A hard line on hard ways

Aug 22, 2005 1:26 AM

Most crapshooters know that hard ways have high payoffs — the 6 or 8 pays 9-1 and the 4 or 10 pays 7-1. But hard way numbers (4, 6, 8 and 10) only pay off when two identical numbers are rolled.

For example, if you bet on a hard six, you only win if the combination is 3 and 3. You lose if the combination is 4 and 2, 5 and 1, 2 and 4, or 1 and 5. On a hard eight, you only win if the roll is 4 and 4. You lose if it is 2 and 6, 3 and 5, 5 and 3 or 6 and 2. So, of the five ways to make a six or eight, four are soft ways and only one is hard.

The hard 4 must roll 2 and 2 to win. You lose on 1 and 3 or 3 and 1. The hard 10 must roll 5 and 5. You lose on 4 and 6 or 6 and 4. So, of the three ways to make a 4 or 10, two are soft and only one is hard.

The true odds of the hard 6/8 are 10-1 but the payoff is only 9-1, giving the casino a 9.09% edge. And the true odds on the 4/10 are 8-1 but the payoff is only 7-1, giving the casino an 11.1% edge.

But, since the hard 6/8 rolls once and the hard 4/10 also rolls once, why are the odds different? And if each hard number rolls the same amount (one in 26) as the 2 and 12, why aren’t the odds identical? The payoff for the 2/12 is 30-1. Why don’t the hard ways pay higher?

When you place a bet for the 2/12, it is a one roll bet. If any number other than 2/12 rolls, you lose. Their true odds are 35-1, as they each should appear only once in 36 rolls.

The hard way bets, however, stay up if anything other than a seven or an easy way rolls. Even though a hard number should roll once in 36 rolls, it stays active much more than the 2/12, which is why the payoff is lower.

And the reason why the odds for the 4/10 and 6/8 are different lies in the way the odds are calculated. As stated previously, the 4 or 10 rolls three times, but only one of them is hard. This means that you lose twice and only win once with a hard way bet. The 6 or 8 rolls five times, but only one is hard. This means you lose four times and win only once. This is why it is easier to lose a hard 6 or 8 than it is to lose a hard 4 or 10.

One good use of the hard ways is to protect your lay bets. If you lay the 4 (or 10) for $40 you can also place a hard way bet for $6 as a hedge bet. If the 7 shows, you’ll win $14 ($20 lay — $6 hard way). If the hard 4 rolls, you’ll win $2 ($42 hard way — $40 lay) instead of losing $40. Of course, if the soft 4 rolls, you’ll lose $46 instead of $40, but you’re only risking $6 to save yourself $40 on the hard number, which remember, occurs once in three times.

Other than hedge bets, you should stay away from hard ways — that’s why they call them hard ways — they’re hard to beat!

And, as always, good luck at the tables!