Hybrid Craps Strategies – Do You or Don’t You

Every month I receive newsletters from other gaming education outfits, and it’s always interesting to read their take on the game – just as it is no doubt interesting to them to read what we have to say here on the CrapsFest website. To say we have different philosophies when it comes to betting would be an understatement.

Take, for instance, their system that combines the Doey-Don’t with the Five Count. It calls for the player to make consecutive Pass/Don’t Pass and Come/Don’t Come wagers until the player has five bets established. Then the player takes odds on all of the Come bets and collects as the numbers repeat.
At first glance this appears to be a smart play. But after you put a pencil to it you have to question the perspicacity of the idiot who came up with this idea. It’s clear he does not grasp the difference in real-world math and casino math. And yes, there is a difference.

Take, for example, the underlying concept behind the Doey-Don’t. By playing both Come and Don’t Come bets you reduce the possibility of losing your bet to the two and three craps. Since the twelve is barred on the Don’ts you’ll still lose your Come bet to it. But you pay a great price for that Come bet hedge. You give up your wins on the seven and eleven in exchange for your insurance against two out of three of the craps numbers. That’s where the casino gets its juice. And that’s why this system makes no sense.

When calculating the house edge on any given series of bets you have to consider each bet separately. The house edge on the Pass Line is roughly 1.41%. The edge on the Don’t Pass is about 1.40%. If you run the calculations on the combined Doey-Don’t bet you come up with a house edge of approximately 2.82%. Of course, you then have to take the next step and divide that number by two, since you have two bets. And that brings you right back where you started from – about 1.41% per bet.

The other part of this play I don’t like is the fact that the player is told to take odds on all of the Come bets after the five count. Logic tells us that this idea is inherently wrong. Why? Because it succumbs to another casino-math lie.

The casino math folks tell us that you have a 2-1 advantage on the Come bet. If you are playing Come bets and no Don’t Come bets at the same time then they are correct as far as that one roll is concerned. But once that bet is established we need to consider the rest of the story. We no longer have a 50/50 chance of winning the Come bet as the “2-1 advantage” statement implies. Why? Because the 2-1 advantage they are talking about is comprised of twelve combinations of the dice that add up to two, three, seven, eleven, and twelve. There are twenty-four other possible outcomes that the 2-1 casino math mis-direct ignores. To get the full story you have to consider what happens to the Come bet once it travels to a point. After the Come bet is established it loses roughly two out of three times. Your 2-1 advantage turns into a 3-2 disadvantage. So why take odds on the Come bet after the five count as the math midget who came up with this play suggests? That’s an excellent question.

Remember, the casino has the advantage over every bet on the layout, and that includes the Free Odds bet. Why? Because no casino will let you walk up and play a Free Odds bet without making an underlying Pass/Don’t Pass or Come/Don’t Come bet. Your Free Odds bet effectively reduces the house edge on those wagers, but it does not eliminate it.

The biggest obstacle the Come bet faces is the seven, not the two, three, or twelve as suggested by the promoter of the Doey-Don’t play. It’s what happens once the bet is established that really hits the player in the pocketbook. Winning one Come bet doesn’t do the player a heck of a lot of good if the seven that produced that winner knocks off three other Come bets with odds.

Is there a place for the Doey-Don’t strategy in your game. Perhaps, as long as you remember that the house edge is still built into that play. But given the choice of a 1.41 vig on the Come bet and a 1.40 vig on the Don’t Come, which of these wagers should you invest your Free Odds in? Considering that the Don’t Come bet is going to win two-out-of-three times on average once it is established I think the answer is obvious.

Want to get more out of your game? Learn to do your own math. But remember, most betting systems look much better on paper than they do in the casino. Before you head to the casino determines your advantage based on your skill level and the house edge on the various bets – then play YOUR game, not someone else’s.