Debunking a Craps System

Updated November 2013: The gentleman gambler who introduced me to this system was named Wendel. Wendel swore up and down that it made him a fortune and he never wavered in his confidence. He was responsible for the challenge and the enjoyment I got from writing this article and learning the allure of the system. Wendel recently passed away having lived a long life and making lots of people smile. I never saw Wendel without his pool cue, and never saw him use it. He’ll be missed.

The No Risk Don’t Come system has been known for years under a variety of different names. It claims that the player can establish a Don’t Come point with little or no risk, thereby having a bet that is always to their advantage. Unfortunately, this system, like all craps systems, does not deliver its promise and leaves the player at the mercy of the standard house advantages. Nevertheless this particular system has many avid followers. It has an interesting premise and appeals to seasoned players and their understanding of the game. Reviewing and ultimately debunking this system is a rewarding exercise in probabilities and is also an intriguing demonstration of what makes systems compelling to gamblers. Here I give you for free a system that unscrupulous or ignorant people have sold to millions, and I also give you the explanation of why my price is the right one!


Make a Fortune

Suppose you could walk up to a craps table and place a bet of any size on a Don’t Come point number, just as if you’d already played a Don’t Come bet and a point was rolled. The greater part of the house advantage of the Don’t Come bet arises from the risk to your bet on the first roll. If a 7 or 11 is rolled as the first roll you lose your wager. If a 2 or 3 is rolled you win. And if a 12 is rolled you push. The chances of rolling a 7 or 11 is 8/36 (0.2222) much more likely than the chances of rolling a 2 or 3 which is only 3/36 (0.0833). If you escape the high risk of the opening roll and establish your wager on a Don’t Come point, you are a heavy favorite to win the bet. From then on (until the bet is resolved as a winner or loser), a 7 that wins the bet is more likely to be rolled than the point number that loses the bet.

If you could establish your bet on a Don’t Come point without risking the initial roll, you would always have an advantage over the house. This system proposes a simple process to accomplish this, placing you firmly in control with no chance to lose over an extended length of play. It’s a compelling claim if true. In fact, we can calculate the odds as 18.79% in our favor (that calculation is shown later in this article for those interested), actually returning $0.0314 per roll of the dice on average per dollar bet. If you played $100 at a time eight hours a day, assuming 150 rolls per hour, you would earn (100 * 0.0314 * 150 * 8 * 365) or about $1.4 million a year! And because the odds are always in your favor, there’s no reason not to play even higher stakes. Play $1000 per bet and make $14 million dollars per year. Does it sound too good to be true? From the casino’s point of view, imagine that a casino has six craps tables, with an average limit of $2000 per table, each with room for 12 players. The casino could potentially lose (6 * 12 * 24 * 150 * 365 * 2000 * 0.0314) or a staggering $6 billion dollars per year. The minute they hear of this system, every casino in the world will close down their craps tables! So why do they have craps tables at all? Let’s see. But first I’ll describe how to play the system.

How to Play the System

    1. passdpass1Start by making BOTH a Pass and Don’t Pass bet on the Come Out roll. $10 each for example. Every casino will allow this. It’s not particularly uncommon. But it’s also not going to mark you as the most savvy gambler.

Some people think this alone is a system that lets them play indefinitely without losing, like putting equal amounts on red and black in roulette. The flaw to that idea is that roulette has a green “0” and most likely an even worse “00” which lose both bets once in a while, and with NO chance at all of winning! Craps has something similar. If a 12 comes up, the Pass bet loses, but the Don’t Pass bet pushes (it doesn’t win or lose). On it’s own, the only plausible reason I can think of for playing this way is to have the privilege of rolling the dice for the least cost possible – a Pass and/or Don’t Pass bet is required of the shooter. In this system there’s a justification for this questionable opening move. So we’ve already identified one red flag, but it’s only part of the problem and it will be explained away later.

    1. oddsondont1When you get a ‘point’ (by rolling a 4,5,6,8,9, or 10 on the Come Out) you lay odds on your Don’t Pass bet such that if it wins, you’ll win $10. This means that you add “odds” to the Don’t Pass bet based on the payout of the point. For a 6 or 8, you add $12 because it pays $5 for every $6 you bet. For 5 or 9, you add $15. And for 4 or 10 you add $20.

This is a standard way to play, though most players prefer to play Odds on the Pass bets so they don’t need to lay higher bets than they’ll win. But the Odds bets in craps are actually FAIR and add nothing to the house advantage when played. That is to say the payout exactly matches the odds of winning. Thus if you could play only Odds bets forever, you’d end up even. That’s why Odds bets are only allowed to be added onto existing bets for which the house has a built-in advantage. Because of this basic true and well-known fact about Odds bets, this step of the system does not appear to involve any risk to the player. Taken on it’s own, that is absolutely correct.

    1. dcomeAfter adding your Odds bet, place an equal Don’t Come bet ($10). On the next roll, you seem to have no risk. If craps comes up, you win the Don’t Come, pocket $10 and start over. Your Pass and Don’t Pass bets can be ignored because they will always cancel each other out when they are eventually resolved. If instead a 7 comes up, you will LOSE the Don’t Come bet, but you will WIN the Odds bet on the Don’t Pass, breaking even. So there’s still apparently no risk of losing. (you might notice one possibility that’s ignored here)
    2. oddsoffWhen the second roll establishes a new point, remove the Odds on your Don’t Pass bet – eliminating that money from any risk.

Many players don’t realize that you can remove Odds bets at any time. But every casino will in fact allow this because Odds bets are never to the house’s advantage. In variations of this system the Odds bet becomes a new Come bet, but we’ll ignore that complication as it complicates the analysis but does not improve the system.

Now you have a bet ($10 in this example) on a Don’t Come point and $10 each on the Pass and Don’t Pass lines, which you are guaranteed to get back. And if a seven comes up before the point, which is always the most likely outcome, you win $10. Without taking any risk, you have a bet that is in your favor! Do this enough times and you’re rich!

What’s the Catch?

There are three catches with this system. The first two are minor and relatively simple. They reduce the potential advantage that the player can supposedly achieve over the house. The third is the true flaw of the system. It eliminates the perceived player advantage and restores the house advantage. This third flaw is also more subtle and difficult to explain. Proponents of the system will dismiss the flaws with distracting rationalizations which I’ll prepare you for.

A Minor Flaw: 12 on the Come-out

boxcars3If a 12 is rolled on the Come-Out roll, the bet is lost before you have successfully established a so-called ‘free’ Don’t Come bet. The reason is that the 12 loses the Pass bet, but results in a Push of the Don’t Pass bet. A Push means simply that the bet neither wins nor loses, the dealer just slides “pushes” your money back to you. Therefore, if you bet $10 on Pass and $10 on Don’t Pass as in our example, a 12 will result in a $10 loss. Proponents of the system correctly point out that this will only happen in one Come Out roll out of 36, and this relatively rare risk is a small price to pay for the other 35 plays that are all very much in your favor.

If you don’t like that risk, proponents suggest you play $1 on the “12” proposition bet on each Come Out roll. The 12 bet pays 30-1 in the event of a 12, but it costs $1 for every Come Out. Savvy players understand that the 12 is one of the worst bets on the table (house advantage of 13.89%). Adding a bad bet to hedge another bet never works (discussed later). It simply increases the odds in favor of the house. So this solution to the problem is at best a comfort measure.

But the low frequency of a twelve, rolled only once in 36 plays, does seems like a compelling defense (against it being a major flaw in this system) and seems to be worth examining further. When we do the math, we find that when 12s are accounted for on the Come Out roll, our anticipated advantage over the house is reduced from 18.79% down to 13.5%. Our per-roll profits assuming $1000 bets is decreased from $31.40 to $22.80. As long as we maintain the edge, we’re happy. Our hopes of having a system that can win us $14 million per year has simply been reduced to about $10 million. Perhaps more significant is the realization that we’ve uncovered a cost in establishing a Don’t Come number where many proponents of the system claim there is none. That might tip us off that more disappointments are to come.

Another  Minor Flaw: 11 on the Come-out

If an 11 is rolled on the Come-Out roll, the Don’t Come bet is lost but the original bet and odds bets are not affected. This amounts to another small ‘leak’ in the system which we glossed over in the strategy. It’s small, happens only once in 18 sequences and only loses the Don’t Come portion. Whether or not this case is covered in descriptions of the strategy varies. (I left it out of my original description by accident.) Like the previous flaw, it doesn’t break the system, but it does reduce the expected outcome, which remains positive until the next flaw is accounted for.

Major Flaw: Repeating Point

repeat1When the Come Out roll is a point (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10) and the very next roll is a repeat of the same number, we lose the Odds wager that we laid on our Don’t Pass bet. The repeated number becomes the point for the Don’t Come bet. But in this case, we can’t take back the odds bet because it’s lost. This is another case where it wasn’t free to establish the Don’t Come number.

Overloading

But what happened to the idea that Odds bets are always fair and never cause us to win or lose over the long run? Now we seem to be saying that there’s a case where losing the Odds bet causes an overall loss in our system. The reason this represents a flaw is due to something called overloading and it’s as subtle as it is critical, well worth taking the time to understand if you’re playing any craps system.

Recall that we assume the Odds bets are always fair and represent no risk. This is in fact true as long as we don’t use the wins to cancel out other losses in the same play. But also recall that the reason the seven can’t hurt us on the second roll is that the winnings from the Odds bet covers the loss of the Don’t Come bet. So in effect we’re counting on the winnings from the Odds bets both to cover losses due to sevens, and to cover losses from the point being made. If we’re to presume that the Odds bet has no house advantage, we cannot think of any of its winnings as compensating for any losses other than losses from the same Odds bet. This subtle point remains true when we don’t collect the winnings but instead use them to cover the losing Don’t Come bet. One way to look at this is that the Odds bet win does not cover the Don’t Come loss. Another way to look at it is that the repeating point represents another risk in arriving at a “free” Don’t Come number, thus it is not free at all!

Proponents of the system simply dismiss the combined effect of overloading. It’s a subtle effect so this is a fairly easy way to undermine its importance. They simply state two truths that are obviously true when taken seperately: (1) The Odds bet is a fair bet so it does not give the house any advantage, and (2) if a seven is rolled on the second roll, the winnings from the Odds bet cancel out the loss from the Don’t Come bet. In reality, what you actually lose in case (2) is not your bet, but the income needed to compensate for eventual loses of the Odds bets and hence to make (1) true.

If you manage to convince proponents of the system that the overloading represents a risk and therefore is a flaw in the system, they will likely suggest that the chances of the same number being rolled twice in a row are low. For example, a five comes up once in 9 rolls, therefore it repeats only once is 81 sequences of two rolls. Didn’t we just show that a 12 which occurs just once in 36 rolls did not break the system? So maybe we’d be lured into thinking that an even more rare outcome wouldn’t break the system either. If indeed the point never repeats itself, the overloading is irrelevant and our advantage over the house is secure.

This is a bit of a red herring because the real problem is that the Don’t Come bet is lost, not that the Odds bet has any disadvantage (in fact increasing the Odds bet always decreases the total house advantage). But we can easily show that the chances of a point repeating are higher than you might think, and furthermore the amount you lose is more than your initial bet because you’ve laid the odds.

First, we need to acknowledge that many gamblers believe in a concept called the gambler’s fallacy or equivalently the law of averages. This is the belief that following a sequence of ten heads occurring in a row from the flip of a coin, the next flip is more likely to be a tail than a head because heads and tails have to even out to 50/50 over time. This is false reasoning. The chances of heads being flipped is 50/50 regardless of history. But some gamblers incorrectly assume that a number is less likely to be rolled if it was just rolled. Some people will never accept this (even some very bright people), but it’s a fact nonetheless. For more on this see The Gambler’s Fallacy. Those who believe in the Gambler’s Fallacy, tend to dismiss the chances of the same number being rolled twice in a row as being significant.

Another reason players underestimate the frequency of points repeating is they don’t account for all the points and all the ways the outcome of the dice can result in the point. While the five will repeat only once in 81 plays, so will the 9. The 4 will repeat once in 144 plays, as will the 10. And the 6 will repeat once in about 52 plays as will the 8. So actually some point will repeat itself once in about 13 plays (1/144 + 1/144 + 1/81 + 1/81 + 1/51.84 + 1/51.84 = 1/12.96)! Another way to think of this is from the time that a point is established and we have an Odds bet at risk, the chances that the point will repeat is more often than one in 9!

Accounting for this major flaw, our remaining 13.5% advantage dissolves into a disappointing 6.29% disadvantage. Now that we’re firmly based in reality, I’ll switch to a more traditional method of measuring house advantage, so the real vigorish is 1.01% which I’ll explain later. In firm monetary terms, we can now expect to lose $0.01134 per roll for every dollar level we bet. So rather than winning $10 million per year, our strategy will actually cost us (1000 * 0.01134 * 150 * 8 * 365) about $4 million per year! The hypothetical casino mentioned earlier, rather than losing $6 billion per year, can now safely pocket (6 * 12 * 24 * 150 * 365 * 2000 * 0.01134) over $2 billion per year if everyone plays this system. We’ve discredited our system, but saved the casinos from bankruptcy! Oh well. It’s still a fun way to play and lets us root for those sevens.

Further Analysis

I stated the house advantages and returns on amounts bet without yet justifying them. For those who are curious, and those who might want to review my findings, I’ll go into more detail on how the probabilities were calculated. If you’d like to verify my methods or conclusions, or refer to a more authoritative source, please visit Professor Micheal Shackleford’s excellent web site http://wizardofodds.com/craps.

About Vigorishes and Systems

A vigorish or house advantage is a semi-standard way to measure how fair a bet is to the player. In the simplest of terms, if a certain bet has a house advantage of 5.26% (like Vegas roulette tables with zero and double-zero), it means that for every $100 you bet, you’ll lose on average $5.26.

In very simple games like American Roulette, the vigorish is straight-forward. However, in craps, where certain bets can be ties, there are multiple ways to determine house advantage. And when examining a craps system where multiple bets are played simultaneously, it can get even more arbitrary and confusing.

The most standard way to calculate a house advantage is to sum the average return of all possible outcomes, (weighted by the probability of each individual outcome) and divide by the average bet. In the case where the bet varies, this is a weighted average of the total bet en-route to each possible outcome. This method yields the house advantage including ties as money wagered and is especially nice for a casino to predict its expected income over time from a certain wager.

Some people prefer to not count ties as money wagered. This is a matter of preference, even among experts. It’s simply a different approach that results in a higher house advantage, but it is not as useful for measuring money made or lost over a period of time or a fixed number of plays.

Here’s the event table for a simple Don’t Come bet showing the different ways to compute house advantage. Note that the results correspond precisely with accepted published values and therefore help verify our methods.

vigdont.jpg

Systems, especially craps systems, can be measured in terms of house advantage either including or excluding ties, yielding a number that we can use to compare to other forms of betting. However, because systems tend to use hedging extensively, the house advantage can appear relatively good due to the more money wagered, but still be worse in terms of your ability to win. There’s yet another method of calculating house advantage that works better in this case. In this method, we look at only the payouts to and from the player without regard for how much was wagered, and calculate a house advantage based on the ratio of wins and loses. Take for example the simple system of betting on Pass and Don’t Pass simultaneously, a classic and extreme hedge bet. In terms of simple house advantage, it’s 1.59% or about halfway between that of a Pass bet and that of a Don’t Pass bet. That looks like a good vig, and indeed it is in terms of how slowly you will lose money as a percentage of what you bet. But note half the money you bet is hedged against the other half! So with this system you will NEVER WIN A SINGLE BET, EVER. If the casino wins every bet, I prefer to call this 100% house advantage. In this case we can simply use the method of not counting ties. However when the system is more complex like the one we examine in this post, not counting ties isn’t enough because there are a variety of hedgings included.

For examining a system such as the No Risk Don’t Come, and it’s advantages under different assumptions, it’s best and clearest to use a simpler method of expressing advantage. We’ll simply determine the average amount won or lost per roll of the dice based on the method of play, our betting level, and the favorability of the system. When we say “betting level” it’s not the same as “amount wagered”. For example, the betting level we use for this system is $10, but at that betting level we actually wager about $36 per bet because we put 10 on Pass, 10 on Don’t Pass, odds, and come bets. But because we’re doing so much hedging, the bet level is clearer. By tallying our expected wins or losses per roll we can predict exactly what the value of the system is to us (or the house) without too much emphasis placed on the definition of house advantage.

Expected House Advantage (If the system Worked)

In showing how advantageous this system would be if it really was equivalent to putting a free bet on the Don’t Come Point I arrived at a player advantage of 18.79%.

Here’s how that figure is calculated:

bestvigtable.jpg
Above is the event table representing the ideal conditions suggested by proponents of this system. It starts at the point where you establish a Don’t Come number (remember that establishing the Don’t Come point is considered free and without risk), and ends when the bet is either won or lost. Each row represents a possible combination of events and the combined probability of the event. It calculates the probability of winning under each circumstance. If we could actually pick the point, we’d always choose the four or ten, but since we have to rely on chance, we weight each point by its probability of coming up (second column). The sum of the probabilities of winning in each of the six ways is 0.5940. We can tell it’s in our favor because it exceeds 0.5. The amount won or lost is always even money and the same regardless of the point, so no further weighting of the result is necessary. The probability of winning is converted to a vigorish by multiplying by two and subtracting from 1.0, then expressing that as a percentage. A negative vigorish reflects a game that’s in the player’s advantage, also known as a Positive Expectation Game.

The Probability Event Table for the No Risk Don’t Come System

This is the actual probability table for the No Risk Don’t Come System that we’re looking at (click to enlarge) including all the real possible dice rolls and the probabilities of each, weighted by the return on your wagers. The result is the true house advantage which unfortunately is a disadvantage to the player.

table1.jpg

In explanation of the table, note that a play consists of one roll if the bet is resolved on the come-out, a second roll that establishes a point, and then as many rolls as needed to resolve the final bet in the event that the play is not resolved on the second roll. Each line in the table represents a possible outcome of the play and the probability of that outcome. The raw probability of each line as an outcome is given in the column labels (p1*p2*p3) which by definition must all add up to 1.0.
One column that requires some explanation is the column labeled P3. This is the probability that determines the result of the final come bet if it is not eliminated in roll two. It is either the chance of the repeat point being made again vs. a seven being rolled first, or (this is the tricky part) the chance of a non-repeating point (any point other than that which repeated) being made vs. a seven being rolled first.

The total return in column “Total$” is the sum of the returns (net gains) of all four possible bets that were involved in this line of play. The column labeled p(W$) is the weighted probability (raw probability times total return) or average return for each winning row. The column labeled p(L$) is the weighted probability (raw probability times total return) or average return for each losing row. The sum of these two columns are the total average winning return (2.7441) and the total average losing return (3.1128). And the final weighted winning probability is 0.4685 which is w/(w+l) where w is the total average winning return (2.7441) and l is the total average losing return (3.1128). And then the final weighted winning probability is converted to a payout vigorish by the formula (v = 1.0 – 2*0.4685 = 6.29%).

This table yields a standard vigorish of 1.01% in the house’s advantage (including ties as wagered money).

Further Comments

First of all, the result of this analysis should not surprise us because betting systems simply do not work, at least not in the sense of changing the house advantage into a player advantage. Using the definition of house advantage which includes ties as money wagered, we can even say that no betting system can alter the house advantages in any way, in your favor or against you. They can merely manipulate volatility. For more on this click here. Yet there are some interesting subtleties when it comes to craps.

One thing that is special about the game of craps is that a number of very different wagers are placed simultaneously whose outcomes are dictated by the same rolls of dice. In other words, not all wagers are independent. This gives rise to the lure that a combination of bets placed in a certain way at the same time, could in concept improve your odds by decreasing the house advantage. While the rules of craps are carefully designed such that no combination of bets can ever give the player an advantage, there are combinations of bets (which could be called betting systems) which improve your odds above those of the individual bets (again based on certain interpretations and terminologies only). In other words, there are ways to play normal wagers, that gives the house more or less of an advantage. We’ll examine three to illustrate this point, one that makes your odds much worse than the individual bets, and two that seem to improve your odds.

  1. Betting equal on Pass and Don't Pass

    Betting equal on Pass and Don’t Pass

    It’s well known that the house advantage of a Pass bet alone (no odds) is 1.414%. It’s also well known that the house advantage of a Don’t Pass Bet (again no odds) is 1.364% (including ties). However, some people play both of these bets simultaneously thinking that it reduces the house advantage to zero because every play will be a tie. Actually, the opposite is true, because a 12 loses the Pass bet and pushes the Don’t Pass bet, the house advantage (NOT including ties) is 100%. In other words, when you play the system of always placing these two bets (two of the best odds bets in all of organized gambling when played separately), you turn it into the worst bet in all of gambling! This will be discussed below under hedging. A purist might point out that the house advantage including ties is actually a respectable 1.39% using this system. That figure simply shows that your bankroll will last a long time, but you will never win a single bet, so you can’t even dream of winning. So I think it’s fair to evaluate it in terms of the more pessimistic figure. I submit that this is a betting system that is much worse than most based on the presumed goal of winning as much as possible (as opposed to losing slowly).

  2. Place equal bets, multiples of $6 each, on both the six and eight.

    Place equal bets, multiples of $6 each, on both the six and eight.

    More interesting is a case (which can also be called a system) in which playing two bets simultaneously in a certain manner results in a lower house advantage. A place bet on the six or on the eight is well known for having a vig of 1.52% (calculated as ((5/11)*7+(6/11)*(-6))/6). However, when you play a place bet on the eight simultaneously and meticulously put both bets up at the same time and remove them both when either wins, the house advantage is only 1.04% (calculated as ((10/16)*7+(6/16)*(-12))/12)!

  3. Anything but Seven

    Anything but Seven

    Another similar case occurs with the so-called Mensa Anything But Seven system. You place a one-roll bet for $22 ($6 each on the place 6 and 8, $5 on the field, and $5 on the place 5). The house advantage on this bet (verified here) is only 1.136%, less than any of the individual bets placed separately.

The last two cases are fascinating, but to be perfectly candid, the effect on house advantage is somewhat of an illusion. In both cases, a combination of bets allows us to win on average in fewer rolls of the dice, and then take down other bet(s) that will no longer be in jeopardy. In effect, we’re getting the decrease in house advantage by decreasing the time that the bets are at risk. If you examine the returns of the individual bets over time, they still exactly correspond to the known house advantages. It’s a matter of interpretation, but you can at least make a case that these betting systems alter the house advantage in a way that could be favorable to the player. At the very least, complexities like these help make investigating craps betting systems interesting. But in the end, you are ALWAYS left with the same conclusion, that the house advantage of every bet is firm and unbeatable, and no system can ever change that. In fact, all you can do by combining bets (hedging) is make things worse.

Hedging

One fundamental truth about craps is that combining any bet with a hedge bet decreases your chances of winning in favor (hopefully) of increasing the average amount of time until you exhaust your bankroll. Example (1) above shows this dramatically, as does the debunking of the No Risk Don’t Come system itself. If for example you have a lot of money on points that will all lose if a seven is rolled, it’s not to your advantage to put a small bet on the seven just in case. In fact, doing so will cost you more money in the end, unless of course you do it only when a seven will be rolled next – but if you have that kind of foresight you can simply win the lottery each week and save the trouble of playing dice at all.

Is there ever a plausible reason to hedge a bet? There are only two I can think of. One is to increase your “action” by having a lot of things going on at once, knowing that you’re paying a price for the added action. The second is a cowardly retreat – this is the real legitimate use of a “hedge”. Suppose you all of a sudden realize that you have so much money bet that you cannot afford to lose. Say you put $1000 on a Pass bet, rolled a point, bet the Odds, added several Come bets with Odds and you now have more money at risk than you can afford to lose. So to avoid financial ruin you put some more money on the seven for every roll. That’s a plausible thing to do but in no way is it smart. [If you ever screw up that bad, you’re better off taking down your odds bets. If there’s still too much at risk, consider swallowing your pride, calling over the floor manager and asking if they will allow you to take down a portion of your bet in exchange for surrendering a portion to the house – I’ve never heard of doing that, but it’s a reasonable request, especially if you’re the only one at the table. Don’t expect to be welcome back, and consider giving up gambling.]

It’s good policy to never hedge bets. In the game of craps that means only playing multiple bets if none are hedged against the others. That means never make a bet that can win on the same roll of the dice that another bet can lose.

There’s a convention you’ll often see on the craps table that helps drive home the importance of avoiding hedging. Many savvy players like to add Place bets when they’re betting “right” (making Pass bets and Come bets as opposed to Don’t Come and Don’t Pass). Place bets, particularly the 6 and 8 are among the better bets you can make provided you place them rather than using the Big 6 and Big 8. But Place bets can carry over to the next Come Out roll because they may not be resolved if the shooter makes the point. Therefore, on the Come Out they could become hedge bets (a seven wins the Come Out but loses the Place bets). You have the choice of declaring that your Place bets are on hold (“not working”) or in effect (“working”) on the Come Out roll. By default the casino will treat your place bets as “not working”, that is if a seven is rolled, on the Come Out, you’ll not lose your Place bets (nor win if the Place number is rolled). If instead you prefer your Place bets to be “working” on the Come Out, you have to ask for it, and the dealers will place a little “working” chip on your bets. If you’ve ever wondered why this is the case, or why “not working” is the default, now you know. Most Place bets are made by right bettors who are also making Pass bets. These are generally smart players and want to avoid this hedging situation, though it’s probably more often due to distaste for have money working against them rather than knowledge of mathematics. But it’s a case where the casino helps you avoid hedging thereby improving your odds without you even having to ask! Some people are understandably suspicious of this and keep their Place bets working out of spite. But the little “working” chip might as well say “sucker” if you’re also betting Pass. On the other hand, if you’re not the shooter and just making Place bets without Pass bets, you’ll probably always want your Place bets working. And there’s a similar case involving your Odds bets and Come/Don’t Come bets that I won’t go into, but also where the conventions of the game help you avoid hedging. The moral, hedging is never smart.

Conclusions

The No Risk Don’t Come system is like all other craps systems of no value to the player looking to gain an edge over the house. Its only value is as a fun way to play that lets you root for sevens to come up (at the cost of not playing optimally). Like most craps systems, it uses hedging and overloading complications to lure you into a false confidence while leaving you at the mercy of the standard house advantages.

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78 Responses to Debunking a Craps System

  1. kent says:

    Sure no combination of bets beats the house edge. But you incorrectly stated the when a point repeats we loose the DC bet. – The DC bet travels to the number on the second roll and is active, it isn’t lost. This must be factored in. Though Doubt the game will favor the player.
    Great job with the math.

    • John says:

      Thanks for pointing out the error. You’re right, I have corrected the wording of the explanation to properly indicate that the DC wager is not lost in the immediately repeating point case. As you point out, the repeating number does become a new Don’t Come point which may end up being either won or lost depending on what rolls follow. It’s the odds bet that is lost before it can be taken down that accounts for flaw. The event table and the calculated probabilities took the case into account properly, so no results or conclusions were affected. The math is easy compared to the descriptions.

  2. Tim says:

    Great job evaluating this system. Even though the system has “flaws”, it still seems like one of the best methods to play craps from the “dark side”. I’ve used this system with good results for a couple of years. I never was smart enough to determine the overall vig for this system (due to the one time lays involved), but it has to be low. My main concern is that my one line lay bet will get picked off when the number repeats.

    • Dan says:

      Hello Tim,
      I also frequently play fom the don’t . I have my own method of play that has treated me well over the years and no, I don’t sell it on the internet…The system described here is much like the one being sold called the DC-7.
      The DC-7 does have variations of play. I personally have never played the system.( I don’t like placing a bet on both sides) I also have a “team” method of play that performs well (also not for sale).Me and a friend of mine play it quite often.
      If interested I would be happy to share it with you.
      Remember…its all about discipline, money management and strict departure rules. All methods, no matter how good, will lose.
      Dan

      • Joel Adams says:

        Please share. Respectfully, Joel

      • Sean Arnold says:

        Hi Dan –
        I know this was a while back – but I have been looking for a good partnership system.
        Thanks
        Sean

      • jeff says:

        there are only a few of us that seem to be tuned into this blog–so feel free to share a method of play here that we may not have considered yet– thanks to any and all who are willing to share

    • Rob Langlay says:

      I’d like to hear your method.

  3. POWinCA says:

    I faithfully believe in everything you’ve stated. No linear combination of wagers with negative expected value can ever result in a positive expectation.

    One factor which almost no one discusses, though, is the variance of wagers – probably because it’s more complicated.

    We know that a risk-averse person wouldn’t accept an unfair bet, i.e. one with a negative expected value. Gamblers are, by their nature, risk-lovers so they will take unfair bets. The degree of their risk-loving nature defines which wagers they will accept and which they will not. In that, they will consider not only the expected loss, but the variance of the outcome.

    For a given level of risk-loving, there is an optimal wager (with a negative expected value).

    What can you say about the variance of different wagers? Are there some wagers among all those with negative expected value which at least give the risk-loving individual a higher probability of session gains? For that matter, why stop at the second moment. Are the distributions of all casino wagers symmetric or are some skewed? Do some have fatter tails (kurtosis)?

    Some pundits (like Gary Carson) have mentioned things like variance, skew, and kurtosis, but NONE of them have ever followed up with any advanced analysis. Apparently they just want to be credited for saying things which sound smart from Chapter 2 of a statistics textbook.

    Also, have you ever examined poker? At first glance it would seem that in the meta-game of opponent selection, it’s indeed possible to find someone who will surrender their money to you for fun. The only evidence you need is people handing money to beggars on the streets.

    I have played poker for 20 years and I have difficulty believing that in an infinite game of incomplete information, there would ever be a winning strategy, especially with the rake. In particular, I lost a lot of money playing tight and aggressive before I learned the books weren’t worth the paper they were written on. I also have my doubts about the ability of people to read tells consistently. My explanation for the seemingly stellar performance of so-called “pros” is that they play a LOT of tournaments funded by sponsors and have non-poker income to keep them afloat.

    • John says:

      Good points, completely agree. There’s the variance in the wager amounts themselves and in what some call the volatility of the bet. What bets a gambler will take or prefer is largely a matter of psychology – their thirst for risk and the level of positive feedback they require to keep betting. Too long a drought, no matter the probabilities of the bets, and they’re likely to quit. Good poker players seem to have a feel for that aspect, moreso even than they do for the probabilities of the hands.
      I played pool for 25 years and it’s similar. There’s certainly an art in the ‘metagame’, ‘making’ a game that looks attractive to the wagerer but is unfavorable. The actual probability of the outcome is a relatively minor part of the equation. And IMO very little of a proven successful strategy could be articulated in a book. And that’s not because it’s mathematically obscure or mystical in any way. I feel it’s because it’s a matter of picking up on little cues that matter, having a good feel for how much they matter, and knowing how they affect the player when mixed with everything else going on. For example, it’s easy to say that a player who just won a huge bet will be a bit looser with his betting than a player that’s on a prolonged losing streak. But just being aware of that is of little value without the wisdom and experience of knowing how and when to use it to your advantage. Recently (sorry lost the link) poker playing robots have achieved a surprising level of success against humans by recognizing a player’s personality type (one of just four or five different models) and playing optimally against it, adjusting as it changes.
      Aside from personality and psychology, I suspect you’re also right that more advanced statistical techniques would reveal measurable affects of the sort you imply. I’ll bet they’ve been done, but the results are buried in scientific journals rather than in statistics textbooks.

  4. Dan says:

    Hello,
    I do believe one can win more than one loses with the use of skillful money management and strict departure rules. Yes the house has the edge at all games, but by including loss limits per session and strategies to employ when you are in a winning trend, these advantages can be altered. Your calculations and evaluations do not account for this and never could.
    “You got to know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em.”

    • John says:

      Money management systems cannot affect wins or losses an iota UNLESS you have some foreknowledge of the future, which is something I dismiss entirely and do not enter into my analysis. For example, you cannot know when you are ‘on a winning trend’. Such a trend is just a way of looking at what has already happened. Beliefs in streaks, trends, laws of averages, luck “turning” etc. amount to what’s known as the “gambler’s fallacy” which I allude to but which is better explained any number of other places. It’s very common for people to think that they can look at what has happened or what they perceive ‘is happening’ and draw some conclusion about the future (the next roll), but it is entirely impossible unless the equipment is rigged or flawed. The actual odds, as reflected in the properly calculated house advantages, are the only accurate information we can ever know about future outcomes. This has been demonstrated time and again without fail. It may not seem intuitive, but that’s because we’re not computers and we’re not ‘built’ to understand hard cold randomness, but rather to look for and intuit patterns. Casinos make their fortunes (in negative expectation games) by exploiting that ‘humanness’. Your point would be very well taken with regard to non-negative expectation ‘games’. In other words, money management techniques are truly useful and can be profitable in investing for example, or running a casino for that matter, or card-counting at blackjack under favorable conditions. But when the odds are not in your favor, such techniques can only help by controlling how to ‘spread out’ the disadvantage. If you’re ever UP overall, you can resolve to quit negative expectation gaming forever and beat the odds. But there’s no guarantee that you’ll ever be up. And the more you play, the less likely it is to ever happen. You can concentrate ever-increasing risk to chase after that elusive UP (as in the Martingale system), but only by risking disproportionately more and more. It’s not that you can’t win, it’s that the odds are against you and ‘systems’ based on how or when you make bets can’t change those odds. There’s a Nobel prize, an Ames Prize, infinite wealth, and the satisfaction of bringing down all of organized gambling to anyone who can demonstrate otherwise. I presume you view my assertions as simply differing opinion which is fine and understandable. But consider what it might take to convince you, and see if you can find that proof – it’s out there. Thanks for the comment.

  5. Dan says:

    Hello again, I reread your above article and I do agree and disagree with you on certain points. I do agree “dice have no memory” and that being said I disagree with your calculations of a “point” number repeating itself on back to back rolls of the dice. How can you combine the probabilities? For instance, if a shooters point is a 4, whats the odds of a 5,6,8,9,10 as a point have anything to do with a 4 repeating on the next roll? How can you combine their odds and increase the odds of a 4 repeating to 1/13? Once the point is established the odds of that point repeating (boomaranging) on the next roll is still its own odds. ie; 4 being 1/144.

  6. John says:

    Hi Dan. I think you misunderstood. Once you have a specific point number, obviously the odds of that repeating on the next roll depends on the number. If you just rolled a 4, the odds or rolling another on the next roll is 3/36, same odds for a 10. If you just rolled a 5, the odds of the next roll being another 5 is 4/36, same odds for a 9. If you just rolled a 6, the odds of the next roll being another six is 5/36, same odds for an 8.

    But lets say you plan to roll the dice twice and you want to know what the probability of rolling two identical point numbers in a row is. You find the probability of mutually exclusive events by adding the probability of each – basic law of probability. So the probability of rolling two identical point numbers in a row equals the probability of rolling a 4 then another 4 PLUS the probability of rolling a 5 then another 5 PLUS 6-then-6, PLUS 8-then-8, PLUS 9-then-9, PLUS 10-then-10. P=(3/36)+(4/36)+(5/36)+(5/36)+(4/36)+(3/36)= 0.07716 which is about 1 in 13. If you’re not convinced, it’s very easy to verify. Make an event table with all the possibilities. The first roll has 36 possible outcomes. The second roll also has 36 possible outcomes. So rolling twice there are 36*36 or 1296 possible outcomes. 9 of those are 4,4. 16 of those are 5,5. 25 of those are 6,6. 25 of those are 8,8. 16 of those are 9,9. 9 of those are 10,10. So of the 1296 possible events, 9+9+16+16+25+25=100 of those are repeating point numbers. 100 outcomes out of a possible 1296 is 0.07716 or about 1 in 13. And if you’re still not convinced, write a computer program to randomly throw two dice twice in a row and track how often the result is repeating identical point numbers. The result after running it long enough will be 0.07716.

  7. Dan says:

    Dude….you play very similiar to me…you appear to have a nice style of play….won’t make thousands on one shooter like the rare pass bettor but you will definately see alot of players come and go while you play….

  8. Jim says:

    In your #2 illustration about placing bets on six and eight, I got confused in the second suggestion. “…when you place a bet on the eight and..put both bets up at the same time and remove them both with either win…” Could you explain that in a different way? Are you making only one initial bet on eight?

  9. John says:

    Hi Jim, if you play say $12 and instruct the dealer to put $6 on the place six and $6 on the place eight and leave both up until they both lose or either wins. It’s exactly as if you made a new kind of bet in which you bet $12 that a six OR eight comes up before a seven, in which case you win $7, or lose $12 if the seven comes up before either. The new combined bet has lower vig (simply calculated almost as good as pass) than either place bet alone, but as stated it’s an illusion due to how it resolves in fewer rolls on average, i.e. greater ‘volatility’.

  10. James Pinke says:

    Dan, After reading your analysis of pass don’t pass which John Patrick calls the “Patrick System,” you’ve convinced me that his system doesn’t work very well. I have personally experienced numerous times. In fact I think I’ve tried just about everything, except playing pass line with full odds and two come bets with full odds – which John Patrick doesn’t think is optimal. I suspect that the come bet system may still turn out to be the best approach. What are your thoughts.

    I would be very interested in learning the system that you are currently using, which you mentioned you would share if I e-mailed you, in your 12/31/09 comments above.

    Thank you. James R. Pinke

  11. jay says:

    Fascinating,
    Have you ever heard of Titanic Thompson’s Craps system. I won’t bore you with why. But even though I’m skeptical about using the system I have a bet about whether anyone can tell me what it is.
    Jay

  12. John says:

    Hi Jay, good bet. Titanic Thompson’s worth reading about. He knew something about gambling that precious few seem to accept, that you can’t win by the rules designed for the game. No, haven’t heard of his rumored craps system, but you can also bet that (a) it won him loads of cash, and (b) it involved cheating or trickery of some sort. I understand he was widely known for using his masterful slight of hand to introduce crooked dice into a game. Can’t beat the odds, but you might be able to change them. I suppose someone could claim to know his craps ‘system’ and sell it to the gullible. I seriously doubt he could get past the security measures in modern casinos, at least for long. But he impressed Houdini, so who knows?

  13. milton tein says:

    hello from atlantic city.
    how does it feel to lose 400 g’s??

  14. Doug Barch says:

    Hello, I really enjoyed reading your article and the reply’s. In a response to Tim on December1,2009 you stated that you had a method of “team play” that you and a friend of yours plays. I would love to hear about this if possible. Any other tips would be greatly appreciated! Do you play Baccarat? Thanks!

  15. milton tein says:

    hi doug,
    94% of streak patterns are 4 or less in length.
    you can devise an up and down ladder with that knowledge.

    • John says:

      You can define a streak in an infinite number of ways. Then you can determine both statistically and empirically (by trial) how long or often they occur on average. Yes, you can devise strategies around that knowledge. But all the real knowledge you can ascertain is just another way of looking at the hard real probabilities of the dice and rules. You will always come up with reflections of the true odds, and ALL systems (not just all known, not just all ever used, but ALL that ever WILL exist!) are subject to the identical house advantage and will lose accordingly. It’s fun to consider, but the result is always another way to lose at the same rate as everyone else.

  16. John says:

    Hi Louie, thanks for the comment. Yikes that’s serious dough. I don’t play very much anymore other than with friends and charity events, and I usually just play a standard pass line game with odds and a come number. It’s a smart way to play, and because it’s “right” you get the added fun of being on a high when most other players are. Casinos have really come to bug me. It’s a legalized scam, a way for smart people to take from those who either don’t get it, or for some reason want to play an unfair game. You can tell by the comments here and throughout the Wizard of Odds site that people just can’t/won’t accept the hard reality that they’re playing a rigged game, that can be won only by out-cheating the cheaters. I can gamble at pool or bags or scrabble or chess or any number of other games that I’ve developed a skill at, and I can usually win – even then, I’m meticulously fair and won’t take someone’s money if I know I have a significant advantage. In those games too, where I usually have a monster advantage, everybody thinks they have a chance, even when I tell them otherwise. Human nature I suppose, both to take advantage, AND to be taken advantage of!

  17. MILTON STEIN says:

    just a comment?
    we are not changing any house advantage.
    with the right patience and betting very cautiously
    and quitting at the right time, you are a winner.

    • John says:

      ..with the right patience and betting cautiously and quitting when you are up a million dollars, your are a millionaire. What’s missing for that to be a viable winning strategy is a way to GET AHEAD by one betting unit or a million dollars. Against a house advantage, it will cost you on average more than you stand to gain to get up that much. The higher you set your sights, the more vanishingly unlikely reaching the goal is, and the more it will cost you. But even getting ahead by $5 will on average cost you more than $5 in losses. That’s just the tragedy of playing against a house advantage. There are money management methods designed to improve your chances of getting up by $x by risking $y (such as the Martingale but there are better ones), but in order to have a realistic chance of ever getting up by $x, x has to be s small fraction of y. That kind of chasing losses so you can eventually quit while ahead is the cause of all ruinous losses. I’d go so far as to say that this idea that you are expressing is THE most dangerous misconception gamblers have, related to, but even more disastrous than the Gamblers Fallacy a.k.a. Law of Averages. e.g. “my luck has to eventually change, I’ll just keep playing cautiously until I happen to get up enough to break even, then I’ll quit” must be the single most costly thought any gambler has ever had. But if you could somehow manage to get in a game where you have even a tiny advantage (impossible in craps without cheating), then that worst thought ever, becomes very reasonable. Only thing is, if you’re in a ‘positive expectation’ game, you don’t need any strategy at all, just play, play, play, and win, win, win.

      • MILTON STEIN says:

        HI JOHN,
        ENJOY YOUR COMMENTS.
        IN ATLANTIC CITY AT THE RAPID ROULETTE GAME THE MINIMUM IS $3.00,
        PLAYING JUST RED AND BLACK AT MINIMUM BET, GO UP .50 WHEN LOSE AND GO DOWN .50 WHEN WIN.
        AT SOME POINT YOU WILL BE A WINNER IF YOU HAVE ENOUGH PATIENCE…

      • Thomas says:

        Only thing is, if you’re in a ‘positive expectation’ game, you don’t need any strategy at all, just play, play, play, and win, win, win.

        I know you don’t mean that. Money management is extremely important when you have an advantage. The Kelly Criterion is a start, but most serious gamblers will bet 1/3 to 1/2 of that amount.

        Craps is about the only game you can’t win without cheating. Poker, backgammon, chess are all games of skill. Ponies, sports and roulette are beatable with the right kind of knowledge. Even the stock market can be beaten, although there you’re up against really smart people who also cheat.

        Before off-track betting, there were methods that would allow a bettor to win big (risks included compound fractures). Before computers, there were methods that worked well with football. Now, it’s tough to find an edge, but, with patience, it’s still possible.

      • John says:

        Thomas, I won’t dispute your point that even in a positive expectation game, money management is wise and can be important in maximizing profits. The Kelly Criterion as you correctly point out certainly helps illustrate that (as is a fascinating subject). But even with poor or non-existent money management skills it would be next to impossible to lose a positive expectation game. If some otherwise dim-witted individual came upon a way (which is not possible) to play craps with a positive expectation and not cheating, he or she could conceivably still go bust by subjecting himself to too great a risk by endangering too much of his bankroll at once, but even then, he’d have no trouble at all getting backers to replenish his bankroll. I’d love to have that problem 🙂 As for the stock market, I don’t think the problem is the smart people, nor even the unique advantages that professionals and insiders have over the ordinary joe. I think the problem is the massive and growing influence of the dumb people who add greater volatility based on hype and superstition and therefore decrease the value that sound knowledge of the marketplace, good management and business practices have on a company’s stock and market cap. But the stock market, if ‘played’ conservatively remains a positive expectation ‘game’, and due to the high volatility and almost infinite choices, provides a great illustration of your point about the importance of money management. That’s mostly due to how slowly the ‘game’ plays out. Even if you can safely secure a 5% gain every year, you’re still working against inflation, fees, taxes, and market declines. Having even a 1% advantage at craps would translate to exponentially greater wealth-accumulating power and with it much more buffer from occasional non-optimal money management.

  18. John says:

    Hi Milton,

    Sorry, but that’s just not the case. With that system or any other with a negative expectation game, the more you play, the further you get behind. Roulette in US casinos where there is a 0 and 00 has a whopping (bad) 5.26% house advantage, some ten times or more worse than smart craps play! If you can find a European table with no 00, the odds are better, house advantage of 1.35% (see http://wizardofodds.com/roulette) but still well in favor of the house.

    First, you’ll run into the problem that you can’t vary your bet the way you want when you hit the table minimums and maximums. But that’s not so important because varying your bet (in any way) won’t change the fact that you’ll be losing more over time. Quite often you’ll drift further behind. Once you’re far enough behind (won’t take too long), the chances that you’ll get a streak that can bring you back will become astronomical and you’ll be chasing your losses forever as they continue to accumulate. It’s not that it’s a bad way to bet. It’s as good as any. And it gives you some perception of control. But like all systems that do not alter the house advantage (cheating in some way), your losses will fall in line with the expectations of the game over the long run. If you bet $100, $1000, or $1000000 using this system at roulette (same for any system), you will on average lose 5.26% of all money bet which will be $5.26, or $50.26, or $52,600. The more bets you make in any case, the closer your losses will be to exactly those numbers. If you bet $1,000,000 $3 at a time, you’ll almost certainly lose very very close to $52k – the hope of ONLY losing $25,000, let alone winning, betting that way is astronomically unlikely – I could calculate the chances but I won’t bother, they’re tiny. The smaller number of bets, the more the possible results will be spread out away from those numbers, and therefore the higher the chances that the results will actually fall on the winning side. Your best chance to win is to bet once and quit! But of course you’re a bit more likely to lose the one bet than to win it.

    Now I could suggest a slight change to your strategy that would make it successful and indeed would make it assured to always pull you ahead if you’re patient. Instead of decreasing your bet after a win and increasing it after a loss, simply increase it before a win and decrease it before a loss. If you can discover any way to predict the future to even the most slight percentage, we can turn it into a can’t lose system that will make us trillionaires!

    • MILTON STEIN says:

      THANKS FOR THE HUMOUR JOHN,
      HAVE BEEN PLAYING ROULETTE HERE IN ATLANTIC CITY DAILY FOR THE LAST 3 OR 4 YEARS.
      IT’S MY ENTERTAINMENT IN MY RETIREMENT YEARS.
      HAVE BEEN TRYING ALL KINDS OF METHODS AT THIS VERY INEXPENSIVE GAME. PLAYING A 3.00 GAME AND BEING FED A BUFFET EVERY DAY FREE KEEPS ME SMILING.
      OVER THE YEARS I HAVE OBSERVED VERY INTERESTING RESULTS.
      THE MOST INTERESTING RESULTS BEING, MANY TIMES THE .50 ADDED WHEN I LOSE OVERCOME THE LOSES AND
      AND I AM AHEAD WHILE I HAVE LOST MORE TIMES THAN I HAVE WON?
      I PLAY FOR FUN.
      THE SERIOUS PLAYING I HAVE DONE IN MY LIFE HAS BEEN SHADOW COUNTING AT THE BLACKJACK TABLE WITH A GOOD CUT.
      THE LAST FEW HANDS IN THE SHOE I PLAY LF THE POSITIVE COUNT WAS PLUS 10 OR HIGHER.
      I STILL DO THAT OCCASIONALLY WHEN I’M UP TO STANDING FOR HOURS.

      • John says:

        Now those sound like winning strategies!
        I’ve often suggested that some state should legalize gambling but only with NO house advantage. Fair gaming. Bars, restaurants, resorts, coffee shops, and so on would make gaming available to their customers to attract business for their for-profit goods and services. If one state did this, I suspect they’d quickly get most all the gaming business in the country, leaving Vegas, Atlantic City, Indian reservations, and anyone hosting ‘unfair’ games in the dust to become ghost towns. It would be an economic boom for the state that took that leap. It would make gaming legitimate entertainment rather than a racket for smart people to take money from the gullible. And properly enforced and regulated would drive out most of the negative elements that give organized gambling a bad name. Folks like yourself might break even, losing some of the comps but not losing at the tables. And you could play for higher stakes with the added excitement that comes with it, without risking your rent money. It’d be perfect for retired folks and others who do play for fun and social reasons.

  19. MILTON STEIN says:

    hello again john,
    your note had a lot of meaning for me.
    i don’t know how many people read this blog but i would love to hear responses to your wonderful
    idea from some small businesses that would get involved in your venture.
    it would turn the world of casinos upside down.
    what do you think?
    we could put your idea on facebook and twitter.

    • John says:

      It would take some very deep pockets and strong political will to get it going. The ‘unfair’ gaming industry would have everything to lose and would bring to bear billions of dollars and every dirty trick they could muster to prevent it, making it highly risky for a politician to sponsor. It might be the kind of thing that a public initiative could launch prior to receiving support by politicians, maybe with the help of some wealthy backer. Perhaps if a state in a financial bind was looking for an easy fix to raise massive revenue without tax increases. Arizona and Florida would seem like good candidates given large retirement populations and tourism-based economies that are suffering right now. It might even be possible to eliminate income tax in a state that passed a fair gaming bill.

      • Dan Alvey says:

        If there is no house advantage it is not gambling and therefore legal in any state.

      • John says:

        It’s definitely gambling in Arizona regardless of house advantage, and it’s illegal as well. It’s also illegal to possess gambling devices or paraphernalia. I don’t know the laws of every state, but I know there are enough similarities that I suspect it would be difficult, maybe not even possible, to find a state where gambling is legal even with no house advantage (lets say casino-style with slot machines, blackjack, craps, roulette, and so on). If anyone has an informed opinion of where the idea of no-advantage = no gambling would hold-up, I’d be happy to look into it.

      • Dan Alvey says:

        Texas law; No vig = No crime

        § 47.02. Gambling
        (a) A person commits an offense if he:
        (1) makes a bet on the partial or final result of a game or contest or on the performance of a participant in a game or contest;
        (2) makes a bet on the result of any political nomination, appointment, or election or on the degree of success of any nominee, appointee, or candidate; or
        (3) plays and bets for money or other thing of value at any game played with cards, dice, balls, or any other gambling device.
        (b) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that:
        (1) the actor engaged in gambling in a private place;
        (2) no person received any economic benefit other than personal winnings; and
        (3) except for the advantage of skill or luck, the risks of losing and the chances of winning were the same for all participants.
        (c) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the actor reasonably believed that the conduct:
        (1) was permitted under Chapter 2001, Occupations Code;
        (2) was permitted under Chapter 2002, Occupations Code;
        (3) consisted entirely of participation in the state lottery authorized by the State Lottery Act (Chapter 466, Government Code);
        (4) was permitted under the Texas Racing Act (Article 179e, Vernon’s Texas Civil Statutes); or
        (5) consisted entirely of participation in a drawing for the opportunity to participate in a hunting, fishing, or other recreational event conducted by the Parks and Wildlife Department.
        (d) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.
        (e) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that a person played for something of value other than money using an electronic, electromechanical, or mechanical contrivance excluded from the definition of “gambling device” under Section 47.01(4)(B).

      • John says:

        Thanks for posting the Texas gambling laws. I see what you mean. It does look like you can run casino-style gambling there as long as there’s no house advantage in any of the games. Maybe someone will try it if they haven’t already.

  20. MILTON STEIN says:

    i really would love to publicize your ideas.
    need to get a few ideas to do that.
    may try letting the atlantic city newspaper read it.
    after that some newspapers around the country including florida ans arizona.
    see how it develops

  21. Andrew says:

    John,

    I am interested in hearing about the methods of play that you employ/referenced: one on you own and one with a partner. I thoroughly enjoyed reading you analysis. Thank you.

  22. John says:

    Hi Andrew, sorry to disappoint but I rarely play any longer. I prefer games that can be beat by skill or intellect. See my reply to Louie on 8/28/10.

  23. David Sloot says:

    Hi John,

    I would be interested in obtainig the system that you are currently using that is not for sale. I love craps…

    Thanks

    Dave

  24. MILTON STEIN says:

    you may be interested in this determination of the craps game from ERIC ST. GERMAIN,
    HE HAS PUBLISHED MANY GAMBLING BOOKS.
    94.6 % of the streak patterns weather PASS or DON’T PASS are 4 or less in length, with only 5.4% of the streaks being five or longer..

  25. Edward G. Urbonas says:

    Ed Urbonas,

    One thing that seems to be missing in the no risk don’t come strategy analysis is the possibility of the 11 (yo) appearing after the don’t come bet was placed in conjunction with the laying of the odds on the initial don’t pass bet. You would lose the don’t come and be back to basics with the exceptions of the laid odds in their discretionary state. What say?

  26. john says:

    Thanks Ed, nice catch. It’s been a while, but at a glance that does seem to be an omission in the descriptive analysis. It looks like the 11 is properly accounted for in the event table, so the probabilities and odds calculations should hold up. I’ll revise the description when I can.

    • Edward G. Urbonas says:

      Thanks. I plan to review those tables later as I have just printed them out. What great work you do!

  27. cheater says:

    the only way to win in casino is to scam/trickery casino.try to work win the dealer,he gives you more chips than what you put when you win.the guys watching spy camera only see if you win or loss legally,not how much the dealer give you.only the petrols or mystery shopper spys the dealer.

  28. Mr. Comps says:

    No one has taken into consideration the casino “comps”. I know its small (free rooms, food, sometimes cash back, small gifts) but shouldn’t the “comps” be factored in, in some way? Thanks.

  29. Excellent put up, very informative. I ponder why the opposite experts of this sector do not understand this. You should proceed your writing. I am sure, you have a great readers’ base already!|What’s Taking place i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I have discovered It positively useful and it has helped me out loads. I hope to contribute & aid different users like its helped me. Good job.

  30. dwc13 says:

    I agree craps is a negative expectations game. However, that doesn’t mean EVERYONE who plays will have negative results over the long run. While there is anecdotal evidence the population of craps players has an overall negative return over time just as the mathematics suggest, there are undoubtedly some craps players who are just flat-out lucky and manage to have overall positive results even when faced with a negative expectations game. Some people just seemingly manage to buy in and leave the craps table at the right time. For others the dice just seem to turn up roses no matter how seemingly random a roller they are. As the old saying goes, luck trumps all odds. Perhaps that is why so many continue to play craps.

  31. MILTON STEIN says:

    i have been playing this method every day for the last few weeks.. i play very conservatively at the atlantic club in atlantic city. i have a lot of patience and the minimum bets at the crap table is $3.00. i do vary my bet, up 1 unit when i lose and down a unit when i win. it is not a panacia but i am holding my own..

  32. DrG says:

    Great description and table. Any chance of getting the excel spreadsheet??

  33. MILT STEIN says:

    i’ve altered my playing.. lately.. on the come out roll i place $20.00 behind the 4. and also $10.00 on the don’t pass line. if a 4 is rolled i let it play out. usually i get $10.00 back. after the come out roll i take down my don’t 4 and let it play out. if a 6 or 8 is rolled i take down $5.00 . it wins most days but it takes a lot of patience..

  34. John says:

    I’m a little late to the discussion here, but with a Las Vegas trip coming soon, I’m refreshing my gambling knowledge and deciding what/how I want to play this trip.

    The author indisputably proves that the “no risk” system does not give the player a mathematical advantage. Yet I choose to play this system over Pass + 2 Comes w/Odds, which is mathematically superior. Why?

    Craps players love action. If I had unlimited money, I’d bet on every roll of the dice: Pass + Odds and Come + Odds, with some kind of press-as-you-win progression. That’s tons of action, and sooner or later I’d catch a red hot roll and win BIG bucks. But I don’t have unlimited money.

    My biggest short-term wins have come playing only Pass w/Odds, rapidly progressing as I win. I remember once buying in for $50, and within the space of only a few rolls having a $20 + $200 bet on the table (it lost, but since I’d turned my original $50 into about $450 by then, I walked with a $230 +/- profit in only minutes). It was establish point-repeat point-establish point-repeat point, etc. with very few “no result” numbers in between, with a bunch of come-out 7’s and 11’s to help.

    The above doesn’t happen very often, of course. I can also remember an occasion where I was the shooter, made my Pass + Odds bets, then proceeded to throw the dice for something like 20 minutes without repeating the Point. The Place and Come bettors were cleaning up; I was just annoyed. Luckily, this doesn’t happen very often, either.

    I will sometimes choose to play my Pass w/Odds progression (and risk that the dice will roll my way).

    When I want a betting method that that gives me lots of action without risking too much money, I choose the “no risk” system. In my experience, it has low volatility (mathematicians, please verify). I’m never going to make a killing with it (barring the perfect sequence of dice rolls), but neither am I going to blow my buy-in quickly (again, barring the perfect sequence of dice rolls). Sometimes I get the 7 I’m silently rooting for, sometimes I don’t, but I do get both excitement and time at the table.

  35. MILT STEIN says:

    the method i have been playing lately.
    on the come out i bet $5.00 on the don’t pass,
    if the 6 o 8 rolls i take down my bet,
    if a 7 or 11 rolls i add $1.00 to my next bet on the come out,
    if a 4 5 9 10 is rolled i let it play out.
    that is it.
    when my losses are recouped i go back to $5.00 bet,
    very slow and boring, but a winner most days..

    • Edward G. Urbonas says:

      What is your profit target if any and how much do you risk. ie. I break my betting money into seven units. If I am up two units (28.5%) its time to go to the cashier. If I can stand the torture of losing all seven (my complete stake) I am out of there. Since the casino has the positive expectancy I want to get some of that I my side of the table with a profit target that has a good chance of being hit given the back and forth wins and losses at the craps table. Betting don’t come has the numbers slightly on yours side but is depressing when you can not participate in hot streaks on the table. I feel since your going to spend some time there you might as well feel some comeraderie instead of being the bad luck bogey kind of dude waiting for a seven out. I’ve been there though. How much are you up for x years if you can quantify that.

      • MILT STEIN says:

        my target is to just not lose.
        i love the challenge.
        when the laws of probability come into play , i win…
        the odds are always in my favor when the point is trying to be made.
        the idea is to get past the come out roll which is not easy..

  36. jeff says:

    5$ don’t pass then lay 2x odds and place inside #’s (excluding point) for 16,17,22 respectively—first hit reduce lay to single odds; second hit remove lay and let the bets ride

    • Edward G. Urbonas says:

      You mean inside numbers being the 5, 6, 8, and 9? I don’t get the 16,17, 22. Are these payoffs?

      • jeff says:

        sorry i jumped in without much explanation– yes 5,6,8,9 are referred to as inside #’s and using 5$ as base unit for the example then you place 5$ (each) on the 5 and 9 and 6$(each) on the 6 and 8 (for a total of 22$ very common at the tables just tell the dealer 22 inside)–that is,if the point is 4 or 10. if the point is 5 or 9 you leave it off and drop 17 to the dealer and say inside (22-5=17) and likewise with the point as 6 or 8 you skip it and place 16 inside (5$ on 5 and 9 and 6$ on 6 or 8 whichever is not the point) you can also skip the 2x odds lay on 6 or 8 and stay with single odds (reducing volatility a little more, perhaps?)

      • Edward G. Urbonas says:

        So you keep the don’t pass on even after removing the lays.
        Do you have a profit target where you take everything off and start over or do you keep going until you seven out?

      • jeff says:

        if the #’s are rolling i keep going; if shooters are not making it to 5 #’s or so, and if my base unit is 20 (the don’t pass bet before laying odds) then i may pull my place #’s after 3 hits and place the point for 18 on 6,8 or 15 if its an outside #(4,5,9,10) if the table gets warm then leave the do’nt pass and press the inside #’s a few times after the initial hits lock in a profit– i play loosely (no sense betting don’t come if 6 shooters in a row hold the dice for half an hour) on the other hand, if it is so cold that you can’t get 2 or 3 #’s then make 2 don’t come bets after the come out and lay against outside #’s watch the game, do the math, do some thinking, and be flexible

      • Edward G. Urbonas says:

        The major edge your working up to is the ability to hit and have the luxury to take down you inside bets and your don’t come and lay odds bets. The vig on the inside bet is 1.52%, the same as a place on the 6 or the 8. The main thing your getting betting inside numbers is the 3 to 1 odds in your favor (18 to the seven’s 6) which are great other then the fact you take the big hit on the seven. I figure if you exercise those odds and you hit you need to have a profit target where you get out of Dodge. Otherwise the Casino’s positive expectancy will get you. I know what you mean about warm and cold but I’m there for the thrill but I’m also there to go to the cashier and leave with a profit. That makes me feel good equally. Still what your doing is a good variation on the strategy. When I go to the Casino my rules are set as is the maximum I can lose. When I’m there I need to be the executioner and not the planner. This can be hard to do when things go south. If I stick to my program I can usually stay ahead over time.

      • jeff says:

        please share your method(s) thanks i’m trying to fine tune things

      • Edward G. Urbonas says:

        Lately I’ve been placing the 6 and the 8. The casino’s vig is 1.04%. Very low. But I try to bring my odds up on the frequency target which is making 25% on my money or losing my stake on a complete draw down. I keep the 6 and 8 on for two hits and I I take it down thereafter. I start again after a new come out when the points is made. I count a plus one every time a 6 or 8 hits and a negative two if I’M wiped out by the 7. And soon as I count plus 3 (25%) on 14 total units I’m out of there. So if my stake is $252 then I’m placing the 6 for $18 and the 8 for $18. So if I’m up three units that’s $63.00 net or 25%.

      • jeff says:

        that’s good discipline– i like that method –i would maybe drop down to 12 each if they are hitting and go for 3 more hits—-

      • Edward G. Urbonas says:

        That might be good if you can find a $10 table that’s not crowded!

  37. Ansel says:

    Place $18 each on the 6 and 8 (after come out roll) and take one hit and then take down to $6 each …. Take two hits before moving up one unit …. Then two more hits before up another unit …..

    After point is hit take down to a $6 six and eight ….. Rinse and repeat as necessary …….

    If table is $10 minimum then go with $30 six and eight and take down to $12 after first hit ……

    If you loose three setups in a row, leave a $108 or $180 looser …..

    If you win 25% on your money ….. Take at least an hour break and then start again but don’t be a Silly Rabbit, like me, and put your winnings back in the slots …….

    Money management and discipline are the key ….. It is so easy to leave bet up just one more roll ….. Start with a good size bet, depending on your comfort level, and then reduce bet after one hit …….

    You have ten chances to win verses six to loose ….. The seven will come, just hopefully after you’ve gotten your hit …..

    This takes some work for the Dealers so playing the line for the boys will do wonders for your game – remember they are working stiffs like most of us, tip em!

  38. Jeff Furst says:

    I’ve read this system and have a question. I place $10 on Pass Line and $10 on Don’t Passs. Then a Point is made, let’s say 6. I add odds to the DP of $6 and place a $10 Don’t Pass. Next roll is a 10. So I remove my Odds from the Don’t Pass. Now my question, if the next roll is a 10 I lose my $10 Don’t Come, do I place another $10 Don’t Come or do I count that as a loss and wait for the Point or Seven to play itself out and wait for the next come out roll?
    Thanks for your help,
    Jeff

    • MILT STEIN says:

      HI JEFF,
      YOU CAN REPEAT THE DON’T COME BET AGAIN AND ADD YOUR ODDS TO THE DON’T PASS.
      OR YOU CAN WAIT UNTIL THE NEXT COME OUT.
      I HAVE BEEN PLAYING SIMILARY BUT I DON’T BET THE DON’T COME.
      IF A POINT IS ROLLED ON THE COME OUT THIS HAS BEEN MY METHOD.
      A 6 OR 8 LET THE $6.00 ODDS PLAY OUT.
      A 5 0R 9 LAY $6.00, IF IT WINS I LAY $12.00 5 0R 9 THE NEXT TIME .
      WIN OR LOSE I GO BACK TO $6.00.
      4 0R 10 I LAY $10.00 IF IT WINS I GO BACK TO $10.00 ON THE NEXT 4 OR 10. IF IT LOSES I ADD $10.00 ON THE NEXT 4 OR 10 LAY BET. ADD $10.00 on EACH LOSS AND SUBTRACT $10.00 ON EACH WIN.
      THIS HAS BEEN SUCCESFUL FOR ME BUT IT IS TIME CONSUMING AND BORING.

  39. jeff says:

    the choice is yours– are numbers repeating? then back off–or sometimes i like to feed the don’t come until the first loss–it’s not unusual to get behind 3,4,5 numbers and then collect on all when the 7 shows; it’s also a good program if the table is showing lots of craps 4’s and 10’s without too many passes being made

  40. jeff says:

    back to original post– when your bet is in the don’t come box, there are 3 “craps” that can be thrown,1×2 and 2×3 — these negate the yo losses AND the boxcars on the come out– you lose 1/9 x 30$ odds lay when point repeats, and win 20$ don’t come bet 6/5, 6/4, 6/3 when behind the box #’s– if you play properly proportioned bets, and consistently every time, the program is a winner– until, of course, the table warms up, which it will…

    • MILTON STEIN says:

      let me know what you think??
      place a don’t pass bet on the come out roll.
      if it loses
      add $5.00 to the next bet
      if it wins repeat bet
      after each loss go up $5.00
      after each win go down $10.00
      ????????????

      • Rob Langley says:

        I think it’s stupid. Not because of the progression, but last time I was at the casino a guy did 10-15 passes in a row. A variation of that might be to stop after a certain number of passes for the series to wash out and continue.

      • jeff says:

        10-15 passes we should be betting with him by then i like +1 on a loss and -1 on a win the alembert i think is only long term way to get a win i’ve seen 15 7 outs with not many naturals on the come out (if any) so your progression will come back down eventually i never had the bankroll or patience to ride it out for a week — a table can stay warm all night or be cold for a week — i like rob’s advice maybe stop after 3-4 losses and wait for next shooter or find a table where they throw 2 #’s and 7 out and ride it — you can continue the progression from table to table or day to day– just pick up where you left off– if the table warms up and i’ve lost 2-3 bets, i like to place the 6 and 8 or the sister # to the point and the 6 and get 2-3 hits and recoup some/all of the losses then stay if it’s warm or if 2 shooters 7 out go back to the don’ts

      • Rob Langley says:

        Since we’re talking about this and persuing this kind of logic, let me throw a thought out.

        There is a method (that I like, at least in principle) called “Mr C’s craps method”. Al Coggins. You basically wait 2-3 don’t passed in a row and then bet on unit to pass. If that loses, bet 2 units, for a recoup. If that loses, wait, change tables, etc. Or bet one on the 2nd bet to get the unit back.

        The think that I don’t(tm) like about it (aside that it is admittedly slow) is that you lost 3 units on a loss. I present this as background for a thought.

        So what about doing something like that (based on the 3rd and 4th result or something) and do some progression SIDEWAYS, based on that position. In other words you are betting, say, against how many runs of more than 2 don’ts will come in where, if you bet one unit pass for the 3rd decision, and then increase after that.

        What I will say about that specific position is that it could be dangerous because I often see even tables where there are a lot of doubles coming in (which is why it isn’t a bad method to begin with)

        Or maybe increase your unit after a loss on that.

        But I’ve never worked it out in my head where I’d feel good about it.

      • Rob Langley says:

        Insidentally, with all the progressions and analysis, and whatnot that I’ve done over the years, my thinking always comes back to that simple formula from Mr C.

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