Craps: Hedge Bets
by Frank Scoblete
There is a way to win 83.33 percent of all your decisions at craps by using what is called a hedge system. This method concerns betting the Field (the numbers 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, and 12) along with Place bets on the 5, 6 and 8. Doing this covers 30 of the 36 possible outcomes of a craps roll – an 83.33 percent success rate! Let’s see how this can be useful for a $10 bettor. Our Field Hedger bets $10 on the Field, $10 on the 5, and $12 on the 6 and the 8 for a total wager of $44. Any time one of our Field numbers hits, we win $10, except on the 2 and 12 where we win $20, paying off at two to one. However, when the 5 hits, we win $14 but lose the $10 Field Bet for a net win of $4. When the 6 or 8 rolls, we also have a net win of $4 on each number. We again win $14, but lose $10. In 36 rolls that perfectly reflect probability, the Field Hedger will win and lose as follows: Total Win: $212 *(2 to 1 payoff) So far this system looks great. However, the clinker comes with the appearance of the evil 7. On the six occasions when the “devil jumps up,” we will lose all of our bets – $44 times 6 = for a loss of $264! So, this hedging system costs the player $52 for a completed sequence of wagers in the long run. Yes, you will win 30 decisions and lose only six decisions, but those six losses will kill you.
Field hedges are poison ivy for the craps player. Avoid them. The Doey-Don’t, like all hedge systems, increases the house edge on the player. Strictly speaking, a Pass Line bettor will win 244 decisions and lose 251 decisions for a house edge of approximately 1.41 percent. However, if such a bettor decides to go the Doey-Don’t route, he will lose one out of every 36 come-out rolls for a 2.78 percent house edge – almost twice as much. In fact, unless the player takes or lays odds on the “Do” or the “Don’t” respectively, there is no possible way to win a Doey-Don’t bet. Is this the best way to play the Odds game, all other things being equal? No, it isn’t. At a 5X odds game, for example, taking full odds on the Pass Line bet sees the house edge at a low 0.326 percent. The house edge employing the Doey-Don’t style of betting is 0.528 percent. That’s the difference between losing 33 cents or losing 53 cents per $100 wagered.
Mathematically there is little doubt the Pass Line bet straight up is better than any hedge bet discussed thus far. However, the Doey-Don’t coupled with the 5-Count is not a mathematical betting system so much as a system for finding shooters who are reducing the appearance of the 7 (these are called rhythmic rollers.) If the occurrence of the 7 is reduced, the motivation for betting Pass (or Come) is reduced as well, since three-fourths of the Pass Line’s power comes from the six appearances of that come-out 7. With a reduction in the appearance of the 7, and a subsequent increase in the appearance of point numbers, the Doey-Don’t can become the preferred way to bet. Is this a controversial claim? Certainly. Do I believe it? Yes. In strictly mathematical terms, the Doey-Don’t is no better than any other hedge I’ve discussed – can’t answer in the affirmative: “Will I lose less using this method?” Good luck rolling the dice!