For a change, try the craps lay bet

Oct 1, 2002 5:45 AM

Many craps players are familiar with Place and Buy bets, but surprisingly few know about the opposite propositions: "Lay" bets that win together on a seven and lose separately when their numbers appear.

Yet, these are the soul of simplicity. And they can be highly profitable in games where shooter after disgusted shooter misses out in short order.

Here are the mechanics. You must bet enough to win at least $20, adding a "vigorish" or "vig" to the wager. The vig equals 5 percent of the projected payoff, rounded down to the next lower whole dollar; the house keeps the vig whether you win or lose. The bet, excluding the vig, is paid in exact inverse proportion to the odds of winning.

At the minimum levels, these bets are accordingly $40 plus $1 vig to win $20 behind four or 10 (you’re favored 2-to-1), $30 plus $1 vig to win $20 behind five or nine (you’re favored 3-to-2), and $24 plus $1 vig to win $20 behind six or eight (you’re favored 6-to-5). The rounding downward keeps the vig at $1 if you bet as high as $78 to win $39 on four or 10, $57 to win $38 on five or nine, and $42 to win $35 on six or eight. When projected win reaches $40, vig goes to $2, and so on.

The primary appeal of Lay bets is that the odds of winning are with the player. Multiple Lays, on up to six boxes, offer another attractive feature. Players can lose bets singly as numbers hit, and get back over the top or at least temper initial setbacks when the roll concludes. This contrasts with Place and Buy bets, where players often pick up one or more winning bets, but still finish a hand in the red.

The main obstacle for many players is betting high to win low. Also, the minimum outlays may be bankroll busters. A $200 or $300 buy-in can support a total of $17 Placed on five, six, and eight. But $113 Laid behind four, five, and 10 can ravage such a stake.