You have probably heard it said that a come bet is “just like” a pass line bet simply because both bets have the same odds. The fact is, the come bet only mimics the pass line bet. It is really not “just like” a pass line bet at all. The come bet has some inherent shortcomings which I will explain because you are a Playing 4 Keeps™ player.
Although I do provide an application for come betting in my Do’s and Don’ts of Dice™ playbook, it is primarily in the playbook for those players who enjoy this kind of action. I admit that there are times when a come bet works well. There are rare times when a come bet may actually outperform the pass line bet. It is for these reasons I decided to share what I consider to be the best way to employ the come bet in the Do’s and Don’ts of Dice™ playbook.
However, I do not favor of the use of a come bet in my game and I will explain my reasons. Naturally, you can decide for yourself.
Comparing the Come Bet to the Pass Line Bet
One way the come bet and the pass line bet are the same is that both bets are contract bets. A bet laid is a bet played, win or lose.
Both bets win when a seven or eleven rolls, upon their initial placement on the layout. In the case of the pass line bet, the bet is made before a come out roll. With the come bet, the bet may be made any time after a point has been established.
Both bets lose when a two, three or twelve (any craps) is rolled on their initial placement upon the layout. In the case of the pass line bet, the bet loses during a come out roll. With the come bet, the bet loses any time after a point has been established.
When a seven or eleven or any craps is not rolled, on the initial placement upon the layout, then both the pass line bet and the come bet are assigned a box number, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 as a result of the dice roll.
Both bets win when their respective box number repeats.
Both bets lose when the seven rolls before their box number repeats.
Contrasting the Come Bet to the Pass Line Bet
Before you can make a come bet, a point must be established for the pass line. As you know, once a point is established, the seven is “live” in the point cycle. My emphasis here is that the come bet is joining the game late. Additionally, there is a greatly reduced chance that the come bet can be parlayed like the pass line bet during the come out cycle. Recall that 45% of pass line wins result from naturals, 7/11. Of those naturals, 75% will be from a seven roll. The natural seven will constitute just over 33% of all pass line wins. Winner seven for a come bet is a one roll bet. Because the come bet joined the party late, the winner seven for a come bet ends the game.
Not being able to parlay a come bet using Stack’em don’t Rack’em, for a winner seven, is the major weakness for the come bet and my criticism for this bet compared to a pass line bet. Making a come bet means giving back the 33% win advantage to the casino. With a come bet in action, on a box number, it is always at risk to a seven. Whereas, if you are a pass line player, you get a “time out” during each come out cycle, a reprieve, if you will, and another shot at Stack’em don’t Rack’em. This is the great difference between the two bets.
A Come Bet in Action
Let’s pretend you are going to be a come bet player. How complicated can that be? Perhaps harder than you may think. Once the point for a pass line bet is placed in the come field you are possibly just one roll away from winning or losing your come bet. In order to establish your come bet with a box number, you must first run the gauntlet. With a bet in the come field, the next roll of the dice determines your fate. If a box number rolls, you’ll have a working come bet on that number. If any craps rolls you’ll lose the come bet. If an eleven rolls you are paid even money and you are still running the gauntlet with a parlayed bet. (Assuming that you continue with the come bet.) The remaining possible roll is the “seven out” and you are paid even money with the game coming to an end. If you are thinking, “so what, it’s the same gauntlet for the pass line”, then I am glad that you are thinking, because there’s more to it.
What is the Goal for the Come Bettor?
Waiting for a point to be established is just one difference between the pass line bet and the come bet. There is another difference, albeit disguised. When a seven rolls for the pass line coming out, the game continues. When a seven rolls for a come bet during the point cycle, the game ends. As a pass line bettor, we are happy to see the seven on a come out roll. As a come better, we are never happy to see the seven. Cutting to the “cash” here, the goal of come betting is to establish the bet on a box number, place the odds bet and avoid the seven. The problem here is with the goal. The come bettor is risking the gauntlet just to be on a bet that has a 60% probability of losing. The bigger problem is metaphysical. The player’s intention is subliminally focused on a worst case scenario. As a pass line player, the focus is on “burning up the sevens” on the come out roll and accepting the fate of a point during the come out cycle. More on burning up sevens later in this article.
Are You Playing 4 Keeps™ or Playing to Play?
There is very little chance for a come bettor to employ the Stack’m Don’t Rack’em play, while giving up 33% of the winner sevens on a come out roll. Missing out on this key win is giving up an advantage play to the casino. The Stack’em don’t Rack’em play is the biggest advantage for the for a pass line player. Odds of winning this parlay are better than one in five rolls, 22.22%.
Under the Microscope
Let’s take a closer look at the come bet. There are other issues. Since it came to the game a little late, it is at least one roll closer to the inevitable seven out. Think of this way. If a shooter rolls a total of ten rolls, and the come bet is established upon the second roll, there are seven rolls left for the come bettor’s number to repeat. (The tenth roll is a seven out.) With five chances out of 36 the bet has “limited opportunity” for that number to repeat. Although we never know how many rolls a shooter will have. We do know that longer rolls provide us with more opportunities against the odds. In other words, short hands are not as likely to produce repeating number for either the come bet or the pass line bet. When making either of these bets, success depends on rolls with lots of box numbers. In this example, a pass line bet is exposed to 100% of the possible live rolls. The come bet is exposed to only 77.77% of the live rolls.
Every shooter eventually sevens out. Some shooters toss a point and out, just two rolls. Others shooters roll in probability, about six rolls. The come bet requires, at a minimum, three rolls with the second and third rolls needing to be back to back numbers in order to win. With each roll of the dice, the game is one roll closer to the inevitable seven out. Let’s look at a come bet on a six or eight. The odds are 5:36 for either number to roll. With each roll the odds are exactly the same. Probability dictates that a back to back roll is less likely to occur than a seven. My question for you to ponder; how long does the come bet(s) have to stay alive, given the odds of probability, to produce a profit? How many non-paying rolls will occur before the winning box number rolls or before the inevitable seven rolls?
Just the Truth
Here are a few other unfavorable situations for the come bet.
Possibility 1 – Say that you are in the middle of a hand and you have at least one come bet up on a number. If the seven rolls on a come out roll, you lose your come bet(s). (Which could punish your pass line bet, if it wins.) Your odds portion of the losing come bet(s) is returned to you. If you wish to continue come betting you have to run the gauntlet and reestablish the come bet(s). *See note below.
Possibility 2 – If your come bet number rolls on the come out, you win even money on the come bet. The bet comes down with the odds portion of the bet returned to you without profit. Okay, a win is a win, but not exactly the best intended outcome for this bet. After all, part of the motivation for making a come bet is getting paid true odds for the odds bet. Again, if you wish to continue come betting, you run the gauntlet.
Possibility 3 – Once the come bet wins, the come bet and the odds bet are paid and come the bet with odds comes down. If you wish to continue come betting, you must repeat the entire process again. Get past the craps and the seven, establish a come point, then win the point before the seven out. When the same box number repeats for the next come bet, the number has to roll a fourth time to win. Contrast that to a place bet on the same number. In this scenario, the risk may have won four times with a place bet instead of just two times come betting. The solution for a come bettor is to keep making place bets, essentially with each roll of the dice. This way, the bettor has a come bet up in the come field to replace the previously won bet, in the event of back to back rolls. This is exactly what the casino wants from the come bettor. They encourage a folly strategy of over betting, getting a player’s money spread on six box numbers plus a come bet coming.
I will cover place betting another time. But for now, always be an active thinker about the game, know how the bets interact and relate to probability that favors the casino.
*Note – Little known to most come bettors and not advertised by the casino, following a come out seven, the come bettor does have the option to “pay to stay up” with their losing come bets. The player hands in money for each losing come bet, telling the dealer, “Keep me up please.” The down side, of course, is running into a shooter who comes out on sevens. Since the casino allows this action, you have to know that it favors the casino more than it does the player.
Burning up the Sevens
Earlier, I mentioned burning up the sevens on the come out roll as an intention for the pass line player.
Along with this focus, I also add dice manipulation in my game. Setting for sevens on the come out is also a physical affirmation of intention. From all my years of playing craps and home practice, I have come to recognize that most long hands did not result because of an absence of the seven. In fact, the long hands I have documented had many sevens. They occurred, of course, during the come out cycle of the game. The dice remained in probability with the seven appearing during the come out roll. Now, the dice don’t know come out from get the hell out, so when you wrap your mind around this concept of intended play, you add to your game the power of applied metaphysics with positive intention. I affirm sevens on each and every come out roll. My belief and intention is based in the math of the game. Since probability dictates one seven to every six rolls, why not have those sevens show up when I collect on that 33% advantage?
A contrived scenario
I will use a ten roll hand but, it has a different ending. Nine rolls occur and, instead of a seven out on the tenth roll, the shooter rolls the point. Mathematically, there are two sevens out of deviation. What this means to me, metaphysically and with probability, is that the game is “owed” two sevens, in addition to the 1/6 odds. The next roll is a come out roll and I get my wish, 7/7/7. Okay, an eleven could be in the mix. Cool? Very cool. The game gets a “reset”. The dice god is happy. The dice are in probability and the game continues.
If you keep a record of long hands, check out how many times the come out roll “burned up” the sevens. From my personal experience, there is something mystical about the 13th roll. In my many years of live play, the 13th roll seems to be a threshold. If the game does not end by the 13th roll, it has been my experience for that game to “break through” that barrier and go on to be a successful game. By this I mean a three point hand or greater, plus any passes on the come out. Additionally, the longest hands I have witnessed were random rollers. This is why I say dice manipulation is not required when Playing 4 Keeps™.
Example: Red is Come Out and Green is Point made
Above I’ve listed twenty-three rolls with three sevens and two winning points. The hand is in probability for sevens. A ten dollar pass line player Playing 4 Keeps™ wins $165 and the Playing 4 Keeps come bettor with one come bet loses $45. The average pass line player may have won $80. The average come bettor with one come bet loses $30. Making continuous come bets, the player Playing 4 Keeps™ loses $250. The average player making continuous come bets loses $240.
Recapping what I consider to be objections to the come bet
• The Come bet enters the game late, waiting for a point.
• The goal of the play is to have a bet in action with odds 60% against to win.
• The come bet has four ways of losing instantly versus two ways of winning with the 11.
• The seven is never a friend to the come bet, excepting the last come bet. A small consolation.
• The box numbers must be rolling, especially the numbers with come bets.
• After the come bet wins, it has to be re-established.
• After a seven, on a come out roll, the come bet loses and has to be re-established.
• The Stack’m Don’t Rack’m play only works with the 11repeating. Gives up 33% advantage.
Given that a craps game tends to run chop dice most of the time, I consider come betting to be an aggressive play. In the long run, I believe that it is better to forego the come bet. If a player has the bankroll for come betting, it is better to increase a pass line bet with the come bet money. There’s the same exposure to the odds of losing. However, you can add the advantage of the Stack’m Don’t Rack’m play. I believe that it is better to have fewer bets in action and have the “safety” of a come out roll for a pass line bet. It is advised, in the long run, that the smarter move would be to invest the come bet money in the best bet. Don’t settle for the exposure of the more risky come bet, forfeiting the 33% win advantage from a come out seven.
Copyright © 2018 by Michael Vernon
My pass line strategy along with the Stack’em Don’t Rack’em play are included in my Does and Don’ts of Dice™ playbook.