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Getting the most from craps 'lay' bets

Apr 15, 2009 11:00 AM

by Dale S. Yeazel, Special to GT |


I couldn’t begin to count how many times, after I have caught a player "past posting" (trying to bet on the don’t pass when there is a point for the pass line), I hear the player ask; "Well, how can I bet the shooter won’t make his point?"

The answer is: make a "lay bet." Players can bet against the point or any of the other five numbers anytime by making a lay bet. Players make lay bets in the same manner as making place bets – set cash or checks in the come area and say something like, "Give me $100 against the 10" or "$75 no five."

The dealer will then position the bet in the rectangle behind the point number box for the number the player is betting against and put a lammer marked "lay" on it. If the lay bet is against the current point for the pass line the dealer may put it on the don’t pass. When he does this for a player that has a don’t pass bet with a full lay, this is sometimes referred to as an "overlay."

Of course since the odds are in the lay bettors favor, he has to risk more than he can win.

If the number he wants to bet against is 4 or 10, he wins $1 for every $2 he bets. If he wants to bet against the 5 or 9, he wins $2 for every $3 he bets. And if wants to bet against the 6 or 8, he wins $5 for every $6 he bets.

At this point you might be wondering why anyone would risk more than they hope to win. Remember I said that the odds favor the lay bettor to win and some players find it refreshing to make a bet that, if the dice behave the way they are supposed to, the odds are in their favor.

And remember the player is getting paid true odds for his bet, except for the fact that he pays five percent commission on the amount he can win. Yes, unlike buy bets where the bettor must pay five percent of the amount he bets, the casino only charges the five percent on the amount the lay bettor stands to win. So if a player bets a "$200 no 10" he pays five percent of the $100 he hopes to win, or $5.

In casinos that charge the juice when the bet is made the buy bettors always suffer a house percentage of 4.762 percent. But the lay bettor only gives up a PC of 2.439 percent when betting against the 4 or 10, 3.266% when betting against the 5 or 9 and 4% when betting against the 6 or 8.

Many casinos only charge the juice on winning lay bets against the 4 or 10. In this case the PC drops to 1.667 percent (the same as a buy bet on the four or ten when the juice is only collected on winning bets). A few casinos only charge the juice for winning bets against the 5 or 9 (don’t ask me where).

Players that are fortunate to find this bet will give up only 2 percent (again the same as the buy bet when the juice is only collected on winning bets). Whereas a player that wanted to make a buy bet on the 6 and 8 would be foolish to do so even if they did not have to pay the juice unless the bet won. If one could find a casino that only charged for winning lay bets against the 6 and 8, he would only suffer a PC of 2.273%.

A few things prospective buy bettors need to know are:

• Lay bets may be bet or taken down anytime. If you take one down before it wins or loses, the dealer will refund the juice.

• Most dealers will automatically assume a lay bettor wants his bet down if it wins. You will need to tell him you want to leave it up and re-pay the juice.

• Lay bets work (have action) all the time (yes, even on the come-out roll).

• Unlike a place or buy bet that can be called "off" for a roll or two, lay bets can only be taken down and re-bet.

So don’t worry about your fellow players thinking of you as being a cynic for betting against the numbers. You don’t have to suffer the perils of the don’t pass on the come-out roll. Learning to make lay bets is a way of cashing in on those cold tables.

(Dale S. Yeazel is the author of "Precision Crap Dealing" and "Dealing Mini-Baccarat," E-books on CD-Rom.)

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