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Don't Pass Bet/Buy Bet Craps Wager

Dear Mark,
I like to bet the don’t side on a crap game. Isn’t it a slightly better wager than a pass line bet? Kenny K.

You are correct in assuming, Kenny, that the don’t pass bet (seven rolling before the point) is a marginally better wager—a 1.4 percent casino advantage versus the pass line’s 1.41 percent—but craps is a game of community esprit, everyone in it for the win together. By betting the opposite you become the adversary, a villain against the majority of players. Why let the casino off the hook?

Dear Mark,
What is a “buy” bet in craps, how does it differ from a “place” bet and what are the payoffs of each wager? Hank M.

In lieu of waiting for a number to show up as your point for a pass line bet, you may “place” or “buy” that number. Both work but are not paid the same way. By placing or buying a number, you are wagering that your number will roll before a 7.
Place bets on the 4 or 10 are paid 9-5 for a house edge of 6.67 percent, the 5 and 9 are paid at 7-5 (4 percent edge) and the 6 and 8 at 7-6 for a 1.52 percent house advantage. Buy bets work the same as place bets, except that you must pay a 5 percent commission to the house on all buy wagers. In return, the casino will pay you at true odds.
Because the house edge is less than 5 percent when placing the 5, 6, 8 and 9, it’s not worth buying those numbers. True, buying the 4 or 10 can reduce the house edge to 4.76 percent, less than if you were to place them; still, the price is too egregious.
Buy, place, commissions, true odds, yes, Hank, it can be complicated, but here is my one bet recommendation: “Place” only the 6 or 8. Lose the rest from your betting arsenal.

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