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Best of Alan Krigman

Gaming Guru

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Should You Work Craps Bets on the Come-Out Roll?

1 August 1994

After a craps shooter "sevens out," all bets are wiped from the table... win or lose. The dice then progress to the next player for a come-out roll.

When a new shooter is coming-out, players typically bet on pass, don't pass, and/or various one-roll propositions such as any craps or yo. The outcome of the come-out yields a decision in each case.

Pass bets win even money if the dice show seven or 11. They lose on two, three, or 12. Other numbers become "points" for subsequent rolls but don't immediately win or lose.

Don't pass bets win even money if the dice show two or three. They lose if the result is seven or 11. They tie on 12. Other numbers become "points" for subsequent rolls but don't immediately win or lose.

One-roll propositions during come-outs win or lose depending on how the dice fall.

Some players make other bets on a new shooter's come-out. These may be "hedges" like no-four to "protect" don't pass bets, since the former win and the latter lose on seven. Or, they may just be meant to enhance the gamble, like place or hardways bets. Such wagers are normally out of action during the come-out unless specifically declared to "work."

After a pass

A shooter who "passes" or "makes a point" has a new come-out roll to establish the next point. Pass, don't pass, and proposition bets may be made for this roll, as for a new shooter. However, other bets may remain on the table after a "pass." Of these holdovers, three types are automatically alive when the same shooter come-out again.

"Flat" or even-money portions of come bets lose on sevens and win on the corresponding numbers.

"Flat" and odds portions of don't come bets win on sevens and lose on the corresponding numbers.

Back line or lay bets win on sevens and lose on the corresponding numbers.

Other holdovers, along with any new bets, are assumed to be out of action on come-outs following a "pass," unless a player specifically says they "work." Three types of bets are involved.

Odds on come bets.

Place bets on four, five, six, eight, nine, or 10.

Hardways bets.

Few players "work" holdovers during come-out rolls. The reason is that a shooter making lots of numbers may hit seven during intermediate come-outs. Players whose bets "work" on the come-out may therefore lose money on otherwise winning shooters.

Place and hardways bets afford no special incentive to "work" when a hot shooter comes-out for a new point. Chances and payoffs are the same as at other times. So, inactivating these bets during the come-out to minimize intermediate losses is a conservative play with no statistical penalty.

Odds on come bets are a different story. Odds are the only "fair bets" players can make in a casino bets on which the house collects no commission. The "flat" portions of come bets are automatically in action during come-out rolls. Not "working" the odds sacrifices the opportunity to lower the casino's edge on come bets with this supplemental wager.

The mathematics of craps favors maximizing odds during the come-out as well as after a point is established. "Working" this portion of your come bets during come-out rolls is therefore statistically advantageous. Or, do you believe the myth that seven is more likely during come-outs than other rolls? As Sumner A Ingmark, fancifier of the green felt, nostalgically noted:

Oh, work your odds on come-out rolls,
It's good percentage play,
That sometimes leads to bum-out rolls,
But often saves the day.

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.