Friday, March 18, 2005

Gambling: Craps

I don't understand craps. At all. I'm not even going to pretend I do.

The craps table has a more complicated layout than the interior of my computer. There's numbers, pass lines, come lines, fields, don't pass bars, don't come bars. Sometimes you do want to roll something, other times you don't--I'm lost.

Here's what I know about craps: the bet with the lowest house percentage in the casino is a pass line bet in combination with a free-odds bet. The house PC on this is less than 1%.

Other bets, particularly the ones in the center off the layout, have a PC of 10% or higher--they'll bring you down fast.

And remember--even though this is where your best odds are, that's just your best odds of keeping the money you came in with. Those bets pay even money, so they're not bets you're going to make a million dollars off of in one shot. You'd have to hang around the table a while, and the longer you hang around the table, the more you're going to find your results lining right up with the odds the laws of probability dictate you should get--in this case, still losing about a buck for every hundred you play. Nice, slow way to lose it, but lose it you will.

That's the way in the casino, the carnival, where ever. The more you can win off of something, the lower your odds of winning it. The better your odds of winning, the less they'll give you in return. (So you paid the guy $5 and he guessed your weight wrong, huh? Enjoy your $2 prize.)

So if you like to throw dice, you could stay home and play Monopoly. You might even learn a little about the cashflow benefits of investing in the process. It comes in a variety of editions, ranging from Disney Monopoly to Star Wars Monopoly to Lord of the Rings Monopoly.

Why try to win a few bucks from a casino when you could win the Empire back from Darth Vader?

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