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Craps Strategy Part II
:: Place your bets
The craps table, as intimidating as it seems, is easy to work with when you break it up into each little section. Learning those sections is learning the bets you can make on them. You're already familiar with the pass line bet, free odds, the come bet and the cycle of play at the table, so now we delve into some more of the bets you can make, starting with the counterparts to Pass and Come, the "don't" bets.
Don't Pass Bet
The don't pass bet is a bet that the shooter will fail to Pass (basically, fail to win their pass line bet). If you're in a land based casino then you may want to think about it before you bet on the don't pass bet. Since it's like betting against the shooter (or against the dice), you win when everybody else loses, and it's never really appreciated. The superstitious folk will frown at you, and blame you if the table runs cold.
To make a don't pass bet place your chips in the narrower section just beyond the pass line labeled don't pass. The bet will lose on a 7 or 11, and win on a 2 or a 3. A 12 on the come out roll is a push, where nobody wins or loses. If anything else is rolled it becomes the point, and you win if a 7 is rolled before the point is repeated. Everything (except the 12 on the come out roll) is the opposite of the pass line bet. The odds of a 7 coming out before a 10 are quite good, so the casino doesn't pay at the best odds.
Don't Come Bet
The don't come bet is the opposite of the come bet. When one wins, the other loses. The don't come bet must be made after a point is set by the shooter. If a 7 or 11 is rolled you lose, if a 2 or 3 is rolled you win, and a 12 is a push. Otherwise a come point is set and you win if a 7 is rolled before the come point is repeated, and lose if the come point is repeated before a 7 is rolled.
Now we can talk about a couple of bets that many people base their craps strategy around.
The Field Bet
The field bet is a tricky bet that appears to be easy to win, but hides the fact that its alterted in the casinos favor. It's a bet that the shooter will throw a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12 (any of the numbers in the field area) on the next roll. If a 5, 6, 7, or 8 are thrown then you lose. These are of course, the more likely numbers. Most casinos also give a bonus if a 2 or a 12 is thrown. It's common to be paid 2x your bet when a 2 or "snake eyes" is or a 12 is thrown.
The Place Bet
The place bet is the most common way to bet on a specific number. You can make a place bet at any time after the point is set by handing the dealer your bet and saying 'I want to place the 8' or whichever number you want to bet on. You can make a place bet on any of 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10. If the number you have placed is hit before a 7, you win. Different numbers have different odds of being hit, and are paid back differently: 4 or 10 placed - 9:5 odds, 5 or 9 placed - 7:5 odds, 6 or 8 placed - 7:6 odds.
The Buy Bet
You can also 'buy' numbers instead of 'placing' them. The numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10 can all be bought, but usually the 4 or 10 is bought because its pays off better than placing it would. The buy bet is similar to the place bet in that the number you buy must come up before a 7 does. The odds are higher for a buy bet. 2:1 on a 4 or 10 buy, 3:2 for a 5 or 9, or 6:5 for a 6 or 8. The catch is, you have to pay a 5% commission on any bets you buy (often called a 'vig'). Depending on how much you bet, buying a bet can make you more money in the end even after accounting for the 'vig'.
The Lay Bet
An uncommon bet, the lay bet is against the dice, so it's related to the don't pass and don't come bets. The lay bet can be made at any time. Basically, it's the opposite of the buy bet, and the same as the don't come bet, but with different odds. The lay bets may be placed on 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10. The bet is on the fact that a seven will be rolled before your number. A 7 is more likely to come up than any other number so the casino requires you to wager more than you could win. This bet usually also requires a commission of 5%. Lay bets are rarely, if ever, your best choice.
The bets located at the center of the table are collectively known as 'proposition bets'. Even the field bet is considered a proposition bet, as the term applies to any bet that applies only to the next roll.
Some Proposition bets include:
Any Sevens - a bet that the next roll will be a seven
Snake eyes - a bet that the next roll will be 2
Yo Eleven - a bet that the next roll will be 11 (the E in the small circles)
Any Craps - a bet that the next roll will be 2, 3, or 12 (collectively known as craps, the C in the small circles)
Any Three - a bet that the next roll will be 3
Midnight - a bet that the next roll will be 12
Horn bet - a split bet that covers 2, 3, 11 and 12