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Best of Alan Krigman

Gaming Guru

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Why can't craps players take back their Pass and Come bets?

18 March 2013

Question: Craps players may take any wagers they want out of action during a hand, except Pass and Come wagers. Why are these restricted?

Answer: Bets on Pass and Come are two-stage wagers. The first stage is the "come-out." Bets win on the come-out if the shooter throws a seven or 11 and lose if the shooter throws a two, three, or 12. Any other number neither wins nor loses, but becomes the "point" which the shooter tries to repeat in subsequent rolls.

A seven or 11 can be formed on the dice eight ways; a two, three, or 12 can be made four ways. Pass and Come bets are accordingly 8-to-4 favorites during the come-out. Thereafter, the odds are with the house – by 6-to-3 on points of four and 10, 6-to-4 on fives and nines, and 6-to-5 on sixes and eights. Casinos offer an advantage to players on the first stage of this bet, then recover the edge when a point is established. If casinos let Pass and Come bets be taken out of action after the come-out roll, players doing so would have a huge 8-to-4 advantage over the house.

Don't Pass and Don’t Come are also two-stage bets, but players are 8-to-3 underdogs during the come-out roll and become 6-to-3, 6-to-4, or 6-to-5 favorites when the point is established. These bets may be taken out of action at will – but players who do are giving the casino a gift.

All other craps bets are single-stage wagers, even if they take multiple rolls before they’re resolved, and have a fixed house advantage. The casino would like the action – that's how it stays in business – but there's no inherent special penalty for either side if the bets are taken down without being decided.
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.