Nearly everyone has heard of the guys who went to Las Vegas and bet their life savings on a single bet at a Roulette table. Aside from the more public cases of big winners and losers there are likely many, many others who bet it all or bet big. Statistically these types of bets will lose in the long run and gamblers who tempt fate too often will invariably walk away with empty pockets. So why take these types of chances? Simply put, "house edge" is a long term concept. In the short term, anything can happen - including that big win.
So how does "anything can happen in the short term" translate into a craps strategy? Well it doesn't, but it does give us an opportunity to demonstrate short term variability at work and show some some more extreme examples of a "winner takes all" approach. In our first craps strategy article, we talked about how bringing enough cash to the table and making conservative bets takes better advantage of the low house edge in craps. The opposite is also true: Making a small number of large bets can result in a very large win or loss in a short period of time. Let's look at a few examples.
For those considering "betting it all" on Roulette, the Field (2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12) is a roughly equivalent single-roll craps bet that typically pays 2:1 on 2, 3:1 on 12 and 1:1 on all other numbers. At 5.56%, the "house edge" is roughly the same as betting Red or Black at typical American Roulette tables. Your chance of winning on a single roll is roughly 44.4%. It's a little lower than Roulette at 47.4%, but you also have a chance to double or even triple your money depending on the roll.
Also like Roulette, sessions of bets on the Field will ultimately bleed you out. To offset this we're using the Martingale strategy whereby you double your previous bet everytime you lose.
Using our craps simulator we bet the $50 on the field with $1,000.00 cash to start and the Martingale strategy selected. We're going to walk away after 1 hour or if our balance hits $3,000.
In the first run, we ended up with $3,200 in 20 minutes of play. After 100 runs, the average ending cash was $1,106 and we tripled our money in 25 out of 100 runs. In 4 of those runs we walked away with greater than $4,000. In the simulations that ended in a loss, we typically left with about $500. The simulator quit when we could no longer afford to keep doubling the bet. View the results of this simulation here.
If you've read our article on playing odds in craps, you know that the house edge on an odds bet is zero and many players use odds as a strategy to reduce their house edge in craps. Placing odds doesn't increase your chances of winning, but it does act as an incentive to back up your passline bet which can pay off nicely on a win. Most casino's pay 3-4-5x odds, but there are several that allow 10x and some that even advertised 100x odds. The house edge on a passline bet is only 1.41% and the probability of winning is very close to 50%. The payout is 1:1 on the original passline bet and the odds payout is dependent on the point, but is at least 6:5
Example 1 (100x Odds):
Using our craps simulator we bet the $10 on the passline and when a point was set we place the maximum odds allowed. At a 100x table this is $1000. Since we need $1,000 for odds on the point we're going to start with $3000 and walk away if our balance hits $9,000.
In the first run, we turned our $3,000 into more than $10,000 in 36 minutes. After 100 runs, the average ending cash was $3,406 and where we lost, the loss was typically about $2,000. In 26 of 100 runs we cashed out with more than $9,000. In another 11 of 100 rounds we walked away with a profit, but hit our 1 hour limit. Rarely did we leave with nothing since the since the simulator stopped when we didn't have enough cash to play another round with max odds. View the results of this simulation here.
Example 2 (10x Odds):
Since a 10x odds strategy is a little more conservative (and we're all about the big bets in this article) we're going to up our initial bet a little. Using our craps simulator we bet $30 on the passline and when a point was set we placed the maximum odds allowed. At a 10x table max odds bet is $300. We're going to start with $1,000 and walk away if our balance hits $3,000.
In the first run, we turned our $1,000 into $3,160 in 16 minutes. After 100 runs, the average ending cash was $1,018. In 19 of 100 runs we cashed out with more than $3,000. In another 12 runs we made a profit but hit our one hour limit. When we lost we generally walked away with around $300 since the simulator saw that we didn't have enough cash to play another round with max odds. View the results of this simulation here.
The worst bet on the craps table is the Any 7. Though the true odds of rolling a 7 are 5:1, the bet only pays 4:1 giving the house an edge of almost 17% (as bad as a slot machine!). Still we're going to demonstrate the use of this bet and combine it with the Martingale strategy for a little extra crazy.
We started with $1,000 and a $10 bet on the Any 7. We'll stop after one hour or if we hit $3,000. Since we don't want to aggravate our fellow players by betting against the table, we'll only bet the Any 7 on a Come Out Roll.
Using the simulator to test this strategy we ended up with $3,350 after 32 minutes. This was stupid lucky, but it just goes to show how anything can happen in the short term. After 100 games, the median ending cash was $440 dollars, meaning that we typically lost around $560 in 23 minutes. In 15 of 100 rounds we tripled our money or greater. In one round we actually ended up with $6,480. View the full results of this simulation here.
For players who don't want to spend hours trying to squeeze out a lucky round and love the excitement of a hot craps table, we offer these 3 crazy strategies for your entertainment. You can try nearly endless combinations of approaches and strategies with our craps simulator and see how things might work out. You can also re-run the examples above by clicking "run this simulation again" on the results page.
Have questions or want to continue this discussion? Contact us using any of the social media links below.