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Plunder Pirates, Play Krawps

by teaspill


KRAWK ISLAND - If you’ve spent any time on Krawk Island, you’ve probably noticed the dingy little room beneath the Golden Dubloon. In that dank, dark atmosphere you’ve probably found pirates and well-fed tourists throwing away their neopoints at rolls of the dice. Maybe you took a peek in the door and decided it wasn’t for you. The snaggle-toothed Krawk doorman probably greeted you with a predatory smile, assuring you that you didn’t need dubloons in this part of Krawk Island, and making sure that you knew they’d gladly take your neopoints. With that grin, it’s only sensible to presume that he’d definitely be taking your neopoints. All of them. And giving nothing back.

After that quality of greeting, it’s sensible to walk away. But we’re not walking away. We’re going through that door, we’re placing our bets, and we’re going to make that smug Krawk feel like a petpet again. Are you ready to gamble... and win?

Krawps is a complicated game on the surface, but it’s not difficult once you get used to how it’s played. I would advise reading over the rules, but the only real way to understand the game (if you have my attention span, at least) is to start small and learn the rules as you go.

Every game of Krawps begins with you placing a bet on the Bilge line and immediately rolling the dice. In this first roll, you’re aiming to win the recompense for your Bilge line bet by rolling a 7 or 11. If you manage to do that, you’ve just won the game. Commendably done. Please roll again. Of course, the odds of winning on the Bilge bet are only 8/36. With any other roll, (except for rolls of 2, 3, or 12 – the magic numbers that cause you to lose your Bilge bet straight off 4/36 times) the game is much more interesting. Here’s where your knowledge of dice odds and their strategy can potentially pay off.

Once you roll a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 on your first roll after placing your Bilge bet, the game truly begins (this will, if you’ve been paying attention to the math above, be about 2/3 of the time). First, let’s go over how likely you are to roll any possible number on two dice. Once our chart is laid before us, we can go into how one can most profitably act upon this information. In the left-hand column you’ll see the number rolled, the numbers after the colon lay out every method of attaining that number on two dice.

2: 1-1

3: 1-2, 2-1

4: 1-3, 2-2, 3-1

5: 1-4, 2-3, 3-2, 4-1

6: 1-5, 2-4, 3-3, 4-2, 5-1

7: 1-6, 2-5, 3-4, 4-3, 5-2, 6-1

8: 2-6, 3-5, 4-4, 5-3, 6-2

9: 3-6, 4-5, 5-4, 6-3

10: 4-6, 5-5, 6-4

11: 5-6, 6-5

12: 6-6

As you can see from the above spread, you are most likely to roll a 7 at any point in the game, and the further one strays from that roll numerically, the less likely that roll is to happen. This means that, were you to place a bet upon what your next roll would be, you’d ideally put your money on the 7. Unfortunately, the house has that one covered from the second roll onward, so you’re best off settling for 6 or 8. You’d probably want to avoid putting too much cash on the odds of rolling a 2 or 12. Naturally, the unlikelihood of rolling a 2, 12, or even 4 or 10 means that the payout is higher when you pull it off, but I’ve had substantially better luck putting big money on the likely candidates, as opposed to hoping for long odds.

Now that you have a good understanding of the probability of dice rolls, let’s get into the nitty gritty of actually placing bets.

Once you’ve rolled a number that isn’t 7 or 11 after placing a bet on the Bilge line, the number you roll is set as the skull. Your goal from that point on is to roll the skull number before rolling a 7. In other words, if you set the skull to, for example, 5, your goal is then to roll a 5 in order to win back your Bilge wager. You lose that same Bilge wager if you roll a 7 before rolling that 5 – any other number rolled in the meantime is irrelevant. If you place no other bets on the table, this is nothing more than a second chance to win your Bilge bet. But what’s the point of Krawps if you’re not going to make the game interesting? Let’s look at some other methods of betting.

There are two types of bets in Krawps: those that ride, and those that don’t. A bet that rides stays on the table until it either pays out or you roll a 7. These bets consist of the Odds wager, the ‘Ardway bets, and the number bets on the top of the board. A bet that doesn’t ride only lasts one roll, and is taken by the house if you fail to roll the predicted number immediately. These non-riding bets consist of the Anchor bet and the Hi or Lo bets. We’ll cover these in a bit more detail later. For the moment you can simply be aware that the bets that ride are much, much more likely to pay out, and the bets that don’t ride pay out much, much better on the rare occasions when you get lucky.

The first thing you should think about after setting the skull is whether you want to put a wager on the Odds of you winning your Bilge bet. This bet should probably vary based upon what you rolled. Personally, I’ll habitually max out my bet and put 1500 NP on rolling a 6 or 8 at this point. If the skull is set to 10 or 4, on the other hand, I’ll consider not putting NP on the Odds at all. Keep in mind that the payout fluctuates here as well; longer odds do mean higher payout. I’m personally of the opinion that this is mostly a tricksy attempt to get you to throw away more neopoints, but you can trust the pirates to play nice all you like. Nonetheless, you have more options than simply betting on the Odds, so if they don’t look good, I’d advise looking at other parts of the table.

The best part of the table to look at? The number bets. They’re arrayed across the top of the table, and pay out when you roll the number you put NP on before rolling a 7 or the skull number. Throwing some NP at the 6 and 8, if they happen to not be the skull number, is generally a good idea. I’ve made a net profit while losing the Bilge bet by doing this. The other numbers can be useful as well, but you lose everything on the board if you roll a 7, so I don’t advise being too free with those bets. The great thing about the number bets is that if you roll the skull, the NP you bet on rolling those numbers is returned to you. This means that if you think you’ll win, there’s no reason not to put NP on every number. You only lose that NP when you krawp out (that is, roll a 7 after setting the skull).

In spite of how complex this game can be, I’ve already covered the meat and potatoes. The other betting options can be fun, but aren’t quite reliable enough to be expected to pay out regularly. Most of your profit will come from the options I’ve already covered.

There are only three more types of bets that can be placed, however, and it’s worth taking a look at each of them.

First, the ‘Ardway bets. This section of the table lets you place a wager on your ability to roll the number you select the “hard way,” that is by rolling doubles, before you krawp out or roll that same number in any other manner. You’re not very likely to win this wager at all, but it at least rides until one of the three possible outcomes occurs. I occasionally place a bet on the ‘Ardway line, and it’s fun when it works out, but I’d never rely on winning this wager. After all, the ‘Ardway roll, no matter which you choose, only has a 1/36 chance of showing up on each roll of the dice. Your chances of losing each time? For a hard 6 or 8 it’s 10/36, and for 4 or 10 it’s 8/36. You can see what’s most likely to happen here.

Placing a bet on the Anchor is a bit more likely to pay out, as you’re rewarded when you roll any of the anchor numbers listed in that square of the table, but Anchor bets only last one roll, and they don’t pay out terribly well either. You constantly have 16/36 odds of winning on this bet, and since you win or lose the same amount you bet (almost) every time you roll the dice, you’re simply not going to profit if you’re only placing bets on this spot.

I’ve saved the Hi and Lo bets for last, as they’re simple to understand and not, in the end, terribly profitable. Both are wagers that last a single roll, and both only grant you 1/36 odds of winning. Not very encouraging, that. You win the Lo bet by rolling a 2 your next throw, and you win the Hi bet by rolling a 12 on your next throw. I imagine this is great if you pull it off, but I can’t say – those pirates have stolen my neopoints every time I’ve tried to win with those squares.

Phew! Now you know all about betting on krawps, as well as how likely you are to succeed or fail with each bet you place. In theory, that’s all you need to know, but before you go into the lair of the Krawks, it’s good to have some strategies for not losing your shirt. Yes, you can play the odds, but that doesn’t keep the odds from playing you sometimes, too. There will be days when you do nothing but lose neopoints, no matter how smartly you place your bets. For these cases, it’s useful to keep a few tips in mind.

First of all, don’t take more neopoints to Krawk Island than you’re prepared to lose. The kind fellow at the Coconut Shy will stop you from playing after you’ve given him too many neopoints, but the friendly faces of the Haunted Woods don’t exist on Krawk Island. Here there be pirates, and they show no mercy. I like to go in with 5000 NP, and if I lose it, I walk away for the day. No regrets and no returns.

If you do happen to make a profit (and you should, more often than not, now that you know what you’re doing), it’s wise to put that profit straight in the bank. The important thing here is that you do not, under any circumstances, take money from the bank with which to play Krawps. If you hold to this rule, and put the first 5000 NP of profit in the bank (assuming, like me, you go in with 5000), you’re now playing with pure profit. Even if you lose it all at that point, you’ve lost nothing. And if you keep putting NP in the bank every time you cross a certain threshold... well, that’s more profit that you can’t foolishly gamble away! Nice, huh?

Well, dear reader, you’ve now learned all that I know of beating pirates at their most convoluted, high-stakes game. Hopefully my advice has given you the confidence to go in, put your neopoints down, and take some loot from those scallywags. I know I enjoy it.

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