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Best of Jerry Stickman

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More on come vs. place bets

26 January 2019

Jerry,

I’ve always played craps betting on the pass line with full odds and three numbers using the come, also taking full odds. On a recent visit to Las Vegas, a stickman suggested I try not playing the come but just placing the same amount of money bet on each of three numbers when they were thrown, as if I had three come bets.

He pointed out the payoff on the 5, 6, 8 and 9 would be the same and it would be even better on the 4 and 10. While I’d miss being paid on the 11 and the seven on the losing throw, I’d not lose on the 2, 3 or 12 and not lose my bets on a 7 thrown on the come-out bet. In addition, I’d be rated much higher since all the money wagered would count, not merely the money from the come.

What is wrong with this play?

Gary

Gary,

Before looking at the math of these two types of bets, consider this. The stickman was correct in stating that the rating is much higher with place bets than it is with pass/come bets. Why do you suppose that is? Could it be that the house will collect more money from your play?

You didn’t mention what full odds were, but you did say that the 5, 6, 8 and 9 would pay the same either as a pass/come bet with full odds or a place bet and the 4 and 10 would pay more as a place bet. This would be the case with 3/4/5 max odds where the odds bet can be up to three times the pass/come bet for a point number of 4 or 10, four times for a point of 5 or 9 and five times for a point number of 6 or 8.

For example:

Pass/come bet = $10
Point number 4 or 10, full odds = $30 (three times line bet)
Point number 5 or 9, full odds = $40 (four times the line bet)
Point number 6 or 8, full odds = $50 (five times the line bet)

The reason many casinos like the 3/4/5 max odds is that at full odds all bets pay the same. On a win, all three of the above bets will pay $10 for the pass line portion.

The odds portion pays true odds as follows:

Point Number True Odds Odds Bet Win Amount
4 or 10 2 to 1 $30 $60
5 or 9 3 to 2 $40 $60
6 or 8 6 to 5 $50 $60

The total on any win is $70 per $10 pass line bet with maximum odds of 3/4/5.

Now let’s see what place bets of the same amounts would pay. The table below gives the specifics. Notice the bet amount include both the pass/come base (initial bet) and odds amounts.

Point Number Win Pays Place Bet Win Amount
4 or 10 9 to 5 $40 $70
5 or 9 7 to 5 $50 $70
6 or 8 7 to 6 $60 $70

The stickman was right. Place bets on the 5, 6, 8, and 9 pay the same a pass/come bets with full odds and a place bet on the 4 or 10 pays more.

One difference between pass/come bets and place bets is the player has 2-to-1 edge over the casino on come-out. There are six ways to throw a 7 (1-6, 2-5, 3-4, 4-3, 5-2, 6-1) and two ways to throw and 11 (5-6 and 6-5) for a total of eight ways to win. There is one way to throw a 2 (1-1), two ways to throw a 3 (1-2, 2-1), and one way to throw a 12 (6-6) for a total of four ways to lose. After the come-out, the casino has the advantage on every point number. So, by avoiding the come-out portion of the point cycle, place bets are always casino friendly bets.

The main reason why pass/come bets are better, and therefore the casino rates you much lower, is the odds portion of the bet is paid at true odds. This means that over time the house has no edge over the odds portion of the bet. The only amount truly at risk (long term) is the base portion or $10 in the above examples. The entire $40 - $60 of a place bet has a casino edge.

To make the extent of this clear, we need to look at the actual house edges and what they mean to the player.

The house edge for a pass/come bet with 3/4/5 times odds is 0.37%. For every $100 bet (include both base and odds portions), the player will lose 37 cents over time.

For place bets, the house edge is 6.67% on a 4 or 10, 4.00% on a 5 or 9, and 1.52% on a 6 or 8. The average house edge factoring in the house edge and the frequency of the point number is 3.63%. For every $100 bet the player will lose $3.63 on average.

The player will lose 10 times as much with place bets as with pass/come bets. No wonder the casino rates place players so much higher. It is in their best interest to have everyone make place bets.

While some casinos allow players to buy the 4 or 10 for a certain minimum amount. These bets lower the house edge for the casino, however, it is still significantly higher than the edge for a pass/come bet.

To put it simply Gary, a 10 times higher house edge is what is wrong with the play the stickman was hawking. Keep more of your money and give yourself the best chance to come home a winner by playing only pass line and come bets.

May all your wins be swift and large and all your losses slow and small.

Jerry “Stickman”

Jerry “Stickman” is an expert in craps, blackjack and video poker and advantage slot machine play. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. He authored the video poker section of "Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo, and Pai Gow Poker!" You can contact Jerry “Stickman” at stickmanjerry@aol.com.
Recent Articles
Best of Jerry Stickman
Jerry Stickman
Jerry "Stickman" is an expert in dice control at craps, blackjack, advantage slots and video poker. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. The "Stickman" is also a certified instructor for Golden Touch Craps dice control classes and Golden Touch Blackjack's advantage classes. He also teaches a course in advantage-play slots and video poker. For more information visit www.goldentouchcraps.com or www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 1-800-944-0406 for a free brochure. You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanGTC@aol.com.

Jerry Stickman Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com
Jerry Stickman
Jerry "Stickman" is an expert in dice control at craps, blackjack, advantage slots and video poker. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. The "Stickman" is also a certified instructor for Golden Touch Craps dice control classes and Golden Touch Blackjack's advantage classes. He also teaches a course in advantage-play slots and video poker. For more information visit www.goldentouchcraps.com or www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 1-800-944-0406 for a free brochure. You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanGTC@aol.com.

Jerry Stickman Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com