Worst bet in craps? According to many experts and seasoned players in craps, these are the proposition bets. And in these bets lies what is called the Big Red, or a wager made on the possibility that a number 7 will be rolled out next. This will be determined after the immediate next roll of the dice. If a 7 is rolled out, then you will be paid with 4:1 odds, but if other number results in the dice roll, then your bet is lost.
There are 36 possible number combination after rolling a pair of dice. And out of these, only 6 combination will result to 7. Thus, the ratio of other numbers to a 7 appearing in one dice roll is 30:6, or if reduced to lowest terms, it should be 5:1, which means 5 dice rolls out of 6 will result to other numbers, while only one roll will result into 7. But almost every casino pays out the Big Red bet at 4:1 odds, which is worse than the true 5:1 odds. That is, the experts really have reasons to advise that the Big Red is a very bad bet to make in craps.
Interestingly enough, I’ve come across an article by Larry Freiwald in AhCraps.com that contradicts this advice from most experts. Actually, he stated that the Big Red has the greatest money-making potential in the game of craps, despite of it being the most misunderstood and under-used betting strategy in craps. Following is a very brief summary of his article.
The number 7 has the highest probability of showing up in any dice combination, and it also offers the highest profit for money risked when 7 shows up. Let’s say your aim is to earn $20. In the pass line, you have to risk the same amount just to earn it. In Lay bets, you have to risk either $40 (for Lay 4 or 10), $30 (for Lay 5 or 9), or $24 (for Lay 6 or 8 ) just to get $20! But in the Big Red, you just have to risk $5 to win $20.
While the experts constantly say that it is a “should never be made” bet because of a very high house edge of 16.67%, most players would never understand what this house edge is, and if they do, they will find out that all kinds of bets in any casino game have some certain house edge, then it is not unusual for most players to consider that the casinos are just designed to take your money.
Should this house edge be the criteria for evaluating whether a bet is good or bad to make? “NO”, because this house edge is only valid in the “Law of Averages”, and it is not applicable in the real world because we only play craps in short-term bases, and the odds have to be averaged over the long-term.
To explain what the experts mean when they say that the house edge is too high, let’s pretend that we are in “Planet X”, a place where the odds will always work out in time exactly as they are. You are playing craps on a Planet X casino, you only have a bankroll of $10 and you wager exactly $1 on the Big Red at every roll. On the first 5 rolls, you will lose a total of $5, and on the 6th roll, where it is guaranteed that a 7 will be rolled out, you will only win $4, because the casino pays you at 4:1 odds. The extra $1 now goes to the casino. Thus, your total money after the first cycle of 6 rolls will be $9 (the remaining $4 plus the returned $1 bet plus the $4 you won), and the casino is guaranteed to take $1 out of your bankroll at every 6-dice-roll cycle. On the fifth cycle, you will only have $5 on your bankroll. Since the first five rolls will just result in to any number and you bet all your $1 coins on each roll, then you will have nothing to bet for the sixth roll in which you are guaranteed to win. Thus, you’ll go home a loser.
But if you decided that you have to hold back (meaning, not to bet) for 2 dice rolls after a 7 showed up, then start betting $1 each on the third up to the sixth roll, then you will be guaranteed to go home a winner! Why? Because you only have to spend $3 ($1 each for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th roll) for winning $4 on the 6th dice roll. Thus, at every cycle, you will take $1 from the casino’s money until they run out of funds and shuts down. Actually, Planet X (where everything is perfect) is not a good place to invest for a casino, because all players would only be guaranteed to lose, break even, or win depending on what strategy they use. The casino has to depend on only the complete stupidity of the players just for the business to survive, and not on the house edge.
Back in reality, the craps house edge of the Big Red in Planet X works out differently. The number 7 can either be rolled out very often or very rarely at a period of time, but not on a perfect schedule of once in every 6 dice rolls. This unexplained phenomena is termed as a TREND, and if you take advantage of the opportunity of betting on the Big Red while the number 7 is almost showing up every time, you as an individual short-term craps player will go home as a winner, and the casino has no “edge” over this opportunity.
As a player, you have to understand that you can either win or lose depending on the trend, not on the house edge. This trend is very important to you as an individual short-term craps gambler, but matters not to the casino. What is important to the casino is the house edge which does NOT apply to an individual player. Given enough time, the casinos will “even out” over the “ups” and “downs” of the trends and will work out perfectly based on the prediction of the “Law of Probability”. It is possible for the casino because they are involved in ALL dice rolls in a craps table, as well as in ALL actions made at every casino game 24 hours a day, as long as they are in business. But it is impossible for you to stay betting on every roll in that long-term period, and if you even bet on Big Red at every dice roll, you will just end up losing, similar to what happens in “Planet X”. Thus, the house DOES NOT HAVE an edge over you as an individual, short-term craps player because of the TRENDS that defy the perfect odds!
And there you have it, the article written by Larry Freiwald about the Big Red bet. Actually, the article discusses more on why we should not rely on the house edge as a factor to determine whether a bet is good or bad to make at the craps table. And Big Red happens to be the bet with the highest house edge of all. Well, I recently posted an article about the best bets to make in craps, and now I think I should add the Big Red bet to the best bets in craps. It all depends on you whether you would accept the concept of betting on any 7 as one good bet or not. What do you think?