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Best of Alan Krigman

Gaming Guru

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For Multiple Bets in Craps, Choose between Place and Come

13 June 1994

Experienced craps players usually have several bets in action at once. What's more agonizing than a lone $10 line bet with $20 odds on a point of five during a half-hour roll in which 4-1 or 3-2 never appear? Players on two, three, even all five other numbers are amortizing their mortgages. You lose $30.

Your options

Say you've made a line bet with full odds and want additional numbers. You've got two basic betting options place and come.

Make place bets directly on the numbers. At a $10-minimum table, bet $10 or more on four, five, nine, or 10 and $12 or more on six or eight. Raise or take these bets out of play at will. When you hit, you're paid and the wager stands unless you say otherwise. On a come-out roll after a shooter makes a point, place bets are out of action unless you tell the dealer they "work."

Come bets are like extra pass bets. At a $10 table, start any time after a point is established with as little as $10 in the come box. If the roll is seven or 11, you get even money then and there. If the roll is a "craps" two, three or 12 you lose. Anything else becomes the "point" for that bet; you can then take odds and will be paid appropriately when the number repeats or lose if a seven appears. On a winner, you're paid and get your original wager back; to remain in action, go through the come box again. You can't change the "flat" come bet once it's on a number but can raise or lower the odds. On a come-out roll after a shooter makes a point, the flat bet is in action but the odds are out of play unless you tell the dealer they "work."

Which bet's better?

No bet's best for everybody. Here are some considerations to help decide what's best for you.

Four factors are generally cited favoring place bets.

1) You can bet on numbers you like.

2) You can raise or lower your bets whenever you choose.

3) The bet wins every time the number hits.

4) Nothing's lost if a seven shows on the come-out roll after a shooter makes a point.

Three arguments are usually advanced for come bets.

1) The house edge is among the lowest in the casino, especially when you take odds.

2) Rather than guess numbers on which to bet, you can leave the decision to a roll of the dice.

3) While the flat bet is in the come box, you have a partial hedge against a seven.

Most of these notions don't affect the probability you'll win. They matter only if they make you feel comfy and in control.

What differences do influence your chances? Come bets, especially with odds, have lower house advantage; place bets let you cover more numbers with less money. Smart craps players have at least enough bankroll to survive a dozen cold shooters in a row. If you want to cover multiple numbers and can afford come bets with full odds, mathematically they're the better choice. With a smaller bankroll, place bets may give you leeway to survive a cold streak waiting for luck to turn. As Sumner A Ingmark, troubadour of the tables so aptly wrote:

Don't give the house more edge than you ought to,
Unless, of course, you can't afford not to.
Alan Krigman

Alan Krigman was a weekly syndicated newspaper gaming columnist and Editor & Publisher of Winning Ways, a monthly newsletter for casino aficionados. His columns focused on gambling probability and statistics. He passed away in October, 2013.
Alan Krigman
Alan Krigman was a weekly syndicated newspaper gaming columnist and Editor & Publisher of Winning Ways, a monthly newsletter for casino aficionados. His columns focused on gambling probability and statistics. He passed away in October, 2013.