Review of "No-Nonsense Craps", by Richard Orlyn First of all, the copyright notice on the inside of the frontispiece says that no part may be reproduced except for "brief quotes used in connection with reviews written specifically for inclusion in a magazine, newspaper or website specializing in such reviews." Since I don't think this website qualifies as such, I will be limited to paraphrasing, rather than quoting. What I liked ------------ Right in the introduction, he specifically rejects any ideas about charting tables or making any bets based on past rolls. IOW, he recognizes the totally random, independent nature of each roll of the dice. Secondly, he rejects the idea of setting and influencing the dice to alter the "perfect 36" probability matrix. He does not provide nor recommend any strategies based on "hot" and "cold" shooters or tables. He avoids the common "always take maximum odds in order to reduce the house advantage" line of many books about craps. In his method odds bets have their place, and I will address that later. He points out, in no uncertain terms, that the odds bets do not change the ev at all. The ev of -$.14 on a $10 pass bet remains the same, regardless of odds taken or not, no matter the odds multiple. He does throw out the usual 0.85%, 0.61% overall HA figures for single and double odds, and even 0.02% for 100X odds, but the expected loss is still the same. I haven't seen this in another book. I like his classification of point numbers into first (6/8), second (5/9) and third-tier (4/10) points, based on their decreasing probabilities of being won (from a "right" betting point of view, of course). The distinction is important in his "Table Time Plus" (TTP) strategy, the only one he proposes. He stresses the fun of playing craps. What I didn't like ------------------ He doesn't address variance as such. In fact, when writing about the odds bets on pass and come points, he makes a serious mistake, stating that these bets "attenuate" good and bad luck. The verb "attenuate" means to "reduce the force, effect or value of", with synonyms "weaken", "reduce", "lessen", "decrease", "diminish", "impair". That is exactly the OPPOSITE of what odds bets do. Compared to just making pass and come bets, taking odds result in larger swings, not smaller. I suspect that he meant to say "accentuate". "Attenuate" is not a very common word, after all. In discussing buy bets, he ignores the rounding issue, i.e. at what point does the vig go from $1 to $2. He does cover the difference between collecting the vig in advance or only on a win. If you can make a $30 buy bet with just a $1 vig, collected only on a win, you get an HA of just 1.11%. If they round up at $30, try $25 with a $1 vig, HA 1.33%. He gives short shrift to lay bets, not even distinguishing between the vig collected up front or on a win. He basically brushes these bets aside, nor does he point out that collecting the vig only on a win is a much bigger advantage on buy bets than lay bets, because lay bets win more often than they lose. He dismisses wrong betting, and makes some rather negative characterizations of wrong bettors. In comparing DP with pass, he uses the (in my view) misleading 1.36% HA, but he also points out that the difference is very small, about $.05 for every $100 bet. He essentially says he can't understand why anyone would bet that way. Rather judgmental, in my view. Other than place, buy and lay bets, he rejects the other bets out of hand, based exclusively on the high HAs. The attraction of these bets, other than "showmanship", is their high payouts on wins and the resulting variance. In fact, as a general rule, the HAs increase as the variance increases. The casinos do not like variance much, so they charge more for it. A $1 bet on the twelve has the same ev as a $10 bet on the pass line, but a standard deviation of over five times the amount of the bet. If you scatter 20 of these in a session, you have a .325 probability of winning one of them, for a profit of $11, and a .105 probability of winning two or more of them, for a profit of $42 or more. Of course, the probability of losing them all is .569, but, hey, it's $20. JB on another thread describes his idea of "Lotto Craps", using parlays of hard ways and/or 2 or 12. In any case, the failure to include variance in his discussion of various bets is, in my view, a serious drawback -- a drawback shared, to be sure, by every other craps book I've read. In the TTP strategy, if the player has a pass bet with odds and a come bet (with or without odds) and wins the come bet, he recommends REMOVING the pass odds and using that money for another come bet. This is similar to taking down a don't pass bet when the point becomes 6 or 8. He is moving a bet without any expected loss to one with expected loss. The reason for this move makes sense in the context of his strategy, which stresses getting two numbers covered and using a come bet as a hedge against a seven out. His example, of course, illustrates a positive outcome, ignoring the negative outcomes, and he comes THIS CLOSE to reasoning that the seven is more likely on a comeout roll. The net of possible outcomes, however, is negative, as it must be when you move "free" money to "taxed" money. He even calls this his favorite "move" in the strategy. Let's examine the consequences of this "move": remove $10 odds bet on pass line and make $10 come bet 1) next roll is seven; the pass and come are a push, rather than losing the pass and its odds 2) next roll is eleven; win the come bet, collect the winnings and leave the come bet up 3) next roll is 2, 3, or 12; lose the come bet, replace it from your rail 4) next roll is the pass point; you lose the long payout on your odds bet and the come bet moves to the same number, with a negative expectation 5) next roll is a different point; come bet moves to its point, with a negative expectation The Table Time Plus strategy ---------------------------- The basic thrust of the strategy is to get two points covered, at least one of them a "first-tier" point, with a "basic bet amount", which does not change. He says to take odds only in that same amount, and only on "first-tier" points; no odds on 4, 5, 9 or 10. The emphasis is on creating a situation where there are more ways to win (combined ways to make two points) than to lose (six ways to roll seven). The avoidance of second- and third-tier points and not taking odds on them is based on their lower likelihoods of winning. He recognizes, of course, that the payouts on the odds bets on these points even out the W-L probability, but says a session may not be long enough for the probabilities to "show themselves". Of course, he ignores the fact that a player is just as likely to be lucky as unlucky, and winning a couple of 4/10 points with odds is a real boon for the bankroll. If the basic bet is $10, you want to get a 6 or 8 and another point (ideally the other first-tier point) covered with the basic bet amount plus the same amount in odds (only on 6 or 8). Thus, if the pass point is not 6 or 8, you make a place bet for $12 on one of them, rather than a come bet. The maximum exposure in a cycle is to have $10 each on 6 and 8, with $10 odds on each, so $40. It's a bit complicated, and he uses two decision charts with arrows all over the place to illustrate it, but the basic idea is actually pretty simple if you keep the principles is mind. The basic bet remains the same, regardless of outcomes. IOW, he rejects the idea of increasing bets on a loss (Martingale-like) or on a win (progressive betting). It's a conservative strategy, for sure, with low variance. The standard deviation of the line bets is basically 1.0, the SD of place 6/8 is 1.08 and the SD of odds on 6/8 1.095, all relative to the amounts of the bets. At the end of the chapter, he does finally talk of increasing the "basic bet amount" if you're ahead and want to "go for it", possibly adding an odds multiple rather than increasing the amount of the line bets. Many people will consider this rather boring, once they are past having to think about the next move. Personally, I prefer an even more boring style of play, but considerably more volatile. Many people will be contemptuous of the lack of aggression in his strategy. I concentrate of the pass line, while others prefer making multiple come bets, all the way to Bases Loaded's continuous come bets. I think the thing to keep in mind is that, for every number you cover -- you have to pay, whether it's 1.4% or 1.52% or higher. The expected loss is not reduced by adding odds bets to line bets, but only by shifting money from negative-ev bets to odds bets.