll six – 9 rolls again – pays $14 – player drops $1 and goes to $25 – $49 at risk to the seven.
Roll 7 – 8 rolls – pays $21 – same bet – player locks up $21 and now has only $28 at risk to the seven.
Roll 8 – 4 hard.  No impact on bankroll.
Roll 9 – 7 out – line down.  Player loses $28 on the hand.
Well hell.  That’s not working out at all like we’d hoped.  Well, let’s call another Mulligan and re-set roll 9 and take it out to roll 11, which is about the average for a shooter with an SRR of 7.0.
Roll 9 – 2 craps.  Hey!  All you need is the 5 for the Small.  Oh, we didn’t bet the All Tall Small.  Okay, forget that.  No effect on our bankroll.
Roll 10 – 8 rolls again.  Pays $21 – player presses the six and eight to $24 each and locks up $9, reducing his exposure to the seven to just $19.
Roll 11 – 7 out – line down – pay the Don’ts.  Our player loses $19 on the hand.  Good grief!

Okay, by now I hope you can see where this goes.  You guys who are in love with a $5 game – just cut those numbers in half for your results.  The answer is – you’re going nowhere.  Especially when you consider the fact that the average hand at craps is around 8.3 rolls – and that includes the Come Out roll.

Now I know some of you are already struggling with the math of how a random roller with an SRR of 6.0 can average an 8.3 roll hand.  The answer is simple enough.  Not EVERY seven is a BAD seven.  A Come Out seven is a good thing – sometimes.  If you’re making all of those carnival bets and losing $15 every time you toss a Come Out seven – may that’s not the case.  Maybe you’re betting a three way sevens hopping to hedge that, or increasing the size of your line bet to cover the ATS wager, which then requires a craps hedge of some sort.  Ultimately you end up hedging your hedges which means you start out even FARTHER in the hole.  So I have to ask you guy and gals – are you playing for entertainment or are you playing to win?  If you’re playing to win you’re going to have to do the same thing sports bettors do before a game.  You’re going to have to do some pre-game prep.  You need to have a plan to beat the house that is mathematically sound – or at least as sound as you can make it in a negative expectation game – and then you have to play that plan. If this is starting to sound more like work than play – congratulations.  You’re starting to figure things out.

Now let’s take that same $64 action and figure out how the heck we can turn a profit on those first five rolls we had.  And I’ll explain some of my personal play “rules” as we progress through the series.  Let’s start with the Come Out.

Shooter tosses a 10 on the Come Out.  This has absolutely no effect on me because I do not bet the Pass Line on unknown shooters or random rollers.  Once the shooter establishes a point I place the six and eight for $30 each.  My exposure is $60 – $4 less than the shooter in the example above.
Roll 2 – 6 rolls.  The dealer pays me $35.  Make my six and eight look like $12 each.  I now have $24 action on the table and an $11 profit in the rack that the casino cannot take away from me.  The only way they get it back is if I give it back, which I’m not.
Roll 3 – 3 craps.  Turn me off.  Yes, I will take $4 out of my rack and get a $4 Horn.  I do not recommend this bet.  It’s one of my few “entertainment bets”  I still have $7 profit in the rack.
Roll 4 – 11 yo.  Pays me $12.  I lock up $8 and press my horn to $8.  My bets now have to stay off 2 more rolls (personal rules) because 2 horn numbers rolled back to back.  $15 profit in the rack.
Roll 5 – 9 rolls – No impact on me.  I have a $15 profit in the rack still.
Roll 6 – 7 out.  My $12 six and eight fall.  I have a $15 profit for the series.

Okay, by now I’m sure most of you understand the point of this article.  If you’re going to turn a consistent profit at craps you’ll learn to incorporate an early steep regression into your play.  Mind you, that regression will mean you will win a little less on those 43 number hands when they do show up.  But you’ll lose a lot less waiting for them to magically appear.  If you want a lot of volatility in your game – peaks and valleys with consistent losses followed by the occasional large wins – keep playing the way most of you are playing.  If you want to smooth out those peaks and valleys and stop some of that bankroll volatility – regress.  Most of my favorite regression moves are based on the six and eight.  Here are some of my favorite regression moves:

$66 inside – one hit – regress to $22 inside – $1 at risk next roll
$60 six and eight – one hit – regress to $30 six and eight – $10 profit lock
$24 six and eight – one hit – regress to $12 six and eight – $4 profit lock
$12 six and eight – one hit – regress to a $6 six and eight – $2 profit lock

In our Craps Boot Camp team play sessions where we play with a shared bankroll the initial bet is typically $320 to $640 across for three hits – then regress to $160 to $320 across.   You can start with larger or smaller amounts, leave the action up for more or less rolls, take larger or smaller regressions.  Tailor it to your bankroll, risk tolerance, and your proven advantage – if you have one.  But that’s a whole ‘nuther topic.  And it’s just one more reason to do your homework in advance.  But at the end of the day, as our old pal Mad Professor used to say – Regression prevents depression.

Don’t be that guy with the $43 win at the end of a 43 number hand.