The game of craps is one of the most diverse and versatile that you will find on the casino floor. You can often guess the craps table simply by the sheer number of spectators, which often outnumber the players themselves. Indeed, craps is one of the most popular casino games out there and one of its advantages are the multiple betting options at your disposal. This allows you to experience craps in several different ways since each bet type offers its own unique payout ratios and odds.
In this guide, we would like to bring to your attention the so-called Buy bets that you can place. Below, you will find detailed explanations about the bets themselves, the house edge and odds, as well as, our recommendation regarding this bet type.
Buy Bets Explained
The term ‘Buy bets’ refers to a number of betting options on the craps table which bear a slight resemblance to the place bets, which we cover in a different article. However, where the two bet types differ makes all the difference. The main difference between place and Buy bets lies in the amount of money that you receive at the end of the roll. A typical place bet will feature house odds very close to the true odds, with a small difference. On the other hand, Buy bets pay the true casino odds with no house edge. But there is a twist. For every winning Buy bet, you have to pay a commission of 5% on the amount wagered.
This is referred to as ‘vig’ or ‘vigorish’ in the world of casino gambling. Essentially, but bets are called such since you are paying for the privilege of receiving a true odds payout. While that might sound somewhat contradictory it is the way of things and Buy bets are by far the best wagers featured at the craps table, where odds are concerned.
At land-based casinos, you announce that you wish to place a Buy bet. You place your chips where the stickman tells you to, after which they will pull them closer and place a ‘Buy’ marker on them. Once the bet is concluded and you have won it, the stickman will give you your winnings and ask for the house commission. Typically, most casinos do not have chip denominations worth less than a dollar, so it will be rounded to the nearest whole number. Therefore, you are expecting to pay a minimum of $1 in commission. At online casinos, the process is much more streamlined since the software handles everything for you and all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the game.
As far as what the Buy bets in particular are, you will have multiple numbers to bet on. Specifically, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10, though betting on certain numbers will pay more than on others. Much like place bets, Buy bets are ‘standing bets’ and as such, they are not automatically lost on the first roll of the dice. Buy bets can remain on the table until the bet is won or until a roll has a total of 7. Keep in that Buy bets can have a minimum value, though this is more dependant on the establishment or the software provider – in the case of online casinos – more than anything else.
Buying the 4 and the 10
Buying the 4 and/or the 10 is the most worthwhile Buy bet on the craps table, both in terms of odds and payout. Whenever you make such a wager, you are betting on whether or not the next roll of the dice will result in a 4 or a 10. A winning 10 or 4 Buy bet will pay even money (2:1), whereas a place bet on the same numbers will pay 9:5. As a result, Buy bets are the way to go when wagering on these numbers.
Buying the 5 and the 9
Buy bets on 5 and 9 come with the same odds of winning of 3:2 and the payout odds are the same. Generally speaking, this is the middle of the road wager where Buy bets are concerned, worse than 4 and 10, but better than 6 and 8. As far as how worthwhile this bet is, one has to look at how the casino applies the commission. If it is charged only on winning bets, then this bet is worth it. We will go more into that later.
Buying the 6 and the 8
The 6 and 8 Buy bets are the third and final Buy bet type that you will find on the craps table. As it happens, this bet is the one that gets the short end of the stick in terms of odds and payouts. Unlike the previous two, the 6/8 Buy pays only 6:5, meaning that for every $10 that you wager, you stand to win $12 before the commission is charged. As far as its Place equivalent is concerned, the 6/8 Buy features worse odds and a lower payout ratio in all circumstances.
Buy Bets Odds and House Edge
As mentioned previously, Buy bets are some of the most favorable in craps where odds are concerned. Unlike many of the other betting options, Buy wagers pay true odds, meaning that you receive a payment equal to the probability of winning the bet. This is the best possible ratio that you can get at any casino game. Though there is also the commission to consider, so in this point, we will discuss everything you need to know about the mathematical aspect of Buy bets.
Above, we stated that the commission is charged on Buy bets but what we did not mention was that land-based casinos choose to implement on their own discretion. Certain establishments charge commission on the bet regardless of the outcome, a few even charge it on the end sum, while there are even some that choose to forgo it on particular bets. However, it is becoming common practice to apply the commission only on the initial bet and only if it wins. We will use the last metric for the purposes of this guide, as it is the common form of commission that you will experience.
For comparison, the Place bet equivalent would feature a payout of 9/5 and on a $10 bet, our net balance would be $18. While a $1 difference may not seem to much too you, this is because we are dealing with smaller numbers. As soon as you start placing higher bets, the difference will be much more pronounced. In terms of casino advantage, the Place 4/10 bet has a 6.67% house edge, much higher than the Buy bet with its mere 1.67%.
The 5/9 Buy bet is where things start to become interesting. This bet has a payout ratio of 3:2 and still comes with a 5% on winning bets. So for a $100 bet, we stand to win $150 without the commission. When it is applied, we pay $5 to the casino and come out with a net balance of $145. This translates into 1.96% casino advantage as long as the commission is charged only on wins. The 5/9 Place bet, on the other hand, offers a payout of 7:5, which is somewhat lower than its Buy counterpart. For a winning $100 Place bet on 5/9, we will have a net balance of $140. As a result, the house edge of the Place bet is 4%. What you should take from this is that the Buy 5/9 bet is worthwhile if the casino charges the commission only on winning bets and in all other cases, you should take the Place option instead.
Finally, the 6/8 Buy bet comes with a payout ratio of 6:5. So if we take a $100 Buy bet on 6 and 8 and we win, then we will bring in $120 before the commission. After the commission is charged, we will be left with a net balance of $115. This makes for a house edge of 2.22%, provided that the commission is only charged on winning bets. For comparison, the 6/8 Place bet has a payout ratio of 7/6, so a $100 Place bet would bring in $116, resulting in a house edge of 1.52%. This makes the Place 6/8 bet more worthwhile than the Buy 6/8 counterpart. The odds shift even further in the favor of the Place bet, if the casino charges commission on all Buy wagers, regardless of the outcome.
Are Buy Bets Worth It?
Buy bets are certainly some of the better ones that you can place on the craps table. You have several different options when it comes to choosing, though you should always keep the commission in mind. While the idea of Buy bets are sold to the public as offering true odds, this is only half-way true. The vig will take a small percentage of your winnings and it, in turn, serves as the house edge in this sense. Even after the commission is charged, however, the difference is not too big.
Additionally, the commission also makes serves to disincentivize small-scale betting. A 5% vigorish does not sound too much, and it really is not, but once you factor in that the minimum commission stands at $1.00 you will have a different outlook. Since land-based casinos do not offer chips in lower denominations than $1, the commission is rounded up to the nearest full number. Moreover, the commission has to be paid, so by default, it is $1. This means that for bets of $50 and lower, the commission will always be $1.
Another thing you also need to take into account is that certain Buy bets have higher house edge values than particular Place bets. Namely, the Place 6/8 will always have a lower casino advantage than the Buy 6/8, albeit the difference is small. The Buy 5/9 will have worse odds than the Place 5/9, IF the commission is charged on all bets, rather than only on winning ones. However, the Buy 4/10 will always be a better choice than the Place 4/10, with a difference of ~2-4%, depending on how commission is charged.
Of course, you should do your research and look over the other possible betting options available at the craps table. On our website, we have guides for every aspect of craps that you need to concern yourself with, so be sure to check out the other craps bets.
Overall, the Buy bets at craps are some of the simplest out there. This game really lends itself to all kinds of players and the variety of betting options makes it worth the trouble. As far as the Buy bets are concerned, they certainly have their uses. Based on our descriptions above, you should now understand that certain bets are more appropriate than others, taking into account payout ratios and house edge values. Therefore, you need to carefully consider where you will place your stack of chips. Truth be told, you can do a lot worse than Buy bets and even if you do not play at the best possible way, you should not see much in the way of consequences.