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Best of Alan Krigman

Gaming Guru

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What are “working” odds at craps?

8 July 2013

Question: I played craps last weekend. Whenever a shooter made a pass and had a come-out roll for a new point, one player told the dealer he wanted his odds to "work." What does this mean?

Answer: Certain craps wagers are normally taken temporarily out of action during a come-out roll. These include place and buy bets, the hardways, and the odds on come bets. Here's why. Say a shooter is hot and makes lots of passes. If he or she hits a winning seven during the come-out after a pass, the indicated bets would be lost if they were in action, nullifying the effects of what should be a profitable roll.

Players may elect to keep any or all of these wagers in action during a come-out. To do so, they tell the dealer that the bets are "working." The dealer places a button marked "on" atop the chips, so there will be no mistake about picking up the money if the seven appears, or paying the player if the number hits.

There is no particular incentive to work place, buy, or hardways bets during a come-out roll. The odds on come bets are a different story. The flat portion of the come bet is always in action – losing on a seven and winning even money on the number. With odds, more money can be won or lost but the house advantage is much less than that on the flat bet alone. Players who bet on come, rather than place or buy various numbers, generally do so to benefit from the lower edge. The most sophisticated of these players don't want to give up the reduced edge, even temporarily, during the come-out and therefore work their odds.
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.