Aces Guide to Gambling

Craps Strategy & Rules :

Bets against shooter can pay off in craps

About The Author

John Grochowski is the author of four gaming books including The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Casino Answer Book.

Grochowski was recently named by Casino Player magazine as one of the 100 best gaming authors of the 20th century.

He also runs a gaming column in the Detroit News and the Chicago Sun-Times, which examines issues ranging from blackjack and video poker strategy to casino etiquette.

John Grochowski

Most craps players like to bet with the shooter. They win together and lose together, cheering on a hot shooter and commiserating over a cold streak.
That doesn't mean you have to bet with the shooter. Some of the best bets on the table will have you betting against the shooter making his point. Not that betting that way is any shortcut to popularity. There are players who resent those who bet the opposite side. Those who bet against the shooter are even called "wrong bettors."

But there's nothing really wrong with betting the other side. In fact, the odds are just about right. The two most common "wrong" bets are "don't pass" and "don't come." As you probably suspect, if you've been following this craps primer the last few weeks, don't pass and don't come are the opposite of pass and come.

Just as with wagers on the pass line, the sequence for don't pass bets starts with the comeout roll. You'll know it's the comeout if the plastic puck is flipped to the side that says "Off."

On the comeout, pass bets win on 7 or 11 and lose on 2, 3 and 12. Once a point is established, pass bettors win if the point is repeated before a 7 is rolled, and lose if the 7 comes first.

Don't pass is almost the opposite. The only portion of the don't pass wager that is not the opposite of the pass wager comes when a 12 is rolled on the comeout. Pass bets win, but don't pass bets just push--that is, they tie and the bettor keeps the wager.

Otherwise, don't pass bettors win when pass bettors lose, and lose when pass bettors win. If on the comeout, the shooter rolls a 7 or 11, don't pass bets lose. If the shooter rolls a 2 or 3, don't pass wagers win. And there's that push on 12.

If the comeout roll is any other number, it becomes the point. If the shooter rolls a 7 before repeating the point number, don't pass bettors win. If the point number comes first, don't pass bettors lose.

What's the house edge? Just 1.4 percent, a tiny fraction better than the 1.41 percent on the pass line.

What if you walk up to the table and the puck is flipped to "On" while sitting in one of the numbered boxes? Then it's not a comeout roll, and it's not time to bet don't pass. Instead, you can bet don't come.

Don't come works just like don't pass, except the betting sequence starts on a roll other than the comeout. If you place a bet in the area marked "Don't come," the shooter's next roll serves as your equivalent of the comeout. You win on 2 or 3, push on 12 and lose on 7 or 11. Any other number becomes the point before your don't come bet. If the shooter rolls a 7 before that point, you win, and if the point comes first, you lose.

For a pass/come bettor, the comeout roll is the best part of the bet. There are eight ways to win--six combinations of two dice that total 7 and two that total 11--and only four ways to lose--one way to make 2, one way to make 12 and two ways to make 3. But if a point is established, the pass/come bettor becomes the underdog, no matter what the point number.

It's just the opposite for a wrong bettor. The comeout roll is the worst part of the don't bets, with only three ways to win--one way to make 2 and two ways to make 3--and eight ways to lose--the same eight that are winners on pass and come. But once a point is established, don't pass/don't come bettors become the favorites, no matter what the point number.

So far, we've concentrated on the good bets at craps--pass, come, place 6 and 8, free odds, don't pass and don't come. But there also are some real stinkers on the layout.

Next, check out bets to avoid.

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