Working on the Come Out

One of the topics we frequently touch on on the Axis Power Craps Forum is whether or not a DI should work his bets on the Come Out. My late Uncle Hubert – the original “Heavy” – would have told you that if you turn that “ON” button upside down you’ll see it says “NO,” and that would have been the answer and that would have been the end of that discussion. But as is usually the case with craps questions like this, the correct answer is “depends.” It depends on what your objective is. You may be surprised to find out that every DI’s objective isn’t always to “win” a Place or Come bet on every toss of the dice. Some people like to play a game within a game and consider the Come Out toss a “free shot” at hitting a long-shot bet. For example, I devote a small portion of my buy-in to what I’ll call “recreational” Come Out strategies where I attempt to toss a 2 or 12 craps on the Come Out. Sure, I could work $64 across or $66 inside or $30 each on the six and eight for a shot at picking up somewhere between $0 and $35 for the effort. But a smaller wager – say $5 on the World and $2 on the High Low can generate a much larger return with less sevens exposure – if (of course) you can toss a 2 or 12 Craps. And therein lies the problem with that strategy.

Admittedly, my return on investment would likely be larger over the long run if I’d play a WOTCO (acronym for “Working on the Come Out”) strategy. But after all of these years I still consider myself a “serious recreational gambler.” Yeah, I play to win. But I also play for fun. It’s a fine line to walk.

Of course, one also has to consider the downside of WOTCO – that being the dreaded Come Out Seven. Let’s say you’ve tossed a fairly good hand and have your bets pressed up nicely. There’s $100 on the Four, $50 on the Five, $18 on the Six and $42 on the Eight. The Nine is sitting at $35 and you have $25 on the Ten. That puts you with somewhere in the neighborhood of $270 action plus your Pass Line bet. Say you’re betting $10 on the line. That means you have $260 of sevens exposure on the Come Out. And yes, a number like that can get between a working man’s ears and wreak havoc with his toss.

You could, of course, only work your dominant numbers. They’re easy to recognize. They’re the ones you have pressed up. So let’s say we work the Four and the Six – a total of $142 action. Yeah, I know that makes you feel a lot better now that you have only $132 of Sevens Exposure. So what can we do about that?

Well, here’s where the hedge-a-holics come out and get creative. You could work the four and six on the Come Out while laying against what we’ll call the “lost” number – the one that hasn’t been pressed up yet. The Six and Ten each have their original bets up, so let’s Lay against one or both of them on the Come Out. To protect the greater part of that $132 of Sevens Exposure you could lay $125 or so against the six. If the seven showed you’d win $100 on the Lay bet. Then again, you’d lose $132. So you’re still down $7 and let’s face it. You were Laying against the Six for crying out loud. You could Lay the 10, but you have to Lay 2 to win 1 and still have to pay the juice. Good grief! Can we just forget this hedge idea?

But what if you’re really good at tossing sevens? I mean, let’s face it. If you can reduce the number of sevens you toss using a particular set then you should be able to increase the number of sevens you toss using a different set. And if that’s the case – well, once again the math of the game says “Yes!” After all, in addition to winning on the Seven on the Come Out – you also win on the Eleven. That means you have eight ways to win versus four ways to lose. You’re a 2 to 1 favorite on the Come Out – even with a random toss. But with your skill level! Hey, we’re talking about a license to steal here, right? Parlay that Pass Line win to table max, hit it a couple of more times then color up and pass the dice, right?

But let’s forget about the eleven. If you really ARE that good at tossing Sevens on the Come Out then why not just Lay Against ALL of the numbers. Lay $41 no four and ten, $31 no five and nine, and $25 no six and eight. That’s Laying $194 Across – and I can assure you you’ll have to explain it to the dealer. Toss a Come Out seven and win $120 minus the vig. Yeah, that’s a DIFFERENT kind of WOTCO. But what if you don’t toss a Come Out Seven and knock yourself off one of those Lay bets? Well, at the end of the day that’s why they call it gambling.

No matter how you approach it – WOTCO can add value to your game. Just be sure you choose the best option for your bankroll and loss tolerance. Personally, I think I’ll take my Uncle Hubert’s advice and just say “no.”