The solution to this puzzle is straightforward. The house advantage for the don’t pass bet is smaller than that for the pass bet. Don’t pass bets technically have a higher chance of winning than pass line bets in craps.
Determine which craps bets have the lowest house edge. If you look around that page for a bit, you’ll notice that the casino has a house edge of about 1.41% on pass line bets and 1.36% on don’t pass bets.
Details of a Pass Bet
In craps, the “Pass” bet is the standard. Those who wager on “Pass” are hoping the shooter will make a 7 or 11 on the “come out” roll. A point is established and play continues if the shooter rolls a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10. Once that number is established, pass bettors are expecting it will show up before a 7. If the come out roll is a 2, 3, or 12, the worst-case scenario for pass bettors has occurred, and all wagers on the shooter have been lost.
Bet Specifics on a Defeat
The opposite of a pass bet is a don’t pass bet. Those who wager “don’t pass” are banking on a 2, 3, or 12 being rolled on the come-out. Those who wager “don’t pass” are banking on a 7 showing up before the requisite time has passed.
Remember that the payout for both of these wagers is a simple even sum. You’re probably wondering why someone would wager the pass line if the payout is the same and the odds are worse.
This is due to three key differences in strategy.
Craps Bets: Right and Wrong
Reading about craps will reveal terms like “right bettors” and “wrong bettors.” Keep in mind that the reverse of a pass line bet is a don’t pass wager. Bets placed on the pass line back the shooter, while bets placed on the don’t pass line back the bank.
Those who place wagers in favor of the shooter are known as “right” bettors, while those who bet against them are referred to as “wrong” bettors. Despite the obvious disadvantage, many individuals would rather wager with the shooter than the other side.
To “seven out” before the point number reappears is the goal of a “don’t pass” bet. Conventional wisdom and gambling custom both suggest that you should side with the shooter if you want to win. It’s a brilliant move on the side of casinos, who subtly encourage their patrons to make wagers that give them less of an edge.
One such argument put forth in favor of the don’t pass option is the fact that people dislike “betting to lose.” A definition, please!
Just think about how craps would change if everyone started playing it with improved don’t pass. Losing would feel the same as winning did before the dice were flipped. Some gamblers are missing out on the excitement of watching a hot shooter in action because they are focused on the wrong things. When a shooter “gets hot,” the audience grows, the betting volume increases, and the money starts to roll in. If you bet the don’t pass line, you won’t be able to participate in any of the action. If “don’t pass” replaced “pass,” the entire nature of the game would shift.
Margin of House Advantage is Slight
Let’s be honest: the margin between passing and not passing is razor thin. Craps players are a specific breed, and they’re not the kind to get worked up over a 0.5% house edge. Blackjack and sports betting players? Absolutely. Shooters of craps? They have a poor reputation for patience and calculation.
The pass line’s popularity can also be attributed to the very small difference in the casino’s advantage between the two wagers. Let’s imagine you see 100 results every hour and stake $5 per round. Your hourly loss rate is almost $7 if you simply bet on the pass line. If you exclusively bet on “don’t pass,” you may expect to lose $6.80 every hour. Most people would gladly pay an extra $0.20 per hour to avoid the ridicule of their tablemates if it meant betting with the shooter.
All of these are strong arguments against placing “don’t pass” wagers. But the reality remains that few are willing to wager against the shooter.
And now for some bonus advice: betting against the shooter is quite acceptable. No one working there will ever tell you that you’re placing your bets in the “wrong way.” No dealer will boot you from the table, and no player can punish you for placing wagers against them. What they can do is make your life difficult by, for example, ignoring you or treating you badly.
Because of this, wrong bettors frequently gamble alone, away from the rest of the audience, with the shooter. All they’re doing is choosing the wager with the highest probability of success. However, the norms of the game dictate that a “wrong” bettor will receive some ribbing from their other players.