Why Hard Ways Are Hard

Most Crapshooters know that the hard ways have high payoffs - the six or eight pays 9:1 and the four or ten pays 7:1. But hard way numbers (4, 6, 8 & 10) only pay off when two identical numbers are rolled. For example, if you bet on a hard six, you only win if the combination is 3 & 3. You lose if the combination is 4 & 2, 5 & 1, 2 & 4, and 1 & 5. On a hard eight, you only win if the roll is 4 & 4. You lose if it is 2 & 6, 3 & 5, 5 & 3 and 6 & 2. So of the five ways to make a six or eight, four are soft ways and only one is hard.

The hard four must roll 2 & 2 to win. You lose on a 1 & 3 or 3 & 1. The hard ten must roll 5 & 5. You lose on a 4 & 6 or a 6 & 4. So of the three ways to make a 4 or 10, two are soft and only one is hard. The true odds of the hard 6/8 are 10:1 but the payoff is only 9:1, giving the casino a 9.09% edge. And the true odds on the 4/10 are 8:1 but the payoff is only 7:1, giving the casino a 11.1% edge. But, since the hard 6/8 rolls once and the hard 4/10 also rolls once, why are the odds different? And if each hard number rolls the same amount (one in 36) as the 2 and 12, why aren't the odds identical? The payoff for the 2/12 is 30:1. Why don't the hard ways pay higher? When you place a bet for the 2/12, it is a one roll bet. If any number other the 2/12 rolls, you lose. Their true odds are 35:1, as they each should appear only once in 36 rolls. The hard way bets, however, stay up if anything other than a seven or an easy way rolls. Even though a hard number should roll once in 36 rolls, it stays active much more than the 2/12, which is why the payoff is lower.

And the reason why the odds for the 4/10 and 6/8 are different lies in the way the odds are calculated. As stated previously, the four or ten rolls three times, but only one of them is hard. This means that you lose twice and only win once with a hard way bet. The six or eight rolls five times, but only one is hard. This means you lose four times and win only once. This is why it is easier to lose a hard six or eight than it is to lose a hard four or ten.

One good use of the hard ways is to protect your lay bets. If you lay the 4 (or 10) for $40 you can also place a hardway bet for $6 as a hedge bet. If the seven shows, you'll win $14 ($20 lay - $6 hardway). If the hard four rolls, you'll win $2 ($42 hardway - $40 lay) instead of losing $40. Of course, if the soft four rolls, you'll lose $46 instead of $40, but you're only risking $6 to save yourself $40 on the hard number, which remember, occurs once in three times. Other than hedge bets, you should stay away from hard ways - that's why they call them hard ways - they're hard to beat!

And, as always, good luck at the tables!