Bets that can be made at craps

Bets that can be made at craps

Casino games tournaments are fun, and they can be profitable too. In upcoming articles, we will continue to publish a series of excerpts from Stanford Wong’s book, Casino Tournament Strategy.

Pass Line

Every tournament contestant is required to have a bet in action at all times. Most tournaments require a pass bet or don’t pass bet, but some tournaments, either land-based or online, allow a bet anywhere on the layout.

The most common bets made on the crap table are on the pass line. The appropriate time to bet the pass line is when the shooter is “coming out for a point.” In other words, no point is yet established. (“Point” is explained in the following paragraph.) If the first roll of the dice is 7 or 11, that roll is called a “pass” and pass-line bets win. If the first roll of the dice is 2, 3, or 12 (which are called crap rolls), pass-line bets lose.

If the first roll of the dice is 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, that number is called the point. Once a point is established, all pass-line bets are locked in place for roll after roll of the dice until either the point or a 7 is rolled. Sometimes the dice roll many times before the fate of the pass line is decided. If the point number rolls again before a 7 rolls, pass-line bets win; this also is called a pass. If a 7 rolls before the point is rolled, the pass line loses, the hand is over, and the dice go to the next shooter.

The casino has about 1.4% edge on pass-line bets. The average pass-line bet is decided in 3.376 rolls, making the casino edge effectively 0.41% per roll. At 120 to 180 rolls per hour, the overall player loss rate is half to three-quarters of a pass or don’t-pass bet per hour.

Pass-line bets have no flexibility. Once a point is established, you cannot reduce your pass-line bet. It is stuck until either the point is rolled or a 7 is rolled. You can increase your pass-line bet if you want to, but there probably is no reason why you would want to.

Odds on Pass-Line Bets

Once a point is established, you can take “odds” on your pass-line bet. The casino specifies a maximum on the amount of your odds bet; generally you are allowed up to double your pass-line bet.

Odds is a free bet in the sense that the casino takes no percentage on it. Out of the 36 possible rolls of the dice, there are three ways to roll 4, four ways to roll 5, five ways to roll 6, six ways to roll 7, five ways to roll 8, four ways to roll 9, and three ways to roll 10. Those numbers of ways determine the payoffs on odds. If the point is 4 or 10, your odds bet wins double if the point is rolled before a 7; you have three ways to make your point and six ways to lose, so the double payoff gives the casino no edge. If the point is 5 or 9, your odds bet wins three to two. If the point is 6 or 8, your odds bet wins six to five.

Sometimes a casino allows more than double odds even though the tournament’s rules specify a maximum of double odds. For a point of six or eight, commonly you can put up two and a half times your bet to win three times your bet. At some casinos, with a three-chip bet you can take ten chips of odds no matter what the point. Since there is no general rule on the maximum for odds bets, even if the written rules say “double odds,” you should ask about the details at the rules meeting if nobody else asks first.

Odds bets are flexible; you can make them or remove them as you want.

This article is part of a series, to be continued…

Excerpted with permission from Casino Tournament Strategy by Stanford Wong, edited for this format.


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