I remember in the late seventies when I saw a casino’s billboard that said; "You don’t lose on craps on the come-out roll." Having then dealt the game of craps for a couple of years, I couldn’t understand how that could be. A few days later I went to that casino and walked up to a dead game. After buying in, I put a five-dollar check on the pass line, picked up the dice and threw an eleven. The base dealer then marked the eleven with his puck. This was my first clue that crapless craps was not going to be the panacea for all of a crapshooter’s woes. I realized that any time you threw a 2, 3, 11 or 12 on the come-out roll: that was going to become your point.
I remarked to the dealer that not getting paid on the eleven was a rip off. He then proceeded to explain how it wasn’t so bad, that I should now consider taking odds on my pass line bet. When I asked him how much the odds would pay, he gently chided me by pointing out that I was a dealer (we can spot fellow dealers a mile away) I should realize that the point of "yo-leven" was a clear cut case of two combinations of eleven (and three) versus six combinations of seven, so my odds would pay 3-1.
He went on to explain that the odds on the two or twelve is 6-1 since there is one winning combination of two or twelve versus the six losing combinations of seven. I then asked if you could place the naturals as well. He said; "Sure, you get 25-5 on the two or twelve and 13-5 on the three or eleven."
I seem to remember leaving with a few extra dollars that day but was not sure what I should have learned from the experience. I knew new games were not generally introduced to give gambler’s better odds than they were accustomed to but I knew that there is a total of four combinations of craps that did not lose on the come-out roll and only two combinations of eleven that did not win.
I couldn’t help but believe that was better. It wasn’t until later that I realized that just because you don’t lose when you throw craps on the come-out roll doesn’t mean you aren’t going to lose eventually to the seven-out. In fact, with odds of 6-1 or 3-1 against you, seven-out is the result the pass line bettor should expect.
I have met many people over the years since then that swear by crapless craps. They love the idea of getting paid 6-1 for their odds when they make a point of "boxcars." It is a game for the optimistic "do" bettor since there isn’t a don’t pass or lay bets or anyway to bet against a number. Since the threat of coming-out on a point of 2, 3, 11 or 12 is an ever-present one, it is much harder for someone to throw a forty-minute hand. But the rewards of doing so are much greater, especially when you take odds.
People often ask me what the house percentage is on the pass line in crapless craps. A few people that have read what the odds are still want me to demonstrate how it can be proved.
6/36 + (1/7 * 2/36)
+ (1/4 * 4/36) + (1/3 * 6/36) + (2/5 * 8/36)
+ (5/11 * 10/36) = .473087
The first fraction is the chances of throwing a seven on the come-out roll. The following fractions are the chances of making the points multiplied times the chance of coming-out on them. To compute house percentage, we subtract the resulting number from one to get .526913. We then subtract the first number from the second and get .053826 or 5.3826%. We can now see that the house percentage is over three times greater than the 1.41% of the pass line on a conventional craps game.
And what of the players that love placing the "extreme outside" numbers of 2, 3, 11 and 12? How much are they paying for the privilege? I have also heard of some crapless craps games paying 11-2 on the two or twelve and 11-4 on the three or eleven, so I will show the house percentage on both as well as the house percentage (HP) on the buy bets when the juice is exactly five percent of the amount bet and collected when the bet is made.
To compute the HP on place bet you divide the difference of what a bet is paid and what it should be paid by the total amount the bettor should have collected if he takes his winning bet down. For example a five-dollar bet place bet on twelve pays $30 and down but should pay $35 and down: 5/35 = .14286 = 14.286%.
So it is easy to see that buying the "extreme outside" numbers is preferable, just as buying the four or ten is on both crapless craps and conventional craps. It is even better in cases where the house rounds the commission down, such as the one-dollar a player generally pays to buy a number for twenty-five dollars.
So you might want to give crapless craps a try, especially if you like taking full odds and making place and buy bets.
(Dale S. Yeazel is the author of "Precision Crap Dealing" and "Dealing Mini-Baccarat." Full color E-books on CD-Rom available for only $20 each (plus tax) at Gamblers Book Shop and Gamblers General Store in Las Vegas. www.geocities.com/lump450).