Since the Peppermill video, I’ve been asked about buy bets and whether they’re better than place bets.

Let’s talk about buy bets.

WHAT ARE BUY BETS?

In a standard game of craps, a buy bet is a bet on a box number of 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10. You can buy one, select a number, or all.

How to Identify the Buy Bet and Place Bets on a Layout 

In the picture below, the ‘box’ numbers of 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10 all have bets on them.

A place bet is indicated by one or more chips in a bet that straddle the line. In the picture below, the blue arrow is pointing to a place bet. Notice how the chip straddles the line.

The red arrow is pointing to the position of the buy bet on the 4. On a buy bet, the chips are located inside the box and do not touch the line. Also, there is a button that says ‘buy’ on the chip. There is also a buy bet on the 10.

On an unrelated issue, the yellow arrow is pointing to a Don’t Pass bet with odds.

Notice the button that says ‘BUY’ on the 4. This indicates that this is a ‘buy’ bet.

Most players prefer to place the numbers. If you’re not familiar with place bets, then go here for a refresher: place bets.

A buy bet is like a place bet, but with the difference that the player is paid true odds. For example, if the player makes a place on the 4 or 10, the casino will pay 9 to 5 if the number rolls. That means a $5 place bet pays $9, $10 place bet pays $18, $20 place bet pays $36, etc.

Compare this to the buy bet. If the player buys the same 4 or 10, the house pays true odds. $5 buy bet pays $10,$10 buy bet pays $20, and $20 buy bet pays $40.

Sounds like the buy bet is a better deal, right? I mean, a 4 or 10 place bet of $20 pays $36, while the same amount wagered made as a buy bet pays $40. That’s an extra $4.

Win-loss conditions for the place bet and buy bet are exactly the same: If the 7 rolls before the number, then you lose; if the number rolls, then you win.

What’s the catch on the buy bet? The catch is that the player must pay a 5% commission on the buy bet. That’s how the house makes a profit.

With the commission in mind, is the buy bet a better deal than the place bet? It depends.

COMMISSION

There are two types of commissions when it comes to buy bets: commission paid upfront, and commission paid after the win.

Commission Paid Upfront

The commission paid upfront is more advantageous for the house, and less for the player. Most Las Vegas strip casinos charge the commission upfront. This means that the moment you make the bet, you must pay the commission, win or lose.

Let’s say you decide to buy the 4 for $20. That would require you to outlay $21. $20 goes to the bet, and the house keeps $1 as the commission.

If the buy bet wins, you have to pay an additional $1 for the next. Some players mistake this second commission as a commission on the win. It’s not. It’s a commission for the next bet that hasn’t yet been determined.

Commission Paid on the Win

This is the better form of commission for the player. On commissions paid after the win, the player doesn’t pay the commission if he or she loses.

Let’s take the same buy bet on the 4 for $20. The player only needs to outlay $20 to make the bet. Only if the player wins does he or she need to pay the commission.

House Edge on Commissions

The following are the house edges…

Commissions paid upfront

  • 6 and 8
    • House edge of 4.76%
  • 5 and 9
    • House edge of 4.76%
  • 4 and 10
    • House edge of 4.76%

Commissions paid on wins

  • 6 and 8
    • House edge of 2.27%
  • 5 and 9
    • House edge of 2.0%
  • 4 and 10
    • House edge of 1.67%

From the numbers above, it’s clear that the commissions paid on wins is the better deal for the player.  The problem is that most casinos charge commissions upfront. Most players don’t care, so the casino will make a profit wherever it can. Usually, it’s casinos that market themselves as gambler friendly casinos that offer the commission paid after the win.

SO PLACE IT OR BUY IT?

These are the house edges for place bets…

  • Place 6 or 8
    • House edge of 1.52%
  • Place 5 or 9
    • House edge of 4.00%
  • Place 4 or 10
    • The whopping house edge of 6.67%
    • Don’t ever place the 4 or 10

So the answer on whether to place or buy depends on which number you pick.

Guideline On Whether to Place or Buy

6 and/or 8

  • ALWAYS place bet.
    • Under no circumstances is a buy bet of 6 or 8 better than the 1.52% house edge of a place bet.

5 and/or 9

  • Depends on whether commission is paid upfront or on wins.
    • Place bet if commission is paid upfront.
    • Buy if commission is paid after the win.

4 and/or 10

  • ALWAYS buy

ADVICE ON BUY BETS

The Easy to Remember Advice

Given a choice between place bets or buy bets, never buy the 6 or 8.

Given a choice between place bets or buy bets, only buy the 5 or 9 if commission is paid after the win. If commission is paid upfront, place the 5 or 9.

Always buy the 4 or 10, regardless of how commission is paid.

Always buy in increments of at least $20. Do not buy increments of less than $20. If you buy in increments less than $20, you increase the house edge.

The Better Advice

If you are willing to commit this to memory, this is the optimum buying strategy with regards to the proper amount bet. You may face some resistance from dealers who are not aware of the rules, but if you obtain the proper amount to bet, you will lower the house edge more than the published numbers.

Proper Increments

Always bet in proper increments. The proper increments for each bet vary from casino to casino, and even crew to crew. The idea behind the proper increment is that you want to bet as much as possible for a single $1 commission.

The house edge numbers I presented above are for $20 increments. You can lower the house edge even more by finding out how much you can bet the same commission. The reason this works is that casinos will typically round down the commission. For example, on $24 buy bet on the 4 and 10, the commission is $1.20. The casino will typically round down and charge you $1.

The proper amount varies. I’ve been to casinos where the casino rounds up if the commission is 50 cents or higher. For example, if the buy bet is $30, the 5% commission comes out to $1.50, which is then rounded up to $2. If that’s the case, then the proper bet is $29 increments on the 4 and 10.

I’ve also been to casinos what allow a player to bet $39 because they do not ever round up. $39 at 5% would be$1.95, whereas $40 would be $2.

To find out the optimum amount of the buy, ask the dealer this question:

‘How much can I bet and still only pay $1 commission?’

Once you obtain that answer, bet in those increments. Be aware that you may run into some dealers who are inconsistent in applying their answers. At one casino, I was told that I could bet $39 for $1, but the same dealer charged me $3 to bet $59.

An Exception to the minimum $20 Increment Rule

I’ve advised you to not buy the 4 and 10 unless you bet in increments of at least $20. However, this is not always true. Even if you only bet $10, you are better off buying the 4 or 10. The problem is that sometimes, dealers will incorrectly tell you that you must bet $20 to buy the 4 and 10. So be prepared to face some occasional resistance if you try to buy the 4 and 10 for $10.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The vast majority of craps players love the place bets or buy bets. Most players hate the idea of seeing a box number roll and not getting paid. That’s the reason why place bets and buy bets are more popular than come bets.

Another reason for the popularity of place bets and come bets is that the player is able to control which number to bet. That’s a common sentiment, although, to be frank, this idea is complete bullshit. There is no way to know if a number will continue to roll just because it has already rolled in the past.

The downside of place bets and buy bets, as I’ve discussed and demonstrated before, is that the moment the player makes the place bet or buy bet, the player can immediately lose his or her bet. This is what balances out the idea that the player didn’t win anything the first time that the number rolled. In short, the come bet + odds bet is significantly better, from a mathematical perspective than either the place or buy bet.

However, I’m not here to tell you how to bet. I’m also not here to change your mind. There are some subtle differences in the place bets and buy bets compared to come + odds. I understand why the vast majority of players prefer place or buy bets; after all, the win-loss conditions are different for the come + odds bet compared to the former bets.

If you insist on making a place bet or buy bet, follow this guide. The win and loss conditions for both the place bets and buy bets are exactly the same (that’s not true for the come + odds). By following this guide, you will win more money for doing nothing other than understanding the game.

Good luck and may fortune be with you always.

 

 

Posted in: Craps

8 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Craps Buy Bets”

  • Alan Sherman says:

    Yep, I tried to buy the 4/10 at $16 and was told the minimum was $20. I figured if I bought at $16 basically the commission is paid for on a win in a sense.

    • RoadGambler says:

      Different casinos have different rules when it comes to the buy bet.

      In some places, like Atlantic City, they can’t deviate from what the law allows.

      Places like Nevada are a little more relaxed.

      I’ve seen dealers say that the minimum on a buy is $20. I’ve also seen that decision reversed with a little bit of arguing. To me, it doesn’t make sense that a player can’t buy for less than $20.

  • Shoot to Win mechanical craps machines can give exact payoffs (and change) to the cent. So should one only make buy bets of the 5 and 9 on them? Any problem with buying the 4 and 10 for less than a $20 bet on that machine?

    • Sorry Roadgambler, I see that this topic was addressed in your blog regarding Peppermill Part 1 and you gave an preliminary answer already.

      — Monte

  • RG,

    As mentioned in a previous reply, I LOVE the game of craps. I started out playing craps by putting a $5 chip on the pass line back in 1989 in A/C and asked alot of questions throughout my years. I know just about everything there is about the game “Except” the whole “Buy” thing. Thanks for the info, but I rarely play the 4/10. I always place the 6/8 with mins and then will press a unit every time it hits up to $30 (low roller I guess). If the point is 4/10 I will throw $5/$10 on the hardway. Figure I have 50/50 shot at hitting it if the number hits. In most cases I lose both the pass line/odds and Hardway with a 7 OUT but it’s a gamble just like everything else in the Casino. As mentioned, I don’t play the 4/10 but might give it a whirl on the Buy thing in 3 weeks when I’m in Vegas just for shitz and giggles.

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