Letting the Dice Make the Decision

Most of us serious crapsters like to have several numbers working at any given point in the game. Doing so increases the variability of the game, which in effect makes the game more interesting. Few players are interested in single-bet grinds that rely strictly on Pass or Don’t Pass decisions. So after the Come Out roll has established a point we elect to make a few Place Bets.

Some of us bet the six and eight only. Others prefer the Outside numbers. Then, of course, there are the Across bettors. If you are a Pass Line player you have five box numbers to choose from. If you by-pass the Come Out roll you might even choose to bet all six numbers.

The main reason most Place bettors cite for playing that way is simple. They get to pick the numbers they want to bet – and they can take those numbers down at any time they wish. Place bets are not contract bets.

Another way to cover multiple numbers is by making Come bets. While Come bets are a lower-vig way to play, many players disdain their use because they don’t get to pick the numbers they feel they need to win. The Come bet only pays 1-to-1. For example, a $10 Come bet that travels to the nine will pay $10 if the number repeats, whereas a $10 Place bet on the nine pays $14. Other players refrain from Come betting because their numbers must show twice to win on the Come – once to establish it as the point and again for the win – while Place bets pay the first time the number rolls.

The legendary Sam Grafstein preferred Come betting to Place betting when playing the right side of the game? Why? Because doing so eliminated any decision making on his part regarding which numbers to play. From his perspective, Come betting followed the table’s current trend and served best in positioning him to win. He referred to is as “letting the dice decide.”

The fact is, for the long run player betting on Come, even without taking Odds, gives the house less edge than Place betting. A $5 Come bet is worth about seven cents to the casino. A $6 Place bet on the six or eight is worth about nine cents. Toss out a $5 five or nine and you’ve just given the house twenty cents. And the four and ten, when placed for $5, dump thirty-three cents in the casino coffers. Of course, it’s getting harder and harder to find a $5 game, so double those amounts if you’re normally playing at the $10 level. A player tossing out $64 across gives the casino $2.53 profit every time he drops his action on the table.

Over all, Place bets do pay more than Come bets up to a certain level. Take enough odds and the Come bet outperforms Place Betting. For example, Place the nine for $25 and win $35. Get there through the Come with $5 and take $20 Odds, though, and you also win $35. But at any Odds multiple over 4X, you win more with the Come than the Place Bet.

Another factor to consider is your likelihood of winning any particular bet. Place the six or eight and you’re your probability of winning one of those bets is about 45%. On the five or nine it’s 40.0 percent, and on the four or ten the odds of winning are about 33%. The odds of winning on the Come are better across the board – roughly 49%. Why the difference? In thirty-six Come Out rolls you can expect to win eight times on naturals without even establishing a point.

Is Come Betting for you? Maybe. Perhaps you should give it a try. And if you aren’t convinced to give up Place Betting entirely you can always combine the two. Play $160 across, then start making $5 Come Bets, taking $10 odds out of the Place Bet wins. After you get three numbers established come down off the remaining Place/Buy action and wait for a decision on your established Come Bets and odds. Your regression is built in at that point, and you’ll be firmly positioned to win.
So, maybe you should give Come bets a shot. Or, selfishly, maybe not. Casinos couldn’t earn enough to pay their mortgages if everybody bet Pass and Come (or Don’t Pass and Don’t Come – the math is equivalent), especially with Odds. And they certainly couldn’t offer the high Odds multiples that really make the game attractive for players who exploit the opportunity this affords.

Not sure which numbers to have up and on? Let the dice decide.