Stay informed with the
Recent Articles
Best of Alan Krigman

# Should You Try the One-Roll Bets at Craps?

17 August 1998

Most craps bets win or lose only when the associated number or the seven appear. Other results are immaterial. For instance, "placing" the four wins on four, loses on seven. "Laying" the four wins on seven, loses on four. Neither has action otherwise.

Craps also includes a variety of one-roll bets. If one of the associated numbers appears, you win; if not, you lose.

One-roll bets fall into two categories:
The field: Drop your money into the unmistakably labeled area on the layout directly in front of you. Bets must be at least the table minimum. Winners on the field get 2-to-1 if the roll is two or 12 (some casinos pay 3-to-1 on one or the other), and 1-to-1 if it's three, four, nine, 10, or 11. Odds against winning are 5?to-4.
Propositions (or props): Toss your money into the center of the table and shout your choice. The stickman will position the chips, but you're responsible to verify where they go. Bets down to \$1 are usually accepted regardless of table minimum.
o The two (aces): Wins on the two, loses otherwise. Payout is 30-to-1. Odds against winning are 35-to-1.

o The three (ace-deuce): Wins on the three, loses otherwise. Payout is 15?to-1. Odds against winning are 17-to-1.
o The 11 (yo): Wins on the 11, loses otherwise. Payout is 15?to-1. Odds against winning are 17-to-1.
o The 12: Wins on the 12, loses otherwise. Payout is 30-to-1. Odds against winning are 35-to-1.
o Any craps: Wins on the two, three, or 12, loses otherwise. Payout is 7-to-1. Odds against winning are 8-to-1.
o Any seven (big red): Wins on the seven, loses otherwise. Payout is 4-to-1. Odds against winning are 5-to-1.

Several groups of props have special names. These include horn ?? equal bets on two, three, 11, and 12; C & E ?? equal bets on any craps and eleven, three-way craps ?? equal bets on two, three, and 12; hi-lo ?? equal bets on two and 12; and whirl (some call it world) ?? equal bets on two, three, seven, 11, and 12.

Percentage players reject one-roll bets outright. They base their contentions on probability theory, which reveals a high house advantage. For instance, for every \$100 wagered on three or 11, the casino earns a theoretical \$11.11. This is usurious compared with about \$0.50 for \$100 on the pass line with triple odds.

Advocates of one-roll bets advance several arguments in their favor. The roots of their reasoning are in utility theory.

One consideration involves using small bets on props as hedges to "protect" greater amounts at risk elsewhere. An illustration might be \$2 any craps with \$15 on the pass line during a come-out roll. If the shooter throws two, three, or 12, the player loses \$15 on the line but wins \$14 on the proposition; the net loss is only \$1. Of course, if the shooter throws a seven or 11, the player wins \$15 but loses the \$2 for a net profit of \$13. And, if the shooter throws any other number, the \$15 becomes the bet on the "point" but the \$2 goes west. Statistically, the protection isn't worth what it costs. Emotionally, some players don't mind spending \$2 hoping to save \$14; others enjoy devising elaborate combinations of bets they want to believe reduce their exposure.

Another factor some solid citizens like about props is the high payoff ratio. A \$5 bet on two or 12 pays \$150. Players who are ahead occasionally make wagers like this on a lark. Those who are behind sometimes try them, hoping a lucky roll will save the day.

As always in gambling, there's no right or wrong. If you resent giving casinos more edge than necessary, avoid one-roll bets. If it makes you comfortable to hedge, or you relish a longshot from time to time, you may want to use one or another now and again. Craps expertise rests as much in understanding when and why than which. As Sumner A Ingmark, the Dryden of the dice, declared:

Good gamblers don't all play the same,
But share a knowledge of the game.

Recent Articles
Best of Alan Krigman
Alan Krigman

Alan Krigman was a weekly syndicated newspaper gaming columnist and Editor & Publisher of Winning Ways, a monthly newsletter for casino aficionados. His columns focused on gambling probability and statistics. He passed away in October, 2013.
Alan Krigman
Alan Krigman was a weekly syndicated newspaper gaming columnist and Editor & Publisher of Winning Ways, a monthly newsletter for casino aficionados. His columns focused on gambling probability and statistics. He passed away in October, 2013.