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Lay Bets

S. Stoynova (editor) |

Getting to Know the Craps Lay Bets

Understanding the different types of bets is one of the crucial aspects of playing casino craps. One of the many wagers available is the Lay bet, used to bet against certain numbers. Most players tend to avoid it due to lack of knowledge and experience but it can be a very rewarding option for those who know how to play the game properly.

The game of craps seems very complex and confusing to novice players but once they learn just a few basic bets, they can easily start playing and making money. Along with the Pass and Don’t Pass bet, where players bet on the dice winning or losing, i.e. when 7/11 or craps numbers are thrown, they can place wagers on various other outcomes. Such wagers are part of more advanced craps strategies and in order to be able to use them correctly, players need to learn all their basics, their payout, and built-in house advantage.

The Lay bet is a relatively simple bet that can be placed at any time. The interesting thing about it is that it may take multiple throws of the dice to be resolved. When you place this wager, you bet that the 7 will be rolled before a specific number. Another important thing is that unlike most bets in this game, the winning Lay bets pay true odds. At the same time, there is a 5% commission on the payout that needs to be considered.

Having explained what Buy Bets are, this Craps Guide will now direct players’ attention to Lay Bets, the exact opposite of the former.

Basics of the Lay Bet

The Lay bet is an easy-to-understand, straightforward way to place wagers in craps and comes with some great advantages. It is often described as the opposite of the Buy wager where you bet that a specific number will be rolled before 7. With the Lay bet, players may lay the numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10, but they can choose to lay as many numbers as they wish.

If 5 is laid, for instance, this means that you bet that the shooter will throw 7 before 5. You win if the dice land on 7 before they show 5. If 5 is rolled first, however, the wager loses. The great thing about this wager is that the payout is based on the true odds but to compensate that, casinos have introduced a 5% commission that needs to be paid on the winnings. While the fee is really low, apparently, it is enough to turn the odds in favor of the house.

Interestingly enough, when placing a Lay bet, you lay more to win less. For instance, if your bet is $10, the potential payout without the commission will be $5. The reason for this is simple – 7 is more likely to be rolled than any of the numbers that can be laid. If you find that concept hard to understand, you should continue reading through the following sections.

Playing with the Lay Bet

The Lay bet is sometimes referred to by players as a “No” bet – when they lay a number, they bet that it will not show up before 7 is rolled. Similarly to many other wagers in craps, the Lay bet is not a self-service bet and players are not allowed to place the chips for it on the table. Instead, they are required to leave them on the Come bet area of the layout and ask the dealers for assistance. After the chips have been positioned on the table, they will be topped with a Lay button indicating the type of wager. Online players can easily place their Lay bet by placing chips on the corresponding box of the layout.

As mentioned above, an unlimited number of these wagers can be placed at any time during the game. Players can lay one or more of the following numbers – 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10. Once they pick a number to place their Lay bet on, they hope that the 7 will appear before that number in the following rolls of the dice. If the shooter throws a 7 before the laid number, the bet wins and the player receives a 1:2 payout. If the laid number shows first, the bet loses.

This bet remains independent of the original throw of the dice and it is not resolved until either the 7 or the laid number is rolled. This wager is often preferred by players who notice temporary trends in the game and wish to make the most of them, although in the long-term, the variance will eventually correct itself and such trends are not to be relied upon. For example, you can lay 9 if you have not seen a 9 to be rolled in a while and believe it would not come out in the following few rolls.

An interesting aspect of this type of wager is that it can be turned on or off at any time by the player. Once you decide you do not want a Lay bet on the 9 anymore, you can tell the dealer to turn it off and an “Off button” will be placed on top of your chips. In online craps, you can remove or place your Lay bet once again even more easily. This option allows players to remove their wager before it is resolved.

Lay Bet Payout and House Edge

The Lay bet is one of the very few wagers in craps where the payout is based on true odds. This means that the potential winnings of placing such a bet are equal to the risk, which is very rare in casino games. And here comes the above-mentioned 5% commission on winnings. It is used by casinos to guarantee their profits and can reduce players’ earnings over the long term.

Still, this bet is one of the best options available in the game, especially when certain numbers are laid. The reason for this is that the probability for some numbers to be rolled is higher than for others. This will be explained in detail below.

Lay Bet Odds

It is important to note that any of the numbers you choose to lay is less likely to be rolled in each following throw of the dice than 7. This is the number that has the highest probability to be rolled simply because it has the largest number of possible combinations. It is fairly easy to throw a 7 as there are 6 possible ways to do that – the sides of the two dice can be 1-6, 6-1, 2-5, 5-2, 3-4, and 4-3. In contrast, there is only one possible combination for 2, for example, and that is when each die lands on 1.

The possible ways to roll any of the numbers that can be laid are fewer than the combinations for 7. There are three ways to throw 4 and 10, four ways to throw 5 and 9, and five possible ways to roll 6 and 8. All this is important to understand when looking at the payouts for each winning Lay bet as this is typically how the casinos gain a built-in advantage over their patrons. With the Lay bets, things are different, however.

The odds for this wager on each different number can be easily calculated. As there are three ways to roll 4 and 10, the odds against rolling a 7 could be expressed as 3 to 6, or 3:6, which is 1:2. Similarly, the odds of 5 or 9 are 4:6, equal to 2:3, while the odds for 6 and 10 are 5:6. All these show that the probability of rolling a 7 is higher than for any other number. In other words, when placing a Lay bet, players are more likely to win than to lose.

Lay Bet Payout

As mentioned above, the payouts for winning Lay bets are based on the true odds and, therefore, depend on the number players place their wager on. When 4 or 10 are laid, the payout is 1:2. If 5 or 9 are laid, the payout will be 2:3, while the winning Lay bet on 6 or 8 pays 5:6. However, as 7 is more likely to be rolled, players need to bet more money to win less. This concept may be difficult to understand at first, but it is quite straightforward.

For example, you hope that the 9 will not be rolled in the next few throws of the dice and decide to lay it for $9. Two rolls after that, the 7 appears and you win. But how much will you receive if the payout is 2:3? If you replace the 3 here with $9, the 2 will equal $6, which is the size of the payout. In this case, you should receive $6 along with your wager of $9, or $15.

Many players avoid placing this bet because they find it difficult to calculate their potential winnings. But this is quite simple, in fact. If your Lay bet on 9 is $100, you can have the payout when you divide the $100 bet by 3, which is $33.3 and multiply that by 2 – you will have $66.6. However, the casino will not pay you the entire sum and instead, it will charge your winnings a small commission fee.

Lay Bet Commission and House Edge

Lay bets are an excellent choice for players because they pay out based on the true odds. Casinos, however, cannot accept that because, in its essence, it means that on average they will lose more than they will win. Offering these bets on craps would, then, make no sense for them. This is why the true odds in Lay bets come at a cost – a commission of 5% of the intended winnings. The commission is also called a “vig” (from vigorish) or a juice and it is always a percentage of the win amount.

Using the example above, we can see that a winning Lay bet of $100 on 9 will not bring a payout of $66.6. When we add the 5% commission, the actual payout is reduced to around $63. The commission is $3.33 so your winnings should be around $63.3. Since land-based casinos would round that up, however, you will probably receive $63. This way, you may lose a little bit of money with each of your winning Lay bets. Online casinos, on the other hand, however, tend to pay out the exact amounts, which is why they are a better alternative.

It is also important to note that some casinos charge the 5% commission only on a win, while others charge the fee in both cases. Of course, it is always better for players to choose establishments that would take a commission only on the winning bets. This little detail directly influences the house edge of each bet. If the 5% commission is charged on every Lay bet placed, the house edge when laying 4 or 10 is 2.44%. It is higher for a Lay bet on 5 or 9 at 3.23% and it even goes up for a Lay bet on 6 and 8 at 4.00%.

When the commission is taken only on winning bets, however, the house edge for a Lay 4/10 is 1.67%, for a Lay bet on 5/9 it is 2%, and for a Lay bet on 6/8, it is 2.27%. The house edge refers to the share of the bet that casinos take on average. If your wagers total $100, for example, and the house edge is 1.67%, you can expect to lose an average of $1.67. When the house edge is higher, the expected loss increases, too – if the edge is 4%, it is $4 per $100 wagered.

Are Lay Bets a Good Option in Craps?

Lay bets are not the most popular wagers in craps and many players are confused when they wish to place them. For many of them, the payouts are particularly strange as the potential winnings are lower than the amount they need to wager. Still, these bets are among the easiest to place as you can place them at any time – even before the come-out roll at the beginning of a new round. As explained above, Lay bets are completely independent of the come-out roll and everything else that happens on the craps table.

Another great option is that players can not only place their Lay bets whenever they want but they can also remove them at any time without paying the commission. Most brick-and-mortar casinos allow players to turn Lay bets on and off easily and with no charge. Players would rarely take advantage of this option, however, considering that this type of wager comes with no built-in house edge. Casinos gain advantage artificially by taking 5% commission on every winning Lay Bet.

Overall, this wager is a good addition to every craps strategy because the player is always more likely to win than to lose. The 7 is the most easily rolled dice combination, as we have already seen. Players can lay different numbers while placing other bets such as Pass/Don’t Pass or Come/Don’t Come bets. These wagers also come with a low house edge, especially when they are supported by Odds bets. It is 1.41% for the Pass Line and the Don’t Pass wagers, while for the Come and Don’t Come bets, it is 1.36%. Buy bets and Place 6/8 also come with lower house advantage.

Different combinations of these wagers are possible but there is one very important thing players should know before they start playing craps for real money. They cannot eliminate the house advantage, so in the long term, they are expected to lose. Placing good bets, however, is key to reducing the losses and increasing your chances of leaving the craps table with some profit.


Craps is a fun, exciting game, which could be very rewarding for those who have at least a basic understanding of how it works. It revolves around the number 7, as it is the easiest to be rolled. And while some bets seem to be covering most numbers but are still advantageous to the casino, Lay bets capitalize on the power of the 7 and have a very low house edge. With these wagers, players bet on the most likely outcome and can, therefore, expect to generate good winnings.

It is important for players to understand that in order to win a certain amount with a Lay bet, they need to wager a larger amount of money. This is one of the essential aspects of these wagers, along with the addition of a 5% commission. This is a small fee casinos charge the intended payout of a winning Lay bet so they can compensate for the lack of a built-in house edge. Even after paying the commission, players will find the Lay bets a better option than the proposition bets, for instance, which can also be placed at any time. These bets, however, are resolved with a single roll of the dice and are associated with a much higher house edge.

Some players would also prefer placing Lay bets after spotting certain trends. Riding the streaks is a not a proven winning strategy, however, and players should avoid relying on such fallacies.