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The Odds Of Video Craps

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Many craps bets are crappy, to put it in plain language. What's worse, some casinos, knowing the stupidity of the players, have increased their margin of thievery on some of the above bets by playing games with the English language. Thus, in Las Vegas many casinos will pay 30 for 1 on the one roll 12 or 2 bet instead of 30 to 1. What this means is the player receives 30 units back for his bet should he win but included in this 30 units is his original one unit bet! On the 30 to 1 proposition, you receive 31 units back— your 30 unit win plus your one unit bet. This simply makes the proposition have a greater percentage in favor of the house—a whopping 16.667 percent! Some of the Mississippi riverboats pay off at 29 for one—a hideous 19.44 percent in favor of the plantation..ah, I mean, the house. You will find the same shenanigans existing on the video-craps machines.

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Now, what does an edge of, say, 19.44 percent actually mean? Bluntly, for every $1,000 you bet on that proposition, you will lose $194.40 in the long run. Not a very attractive proposition is it? So watch for the "for" when you bet and remember that this "for" always includes the original bet in its payout.

However, many video craps games give the players a break when it comes to the Field bet, which is a bet that the next roll will be one of the following numbers: 2,3,4,9,10,11,12. The usual payout is even money if any one of the numbers hit and two to one if the 2 or 12 is hit. This effectively gives the house an edge of 5.26 percent. In video-craps it is not unusual to see the 12 (or 2) being paid off at three to one. This cuts the house edge on the field to 2.56 percent. Considering the very high vigorish on the average slot machine and even most video-poker machines, this is not such a bad bet. If you were to play the Field exclusively you would be playing a machine that returned 97.44 percent of all money put in it. Not a bad machine. However, there is a much better way to play video craps than even this enhanced Field bet.

Side bets aside, in reality, craps is a simple game—as it must be to lure all the fish who play it. It is largely a mathematically-oriented game completely based on a given number's probability of appearance in 36 rolls and/or its relationship to the probability of the seven appearing. Unless there is something wrong with the machine, the video version of the game is based purely on probability theory based on a random number generator—in our case, the shooter-in-the-machine! The following chart gives the numbers that can be made from two dice, each numbered one through six; how many ways these numbers are made, and the combinations that compose them. Remember that there are six sides to each die and thus 36 possible combinations that can be made from two dice.

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