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Deal me in: Be “Put” off by this bet

11 May 2012

By Mark Pilarski

Dear Mark: Some casinos offer a wager on the crap game called a “Put” bet; others do not. Should I be playing craps where they offer it, since it might be a bet that is favorable to the player? Rick K.

A "Put" bet, Rick, is a seldom-played wager that you can make on the Pass line after a point is established. For instance, say you have no action on the Pass line and the shooter rolls a six. You can then "Put" a bet down on the Pass line and instantly take the maximum odds.

The reason the casino allows you to make a “Put” bet is because you bypass a 22.2 percent chance of winning on the come-out if the 7 or 11 rolls, and only an 11.11 percent chance of losing if you crap-out, which is when the 2, 3, or 12 appears. For the normal crap player, especially one who does not take free odds, it is a terrible bet and not worth giving up the come-out roll potential.

If you abstain from taking Free odds, which, by the way, carries no house edge, the casino has a 9.1 percent advantage on a 6 or 8 Put bet, 20 percent on the 5 or 9, and an enormous 33.3 percent edge on the 4 or 10.

Players who take the benefit of instant Free odds will need to play on a table that offers at least 5x odds if the Put bet is played on either the 6 or 8: otherwise, Rick, it’s better to be Placing those numbers instead.

Only if the casino offers 10X, 50X and even 100X odds, is a “put” bet is a decent bad wager, especially on a $2 game. The higher odds will more than offset the 7/11 come-out advantage. However, Rick, if the casino where you play offers only 2X odds max, it is still more profitable to make a Pass line bet and take advantage of the come out seven/eleven.

Dear Mark: When I approached a blackjack game, a dealer told me he was cold. After an hour of play, I was down just $10 dollars, so I would consider that an overall win. Does a dealer really know if he or she is about to get hot or cold? Bill A.

As you approached the game, the dealer was offering comment on past performance, along with misguidedly relying on the notion that his preceding hands are a predictor of a future, frigid result.

Sure, Bill, any dealer can tell you at any given moment if they are “presently” hot or cold, but that is just an observation from previous hands. What no dealer can do is predict whether he or she will be hot or cold in the future, simply because the next hand remains an independent, random event, with the cards not caring what has happened in the past.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “Man is a gaming animal. He must always be trying to get the better in something or other.” — Charles Lamb, Essays of Elia, 1823
Mark Pilarski
As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.