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Jun

14

2011

Hedge Bets in Craps

Craps players like the idea that there’s a magic combination of bets that will overcome the house edge, a perfect hedge that will guarantee wins no matter what number comes in. There isn’t, but it’s an attractive idea that led to this e-mail exchange:

Q. What do you think of using C&E as a hedge?

A. For those unfamiliar with craps lingo, C&E is shorthand for “craps and 11.” It’s a one-roll proposition that puts half your wager on any craps — 2, 3 and 12 — and half on 11. The house edge on either half is 11.11 percent, and a winner on one half still costs you the wager on the other half.

I don’t recommend using one-roll propositions as hedges against anything. The house edges are too high, and they wind up costing you more money than just letting your main wager fend for itself.

Q. Well, what about yo, just to add a little interest?

A. Ah, that craps lingo again. “Yo,” or “yo-leven,” is gambling slang for the one-roll proposition on 11. There’s the same problem as C&E. The house edge is too high at 11.11 percent.

Q. I like to bet on don’t pass. On the comeout, it works as a hedge. I lose my don’t pass bet if the shooter rolls an 11, but I can win overall if I bet yo.

That’s great, on the two rolls per 36 that the shooter rolls an 11. On the other rolls, it doesn’t work out so well. If you’re betting $1 on the 11, you lose an extra $4 per 36 comeouts. It’s your money, but when I play, I skip the one-roll props.

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