# Stick to the best craps bets

March 04, 2010 11:00 AM
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by Dale S. Yeazel, Special to GT |

The basic bets are the best bets. I define a good bet as one with a small house percentage. I like to think of it as the interest you pay on a loan. The less interest you pay the better the deal. So I teach people to make bets that have the smallest house percentage.

The first thing you need to understand is that there are only two main bets on the crap table, the "pass line" and the "don’t pass." Every other bet on the layout is just some kind of side bet. So your first goal should be to have a complete understanding of these two bets and not concern yourself with anything else.

PASS LINE: Those of you that ever played craps in an alley or barracks will think of betting on the pass line as betting "with the shooter." Or you may think of it as betting that the shooter is going to win.

On the first roll of the dice (the come-out roll), the pass line wins if the shooter throws a 7 or 11.

On the first roll of the dice the pass line loses if the shooter throws a 2, 3 or 12 (craps). Are you confused yet? What is required is that you memorize this simple thing: 7 or 11 wins. 2, 3 or 12 lose.

If it’s the come-out roll (yes the first roll of the dice) and the shooter does not throw a 7, 11, 2, 3 or 12 then he must have thrown a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10. When the shooter throws one of these numbers on the come-out roll, that number becomes the shooter’s "point." The dealer will then place the "puck" on the point number box for that number so everyone will know what the shooter’s point is.

After the shooter establishes a point the only thing that matters is that he throws the point number again before he throws a 7; 11, 2, 3 and 12 don’t matter. It also doesn’t matter how many other numbers he throws. The shooter will shoot until he either wins by throwing his point number again or he will lose by throwing a 7 (called seven-out).

When you want to know if it is the come-out roll or if the shooter has a point then you need to look where the dealer has the puck. If it is black side up and at the end of the layout, then it is the come-out roll. If it is white side up and on one of the point number boxes, then that number is the shooter’s point for the pass line.

DON’T PASS: The don’t pass is the OPPOSITE of the pass line. What this means is that if the pass line loses, the don’t pass wins. If the pass line wins, the don’t pass loses.

So if the shooter throws a 7 or 11 on the come-out roll, the bets on the don’t pass lose. If the shooter throws a 2 or 3, the don’t pass wins; if the shooter throws a 12 (boxcars) the don’t pass bets "push." If a bet pushes it means that it doesn’t win and it doesn’t lose. Casinos were forced to create this exception to give the casino a percentage of don’t pass bets. If the shooter makes his point, the don’t pass bets lose. If the shooter throws a "seven-out" (seven before his point) the don’t pass wins.

All bets on the pass line and don’t pass lines pay even money. You cannot bet the don’t pass if the shooter has already established a point for the pass line.

If the shooter has a point for the pass line the casino allows you to bet on the pass line. However this is one of the most disadvantageous things you can do. Instead you should make a "come bet."

COME BETS:

A come bet can be made anytime there is a point for the pass line. Like all bets, make your come bet in the area of the box in a position that is as close to you as possible.

Making a come bet is exactly like making a pass line bet on the come-out roll: 7 or 11 wins, 2, 3 or 12 lose. If the shooter throws a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 the dealer will pick up the come bet and put it on the point number box so that everybody can see what the point for that come bet is.

If the shooter throws that number again the dealer will pick up the bet and pay it in the area of the come in front of you. While a winning 7 (a 7 thrown on the come-out roll) will cause the pass line to win, it causes all come bets on a point number box to lose. A seven-out causes the pass line and all come bets on a point number box to lose.

DON’T COME BETS:

Just as the don’t pass is the opposite of the pass line, the don’t come is the opposite of the come. It is also designed to be bet when the shooter has a point for the pass line.

Too many players think that by betting the don’t come they are betting against the shooter’s point for the pass line. They are betting against the shooter on the next roll of the dice, so the rules of the come-out roll apply: 7 or 11 lose, 2 or 3 wins, and 12 is a push. When the shooter throws a point number the dealer puts the bet behind the point number box to indicate the number that don’t come bet is against. A winner seven or a seven-out for the pass line cause all don’t come bets behind the boxes to win.

Dale S. Yeazel is a veteran of the casino industry and is the author of "Precision Crap Dealing" and "Dealing Mini-Baccarat."