Craps lesson 7: Betting the Come

So far you've learned the basics. You know that on a come-out roll one of three things can happen: you win (7 or 11), you lose (2, 3 or 12) or a point is established. You know that after a point is established you can make a Free Odds bet behind your original pass line bet. And you know that you are then waiting for either the point to be repeated -- which is a winner for you -- or for a 7 to be rolled -- losing your bet and ending the shooter's turn with the dice.

By betting only the pass line (and backing odds), though, you have only one number working at any given time. The shooter could roll for an hour, but unless he hits the point, you don't make any money. There's a way to get more numbers working, and get the same sort of favorable Free Odds that you have backing your pass line bet. It's called a Come bet.

The concept of a Come bet is the same as a pass line bet, it just has a starting point within the roll instead of at the beginning. In both cases you are placing a bet, waiting for the next roll to determine the key number for you, then hoping that number is repeated before a 7 is rolled. What happens when making a Come bet is this:

Once the point has already been established -- we'll say it's a 5 in this case -- you then place another bet in the bar marked "Come" directly in front of your pass line bet. The dice are rolled again -- we'll say they come up a 6 -- and your Come bet is moved to the corresponding box at the top of the table. You are now hoping to see either a 5 or a 6 repeated before a 7 is rolled. Best case is that both numbers repeat before that damned 7 shows up; you would win twice, then.

Once your Come bet is moved to the number box, you can take Free Odds on it as well. Because players aren't allowed to reach all the way across the table to the numbers box, the usual method is wait until the dealer has finished taking losing bets and paying winners after each roll -- but before the stickman pushes the dice to the shooter -- then toss your desired Odds bet on the table and tell the dealer you want to take odds on the bet that was just moved from the Come. In this case you could just say, "Odds on my 6, please." The dealer will than take your odds bet and stack it offset on top of your bet that came from Come.

Let's walk through the example listed above:

5 is the point, backed by odds, a bet on the Come

Craps table layout

The situation above is this: You placed a $5 pet on the pass line at the come-out roll, the shooter rolled a 5. You backed your pass line bet with odds and you have placed another $5 bet on the Come line. The dice have been passed back to the shooter and he is about to roll.

(NOTE: In a real situation, if you were backing a $5 with 2X odds -- $10 -- there would be no need to place an additional $1 chip on top of the odds bet. But, to remind you that 5 and 9 require an even number for the odds, we'll show all odds bets for those numbers with a $1 on top.)

The shooters next roll is a 6. The dealer pays any winners, removes any losers then moves your Come bet to the box marked "SIX" -- you are now said to "have a 6 coming." You have not yet told him you wish to take odds, so the table looks like this:

5 is the point, 6 is Coming

Craps table layout

You want to take 2X odds on the 6, so you toss $10 on the table where the dealer can see and tell him you want odds on your 6. He stacks the chips on top, then the dice are returned to the shooter. You are now set up to win money if either a 5 or a 6 is rolled before a 7. The table looks like this:

5 is the point, 6 is Coming, odds on both

Craps table layout

We'll go ahead and let you know there would have different outcomes to your Come bet had the shooter rolled a 7, 11, 2, 3 or 12, instead of a 6, on his last roll, but I don't want to get into that just yet. It's hard enough to get your head around a Come bet without worrying about special situations. Once you get fully comfortable with how Come bets work exactly like pass line bets, it'll be clear what happens on those tricky numbers.

At this point you really, really want to see at least one of the numbers repeat, because you're more vulnerable. If a 7 is rolled now, you lose your pass line bet, the bet you have coming and all the odds you have on both numbers. We'll walk you through some basic scenarios in our next-to-last lesson...

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