Many casual gamblers are intimidated by craps because of the great number of bet types this game presents them with. Some of the betting options are pretty straightforward while others are a bit more difficult to get a grasp of. The good news is one is not required to memorize all available bets in order to enjoy themselves and win at the craps table.
Even if you have to intentions of approaching craps like a professional gambler, it is of vital importance for you to acquaint yourself with how the Pass Line works and learn to distinguish the “main” bet types. One such wager is the Come bet. It is hugely popular at the craps tables mainly because it comes with a reasonably low house.
Unfortunately, many craps rookies are put off by this type of wager because they struggle to understand how it works. This article provides you with detailed information on how this craps wager works along with ideas on how to incorporate it into your beginner betting strategy.
How Come Bets Work
Some inexperienced players are so intimidated by the Come bet (and the Pass Line, in general) that they avoid it altogether despite the fact it is one of the best wagers they can make in the game of craps.
Part of the reason for this confusion has to do with the fact the name “Come bet” conveys nothing about how this wager works. In comparison, when you hear “Any 7”, it immediately dawns on you what number needs to be rolled for you to win.
The fact the dealer often moves the chips of Come bettors to another betting box after they have placed their wagers further adds to the confusion. In reality, it is not all that difficult to get the hang of how Come bets work plus you get the added benefit of their low house edge.
When Can Players Make Come Bets?
Come bets bear a good deal of semblance to Pass Line bets but there are several distinct differences between the two. Unlike Pass Line bets, Come bets are placed following the come-out roll and only after a point has been established. A small puck is used to indicate when Come bets can be placed.
One of the puck’s sides is black and has the word “Off” printed on top. The other side is white and reads “On”. After a point number has been rolled, the dealer would position the puck with its white side facing upward on the corresponding numbered box on the layout, showing players they can now place Come bets. The puck not only indicates Come bets are presently accepted but it also shows Pass Line bettors what their point number is.
Before the come-out roll, the puck is placed above the Don’t Come Bar area with its black or “off” side facing up. This goes to show the shooter is about to establish a point on the following roll, indicating Come bets are currently unavailable. After a point is rolled, Come bettors must place their chips into the large betting area on the layout which reads “COME”.
When Does the Come Bet Win?
Come bets are similar to Pass Line bets in that they win when the shooter tosses a natural 7 or 11 on the very next roll. If this happens, Come bettors would receive even-money payouts. Similarly to Pass Line wagers, Come bets would lose provided that any of the three craps numbers (2, 3, or 12) is rolled.
But what happens if no naturals or craps numbers hit on the next roll? What if the shooter rolls a 5, an 8, or a 10, for example? Well, if any other number is rolled it becomes the point for the Come bettors aka “come point”. Respectively, the dealer would move your chips into the box corresponding to the current come point number. The Come bet wins even money if the point number gets rolled before the shooter throws a 7. Provided that the 7 rolls before the point number, the Come bet would lose.
As you can see, there is not much to it but many players still get confused by this duality of the rules. The fact the outcome of these bets is often resolved after multiple tosses of the dice does not help much, either. Still don’t get it? Hopefully you will after reading the few concrete examples we have provided in the next section.
Several Examples with Come Bets
Imagine you approach the craps table and see it is now open for Come bettors because the small puck reads “On” and is positioned above a numbered box. We presume you intend to flat bet with units of $10. You must make sure you place your $10 chip in the COME area before the stickman presents the shooter with the dice. The very next throw of the dice results in a roll of 11, causing your Come bet to automatically win. You let it ride and the next toss brings you a lucky 7 so you win again.
Now, let’s see what happens if no natural appears immediately after you placed a $10 chip in the COME area. We shall presume the throws to follow have resulted in the following sequence of rolls: 4, 3, 11, 8, 6, and 4.
Since the shooter rolled a 4 immediately after you have made your wager, the 4 became the point for your Come bet. The stickman took your $10 chip and placed it within the betting box that reads “4”. The next four numbers that got rolled (3, 11, 8, and 6) have absolutely no effect on your Come bet. Fortunately for you, the shooter rolled a second 4 on their sixth throw. Respectively, this resulted in you winning with your Come bet because its point rolled before a 7 did. The dealer pays you out at even odds, meaning that they give you $10 on top of your original $10 wager.
Let’s finish with one last example to allow the rules to sink in. We shall give you a sequence of rolls and suggest this time you attempt to figure out the bet’s outcome on your own before you proceed to read the explanation. So you wager another $10 on a Come bet and the shooter makes the following sequence of rolls: 9, 4, 3, and 7. Did you win or lose?
If your answer is “lose”, you are correct. The shooter established a point of 9 for your Come bet but unfortunately, they failed to roll the point before a 7 showed on the fourth throw. Had your come point been rolled, you would have received an even-money payout for braving it out.
What Happens When There Are Multiple Come Bettors at the Table?
Those of you who have ever entered a casino have probably noticed how busy (and noisy!) craps tables tend to be. What this means is you most likely will not be the only player when you join the table. What’s more, there is a good chance there will be other Come bettors at the table besides you.
Sometimes it may happen so that there are as many as six Come bettors wagering different sums on this outcome. Respectively, when a point number for these Come bets is thrown, the dealer will then move the chips of the bettors into the box that corresponds to the point. You are probably wondering how do craps dealers keep track of all the action and more specifically, how do they distinguish which chips belong to whom.
For the purpose of preventing mistakes, the dealers would place the chips of a given player in such a way so that they indicate the position they are occupying at the table. So if your position is immediately to the left of the stickman, your chips will be placed in the front right corner of the numbered box, i.e. as viewed from your perspective.
Keep in mind that if you do not retrieve your payout, the craps personnel will interpret this as if you are letting the bet ride on the following roll of the dice. So if you do not intend to play another Come bet on the next roll or wish to decrease the amount you wager, it is up to you to reach out and handle your chips.
Another important thing to bear in mind is that Come bettors are not permitted to take down their wagers after placing their chips on the layout. The chips remain on the table until your Come bet wins or loses.
The House Edge on Come Bets
You would be amazed at the high percentage of people who wager on craps without fully understanding what house edge they are up against. The trouble with craps is that each type of wager has its own odds and house edge. In contrast, the house edge for all bet types in roulette is always either 2.70% or 5.26% depending on the number of zeros, the only exception being the five-number bet on double-zero wheels where the house holds an advantage of 7.89% over its patrons.
Craps players may have it tough in this respect, but on the positive side of things, the game also offers some of the best bets you can possibly make in a casino. Such is the case with the Come bet where you are at a disadvantage of 1.41% only. There is a way to further reduce this percentage but we shall tackle this subject in the following section. What this percentage reflects is that Come bets will cost you an average of $1.41 per every $100 you wager.
The odds of winning with a Come bet are actually quite favorable to players due to the fact the dice permutations that result in a win are more than those that cause you to lose. There is a total of 8 combinations your Come bet can win on the very first roll after the come-out. As was explained above, you need a 7 (which has 6 possible combinations) or an 11 (with 2 possible combinations) to emerge victorious immediately after you have made your Come bet. The total combinations for the craps numbers (2, 3 and 12) that cause you to lose are only four (1-1, 2-1, 1-2, 6-6).
Things get a bit tricky if you fail to win on the very next throw of the dice because you become somewhat of an underdog with your Come bet once a come point number is established. You need your come point to be rolled before a 7. The 7 having more dice combinations than any of the possible point numbers now becomes an issue. Respectively, the likelihood of the shooter rolling a 7 before your point is higher.
That being said, you can play several Come bets simultaneously. Just to give you an example of how multiple Come bets work, suppose your shooter establishes a point for the Pass Line and you put your chips in the COME area. The next dice roll results in a 10 which becomes the come point. At this stage, you decide to risk it with another bet in the COME area. The shooter throws the dice again for a roll of 6.
Now you have two come point numbers to look forward to, 8 from the first Come bet and 6 for the second Come bet. Your chips will be placed within the 6 and 8 betting boxes above the COME area. These numbers must be rolled prior a 7 for your two bets to win.
Many Come bettors like to play multiple wagers simultaneously because this gives them the opportunity to cover more numbers on the layout. This way, they will clean up if the shooter manages to roll their come point numbers before rolling a 7. This approach is riskier, though, since a roll of 7 automatically means you lose all the Come bets on point numbers.
Free Odds on Come Bets
In the previous section, we hinted there is a way for craps players to reduce the house edge on Come bets. How is this achieved? Well, craps players are allowed to back their Come bets with free odds the same way Pass Line bettors do.
Backing your bet with free odds is easily the most advantageous move you can make in a casino but why? The answer – because this is the only type of wager where the house holds no advantage over players. Winners are practically paid at true odds which is a real rarity in a casino.
Of course, casinos would normally limit the amounts on the wagers with free odds because of the absence of a house edge for these bets. These restrictions would vary between different gambling venues depending on their policies. Some casinos in Las Vegas would limit the odds bets to the table minimum. Other venues would allow you to back your Come bet with multiples of your original wager, capping the free odds wager to 3x the sum you have initially staked. Others would permit you to take up to 100x odds.
So this is how it works. You verbally indicate you want to take odds on your Come bet by saying “Odds please” because only the dealer is allowed to handle this type of wager. The dealer would then take the chips you have prepared and place them on top of your initial Come bet. The free odds chips are placed slightly off center so that the dealer can distinguish them from your original bet.
Come bets backed by odds also win when the point gets rolled before a 7 does. The payouts would vary for different point numbers, depending on the number of possible winning combinations for that number. We have broken the payouts in the chart below. These payouts apply only to the Free Odds bet. The original wager still returns even money if it wins.
|Winning Point Number Pairs||Payout on Come Bets with Odds|
|6 and 8||6 to 5|
|5 and 9||3 to 2|
|4 and 10||2 to 1|
You can probably see why backing your Come bets with odds is a good idea. If you win with a point number of 6 or 8 where there are three possible winning combinations for each of the two numbers, your odds bet will return $6 for a wager of $5. Generally, the idea is that the more money you invest when taking odds, the more the house edge on your initial Come bet decreases. Sounds like a good deal, yes?
The Difference between Come and Don’t Come Bets
The Don’t Come bet practically mirrors the Come bet so it is important for you to understand how it works. We may even say the Don’t Come bet is an extension of the Don’t Pass bet. Similarly, it comes with a low house edge of 1.36%. This bet is also available only after a point has been established for the Pass Line.
You place your chips in the section of the layout that reads “Don’t Come Bar”. The Don’t Come bet wins even money if the shooter rolls a 3 or a 2 on the very next throw. It pushes following a roll of 12. Logically, if 7 or 11 occur on the next roll, the Don’t Come bet loses. As you can see, this wager is like the Come bet but in reverse.
Respectively, if any other number (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10) gets rolled, it becomes the come point. The Don’t come bet wins even money if the shooter rolls a 7 before the point number shows. These are, in essence, the main differences between the two types of bet. Mind you, your chips remain on the layout after your Don’t Come bet wins, so make sure to remove them if you have no intention to let it ride.
Similarly, players can reduce the house edge by complementing their Don’t Come bets with Free Odds bets. Only in this instance, they are said to lay the odds instead of taking them. Odds bets are again made in multiples of 1x, 2x, 3x or higher and the more you invest, the lower the house edge on your Don’t Come bet becomes. Winning bets of this type return different payouts depending on the come point. Check them out in the table below.
|Point Number Pairs||Payout on Don’t Come Bets with Odds|
|6 and 8||5 to 6|
|5 and 9||2 to 3|
|4 and 10||1 to 2|
Incorporating Come Bets into Your Betting Strategy
We recommend aspiring craps players to stick to the bets that offer them the least chance of losing, i.e. the bets with the lowest house edge in the game. The Come Bet falls into this category and so does its “twin”, the Don’t Come Bet (which actually has a lower house edge). Different craps experts have come up with different ways of incorporating Come Bets into one’s winning betting strategy.
In many instances, these are used in conjunction with Pass Line wagers and are further complemented with free odds. This is how it works. You start by placing a Pass Line bet and complement it with 2x odds after a point is rolled. After the point is established, you make a Come bet, which is again complemented with a 2x odds. This way, you have two numbers going for you. Provided that the Pass Line point or the come point is rolled, you win one of your bets, replace it again and back it with 2x odds.
For example, if the shooter rolls the point for the Pass Line prior a 7, your Pass Line bet wins, you collect the profits, and make another Pass Line bet. The Come bet will not be affected by the other wager winning and would remain on the layout.
The second thing to remember is that the free odds do not apply during come-out rolls. When the shooter throws a 7 on a come-out roll so that your Pass Line bet wins, the odds you have taken will be returned to you, so do not forget to take your chips off the layout.
This strategy proves to be effective for two reasons. First of all, this is a rather conservative approach. You are not exposed at such a high risk to a 7 because you play only two numbers at any given time. And second, you reduce the house edge on your Pass Line and Come bets to the meager 0.60% by taking 2x odds. This is a rudimentary approach all beginners are recommended to adopt and incorporate during their first sessions at the craps table.