Winning Through Smart Craps Bets

If a player wants to play smart craps he must limit himself to four basic bets:

Pass (Front-line) Bet On the come-out (and only on the come-out), the Pass bettor puts his money in a long section of the layout marked "Win" or "Pass Line." The bettor is betting his money that the shooter will win, that he will roll a 7 or 11 on the come-out, or that he will get his point before he sevens-out. In other words, the bettor is wagering on the shooter, making what is called a "right bet." This does not mean the bet is smart or that it is morally commendable, but that it is with the shooter rather than against him. If the shooter wins, the Pass bettor collects at even money.

Don't Pass (Back-line) Bet The player places his money on the "Lose" or "Don't Pass" line, wagering now that the shooter will not throw a 7 or 11 on the come-out or make his point, which he will lose. This is called a "wrong bet," the opposite of "right" and against the shooter. Further, the true odds are now somewhat different than in the Pass bet, and consequently on the back-line section of the layout the word "Bar," plus a set of dice showing a 2 or 12 is shown. Here is a bit of self-protection on the part of the casino, which knows that unless the wrong bettor has a standoff, no payoff is made and the Bar 12 or 2 odds would be 1.4 percent in favor of the player! So it "bars" the 12 or 2 on wrong bets, which means that when one of these numbers appears the wrong bettor has a standoff. No payoff is made and the game continues without a stop.

To see these line bets in table play, let's observe an ongoing game of craps. The shooter comes out with a 7 for an immediate win. All Pass bettors collect, all Don't Pass bettors lose, and the shooter comes out again. This time he throws a six. Six becomes his point, and he continues to roll. First he tosses a 5, then another 5. Next comes a 9, then 4, 8, and 10. Finally a 7 shows. He has sevened-out. All Pass bettors lose, all Don't Pass bettors collect. And since the shooter has lost, the dice move clockwise to the player on his left. The new shooter now comes out with a 3. Craps! All pass bets lose, all Don't Pass bets win.

Come Bet The third smart craps bet, the Come bet, is an especially dynamic wager for, unlike the Pass bet which is placed only on the come-out, Come bets can be made every time the dice are shaken. This is because the Come bet treats each roll of the dice as the first roll, and in this sense is its own separate come-out. To understand this, let's watch a Come bettor at work. The shooter has just come out with a 9. Before the next roll the Come bettor makes a wager. A 4 is now rolled, and this becomes the Come bettor's point. (If the shooter had rolled a 7, the Come bettor would have won, just as on the come-out; and, conversely, if the shooter had rolled craps he would have lost.) From now on the Come bettor needs a 4 before a 7 to win. The original come-out point of 9 does not affect his Come bet in any way. Furthermore, the Come bettor can make another Come bet on the next roll, and then another and another, and so on until the shooter wins or loses. As on the line bets, the payoff is at even money.

Don't Come Bet A Don't Come bettor wagers that on rolls subsequent to the come-out the shooter will crap out or miss his point. As with the Don't Pass bets, there is a built-in percentage saver here for the casino, a Bar 12 or 2. (As far as the 12 and the 2 go, it really makes no percentage difference, which one is barred. In Las Vegas it is usually the 12, in Tahoe and Reno the 2. Certain spots, however, bar the 3 rather than the 12 or 2, and since 3 show up about twice as often as 2 or 12 it makes good sense to stay away from places like these.) Don't Come, like Come, pays off at even money.

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