Let’s say you are playing a random game at a casino, meaning you are solely relying on luck to win. Given that as the underlying basis, what is the best bet you can make? In short, it is the bet that gives you the best shot to win some money.
Obviously, no one would pick the slot machines, as almost all of those have edges ranging from around 2 percent (a rare occurrence) to around 10 percent (a normal edge), all the way up to around 17 percent (those giant progressives). Play the slots and you’ll need outrageous luck to get in on any of the fortunes from those machines.
Would you play roulette, where the house edge is 5.26 percent on the double-zero wheel or 2.7 percent on the single-zero wheel? Roulette is a slot game, but those edges are still way too high to make this the best bet you can make.
How about all those carnival games such as Three-Card Poker, Four-Card Poker, Let It Ride and Caribbean Stud? These games are fast, and all of them have house edges at, about or above 2 percent. So I say no to these.
What about one of my favorite games, Pai Gow poker? If you can’t afford to bank the game, which can sometimes give you an advantage, the house edge is about 2.6 percent. But the game is slow, and you get to make decisions on how to play your hand. So this game is a possibility because of its pace.
How about blackjack, the most popular table game in the casino? Playing perfect basic strategy gives the house a mere one-half percent edge as long as you don’t play the games that pay 6 to 5 on blackjacks or games that severely limit the choices you can make. This is another possibility.
However, all the possible best bets are no comparison to a simple bet at the game of craps called the Pass Line (or its twin, the Come bet) with odds, which is a separate bet that has no house edge.
Once you place the Pass Line bet, the house has a 1.41 percent edge — higher than blackjack, lower than all the other games. Once a number has been established as the point, the Pass Line bet can have odds placed on it — some casinos allow two times the amount of the Pass Line bet (2x odds) and that reduces the house edge to around .61 percent. If the casino allows three times odds (3x odds), the house edge drops to .47 percent. If the casino allows 5x odds bets, the house edge goes down to .33 percent and with 10x odds the house edge is just .18 percent.
That’s the first ingredient in why this is a great bet — the low house edge.
The second ingredient is the fact that your bet is not being decided on every roll of the die. If your number is a 6 or 8, the bet is decided 11 times out of 36 possible combinations. If your number is 5 or 9, your roll is decided a mere 10 times for every 36 combinations, and if your number is a 4 or 10, you face a very low 9 decisions for every 36 combinations.
What does that mean? It means simply that the game is slow when you bet the Pass Line with Odds. You face less than a 33 percent chance of winning or losing with each roll of the dice.
By the way, the Come bet works exactly the same way as the Pass Line bet and has exactly the same odds of winning and losing.
If you are the type of gambler who does not want to get an edge at craps by learning a Golden Touch-controlled throw, the next best thing is to make the lowest house edge bets, and the lowest of these is the Pass Line with odds. It is also a bet that is not decided on every roll.
Frank Scoblete, the No. 1 best-selling gaming author, is director of Golden Touch advantage-play seminars in dice-control. Websites: www.goldentouchcraps.com and www.scoblete.com. His newest book is “The Virgin Kiss and Other Adventures!” Other recent books are “Golden Touch Dice Control Revolution!” and “Golden Touch Blackjack Revolution!” To order Frank’s products or free brochure, call (800) 944-0406.