THE COME BET
The come bet is a bet that is often misunderstood by craps players. As such, there is a lot of controversy and debate that surrounds the come bet. This article will explain the come bet.
If you know how to play the pass line bet, then you know how to play the come bet. The come bet and the pass line bets play under the same win-loss conditions. The difference is the location and timing of the come bet. The come bet is initiated by placing a bet in the area marked ‘Come’. You can make a come bet on almost every roll. The exception is that you can not make a come bet if the next roll is the come out roll for the pass line. Other than the pass line come out roll, the player can make a come bet at any time.
The win-loss conditions on the come bet are the exact same as the pass line. Once you make the come bet, the very next roll is the come out roll for the come bet.
Once you make a come bet, on the next roll, 7 or 11 wins, and 2,3, or 12 causes the come bet to lose. Any other number becomes the point for the come bet.
The player may then take odds on the come bet, just like if he or she has a pass line bet. If the max odds allowed is 3x,4x,5x on the pass line bet, then that’s the same max odds that are allowed for the come bet.
The shooter will continue to shoot the dice. Once a point for the come bet is established, a 7 will cause the come bet to lose. If the come bet point rolls, then the come bet wins. Any other number other than the come bet point or the 7 is irrelevant. The shooter will continue to shoot until either the 7 rolls or the point rolls.
As stated above, the player can make a come bet on every roll except the come out roll for the pass line. If the player decided to make a come bet on every available roll, the player would have multiple points on the board, and each active point would win if the point rolls. The caveat is that if 7 rolls, every come bet that had been moved to a number would then lose.
If you understand the pass line bet, then you understand the come bet. They’re really the same bet.
WALKTHROUGH OF THE COME BET
Once the shooter has established the point for the pass line bet, the player must wait for the pass line bet to resolve (meaning win or lose) before the player can make another pass line bet. However, if the player wants to have more action than a singular pass line bet, but he wants to make a bet that has the exact same win or loss conditions as the pass line bet, then the player may make a come bet.
The player can only make a come bet if a point for the pass line has already been established. If a point for the pass is not established, then the player just makes a pass line bet. Just remember that the win-loss conditions for the pass line and the come bet are exactly the same; so it doesn’t make sense to make a come bet if there is no pass line bet.
Let me clarify this by walking you through the video below.
At the 1:50 second mark in the video above, you see RoadGambler making a come bet. RoadGambler throws down a red chip into the area marked come. RoadGambler happens to not have a pass line bet, but that doesn’t matter. A player does not need to make a pass line bet in order to make a come bet.
Notice also that the pass line for the point is 10; thus the point for the pass line is already established.
When RoadGambler makes the come bet at 1:50, the come bet will win if the next roll is a 7 or 11 but will lose if the roll is a 2,3 or…you guessed it…12. In other words, the next roll is a come out roll for the come bet. Any other numbered roll will serve as the point for the come bet.
At 1:55 the next roll is a 9. This means the come bet now has a point of 9. So going forward on this come bet, 9 will win, whereas 7 will lose. The player can also make an odds bet on the come bet, just like you would for a pass line bet. The payoff for the odds bet are exactly the same as the odds on a pass line bet: 4 and 10 pay 2-1; 5 and 9 pay 3-2; and 6 and 8 pay 6-5.
Fast forward to 3:16 and you will see that RoadGambler now has two come bets that have points. RoadGambler has a come bet + odds on the 6, and a come bet + odds on the 9.
What this now means, for those two bets, is that a roll of 6 or 9 will win the corresponding number, whereas a 7 will lose both bets.
When I try to describe the come bet to players at the table (when I’m asked), I describe the come bet as a pass line bet that can be made at any time. The moment the player makes a come bet, the very next roll is a come out roll for the come bet.
If you already have a pass line bet, can you make a come bet? Absolutely. Just remember that the moment you make the come bet, the very next roll will have at least two functions, it will serve to determine your existing pass line (if you have a pass line bet), and it will also determine an action on your come bet. Do not let the fact that one roll can serve two determining functions confuse you. A roll can have many different determining functions. For example, if you bet at the same time ‘Yo’, ‘hop 10’, and ‘any craps’, the next roll will serve three functions, each of which determine the win or loss for those bets.
So that’s the come bet explained.
CONTROVERSY AND FALLACY SURROUNDING THE COME BET
If you ever play real craps in a casino, you will see very few people making come bets. I’m usually alone in making come bets. Most people prefer place bets.
The often quoted reason for this is that for the come bet to win, it must hit twice. Mathematically, this is not true. Rather than debating the math on the issue, if the player genuinely believes that the come bet is at a disadvantage because it has to hit twice, then the player should bet the Don’t Come. By betting the Don’t Come, the player is effectively forcing the casino to bet the Come Bet and ‘hit the number twice’.
You’ll quickly discover that over the long run, the casino doesn’t have to hit the number twice. You don’t have to hit the number twice, either.
While it may seem like the number must hit twice for you to win, it’s not true. For example, let’s say you make a come bet and the point of 9 rolls. Well, for you to win, the 9 must roll again before a 7. Thus it appears as if a 9 has to roll twice.
When someone says that a point must roll twice for a come bet to win, they are incorrectly describing the way the come bet works. A more accurate way to describe the come bet is that a point must first be established, and then the point must roll again. This is a different statement from, ‘the point must roll twice’.
You might be able to see the distinction better if we talk about flips of the coin. If we say, ‘heads must flip twice to win’, that’s different from saying, ‘the same side of the coin must flip twice’.
If you flip a coin twice…
The odds that ‘heads must flip twice in a row’ is 1 in 4, i.e., 25%
The odds that ‘the same side must flip twice in a row’ is 1 in 2, i.e., 50%.
The same logic applies to the roll of the dice and the come bet. The difference between the two statements (regarding the coin flip) is that on the first roll, either head or tails would have satisfied a condition of the flip. This means that the first roll is not a roll that will win or lose the bet; rather it is a flip the establishes the win-loss condition going forward. Similarly, on a come out roll for the come bet, the shooter may roll any point. It is not a condition of the come out roll that the shooter must roll a specific point. Thus the first time the shooter hits the point, that first hit was not a win-loss condition of the bet; rather it was a roll that established the win-loss condition. That’s why the shooter does not need to ‘hit the point twice’ to win.
Again, you don’t have to take my word for it, just bet the don’t come bet and force the house to take the come bet. Then they’ll be the one who must hit ‘the number twice’.
THE HOUSE EDGE ON THE COME BET
Because the win/loss conditions are the same as the pass line bet, the house edge on the come bet is exactly the same as the pass bet: 1.41%.
With odds, the house edge on the combined bet is reduced similar to the reduction in house edge on total action, as if the bet was a pass line bet. At 10x, the combined house edge is .18%, which is similar to a good blackjack game played with perfect basic strategy.
Similar to the pass line bet, the odds bet will reduce the overall house edge on the combined come bet + odds, but the total combined bet remains a negative expectation bet, even if the house edge is significantly reduced.
Do not be afraid of the come bet. In many ways, the come bet is superior to the place bet because the overall house edge is lower. In the long run, you will do better by making come bets + odds, rather than place bets. There are many craps players who disagree with the statement I just made. But if you run a craps simulation, you’ll find that in the long run, the come bet + odds is by far a better bet. Both place bets and come bets+odds are negative exception bets; however, the come bet+odds will result in a far smaller loss, assuming the combined amount bet on the come bet is the same as the amount bet on the place bet.
Most place bettors prefer the place bet because they have a hard time swallowing the fact that if a number rolls for a come bet, they would have won if the bet was instead a place bet. But what the player forgets is that if a number doesn’t roll, but rather 7 rolls, the place bet will lose, and the come bet will win, having never traveled. This is the balancing factor in a come bet; which is why a place bet has a house edge of 1.52%, while a come bet has a lower house edge of 1.41%, even without odds.
Try the come bet. In the long run, you’ll do better.
At the end of the day, craps is supposed to be a fun game. If you hate the come bet because you can’t get past the fact that you would have been paid on a place bet, then make a place bet. Or if you still believe that you must hit the point twice on a come bet to win, then stay away from the come bet. The win-loss differential on a short-term, single session basis is barely noticeable, and if come betting takes away from your enjoyment of the game, stick with what you enjoy.
Good luck at the tables!