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Craps - The Bad Bets
On this page we'll take a close look at what can only be labeled as 'bad bets'. That label may be a bit harsh for some of them, but the house edge is legit over the long run, so just don't plan on playing these bets as your main strategy. Many of you can appreciate the variety these bets bring to the game, and how necessary it is to keeping the game interesting.
The Field Bet
This bet appears to be a smart place to put your money, but the casinos love to attract your attention towards where it shouldn't go. The field bet is a bet that the next roll will be any one of 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12. The problem is that 'next roll' bit. Many craps bets last a session, or part of one, but the field bet only applies to the roll that happens right after you place the bet. The bet pays even money on the central numbers, and often pays double on a 2 or 12 being hit on the field. Some casinos pay 3 to 1 for a 2 or a 12, but rarely both. Check the table you're playing on to know.
The Lay Bet
The lay bet is known as a bet 'against the dice'. Meaning it is a bet that wins when a shooters pass line bet loses. There is a superstition at the craps table that playing against the dice is bad luck for all the 'with the dice' bettors. Fictional of course, but it's good to respect superstitions in a casino, people can get fanatical. The Lay bet can be placed on the 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10. The bet wins if a 7 is rolled before your number. Since a seven is the most likely number to come up on any given roll, the casino ensures this bet can still make them money by charging a vig, or commission, usually of 5% on winning bets. Most often a Lay bet on a 4 or 10 will pay back at 1:2, a 5 or 9 nets you 2:3 odds, and a 6 or 8 gives 5:6 odds. This bet would probably make our good bets page if it didn't charge a vig.
In the middle of the table there is a slightly separated area with loads of betting options printed on it. These bets are known as proposition bets, and make up some of the more exotic wagers available on the table. There is usually a picture of each bet printed on the table, showing the specific dice total or combination that wins the bet. For instance, you'll often find a square labeled 9-to-1 and dice pictures of two 3s. This means if you hit a dice total of six by specifically hitting two threes, before the shooter rolls a seven, or a six made up of anything but two threes, this bet wins. This is an example of a 'hardway bet', one of the most popular proposition bets.
Some common proposition bets and the wager they represent:
Yo 11 - next roll bet that the shot will be 11
Any Craps - next roll bet that the shot will be 2, 3, or 12
Any Seven - next roll bet that the shot will be 7
Midnight - next roll bet that the shot will be 12
Horn Bet - next roll bet split across four ways, that the shot will be 2, 3, 11 or 12
Hardways - a 'hard total' will be rolled before either a 'soft total' or a 7
To hit a 'hard six' is to hit a six by rolling two 3s, whereas to roll a 'soft six' is to roll a six by hitting a 4 and a 2, or a 5 and a 1. Hardway bets are a bet that you will hit the hard total of the number you're betting on before a roll of the soft total or any sevens. Logically, hardway bets are only playable on 4, 6, 8, and 10.
The Buy bets
A buy bet is very similar to a place bet, and can be made on the same set of numbers. The number you 'buy' must come up before a seven. The tricky casino bit is, the odds are better for a buy bet, but you have to pay a 5% vig. This leads some to believe the bet is bad overall, while others believe it is good. The truth of the matter is, the buy bet is better than placing the 4 or 10, but a place bet is better for any other number.