Thursday, July 9, 2020

Tao's Dealing School: Craps

by James "Tao" Murphy 

Craps, Seven-Eleven, or The Devils Dice

Craps is kind of a simple game with a lot of complex situations. I will start with the simple and go to the complex.

First is the most common type of bet. The pass line. You place a wager in the space labeled “pass line”. Someone then rolls the dice.

- If the total of both dice is 7 or 11 you win. How much you bet on the pass line is paid off at 1:1. And we start a new cycle.

- If the total of both dice is 2, 3, or 12 you lose. The bet is collected by the dealer. And you start a new cycle.

- However, if the total is 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 then the cycle keeps going. This is called “setting the point.” For our example let’s say the total is 6. The same someone rolls the dice again.
                - If the new total is that same as the point, 6, you win. Bets are paid 1:1
                - If the new total is 7 then you lose. Bets are collected.
                - If the total is anything else the dice are rolled again, and again, etc, until one of these two things happen: the point is rolled or a 7 is rolled.

Let’s discuss something called “backing up your bet”. Once the point has been set, you can choose to put more money behind your pass line bet. Clontarf casino allows up to 5 times the amount of the original bet. However, many people like to put up the same amount, or some lucky amount. The minimum is one gold. Now some numbers are less likely to come up then others. If the point is 6 or 8 then the back bet is paid 1:1, if the point is 4, 5, 9, 10 the back bet is paid 2:1. [Quick note: real-world casinos use different payouts but math is hard and most people do not bet in the increments that make sense, I have rounded out the bets to make it easy]

 - So, you bet 5 gold on the pass line. You roll the dice it comes up 7. You win. The cycle starts again. You keep your bet at 5 gold, you roll a 10, you decided to back up your bet with 5 more gold; Putting the chips directly behind your original bet. (You should never touch your original bet). The cycle is still going so you roll again and get a 9, nothing happens. The cycle continues. On the next roll you get a 10! You made your point! the pass line bet is paid 1:1 five gold! the back bet is paid 2:1 so you get 10 gold for that 5 gold bet. Back line bets can be removed between rolls, pass line bets cannot.

- So let’s say on the last roll you rolled a 7 instead of a 10, both the pass line bet and the back bet would be collected by the dealer.  This is called crapping out. The cycle ends and the dice are passed to the next player.

Looking at the board there is a lot more going on than just the pass line. Let’s first look at the “one roll” bets. Like the name says they are good for one roll only. They can be placed any time before or during the cycle.

- The field bet. This bet is probably the most popular one roll bet. This is a bet that the total of the very next roll will be a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, and twelve. It pays 1:1 except for if the dice total is 2 or 12 then it pays 2:1! You bet 5 gold it and the dice total are 4 you get paid 5 gold. If the dice total was a 12 you would get paid 10 gold!

- Boxcars, betting that the dice total will be 12. This pays 30 for 1
- Snake eyes: betting that the dice total will be 2. This pays 30 for 1
- Yo: betting that the dice total will be 11. This pays 15 for 1
- Ace-deuce: betting that the dice total will be 3 this pays 15 for 1
- Any craps:  betting that the dice total will be a 2, 3, or 12 this pays 8 for 1
- Any 7: betting that the dice total will be 7 this pays 5 for 1

You might notice that the language on the payout has changed a bit. 15 for 1, is different then 15 to 1. 15 for one means the dealer is giving you 15 chips but keeping your one chip, (or 30 for your 2 chips, etc) while 15:1 means the dealer is handing you 15 chips and you keep your 1 chip. Sometimes you will see boards that look slightly different because of this. 10 for 1 is the same as 9:1.

Last thing that you can bet on at the Clontarf casino is continuing bets. A couple of very important things about them; between rolls you can take them off if you wish, and they are considered “OFF” on the first roll of the cycle. This is because you are betting against yourself and will end up just giving the house money. While I don’t mind it’s only fair that you should know this.

- You might notice that there is a list of the point numbers on each side, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10. Some people have lucky numbers and like to bet on them when the point is some other number.

- They win every time the number is rolled once the point has been set. 6 and 8 are paid 1:1, and 4, 5, 9, and 10 are paid 2:1 (the same odds as the back bet).

- They lose if a 7 is rolled.

And finally, in the middle of the board are the hard ways. This is betting that a particular double is going to be rolled before the same non-double total is rolled, or a 7. This sounds a little confusing but let’s look at an example. So, you think double 4s are going to be rolled. You put 1 chip on the hard way. The next roll is a 4 and a 6, total of 10, nothing happens. The next roll is what you were hoping for 4 and 4. This bet pays 8 for 1, the dealer gives you 8 chips but takes your one that you bet.
Let’s say instead of 4 and 4, it was 6 and 2, for a total of 8. Because this is a soft way, the hard way loses. The dealer takes the chip off the bet. Or if a 4 and 3 was rolled than the bet losses as the 7 was rolled.

Because certain combinations are harder to make then others, or there are more “soft” combinations that can make it lose, the payouts are a little different by which hard way you want to bet.

                - Hard 4: pays 8 for 1
                - Hard 6 pays 10 for 1
                - Hard 8 pays 8 for 1
                - Hard 10 pays 10 for 1

If you look at the board, there are some spaces that we did not cover. At the Clontarf Casino these bets are not used for one reason or another.

- Don’t pass: this bet just reverses the whole cycle, wins on a 2,3,12 lose on 7,11, lose if point is made. This is betting against the other players and most think this is bad karma.

- Come: this bet if for impatient people. Basically, you would bet the come, if you want your own cycle. You get to the table and the point is already been set, but you want to be selfish and start your own cycle looking for that 7 on the opening role.

- Don’t come: impatient bet for people who the table are going to hate.

- Big 6/8. On my table it’s the same as betting the continuing bet 6 or 8. I don’t usually remember to look there for bets so please don’t use them. In real-world casinos their pay out is bad. The house edge on them is just designed to punish uneducated betters.

And that is craps! Simple game of betting with the cycle, taking risks that certain combinations will happen before others. Fun, lots of action. Hard to deal.