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Best of Larry Edell

Gaming Guru

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Craps A to Z Series: V is For Vigorish

12 July 2003

Have you been confused by the term vigorish?

Do you know how to use the "vig" to actually make more money?

Let's find out!

Almost 100 years ago, a dicemaker named John Winn came up with a new craps layout, which he began to sell to the bars and casinos in New York City. His selling point was that the establishments could offer the game to their patrons in return for a 5% charge. This way, gamblers could bet for or against the dice. The casino could bank the game and they would still make a profit whether the players won or lost. This caught on quickly and soon the 5% charge became such a strong and vigorous part of the casino's coffers that they referred it as giving "vigor" to their bottom line. The dealers liked the term, and to make it more "insider friendly," they started calling it vigor-ish, which was soon shortened to "vig."

Today the vig is different for most bets, ranging from less than 1% (for multiple odds) to 16% (for the any seven). Let's look at one bet in particular, called the buy bet, for which the vig is 5% of the bet.

If you were to buy the four (or ten) for $40, you would pay 5% of $40, or $2. In return for this buy bet, the casino pays you true odds, or 2:1, as compared to house odds of 9:5. On a $40 buy bet, you would win $80 at 2:1. If you placed the four (or ten) for $40 you would win $72 (at 9:5), so even with the extra $2 subtracted from your total, you would still win $6 more ($78 - $72).

If you were to buy the five (or nine) for $40, you would pay 5% of $40 or $2. In return for this buy bet, the casino pays you true odds, or 3:2, as compared to house odds of 7:5. On a $40 buy bet you would win $60 at 3:2. If you placed the five (or nine) for $40 you would win $56 (at 7:5), so even with the extra $2 subtracted from your total, you would still win $2 more ($58 - $56).

Finally, if you were to buy the six (or eight) for $60, you would pay 5% of $60 or $3. In return for this buy bet, the casino pays you true odds, or 6:5, as compared to house odds of 7:6. On a $60 buy bet you would win $72 (at 6:5). If you placed the six (or eight) for $60 you would win $70 (at 7:6). With the extra $3 subtracted from your total, you would lose $1 ($69 - $70), so you should only be buying the four/ten or the five/nine, and not the six/eight.

When you do buy a number, the vig is always fixed at 5%, but sometimes you can ask a friendly dealer if you can vary the bet amount, and still pay the same vig. If you were to refigure the vig amount compared to the total bet, this method can reduce the vig from 5% to a little over 2%, making these buy bets a lot more attractive.

For example, you can ask if you can buy the four/ten or five/nine for $58 and still pay $2 vig. This $58 is just short of the $2 vig limit, because at $60 they will charge you $3.

And just remember-- Never buy the six or the eight!

So, have you ever wondered how to make more money using the casino's vig system?

Well, now you know!

And, as always, good luck at the tables!

Larry Edell

If you would like a free copy of "The Crapshooter", the only newsletter devoted exclusively to casino craps, just send a stamped envelope to The Crapshooter, Dept. RGT., Box 421440, San Diego CA 92142. We'll also send info on our books "Make Your Living Playing Craps" and, "Tina Trapp's Guide to Craps", as well as a free catalog, and a special free offer!

Purchase Larry's book, "Make Your Living Playing Craps" available online here.

Larry Edell Websites:

www.TheCrapShooter.com
Larry Edell
If you would like a free copy of "The Crapshooter", the only newsletter devoted exclusively to casino craps, just send a stamped envelope to The Crapshooter, Dept. RGT., Box 421440, San Diego CA 92142. We'll also send info on our books "Make Your Living Playing Craps" and, "Tina Trapp's Guide to Craps", as well as a free catalog, and a special free offer!

Purchase Larry's book, "Make Your Living Playing Craps" available online here.

Larry Edell Websites:

www.TheCrapShooter.com