How to Play the Colonel's Crap System

Rolling the Dice
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The Colonel's crap system will take you only a few minutes to learn. It is fun and easy and has added benefits to playing. Or perhaps it should be said that it sometimes has a wonderful payout after a scary run of losses.

The Colonel was an actual player who spent nearly twenty years playing craps at Harrah's in Reno, Nevada. It was rumored that the old man had been a Colonel in the US Army, but nobody knew for sure.

He was in his eighties or nineties when I last saw him, still playing his beloved system of field bets at the crap game.​

The Colonel's betting system involved placing bets in the "field" area of the crap game. At Harrah's, the field bet was a single-roll bet and it paid for winning rolls of (2,3,4,9,10,11,12). When 2 rolled, the payoff was double and when 12 rolled the payoff was triple. The Colonel always waited for three non-field rolls to go by before starting his system, then he used a simple Martingale system of doubling up his bets until a field bet came up or he tapped out.

How the System Works

After three consecutive non-field rolls, make a $5 bet on the field. If (2,3,4,9,10,11,12) roll, you win. A roll of two pays double your bet and a roll of twelve pays triple! If there is a no-field number rolled, the system says double your bet to $10. If more no-field rolls come up on consecutive rolls, the next bets are: $20, $40, $80, $160, $320, and finally $640.

This requires a total playing bankroll of $1275.

The fun part of the Colonel's crap system is that you never know whether your next bet will win even money or a big payoff of double or triple your bet.

What Are the Odds?

Players sometimes miscalculate their odds of seeing a series of successful field or no field rolls because they add up the total payoffs instead of adding up only the total winning rolls.

The field numbers add up to 16 wins in 36 rolls, or 20 loses in 36 rolls. Winning field rolls at Harrah's in Reno (odds per 36 rolls) are two (1 time), three (2 times), four (3 times), nine (4 times), ten (3 times), eleven (2 times) and twelve (1 time) - for a total of 16 winners (16/36). However, since when rolled, two pays double and twelve pays triple, the total payoff is 19. That looks like it has to be a winner, right? Wrong.

The fact is, you will lose your bet 20 times out of 36, and get back 19 bets, so overall, you lose one bet out of 36, for a house edge of 2.78 percent (divide one by 36). For fun, you can always find a crap game that offers $1 bets and start with a smaller bankroll betting $1, then $2, then $4 etc. after seeing three consecutive no-field rolls. For what it's worth, the odds of seeing 10 consecutive non-field rolls is (20/36) to the 10th, or about 357 to 1.

Figuring out if you might catch a two or twelve after several bets is harder, but when it happens on a $80 or $160 bet, the payoff is a lot of fun!