I doubt that any bet on a craps table is more confusing to the beginner than the come bet. The primary reason it is so confusing is that the player trying to learn how to make a come bet doesn’t have an understanding of the pass line and what it means to have a "point." So in order to explain come bets, it is necessary for me to ensure you have an understanding of the pass line.
On the "come-our roll" (the first roll of the dice) the pass line wins even-money if the shooter throws a 7 or 11. On the come-out roll the pass line loses if the shooter throws a 2, 3 or 12 (craps). Hence, the numbers 2, 3, 7, 11 and 12 are referred to as "naturals" since they cause the pass line bets to immediately win or lose on the come-out roll. If the shooter does not throw a natural on the come-out roll, then he must have thrown one of the six remaining numbers on the dice: 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10. If the shooter throws one of these six numbers on the come-out roll, then that number becomes the shooter’s "point." Once the shooter has a point, all that matters is that the shooter throws his point number again, before he throws a seven. When the shooter has a point, it doesn’t matter if he throws a 2, 3, 11 or 12. It also doesn’t matter how many of the other point numbers he throws. Once the shooter has a point, he will continue to shoot until he wins by throwing his point number again or he loses by throwing a seven (called seven-out). Winning pass line bets are always paid even-money. Any time the pass line wins or loses; the next roll must be a come-out roll.
The most important points to remember is: once the shooter has a point, all that matters is that he throw his point number again, before a seven. For some reason beginners want to think that the shooter is trying to throw his point number, before a seven or eleven. No, eleven doesn’t matter after the shooter has a point. And what is perhaps the most important thing a craps player needs to know is that the base dealers indicate the shooter having a point by putting the "puck" on the point number. So if a player wants to know if it is the come-out roll or the shooter has a point, he needs to look for the puck.
The puck becomes of paramount importance when deciding to bet the pass line or the come. If it is the come-out roll, players that want to bet on the shooter to win should bet on the pass line. Once there is a point for the pass line, players should refrain from betting the pass line as it detrimental for the bettor, regardless of what the point is. Players that want to bet on a shooter, when there is a point for the pass line should consider making a come bet.
Making a come bet is exactly like making a pass line bet on the come-out roll. When a player makes a come bet it is the come-out roll for that bet, so the rules of the come-out roll apply. A roll of 7 or 11 wins even-money and a roll of 2, 3 or 12 lose. If the shooter throws a point number, the base dealer puts the come bet on the point number box of the number rolled, so everyone knows what the point for that particular come bet is. If the shooter throws that number again, the dealer pays the come bet even-money in the section of the come that is in front of the player that bet it. A roll of seven, whether it is the come-out roll for the pass line or not, cause all come bets on the point number boxes to lose.
Players should make their come bet in the section of the come that is as close to them as possible.
You should be familiar with the positioning the dealer uses to identify which come bet is yours.
Now it is time for a pop quiz. If the point is six for the pass line and you make a come bet and the shooter throws a six: what happens to the pass line bet and the come bet? Answer: the pass line bets win even-money and the come bets go to the six. If there is a point of five for the pass line and you make a come bet and the shooter throws a seven: what happens to the pass line bets and the come bet? Answer: the pass line bets lose because it is a seven-out. The come bets win because it is the come-out roll for new come bets. New come bets that win by virtue of a seven-out for the pass line are called "last come bets."
You should now understand why you don’t make a come bet on the come-out roll for the pass line. The reason is that on the come-out roll the pass line and come are exactly the same bet!
The last concept that needs to be explained is taking odds on a come bet. Players may take odds on a pass line bet any time there is a point by placing a stacks of checks three inches behind their "flat bet" (original pass line bet). By taking odds the bettor is merely betting that the shooter will make his point. Players may also take odds on a come bet that has gone to a point number box. The key difference is that players do not reach into the "cash register" (point number boxes) to take odds on a come bet. The player merely sets a stack of checks in the come area and tells the dealer how much odds they want to take and on which number they want to take odds on. E.g., "ten dollars odds on my five."
If a player wants to take his odds on his come bets down he doesn’t do it himself but tells the dealer to take his odds down.
Odds taken on come bets are "off" (does not have action) on the come-out roll for the pass line. If a player wins a come bet with odds on the come-out roll for the pass line, he is only paid for his flat bet, not the odds. If the shooter throws a "winner seven" for the pass line on the come-out roll, the base dealer will return all odds taken on come bets before he collects the come bets.
(Dale S. Yeazel is the author of "Precision Crap Dealing" and "Dealing Mini-Baccarat." Full color E-books on CD-Rom available for only $20 each (plus tax) at Gamblers Book Shop and Gamblers General Store in Las Vegas.www.geocities.com/lump450).