Craps Proposition Bets: Here Are Eight Wagers to Avoid When Playing This Table Game

Look at any craps table and you’ll see numerous wagers where some appear to have hefty payouts. These are One Roll wagers. None of them pay off in true odds. These bets should be avoided because they can deplete your bankroll very quickly.

Seasoned players know there are thirty-six possible combinations that can be made with a pair of dice, each with numbers one through six. For example, the number 7 can be rolled six ways, such as: 6 and 1; 1 and 6; 5 and 2; 2 and 5; 4 and 3; 3 and 4. The numbers 6 and 8, five ways; numbers 5 and 9, four ways; numbers 4 and 10, three ways; 3 and 11, two ways; and the 2 and 12, one way.

With the aforementioned in mind, here are the bets that you should avoid and why, when playing:

The Field

This is a one roll wager where the player wins if a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12 appear and loses if a 5, 6, 7 or 8 appear. Payouts are even money except for the 2 or 12 which pay 2/1. A novice player would look at the field and think, “There are seven numbers to win with and only four to lose.” However, if you combine all the ways the winning numbers can be rolled they will total 16. The losing numbers combinations total 20. Thus, winning numbers can appear 45% of the time but the losers come forth at 55%. The house edge is about 6%.

Any Craps

Another one roll wager that pays 7/1 if a two, three, or twelve is rolled. Add them all up and the true odds are 9/1 against. The house edge is about 11%.

Any Seven

The worst one roll wager for the player. The odds are 6/1 against and the payout is only 4/1. If you really want to make this bet, my advice to you is, don’t. The house edge is about 17%.

Hardway Bets

These are the even number totals of 4, 6, 8, and 10. In our Monopoly days we knew them as doubles. Two 2’s = 4, etc. In the world of craps these are known as Hardways. When a player elects to make a Hardway wager he or she is betting that particular number will only appear as an even number total, for example, a hard eight as 4 and 4. All of the other four combinations that make up the eight now become losers. The Hardway bettors now lose when a seven or any eight other than the 4 and 4 appear. The odds are 10/1 against but the payout is only 9/1. The house edge for a hard 4 or 10 is about 11%, and hard 6 or 8, about 9%.

Horn Bet

A one roll wager betting that a 2, 3, 11, or 12 will emerge. The bet must be made in multiples of four units. You will be paid 30/1 for the 2 or 12, or 15/1 for the 3 or 11, minus your three losing wagers. These numbers only have a 1/6 chance of showing up. You can also bet these numbers individually. Your best bet is no bet. The house edge is about 12.5%.

C & E (Craps and Eleven)

The C&E bet is actually a combination of the any craps (2,3,12) bet, or the 11 (AKA Yo) bet. Basically, when you bet on C and E, you are wagering that the shooter will roll any craps numbers (2, 3, or 12) or 11. If you hit any one of these numbers, you win the bet.

There’s a 1 in 6 chance that the C and E bet will hit. The payouts are different for each part of the bet. If the crap numbers come up it pays 3/1. If an 11 is rolled, 7/1. the total overall house edge is 11%.

Fire Bet

Not all casinos offer this wager. The bettor(s) win if the shooter makes at least four different point numbers before a seven out is rolled. Only different point numbers count. The pay tables range from a 10/1 payout for one point made four times up to 2000/1 If all six point numbers are made four times each before a seven out. In this unlikely event the house edge is a whopping 25%!

Hop Bet

This is a one roll verbal bet that is rarely played because most bettors are unaware of it. A player may wager that the dice will hop to a certain combination on the next roll. For example: if you have a hunch that an 8 will be rolled as a 6 and 2, simply shout to the dealer, “Five dollars on hop eight as six and two”. If it happens you will be paid 15/1. You may also call out a Hardway, “Hop eight at four and four”. If you’re lucky, you win 30/1. Any callout is permitted. All payouts are the same. This is a typical sucker bet. Depending on the hop combo called out, the house edge can range from about 5% to 12%.

Your best bet is to stick to the line wagers, pass, don’t pass, come, don’t come with the odds bet(s) and the place numbers 6 and 8.

Good Luck!

Blackjack Side Bets Are Bad Bets – Avoided Them While Playing

Most blackjack games in casinos today offer optional bonus or side bets. Once rare at a basic blackjack table they are becoming more and more widespread. The rational is simple because they carry a huge house edge. Anywhere from 3% to 20% or more compared to the 0.5% edge when playing straight up blackjack while using correct Basic Strategy. The bigger the edge, the more money the house makes.

The side bets do have an upside for the player in that all winning bonus wagers will pay out even if the player loses the original hand, and the large payouts are tempting. If you care to venture in, here are some of the most popular ones:

Twenty-One + 3

This side bet incorporates a little 3 Card Poker excitement into the mix in that your first two cards and the dealer’s up card are the determining factors. After you’ve made your BJ and optional Twenty One + 3 wagers, the combination of the three cards must equal a flush, straight flush, any straight, or three of a kind. The bet wins 9 to 1 on a six or eight deck game. The house edge is about 3%.

Royal Match 21

This one is based on your first two dealt cards:

Any two suited cards pay 2.5 to 1

A suited King & Queen (Royal Match) pays 25 to 1

A player Royal Match & dealer Royal Match in any suit pays 1000 to 1

The maximum bet allowed will vary between casinos. With the outcome based on your first two cards, the house edge is about 6%.

Bet the Set 21

This side bet focuses on your first two cards after you’ve made you’re blackjack wager and a Bet the Set wager. In some jurisdictions this bet is also known as Pair Square. If you are dealt any pair you are paid according to a pre-determined pay table based on the number of decks in play:

Single deck – pair pays 15 to 1

Double deck – pair pays 10 to 1, suited pair pays 25 to 1

Four, six or eight deck – pair pays 10 to 1, suited pair pays 15 to 1

Depending upon the number of decks in play and the pay table which varies between jurisdictions, the house edge varies between 5 & 6%.

Dealer Bust 21

Player wins if the dealer busts with various up cards showing. The winning payouts are paid according to the following table:

Bust with Ace up – Pays 10 to 1

Bust with 10 to K – Pays 4 to 1

Bust with 7 to 9 – Pays 2 to 1

Bust with 2 to 6 – Pays 1 to 1

The house edge is about 10% if the dealer stands on soft seventeen, about 8% if the dealer hits soft seventeen.

Over/Under 13

A player can wager on whether the total of his first two cards will be over, or under, 13. An exact 13 total always loses and Ace always counts as 1. The house edge for the Over 13 wager is 6.5 %, and for the Under 13, it’s 10 %. The side bet is usually offered on six- and eight- deck games.

Pair Square

A player wins if his or her first two cards are the same rank (such as a pair of 8’s). An unmatched pair (like an 8 of Clubs and an 8 of Hearts) pays 10 to 1. A matched pair (like a pair of 8’s of clubs) pays 15 to 1. The house edge is 10.6 %.

Super Sevens

In addition to your blackjack game bet, wager $1 that you will be dealt from one to three sevens resulting in the following payouts:

One seven pays 3 to 1

Two unsuited sevens pay 50 to 1

Two suited sevens pay 100 to 1

Three unsuited sevens pay 500 to 1

Three suited sevens pay 5000 to 1

The house edge is about 12% with no third card dealt and about 11% when a third card is dealt.

Lucky ladies

Here is a bet where any hand totaling 20 wins something. If you’re lucky enough to have a pair of Queens, you’ll win more, as the following pay table shows:

Pair of Queens with a dealer Blackjack – pays 250 to 1

Pair of Queens – Pays 25 to 1

Any suited 20 – pays 9 to 1

Any unsuited 20 – pays 4 to 1

The house edge is between 17 & 20 % depending on the jurisdictions pay table.

Always keep in mind that your bankroll is at a greater risk of a quicker depletion while playing blackjack games and making these tempting side bets.

Good Luck!

Aspects of Playing For Complimentary Gifts (Comps) From Casinos – Enhancing Player Expected Value

Casinos compete for gambler’s time and money by compensating them with complimentary gifts (comps). These comps involve free drinks, meals, free or reduced rate rooms, show tickets and extend to RFB (all costs for room,food,and beverage), airfare reimbursement or flyback certificates, and Super Bowl tickets. Comp programs are inherently designed to build customer loyalty and to foster return visits with the patron’s wallets and/or purses in hand. Customers do not have to be high-rollers to receive these incentives; many low-midlevel gamblers can and do receive a surprising amount of freebies and discounts. This is particularly relevant presently in part due to the current state of our general economy; in Las Vegas, visitor counts and gambling bankrolls have dipped significantly and this has increased comp offers from gaming properties in their attempt to encourage gamblers to enter their doors. On a recent (late October,2008) nine day stay in Vegas, my wife and I didn’t have to pay for a single night’s stay (all comped rooms) and we are absolutely not upper crust gamblers. Our gambling efforts involve blackjack at 10 – 25 dollar minimum bet tables and penny or nickel denomination slots and video poker with bets ranging from 40 cents to $ 2.00 per spin.

Comp awards are generally determined by average bet x hours played x bets per hour x expected house edge x % casino comp return to players (generally ranges 25 – 40% of expected win by the casino). For example, let’s assume you play a decent blackjack game (player favorable rule set and you play accurate basic strategy) and your average bet is 10 dollars per hand. If you play an “average ” 6-deck shoe game you can expect to see 60 – 80 hands per hour if the table involves 3 or 4 other players. Many casinos use 60 hands per hour and a house edge of 2% when figuring their expected dollar returns from players and resultant comp calculations. Most casinos will return approximately 40% of their expected win back to a player in the form of comps. For the above game, let’s assume you play 5 hours (hopefully at more than one table); a reasonable comp calculation would be $10 (average bet) X 5 (hours played) X 60 (hands/hr.) X .02 (house edge) X .40 (proportionate casino return to players). This means cumulatively you wagered approximately $ 3000.00 (surprised?) X .02 = $60.00 X .40 = $24.00 in earned comps.

A key tip to remember about comps while in Las Vegas or elsewhere…ASK for them..in a courteous manner. At some Vegas properties, you might be required to wager $15 or $25 per hand to even get rated for table game comps. Some off-strip Las Vegas casinos are more liberal with their meal comps than many of the Strip locales; on several different trips I’ve played for 2-3 hours at the Orleans with a 10 -20 dollar average bet and have never had a problem obtaining buffet comps for two when asked for appropriately. There is a huge variation in comp programs between casinos and corporate gaming entities. Players should determine where they like to play and avail themselves of comp program specifics at a given locale. Don’t be surprised if a player’s club representative / host is vague about precisely how they calculate earned comps; awarded comps can vary with season and any factor that increases patronage (weekends vs weekday, holidays, major events / conventions). Low to midlevel players will find it more difficult to get comped during these high traffic situations at times. It’s suggested that gamblers familiarize themselves with a slots / table games host that they are comfortable with; generally speaking, it’s a good idea to solicit a host of the opposite gender. Communicating with a host can lead to real dollar value for future visits (minimize losses / enhance winnings); part of a host’s job is to enhance the player’s experience while gambling. At many properties, pit bosses can award meal comps. Key elements for playing an enhanced-value comp game are to gamble within your prescribed bankroll, playing games with lower house advantage, know the property comp program, and ASK. On the other hand, “chasing” comps (ie playing too long just to obtain a meal) can lead to increased overall gambling losses, particularly if you’re losing hand after hand, dice roll after dice roll, or slot pull after slot pull. Common sense applies.

Blackjack is an excellent game to acquire comps due to generally lower house odds when compared to all other casino games provided players select games with player-favorable rules and learn accurate basic strategy for the specific game played. If a player avails themselves of these conditions and employs tactics that decrease the speed of the game (fewer hands played per hour), they have employed some basic tactics to enhance their comp accrual. Factors that can slow down a game include playing at crowded tables, talking with other players regularly while the game is in progress, extending decision times on hand plays, and taking frequent bathroom breaks or cell phone call breaks. Another tactic to enhance comp accrual at blackjack involves increased bet levels when pit bosses and / or table hosts are observing specific play; these should enhance your table play ratings and accrued comp levels. Bet levels can be reduced if desired when one is not being scrutinized by casino staff members.

Slot / video poker (VP) play tracking for comps requires that players have their player’s club cards inserted and inserted properly to accumulate points; always determine that this is the case and periodically check during sessions at a given machine. Video poker generally offers higher payback return percentages vs slot machines but comps for VP play are generally less for the same wagers / time played as compared to slots. It’s a standard casino tradeoff mechanism. If you find a casino that you like to play in, you enjoy the slots, and you have ample time, I believe it’s possible to identify some particular machines that exhibit a higher payback percentage than others (we know this is fact; the key is in identifying them). Generally speaking, the higher denomination machines have higher payback percentages (ie $1 slots vs penny machines); your ability to play these will depend on your bankroll and a money management scheme that involves common sense. There are wide variations in payback percentages even among penny slots; observation, common sense, and a willingness to play these games can lead to identifying some of the better paying machines. The key is to not get soaked for a huge loss expecting that next pull..and the next one..to result in a big payout. Regarding slot machines, we suggest a stop-loss approach. We always stop playing a given machine if we’ve reached 40 – 50% of the original buy-in amount (ie $20 -25 dollars credit remaining following a $50.00 original buy-in). Admittedly, the average slot machine will drain your bankroll but if players can identify the higher payback machines (by observation and actual play) these are reasonable alternatives for accumulating comps. Video poker with solid paytables (minimally 9/6 Jacks Or Better or Double Bonus; this paytable means the machine offers a 9 for 1 payout on a full house and 6 for 1 on a flush) is an excellent means to accrue comps (albeit slower relative to most slot machines at the same wager levels). It’s important to realize that the key factor is identifying the machines with greater payback percentages (ie “full-pay” machines or those with close to 100% payback over time, though individual sessions can and do still result in losses, of course).

While seeking out individual casinos to play any game, always seek out player’s club promotions (eg point multiplier days, blackjack enhancements) and use gambling coupons (blackjack match play and first -card ace coupons); use of these will enhance player expectation through increased returns / minimized losses while playing the comp game. The current economic climate in Las Vegas specifically, though generally down, is conducive to comp offer acquisition.

Good cards…

Chuck60 @ Frugally Vegas

Three Card Poker: More Playing Options But Beware of the House Edge

If you play Three Card Poker, there are a number of variants to the base game that are available is some casinos. Be aware that some carry a Huge House Edge. The edge for the basic game is about 3% for the ante and play wagers and jumps to about 7% if the Pair Plus option is wagered. Your chances of being dealt a pair is about one in four. Here are the variants:

Face Up Ultimate Three Card Poker

Players must also make a blind wager in addition to the ante. The dealer will then turn one card face up. If you decide to fold, your ante and blind bets lose. If you decide to stay in the hand and make a play bet, you have the option to raise the blind up to 3X your ante provided you have a pair or better. If you have less than a pair your play bet can only equal your ante wager.

The dealer will then reveal the other two cards. If the dealer’s hand beats yours, the play, ante, and blind bets lose. If the dealer has less than a Queen high, the ante bet pushes. If the hand ties those bets push. If your hand beats the dealer’s, the play and ante bets win even money. The blind bet pays if your winning hand is at least a flush. Otherwise it pushes. Here is the winning blind pay table:

Pair or less – Push

Flush – 1 to 1

Straight – 2 to 1

Three of a Kind – 10 to 1

Straight Flush – 20 to 1

Mini-Royal – 100 to 1 (suited K, Q, A)

You will undoubtedly need are larger bankroll for this version due to the additional blind wager and the option to raise it up to 3X. The following strategy is recommended when playing:

Fold with any hand less than J, 7, 4

Raise 3X with any pair or better

The House Edge is about 4.3%.

Three Card Poker Progressive

This an easy Three card Poker side bet that pays a huge jackpot if you have a Mini-Royal Q, K, A of Spades. You can place a wager up to the size of your ante in the progressive betting position when placing your ante bet. The average jackpot payout is around $4,000 for a $1 bet. Pay tables vary between jurisdictions. The pay tables are X for one, not X to one. This means that the house takes the original bet. Here is a common table:

Progressive Pay Table

Straight – 6 for 1

Three of a Kind – 60 for 1

Straight Flush – 70 for 1

Mini-Royal – 500 for 1(Hearts/Diamonds/Clubs)

Mini-Royal (Spades) – Jackpot

This looks very tempting but the House Edge is about 22.3%

6 Card Bonus

This is another optional side bet where a player’s 3 card hand is combined with the dealer’s 3 card hand to make the best poker hand. A winning hand is paid according to the following pay table regardless of the outcome of the ante and play bets. Pay tables may vary between jurisdictions:

Three of a Kind – 7 to 1

Straight – 10 to 1

Flush – 15 to 1

Full House – 20 to 1

Four of a Kind – 100 to 1

Straight Flush – 200 to 1

Royal Flush – 1,000 to 1 (9 through A)

The House Edge for this pay table is about 8.6%.

The $ Million Option

There is also another 6-card bonus option that gives a player a shot at a One Million Dollar payout! This option is exclusive to Caesars Entertainment properties in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Players must also bet the ante, play, and pair plus positions when making this bet to win the following payouts:

6 Card Super Royal – (Diamonds) – $1,000,000

Six card super Royal – (Hearts, Clubs, Spades) $100,000

5 Card Royal Flush 1000 to 1

5 Card Straight Flush 200 to 1

Four of a Kind. 50 to 1

Full House. 20 to 1

5 Card Flush. 15 to 1

5 Card Straight. 10 to 1

Three of a Kind. 5 to 1

In case you’re wondering the House Edge is 18% and the probability of hitting a Diamond Royal is 1 in over 20 million!

Good Luck!