World War II gave to birth to the craps craze. “Floating” crap games were incredibly easy to start, requiring only a small space to roll dice, and almost as easy to hide should someone come poking around. Since then, it’s remained popular based on the ease with which a game can be set up, and you can often find older players trying to spread a little wisdom to younger ones around the craps table.
Only one player rolls the dice while the group around the table bets on the outcome. This make craps one of the most fast-paced and exciting games of skill available in gambling establishments. The excitement can take hold of the entire group if a hot shooter is at the table. Sometimes a group prayer is led by a hot roller, hoping to keep the streak going.
Craps, or shooting dice, is a game of skill that requires two six-sided dice and a craps table. The table is crewed by up to four employees, who manage the betting table and run the game. The table might seem intimidating to novice players; the layout looks complicated and the number of possible bets is almost staggering. Though it seems difficult, the object of craps is to simply make a bet that a winning combination will be rolled by the shooter.
Craps Table Layout
The first step is understanding the layout of the crap table. Craps keeps a low profile. If not for the crowds congregating around the gaming table, you might miss the game entirely. The table is set low with a high outer rim. You can’t see the table layout unless you’re standing right at the edge, looking down.
The table itself is large, built to accommodate up to 12 players. Bets are placed directly on the layout, with players standing around the top rail and leaning over the side. The sheer number of betting options in a crap game is incredible. Don’t be too frightened by the prospect of betting, though. The layout can be broken down into sections—right, left and center.
The left and right sides of the layout are always the same on craps table. You only need to worry about one side, the closest section. The riskier bets are arranged in the center section, called center bets. Enticing though center bets may be, you don’t have to place any chips in that section to win at craps.
Rolling the Dice
There are two dice in a game of craps, each die with six sides. Bets are made on every roll the shooter makes. Tiny dots illustrate a number from 1 to 6 on each side of the die. These dice are constructed in a perfectly balanced fashion so that every side has an equal chance of coming up when rolled by the shooter.
Each time the dice are rolled, the numbers appearing on the face-up side of each die are added together to yield the result of the roll. The lowest possible total is 2, since each die’s lowest number is 1. Double 6s are known as rolling boxcars, and offer a total of 12, the highest total in the game.
There are 36 possible combinations in a pair of dice. Some totals only have one combination, like 2 or 12. Others have even more possible combinations. For example, there are three ways to roll a total of 4: 1 and 3, 2 and 2, or 3 and 1. The 1 and 3 and 3 and 1 combinations may seem like the same roll, but imagine two differently colored dice, one red and one blue. One roll, the red die shows a 1 and the blue, a 3. On the next roll, the red die comes up as a 3, while this time the blue is a 1. The following table lists how many combinations are available for each total in the game.
A total 7 can be achieved in six different ways: 1 and 6, 3 and 4, 2 and 5, 5 and 2, 4 and 3, or 6 and 1. Because 7 has so many combinations, it’s the total you’re most likely to roll at any given time. As illustrated in the table above, the odds for rolling any particular total can be calculated from the number of combinations able to make that total.
True odds for any possible number can be calculated by dividing 36 (the number of possible dice combinations) by the number of combinations that can make a specific total. As an example, we’ll calculate the odds of rolling a 4. Divide 36 by the number of combinations that can add up to 4, which is 3 combinations. This gives you 12, meaning you have a 1 in 12 chance of rolling a total of 4 at any time. Expressed as true odds, there’s an 11 to 1 chance against the dice coming up with a 4; out of 12 rolls, something other than 4 is expected to come up eleven times, and the desired total of 4 coming up only once. Keep in mind the true odds and refer back to the table when we go over the different bets available to you. The table can also help show how your profits may dwindle thanks to the house edge in a craps game.
The difference between the true odds and what the casino pays out for a winning bet is called the house edge. This edge helps the casino make money. Say you bet $2 that a 3 will be rolled and you win! You may expect to get $36, but the casino only pays out $30. This comes out to 16.67 percent less than a payoff following the true odds. Consequently, if you only make this bet, you’re likely to lose 16.67 percent of your money over time. The saying, “even when you win, you lose” applies to games with a high house edge, like craps.
The center bets are the ones that give the house the highest edge. We’ll go over other bets so your profits aren’t eaten away by the casino as you play. Experienced players usually avoid the center, or box, of a craps table.
The Craps Table Crew
It takes a crew of four employees to keep a craps game running smoothly during prime time, usually between dinner and just after midnight. The first crew member is called the boxperson. They sit in the center of the table, between the two dealers, and manage all bets placed in the center section. Across from the boxperson is the stickperson. The boxperson officiates the game, telling the dealers how much to pay for a winning bet.
Dealers stand on either side of the boxperson, and handle the chips exchange, as well as pay off the winning bets and quickly make losing bets disappear from the table. They’re also there to help you place bets on hard-to-reach numbers. The final responsibility of a dealer is to mark the point, if there is one, on each roll.
Bad, crooked, or loaded dice can be a major problem for a casino. One set of bad dice can lead to major losses for the house, so it’s the stickperson’s job to maintain the security of the dice throughout the game. They will also call the outcome of each roll for the table, keeping the game moving along.
The stickperson will pass a handful of dice to the new shooter at the start of each game. This gives the shooter the chance to pick which two dice they’d like to use for their roll. The dice must bounce off opposite or side rail for the throw to be consider proper. Bouncing helps ensure that the resulting total is truly random. Don’t worry if they don’t bounce, though, you won’t lost any money. The stickperson will retrieve the dice and pass them back to the shooter for another shot.
The stickperson has a long, curved stick that they use to move the dice along the table after each roll has been called. The dice stay in the center of the table until all bets for the next roll are placed, then the stickperson passes them to the shooter. It’s the stickperson’s job to retrieve the dice if one or both accidentally bounce off the table, checking to make sure they weren’t altered when out of sight. The stickperson is also the crew member you motion to when you want to place one of the riskier center bets.
If you decide to try out craps in the early morning hours or otherwise outside of prime time, the game will mostly likely be staffed with only two casino employees. During these light action hours, a smaller crew is all the casino needs to keep the game rolling.
Be a Team Player (Whether It’s Right or Wrong)
Craps is a game designed for teams. Players either win big together or lose out together. It’s the kind of game that excites the entire group, and keeps people on their toes! There’s an element of “right” vs. “wrong” betting in the game. A “right” bettor on a hot table can collect quite a few chips each roll of the dice.
The bets you place when you enter a craps game determines whether you’re on the “right” team or the “wrong” team. Bets placed on the shooter to win the point are called right bettors. They follow the team leader, the shooter, and rejoice when the team is ahead. A wrong bettor is a person laying bets against the shooting, believing they’ll lose the roll.
There’s an entire series of sequence bets available to both right and wrong bettors. It’s possible to sit on the sidelines and place bets on whatever numbers strike your fancy, but you’ll be missing out on the commotion of team play and maybe even the most favorable bets.
Getting In on the Action
Here’s how to get in on a game of craps: slowly make your way up to any empty spot along the table, and set your drink on the lower shelf provided along the rail. Once you’ve found your spot, have the dealer exchange your cash for chips so you can make bets. When you feel ready to start wagering, set the chips you’d like bet on a line in the layout. Placing chips on a line indicates to the dealer that you’d like to make a bet, and they’ll ask you what sort of wager you want to make. A few of the bets must be placed on the table by the dealer, such as place bet and buy bets. Placing chips on a line is the accepted way to get those bets placed, rather than handing chips directly to the dealer. Pass and don’t pass bets you can place yourself, just ask the dealer to show you the proper area on the layout.
Being a “Right” Bettor
Wagering starts by placing pass-line, or line, bets when the dice are passed to a new shooter. Line bets are even money bets that win 49.3 percent of the time, actually pay back at 98.6 percent because of the high win rate. The house edge on a line bet is only 1.4 percent, and there are even ways to reduce it that we’ll go over later. A pass-line bet is the wager a right bettor makes, hoping the shooter will win the roll.
To win a pass-line bet, shooter must…
–Roll a 7 or 11 on the first, or come-out, roll, or
–Roll a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 to establish a point on the come-out roll. With a point established, the shooter must roll the point number again before a 7 comes up.
Pass-line bets cannot be removed once a point is established by the shooter. The bets stay in limbo. Players are given the option to make pass-line bets after the shooter establishes a point, but it’s not worth the wager since you’ve missed out on the chance to win if a 7 or an 11 had shown up. A roll of 7 even causes a pass-line bet to lose after the point is established.
The line bet stays in limbo if the shooter rolls any other number besides the point number or a 7, and the shooter keeps rolling until one of those numbers comes up on the dice. Rolling the point number means all the pass-line bets win! If the shooter rolls a 7, though, all the pass-line bets are lost.
All pass-line bets are paid out if the point is made by the shooter. The dealer stacks winnings next to the original bet on the table. Now, you have a choice to make. You can either grab your profits off the table, or you can let the chips ride on the line to place a new bet. The dice are returned to the same shooter and the game continues. Let’s go over an example; a sequence of four rolls comes up as 10, 8, 10 and 6. Here’s how those rolls play out:
–The shooter rolls a 10 on the come-out roll, establishing the point.
–Next, they roll an 8. This has no effect on the pass-line bets.
–The second 10 is a win! All pass-line bets are paid out.
–The same shooter rolls to establish a new point, which is 6.
This means that now all the pass-line bets need a 6 to win again. Most other rolls result in no decision made on the pass-line bets, but here are the few rolls that cause a line bet to lose:
–Rolling a 2, 3 or 12 on the come-out roll is called crapping out. A shooter may crap out on the first roll, but they can continue shooting. Since a casino usually requires a shooter to have a bet on the table, the shooter may have to make another bet if they crap out.
–Rolling a 7 after the point has been established is called sevening out. The dice move to another shooter when the first sevens out. This ensures that everyone at the table gets the chance to roll the dice.
When It’s Your Turn to Play
So you’re standing around the edge of a table and want to join the fun. Since you’re just starting, keep things easy and wait for a come-out roll. Once it’s time for a new come-out roll, place the minimum bet on the pass line when the dice are in the middle of the table. The dealer passes the dice to the shooter and…the come-out roll is a 7! First bet out and you’ve already made some money!
Leave your first bet on the pass line and scoop up your profits so your don’t lose them. This time, the shooter rolls a 6. Remember it, it’s your new lucky number. Don’t touch your pass line bet! It’s in limbo and has to stay where it is. You’re watching the shooter, hoping for a 6 but…aw! This time they roll a 4. That’s all right, you haven’t lost your bet yet. The point is still 6 so far. The next roll comes up with a 9, so your bet is still sitting limbo. One more time and…finally! Lucky 6 shows up again and you’ve made yet more money! At this point in the game you have three options: takes your money and leave the table, snatch up your profit and let your original ride the line again, or see what’s available on the rest of the table.
Taking odds is a smart way to back up your line bet after the shooter establishes a point. This makes a wager that pays off at true odds if the shooter makes the established point, and also lowers the house edge. Single odds lowers the edge of 1.4 percent to only 0.8 percent.
Sometimes, a casino will offer double odds. Double odds give you the chance to make an odds bet that’s twice as big as your original bet, and lowers the house edge even further—down to just 0.6 percent! Every once in a while casinos will offer even more than double odds; 10 times odds is the highest odds bet we’ve come across. Experienced players take as much odds as are available, and you should follow their example.
Keep in mind this is a second bet, so change your pass-line bet to accommodate it. If the casino allows double odds and you want around $10 in action, keep your original line bet to $3 or $4. A $3 line bet and $6 odds means you’ve got $9 total in action, just below your intended action. A $4 bet and $8 odds puts you just over your target with $12 in action on the line. Double odds increase your payback to 99.4 percent, whereas placing an initial line bet with the full $10 only pays back 98.6 percent.
Just place your odds wager outside the pass line after a point has been established by the shooter. The position of your chips lets the dealer know you’re taking odds. They’ll also check to be sure you’re not taking more odds than the casino allows in the game.
You can increase of reduce your odds bet on your own at any time, as long as the dice aren’t rolling.
If you let your winnings ride along with your original bet, it’s called pressing the bet. Pressing the bet also presses your luck, so be careful!
Pressing Your Luck
After every win, the dealer stacks your winnings on table next to your line bet. You have options with winnings on the table. You can pick all your profits, only take a few on your profits and keep a bet on the table, or stack your entire winnings pile on your original bet and let the whole thing ride! Using your winnings to increase your original wager is called pressing your bet. Pressing the bet can lead to winning a small fortune, but that money can also be lost just as easily. It all depends on whether the shooter is hot or not.
Making a Come Bet
Another option for right bettors is a second even money wager called a come bet. Come bets are similar to line bets, but are made after the shooter has established a point. This allows for the major difference between pass-line bets and come bets; a come bet can be made on every roll of the dice after a point is established. The easiest way to tell if a point has been established yet is by looking for the puck. If the shooter has established a point, the puck will be white side up on top of the point number listed on the table layout. If the puck is black side up and off to the side, a point has yet to be established.
Bets are placed in the large come box after a shooter has established a point. If the shooter rolls a 7 or an 11 on the first roll after a come bet is made, the bet wins. A come bet loses if the shooter rolls 1, 3, or 12 right after the bet is made.
A come bet stays in limbo if the shooter rolls a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10. When one of these numbers is rolled, the dealer moves the come bet to a smaller box with that number printed in it. Come bets moved to the number-specific boxes are limbo, similar to the limbo a pass-line bet enters after a point is established. Once the come bet is limbo, you can’t touch it unless you win the bet.
With a come bet moved to a specific number, the bet wins if the shooter rolls that number again before sevening out. If a 7 comes up, the bet loses. And just like a line bet, a come bet remains frozen if anything besides the appropriate number or a 7 is rolled by the shooter.
You can make another come bet if your first one is moved to a number-appropriate box. There’s no limit to the number of come bets you can make, just how many you can squeeze in before the shooter makes the point.
A come bet wins if a shooter rolls a number with a bet riding on it. The dealer moves the stack from the numbered box back to the large come area when a bet is a winner, and matches it with an equal stack of chips. You’d better grab them quickly if they belong to you, or someone else might!
It’s possible to cover every number (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10) with chips if you just keep making come bets every roll. The only time lose bets are lost is if the shooter rolls a 7.
Taking Odds on Come Bets
Just taking odds on a pass-line bet, taking odds on a come bets pays out when the appropriate number is rolled. The difference between the two is that instead of moving chips yourself, like you do for taking odds on a pass-line bet, the dealer places your chips for odds on a come bet.
It easy to take odds on a come bet. Simply place your chips on a line on the table, and tell the dealer you’d like to take odds on your come bet. It doesn’t what line you choose; placing chips on a line lets the dealer know you require their assistance. It’s important to remember the dealer moves chips for taking odds on a come bet, because if you put your chips in the come box instead of a line, the dealer will assume you meant to make a come bet rather take odds. Be sure to let the dealer know what you want before the dice start to roll.
Taking odds and making come bets is a great way to make a lot of money, but be careful! Come bets and the odds placed on them are completely lost if the shooter happens to seven out.
Turning the Odds On and Off
You have the option of removing odds on a come bet. Tell the dealer to take your odds down, and those chips will be removed from the table. You can also temporarily take the odds of your come bet by telling the dealer, “Odds off”, and they will place an off marker on top of that stack of chips. Tell the dealer, “Odds on”, when you want to reinstate your odds bet. Come-out rolls always turn off come-bet odds until a new point is established, unless you give the dealer other instructions.
Bets that are turned off may look like working bets, but both you and dealer know that they are turned off and will be left alone. Those bets can’t be won or lost until the player tells the dealer to turn them on again. The only bets that can be temporarily turned off are odds bets and place bets, and we’ll discuss place bets later. Any bet that’s on is at risk, and you can turn a bet back on by telling the dealing that the bet is working before the next roll starts.
Now let’s put together a scenario using only the four kinds of bets we’ve covered so far. Say you’ve been making line bets like the example earlier, and taking odds on all those bets. Now you’ve made a nice stack of chips and it’s time to spread that money around and maybe win even more!
You can start by making another pass-line bet, and it the shooter establishes a point of 8. You take odds to increase your payback, but now it’s time to start making come bets, too. Place chips in the come box and get ready for the next roll!
The dice come up with a 6, so the dealer takes your chips from come box and places them in the smaller box labeled with 6. Even if there are other come bets that are moved to the box along with yours, the dealer keeps track of which bets belongs to which player. You decide to take odds on your come bet while the dealer is moving the chips around, and make one more come bet. Once all this is down, you’ve got five bets riding the table: your original line bet, odds on your line bet, your 6 come bet, odds on your 6 come bet, and the newest come bet.
The shooter rolls a 10 this time, so your newest come bet is moved to the 10 box. You take odds on that bet, as well, and now you have six bets on the table: line bet and odds, 6 come bet and odds, and 10 come bet and odds. With six wagers on the table working for you, it’s a good idea to hold off on making other bets now.
The next roll comes up an 8. Your pass-line bet has won! Not only that, but the odds you took on your line bet pays back 6 to 5! It’s time to take those profits and make a new line bet.
Since the point was made in the last roll, it’s time for the shooter to make a new come-out roll. Your 6 and 10 come bets are still working, but you get to decide whether your odds bets stay on for the come-out roll. Many people make the mistake of turning odds bets off on a come-out roll, because they believe they need a 7 to win their pass-line bet. Tell the dealers odds are working on the come-out roll because you know better.
The shooter establishes a new point of 4 this time around. Take odds on your line bet and you’re back up to six working bets on the table, just like before: new line bet and odds, your 6 and 10 come bets, and odds bets on both.
The dealer passes the dice to the shooter when all the bets are made and this time rolls an 8. Nothing happens. So you decide to make one more come bet, bringing you up to seven working bets. A pretty good decision usually, but the next roll comes up as a 3. You lost your recent come bet, and that puts you back down to six bets working the table.
One more roll, and the dice show a 10! Your second come bet has just won! Plus the odds on it, the dealer pays you 2 to 1. Now that you’ve won a come bet, it’s a good idea to take those profits, pocket them, and ride your four remaining bets for a while.
The shooter rolls a 2 this, and nothing happens to your bets. You decide to make another come bet on the next roll, just in case. The shooter throws the dice and…it’s a 7! Don’t get too excited though. Your newest come bet may have just won, but your other four bets belong to the house now.
Nobody’s Right If Everybody’s Wrong
So far, we’ve been covering how to bet with the team and move with the crowd. Maybe you feel like a loner, though, and want to stand apart from everyone else at the table. Craps lets you do just that! It’s called being a wrong bettor, and while the team may not rejoice with you if the shooter rolls a 3 on the come out, you’ll still get a stack of chips! If you don’t mind standing alone, trying betting wrong.
Though it’s called “wrong” betting, there’s nothing too bad about it. It’s even a smart move if nobody at the table is hot. All you have to do to bet wrong is placing chips on the don’t pass line, rather than the pass line. Once the point is established, you can give odds, rather than take them, and make don’t come bets, instead of come ones. If you feel a little lost, don’t worry; we’ll cover each wrong bet one at a time.
The Flip Side of Pass: Don’t Pass
If you feel like running against the team, make a don’t pass bet when everyone else is putting chips on the pass line. An even money bet, don’t pass is a bet that shooter will…
–Roll a 2 or 3 on the come-out roll and crap out. A crap out roll of 12 might be a loss for right bettors, but it’s only a tie if you’re betting wrong.
–Seven out before making the point, after it’s been established.
Don’t pass bets lose if the shooter rolls a 7 or an 11 on the come-out roll, or makes the point number after it’s been established, before sevening out.
There’s one simple reason that a 12 roll doesn’t win a don’t pass bet—if it did, the house would lose its edge, giving a higher edge to the player. Casinos like having an edge, so giving an edge to the player is a no-no. This is known as barring the 12. Some casinos will bar the 2 rather than the 12, so the 2 is a tie roll instead. A casino might even bar the 3, but you should avoid those games. Barring the 3 stacks even higher odds against you. To find out which rule is in the game, look at the table layout. The barred roll will be clearly listed in the “Don’t Pass Bar” and “Don’t Come Bar” right on the table.
Casinos will also allow player to take down, or remove, their don’t pass bets after a point has been established, because the shooter is most likely to roll a 7. Don’t do it! Let your don’t pass bet ride, even if the shooter establishes a point.
A pass-line, or right, bettor can take odds on their line bets. Wrong bettors have a similar options: they can give, or lay odds, rather than take them. Taking odds reduces the house edge to 0.8 or 0.6 percent, and giving odds reduces the house edge in a similar fashion. Single odds reduces the house edge by 0.5 percent, and double odds by 0.7 percent.
Giving odds on a don’t pass bet is your way of betting that the shooter will roll a 7 before rolling the point number. This is the opposite of taking odds on a pass bet, which is a wager that the shooter rolls the point number before sevening out.
Letting a don’t pass bet stay working is a smart move, even after a point is established, because there are more ways to roll a 7 than any other number in the game. There’s just one problem; the odds are in your favor. Because of this, the casino actually pays out less than 1 to 1. With a point number of 6, the don’t bettor laying odds has to bet $6 to win only $5, with 5 to 6 odds. The max allowed bet for a giving odds on a don’t pass is determined by the payout; if the point number is 10 and you’ve bet $10 on the don’t pass line, you can double your odds (if allowed) by betting another $40, which will win your $20 if the shooter sevens out before making the point. As with any other casino game, don’t be afraid to ask the dealer if you’re not sure of the maximum bet. Always ask questions! Staying silent puts you at more of a disadvantage while playing.
Here are the odds of rolling a 7 before repeating the point number:
//insert Table 11
Put your desired chips next to your original don’t bass bet, offsetting the bottom chip of the stack, to give odds. The offset chip indicates it’s an odds bet to the dealer, and you can alter or even remove your odds bet after any roll is finished.
The Don’t Come Bet
Another option for wrong bettors is the don’t come bet. Don’t come bets are like don’t pass bets, but can only be made once the shooter has a point established. Simply place your chips in the Don’t Come section of the table layout to make the bet. Unlike a don’t pass bet, don’t come bets can be made for every roll of the dice once the shooter has a point. This means a don’t come bettor has the same chance to cover the table in stack of chips, just like a come bettor can with come bets.
Don’t come bets pay out even money if the shooter rolls a 2 or 3 on the roll right after the bet is made (12’s are barred, as discussed earlier), or rolls a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 followed by a 7 before repeating that number.
Don’t come bets are lost when the shooter rolls a 7 or an 11 right after the bet is placed, or rolls a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 and the repeats it before sevening out.
Place your chips in the Don’t Come section to make the bet, and the dealer will move those chips behind the appropriate numbered box if a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 is rolled. Once your chips are moved by the dealer, you’re free to make another don’t come bet if you so desire.
Giving Odds on Don’t Come Bets
Once the don’t come bet has been moved behind a numbered box, the next best move you can make is giving odds on that bet, which gives you the same advantage as giving odds on a don’t pass bet. Like odds on a come bet, set your chips on a line on the layout and tell the dealer you want to give odds on your don’t come bet. The dealer will move your chips to the correct spot once you tell them what you want.
Other Sequence Bets
There are other sequence bets available beyond the pass, come, don’t pass and don’t come bets. These sequence bets differ from those bets because they’re more general, and don’t depend on the very next roll made by the shooter.
A place bet is your wager that the shooter will roll a specific number before rolling a 7. You’re allowed to make place bets on the numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10 by placing your chips on a line and telling the dealer “place” and your desired number. Because some numbers are harder to roll than others, place bet have different payoffs depending on which number you place. Like most payoffs in craps, casinos make a profit by paying out winning place bets at just under true odds for the number. Here’s how the odds and payoffs stack up for place bets.
//insert Table 12
Similar to odds bets, place bets are temporarily turned off for the come-out roll, though you can tell the dealer if you’d like them to remain working. Place bets can be removed, increased or reduced at any time, as they never enter limbo like other bets in a craps game.
Another option is making a buy bet. Buy bets are like place bets, in that you bet the shooter will roll a number (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10) before sevening out. However, the difference comes from the payoff and bet itself; buy bets are paid out at true odds, but there’s a 5 percent commission, or vigorish, for making one. You have to pay $105 to buy a number for $100. Not too bad, because if the number comes up on you’ll be paid out at true odds on $100. Keep in mind that if your buy bet wins but you want to repeat it, it’ll cost you another $5 in commission. If you remove your bet, though, the commission is returned to you, so that’s nice!
Here’s an analogy to explain lay bets: lay bets are to buy bets as don’t pass bets are to pass bets. Also known as buying behind a number, laying a number can be very attractive to a wrong bettor looking for a 7 to come up. As with other sequence bets, you can buy behind the numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10. Laying a number pays back at true odds, but charges a 5 percent commission like buy bets. You also have to bet more than you can win, just like giving odds, because 7 is most likely roll in the game. This is your wager that the number you’re buying behind will not be rolled, and that a 7 comes up first.
For example, let’s say you pass the dealer $205 and say “$200 on 4.” The dealer will take the $5 commission and place it in the tray, then place your $200 behind the 5 box. If a 7 comes up before a 4, you’ve won $100! Well, technically $95, because it cost you $5 to make the bet to begin with, but that’s still $95 you didn’t have before!
If you were to calculate the vigorish as part of wager, rather part of the payoff, the cost of buying behind a number goes from 2.5 percent to 4.2 percent, for laying on 4 or 10 and 6 or 8, respectively.
Why Big 6 and 8 Bets Are Bad Bets
They make look like placing bets on 6 or 8—they may even smell like it—but making bets on big 6 and big 8 are a bad idea. They pay even money. A $6 bet on big 6 will win you another $6, while placing that same $6 on a 6 could win you $7. Big numbers are geared toward giving the house a major 9 percent edge, so don’t even bother with betting the big numbers. Stick to place bets.
Why Hard-Way Bets Aren’t Worth It
As we mentioned earlier, the center bets, also known as proposition bets, are the worst bets available in the game.
The first kind of center bet is hard way. Your number not only has to be rolled before a 7, but it must be rolled with two dice showing equal value to win. If you make a hard 4 bet, the shooter has to roll 2 and 2 for you to collect any winnings; if the dice show a 1 and 3 or 3 and 1, your bet is lost. You also lose if the shooter sevens out.
The funnest part of making a hard way bet is that you get to throw your chip onto the table and tell the dealer what hard way bet you want to make. It’s best not to throw your chips around, though, because the house edge on all hard ways bets ranges from 9 to a whopping 11 percent. Keeping your chips for safer bets!
Out of Sequence: One-Rolls Bets
The very next roll decides the outcome of all one-roller bets. There are two kinds of one-roll bets, center, or proposition, and field bets—neither of them are any good. Stay away from one-rollers!
A Proposition You Should Pass Up!
All the proposition bets carry a heavy house edge with them, even if they do have high payoffs. The edge is so high, in fact, it’s not even worth making a center bet. There’s only one reason you may want to make a proposition bet, and that’s to throw a chip on the table. Center bets are always tossed onto the table, rather than placed like the other bets.
Playing the Field
You might think that making a bet in the large field box is a worthwhile wager, but that’s not entirely true. It may cover 7 out of 11 possible numbers (namely 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 and 12), but it leaves out the most likely rolls in the game, which are 5, 6, 7, and 8. The house edge is a little lower on field bets, coming in at 5.5 percent for paying double on a 2 or 12 roll. The edge lowers further, to 2.8 percent, if one of those numbers pays double and the other triple.