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Best of John Grochowski

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Put v. Place Bets

28 March 2006

It was a Saturday night, and I was spending it taking calls from listeners on my new casinos talk show on WCKG-FM (105.9) in Chicago --- more on that later.

A gentleman called in to say he was playing craps online, and he'd made a bet on the pass line. "It wasn't on the comeout roll," he explained. "But when the next roll was a 7, they took my money."

That is normal procedure, I explained to him. When you bet the pass line, 7 is a winner only on the comeout roll. After the comeout, 7 is a loser.

If you wait until after the comeout to bet on the pass line, 7 is a loser no matter what. By betting pass at that time, you make what is called a "put" bet. You're putting your money on the shooter making his point. Period.

If you want all the advantages of the pass line bet and it's not the comeout roll, then you need to bet on come, not on the pass line. With a come bet, you'll win if the next roll is 7 or 11, and lose if it's 2, 3 or 12. If it's any other number, that becomes the point for your come bet, and you win if the shooter rolls it before the next 7, and lose if the 7 comes first. It's exactly the same as a pass line wager that starts with a comeout roll.

But when the pass wager is made after the comeout, then it's a put bet, and that 7 is just a loser.

"In the casino where I've been playing," the caller said, "they don't take my money if I bet on pass when it's not a comeout and the roll is a 7."

He must be playing in a very lenient casino, I told him. Either a 7 or a point number decides the bet. The 7 is the only number that beats him --- they have to take his money.

Put bets pay even money, and they're really pretty awful unless you're able and willing to back them with lots of free odds. Without the free odds, a put bet makes no sense. Let's say the point number is 6. Why would you settle for an even-money payoff when a place bet on 6 would bring 7-6 odds instead?

Same deal on all the point numbers. You'll get 7-6 odds if you place 6 or 8, 7-5 if you place 5 or 9, and 9-5 if you place 4 or 10. Put bets play just like place bets, except you don't get the bigger payoffs.

House edges on put bets are astronomical --- 9.1 percent on 6 or 8, 20 percent on 5 or 9 and a whopping 33.3 percent on 4 or 10. Compare that with the house edges on place bets --- 1.52 percent on 6 or 8, 4 percent on 5 or 9 and 6.67 percent on 4 or 10.

The one advantage put bets have over place bets is that you can back put bets with free odds, just as you can take odds on any other pass line bet after a point is established. With enough free odds, put bets can be as good as or better than place bets. If the point number is 6 or 8, a put is as good as a place with 5x odds --- back a $5 put bet with $25 in odds, and you have the same 1.52 percent house edge as if you've placed $30 on 6 instead. With 4x odds, the house edge is 4 percent on 5 or 9, and 6.67 percent on 4 or 10 --- familiar looking numbers to place bettors.

With more odds, the put bets are better than placing the numbers. With 10x odds, house edge on the put-odds combination is 0.83 percent. To use multiples of $6, as we would in placing 6 or 8 because of the 7-6 payoff, with a point of 6 we're better off to put $6 and take $60 in odds than to place $66.

But there lies the rub. To make the put bet worthwhile, your bankroll has to be big enough to take all those free odds. With smaller bets, you're better off to place the number.

And no matter how much you take in odds, the house edge is never as low as if you backed a come bet with the same amount of free odds instead. If you must have the 6 or 8 working and you're betting enough to take advantage of the odds, then put has its place. Otherwise, avoid it.

ON THE AIR: As mentioned earlier, I'm now hosting a casino talk show on Saturday nights on WCKG-FM in Chicago. It airs from 7 to 8 p.m., talking about anything from blackjack to buffets. I'll have guests from time to time --- best-selling gambling author Frank Scoblete was my first, and he was terrific. The calls make the show, so please phone your questions and comments during the show to (312) 321-WCKG.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Beat the Odds" tips Saturdays at 6:20 a.m., 2:50 p.m. and 7:41 p.m. and Sundays at 8:20 a.m., 2:50 p.m. and 10:42 p.m. on WBBM-AM, News Radio 780 in Chicago, streaming online at www.wbbm780.com, and to his casino talk show from 7 to 8 p.m. Saturday on WCKG-FM (105.9).

Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

The Craps Answer Book

> More Books By John Grochowski