Be smart, play smart, learn how to play casino craps the right way!
A Place bet is a “standing” bet, meaning the bet stays working, or standing, until it wins or loses, or until you remove it. It can be made on any of the point numbers: 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10. Like the Pass Line bet, it works against the number 7. After making a Place bet, the only numbers that matter are the Place number and 7; all other numbers are meaningless. After making the bet, each subsequent roll can produce one of three outcomes: 1) a 7 shows and your Place bet loses, 2) the Place number shows and your Place bet wins, or 3) any other number shows and nothing happens to your bet (i.e., all others number have no affect on your Place bet).
Place bets don’t pay off according to true odds. Instead, the house gets its advantage by paying them off at less than true odds (i.e., they stick it to the player by not paying their fair share when the player wins).
The Place odds aren’t quite as good as true odds. The house sticks it to the player to make money by paying less than true odds. For a winning $5 bet on the 4 or 10, the Place odds pay only $9, but the true odds say we should be paid $10. For a winning $10 bet on the 5 or 9, the Place odds pay only $14, but the true odds say we should be paid $15. And for a winning $30 bet on the 6 or 8, the Place odds pay only $35, but the true odds say we should be paid $36.
You might think, “How much do I put down to make a Place bet?” As always, the bet amount depends on the odds. The Place odds for the 4 and 10 are 9:5, and the Place odds for the 5 and 9 are 7:5. Therefore, Place bets for the 4, 5, 9, and 10 should be in multiples of $5. For example, a winning $10 bet on the 4 gets you $18. A winning $15 bet on the 9 gets you $21. Don’t let the math scare you! Since these bets are in multiples of $5, simply divide your bet by 5 and then multiply by the winning odds to determine your winning amount. So, for your $10 Place bet on the 4 (which has Place odds of 9:5), $10 divided by 5 = $2, and $2 x 9 = $18. For your $15 Place bet on the 9 (which has Place odds of 7:5), $15 divided by 5 = $3, and $3 x 7 = $21.
The Place odds for the 6 and 8 are 7:6, which means the bet should be in multiples of $6. For example, a winning $12 Place bet on the 6 gets you $14. A winning $30 Place bet on the 8 gets you $35. Do the math. For your $30 Place bet on the 8 (which has Place odds of 7:6), $30 divided by 6 = $5, and $5 x 7 = $35.
Know the difference between Place odds and true odds. Learn the difference so you don’t have to think about it. You don’t want to look like a newbie fumbling around with how much to put down for each Place number. (James Bond never asked the dealer, “Um, excuse me, how much is the six?”) However, if you have trouble remembering the Place odds the first time you play, don’t be afraid to ask the dealer how much to drop. It’ll be as easy as pie after 15 minutes at the table.
If you’re like me, you’ll search out and play a table with a $3 minimum bet instead of the typical $5 or $10 minimum. Suppose you find a $3 table (a few are still left in the middle of the Vegas Strip). Since the minimum bet is only $3, you can make $3 Place bets, but you don’t get the full Place odds. The payoff odds for a $3 bet on the 6 or 8 are 1:1, or even money. For the 5 or 9, it’s 4:3 (i.e., your $3 bet wins $4). For the 4 or 10, it’s 5:3 (i.e., your $3 bet wins $5).
For a $3 Place bet, you get a little less than full Place odds because the lowest chip denomination at the craps table that casinos allow is generally $1, so they can’t pay you a fraction of a dollar (i.e., cents). For example, suppose you make a $3 bet on the 5. The full Place odds are 7:5, but the reduced payoff odds for a $3 bet are only 4:3. Why? Because it gives the casino another excuse to stick it to the player! The roulette table has chips for 25 cents or 50 cents, so why can’t the craps table have chip denominations less than $1? That’s right. They stick it to you again! The full Place odds are 7:5, which means for a $3 Place bet on the 5, we divide $3 by 5 = 60 cents, and then multiply 60 cents by 7 = $4.20. So, for a $3 Place bet on the 5 or 9 with full Place odds of 7:5, we expect to be paid $4.20 when we win. The craps table doesn’t have 20-cent chips, so the casino rounds down to $4.