Learn The Truth Behind Pass Line & Come Bets And Why They Offer The Best Odds

The Best Bets In Craps: Pass/Come and Don’t Pass/Don’t Come

By Jerry "Stickman"

The game of craps can be very exciting. It can also be very frustrating. One of the great draws to this game is the variety of bets available. One can bet with the shooter – betting that he will make the point number before the 7 shows, or one can bet that the 7 will rear its ugly head before the shooter repeats the point number.

Of course, there are dozens of other bets also available; place bets, hard way bets, field bets, horn bets, whirl bets, hop bets, big 6, big 8 and big red. Each bet comes with its own probability of hitting, payback amount and related house edge.

Two of the very best bets on the table are the pass line / come bets (with the shooter), and the don’t pass / don’t come bets (against the shooter). Both of these bets have about a 1.4 percent house edge, but obviously pay at different times.

A pass line – on come-out (before a point is set) – wins if a 7 or 11 is tossed and loses when a 2, 3, or 12 appears. If any other number is thrown, that number becomes the point and the come-out cycle is over for the pass line bet. The point numbers (sometimes called box numbers because they are the numbers in the "boxes" by the dealers) are 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10.

The come bet works just like the pass line bet, but it is placed when a point is already established for the pass line. The player places the bet in the Come area. If a 7 or 11 appears, the bet wins. If a 2, 3, or 12 appears, the come bet loses. If any other number is rolled, the come bet is moved inside the square by the dealer that contains that number. The point is now established and the come-out cycle is over for that come bet.

If a 7 is rolled when there is a come bet in the Come area, the come bet wins but the pass line and any come bets that have already been moved to a point number lose.

The power of pass / come bets is realized during the come out phase. It wins on a 7 or 11 and loses on a 2, 3, or 12. There are six ways to make a 7 (1-6, 6-1, 2-5, 5-2, 3-4, 4-3) and two ways to make an 11 (5-6, 6-5) for a total of eight ways to win. There is one way to make a 2 (1-1), two ways to make a 3 (1-2, 2-1) and one way to make a 12 (6-6) for a total of four ways to lose. That is a 2-to-1 advantage. Once a point is established, however, the advatage swings solidly toward to house.

The don’t pass/don’t come works similar to the pass/come bet, however, you are betting the opposite way. On come-out, a don’t pass / don’t come loses if a 7 or 11 is thrown and wins if a 2 or 3 is rolled. If this bet were truly the opposite of the pass/come bet, the player would have an edge, so in order to tip the scales toward the house, the 12 appearing on come-out is a push – no one wins or loses. This one minor change is enough to swing the edge toward the house.

The edge is solidly with the house on the come-out with don’t pass/don’t come bets. There are 8 ways to lose and only 3 ways to win, however , once you make it past the come-out, the edge favors the player.

Once a point is established, the pass/come, don’t pass/don’t come player can add odds behind initial (flat) bet. This is called placing odds for the pass/come bet and laying odds for the don’t pass/don’t come bet. On a win, the flat portion of the bet is paid even money and the odds are paid at true odds. For example, the odds of throwing a 4 before a 7 is 2-to-1. For a point of 4 the odds behind a pass or come bet are paid at 2 units for every unit bet. For don’t pass/don’t come the odds are 1-to-2 that the 7 will appear before the 4, so the odds are paid at 1 unit for each 2 unit laid.

The flat portion of pass/come bets are considered "contract" bets after the point is established. This means that the flat portion cannot be removed or reduced once the point is established. It can be increased however. The odds can be increased, decreased or removed at anytime.

Don’t pass / don’t come bets can be removed at any time since the player has the edge on these bets.

As stated previously, the house edge for pass/come, don’t pass/don’t come bets is about 1.4 percent. Because the odds bets are paid at true odds, there is no house edge on the odds portion. By adding single odds (equal to the flat bet), the edge drops to .83 percent. At double odds it drops to .61% and at 5 times odds it drops to paltry 1/3 of one percent. This is why the pass/come and don’t pass/don’t come bets are the best in the game of craps.

Stick with this betting and your winning session will increase and the amount you lose will decrease. It is in the math.

May all your wins be swift and large and all your losses slow and tiny.

Jerry "Stickman" is an expert in craps, blackjack and video poker and advantage slot machine play. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. The "Stickman" is also a certified instructor for Golden Touch Craps and Golden Touch Blackjack. For more information visit www.goldentouchcraps.com or www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 1-886-738-3423. You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanGTC@aol.com