Should You Place the 5 and 9 at Craps?

There’s been a lot of debate in craps circles about the placing of the 5 and 9, some of it quite intense between the camps that say do and the camps that say don’t.

Well I am now going to settle this thing once and for all – or at least for the next few minutes while you read this. I am dealing with controlled shooters now, not random rollers. No random roller should ever consider placing the 5 or 9 as that four percent house edge is just too darn much to have much of a chance of being ahead in the near future. It might be so near as to be tonight.

If a shooter is reducing the appearance of the 7 he is obviously increasing the appearance of other numbers, maybe not all of the other numbers but certainly some of the other numbers.

Now a controlled shooter has just hit a few 5s (or 9s) in short order. Do you place the 5 in that case? The answer, startlingly, is yes…and no.

Let’s take the “no” first. Is the appearance of those 5s enough to warrant a place bet against that large four percent house edge on a 5 (or 9)? Here is the unexpected answer: Forget that the shooter just rolled those 5s, the question you should ask yourself is this, “Is that shooter’s past results indicative of an ability to overcome a four percent house edge in the future?” The answer to this is usually “No, he isn’t good enough from this point on to overcome edge on the 5.”

It doesn’t matter that he just hit some 5s, you have to look towards his future prospects based on the wealth of his past performance, not based on a few rolls that just happened.

For most dice controllers that settles the issue. DO NOT place bet the 5 and 9. The edge is too high, period.

Now too many novice and intermediate dice controllers have a bloated concept of how good they are. They think, erroneously, that they can overcome the house edge on the 5 because the 5 just showed a few times.

Now let me go to the “yes” place-the-5-side of the argument but first an absolutely important preface:

Kids selectively listen to what teachers say. Take the sex talks that now seem de rigueur in public schools. Teachers say the following, “You shouldn’t have sex but if you are going to have sex use a condom.”

What the kids hear is this: “Have sex.” The rest of the sentence is forgotten.

Craps players also have selective memories. They look for ways to continue stupid betting practices by scrounging around for trend systems, usually the repeating number  system, and other systems that essentially make them losers even if they have developed a controlled throw.

So what I write now is NOT to be selectively remembered. Remember it all or don’t read it.

So unless you are at the tables with a true master of dice control who is getting into a real streak, not an imagined one, then DO NOT place bet the 5 or 9.

And do not selectively remember the above to think it gives you permission to follow the advice of new or intermediate dice controllers or systems advocates. “Have sex” this ain’t!

There is one more point that is somewhat profound. Advantage craps really shouldn’t be looked at in the short run where numbers are appearing and disappearing with great frequency. It should be looked at globally over thousands, hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions of rolls. When it is looked at that way, almost all controlled shooters will make much more money on the 6 and 8; on Come and Pass line bets, than they will on attempting to hop onto short term fluctuations happening now.

So my advice is this: Do not place the 5 and 9. If you wish to go with other numbers use the Come with a minimum of 5X odds. This formula is tried and true. This formula is truly the “keys to the casinos’ money.”

[Read Frank Scoblete’s new book I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps! Available from, kindle, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.]