When is the ‘buy’ bet worth the price?

Jul 9, 2002 3:11 AM

Buy bets are very controversial in the craps circles. They involve paying an extra fee, called "vig" (or vigorish) just to make the bet. However, in return for the fee, you get true odds instead of house odds for your bet. But are buy bets really worth this extra fee? If so, why doesn’t everyone buy all of the numbers instead of placing them? Let’s find out!

You can only buy six numbers ”” the four (or ten), the five (or nine), and the six (or eight). The odds you get for placing and buying these numbers are shown below:


Place Odds   

Buy Odds

4 (or 10)   



5 (or 9)   



6 (or 8)   



If you would place the four (or ten) for $30 you would win $54. If you buy the four (or ten) for $30 you would win $60. Most casinos charge 5 percent of the bet for vig, so even after paying an extra $2 (actual vig is $1.50) it is easy to see that buying the four (or ten) is better than placing it.

If you would place the five (or nine) for $30 you would win $42. If you buy the five (or nine) for $30 you would win $45. If you paid $2 for vig you would make $1, and if you paid $1 (the actual vig is 5 percent of $30 or $1.50) you would break even.

Since most casinos round the vig up, you will end up paying $2 vig instead of $1 in most cases. However, it costs nothing to ask the dealer if you can only pay $1. For example, you could ask, "If I buy the four (or ten) for $30, can I pay $1 vig?" More often than not, the dealer will accept your bet. Give it a try ”” the extra dollar is certainly better off in your pocket than the casino’s!

With the extra dollar on your side, you will profit or break even with all six buy bets. Without the extra dollar, the five and nine is marginal, and the six and eight is a money loser. But the four or ten should ALWAYS be bought, and not placed.

Buy bets are a good deal if you know which of the six numbers are the most profitable ”” and now you know!

Craps knowledge is in the ”˜cards’

If you are a craps expert you should know all the craps odds, and how much every bet pays. You should know the difference between the place, buy and come odds, all the prop and hardway odds, and exactly how much to place behind a pass line bet at a 2X, 5X or 10X odds casino. If you know all this you really are an expert. But does all this knowledge you have guarantee that you will win most of the time you play? And if it doesn’t, what can you do with this knowledge to increase your win percentages?

Let’s find out!

If your doctor tells you to eat only bland foods, but you continue to eat steak, you have the knowledge but lack the discipline to follow through on your plans. Likewise, if you know the field is a bad bet, but you have a hunch so you bet it anyway ”” you also have knowledge but no discipline.

When I had my first (and last) heart attack, my doctor told me to cut down on red meat and fried foods, but it was hard to do, especially with all those great casino buffets! Plus I got a lot of meals comp’d so I would rather eat a big juicy steak than a salad with no dressing. I had the knowledge but no discipline.

But I knew I would end up back at the doctors if I didn’t change my ways. So, I made a written and signed agreement with myself to eat only healthy foods. I kept a little card in my wallet, and whenever I ate out, I took it out and read it. The card reminded me to actually apply the knowledge I have about eating so I eat better and live longer.

So, when I bet stupidly at craps at least I was healthy! Then I got an idea. Why not make a little wallet card for my craps game?

My new card states that I will only make craps bets that have a vig or house advantage of under 2 percent, and I will adhere to a 30 percent loss limit. I signed it and laminated it and whenever I play craps I take it out to reaffirm my written agreement with myself.

This means that before I make a bet I will have to look at the card. If the point is six and everyone else bets on the hard six because it is "due," I will take out my card first, and read it and, not make the bet. No more hard ways, field bets, prop bets, C & E bets, or even Yo’s on the comeout! I was cured!

And, ever since I started using it, my winning sessions have increased dramatically. It certainly is a simple method to insure that my knowledge is applied to what I am doing by enforcing my discipline.

Your card could be different than mine because everyone has different win/loss limits and other playing requirements. But once you come up with one, take it with you when you play, and, stick to it! Why don’t you make yourself a "Knowledge Card" right now, before you forget?

So, have you ever wondered how your knowledge of the game could produce more consistent winning sessions?

Well, now you know!

And, as always, good luck at the tables!