Gambling Tips > Craps

Come Betting Made Easy

By Henry Tamburin

Betting the come in craps confuses most players. Part of the reason for this is that the word “come” doesn’t convey much about the bet. Also, once the bet is made it often gets moved by the dealer, which adds to the confusion. But betting the come is not all that difficult to understand plus it happens to be one of the smartest bets you can make at craps.


A come bet is made after the shooter establishes a point number. How do you know when the latter happens? Easy, just look at the position of the button or puck as it’s called. That’s the large disk that you’ll find at the top of the layout. It’s black on one side (with the word OFF printed on it) and white on the other side (imprinted with ON). If the puck is located in a number box at the top of the layout with the on side facing up, this means that the shooter has established a point number and now it’s OK to make a come bet.


Key point: Only make a come bet when the puck is on and resting on a number box at the top of the layout.


You are probably wondering what happens to that little ole puck if it’s in the off rather than the on side. Good question. When the puck is on the off side (that’s the black side) it will be resting in the Don’t Come betting area which is located on the top right and left area of the layout. When it rests there this means that the next roll will establish the shooter’s point and it’s now time to make the come bet.


OK, now that you know when you should make the come bet, it’s time to explain how to make the bet. Actually, this is the easy part. Just reach across the table and place your chip(s) in the large boxed betting area in front of you that is labeled COME (you can’t miss it).


Now that you’ve made a come bet, you will win even money if the shooter tosses either a 7 or 11 on the next roll of the dice. You’ll lose if the next roll is a 2, 3 or 12. Pretty simple.


Key point: Come bet wins if the very next roll is a 7 or 11 (naturals) and loses on 2, 3, or 12 (craps numbers).


Now it’s time to get down and dirty and talk about what happens if the shooter tosses a number other than the winning 7 and 11 or losing 2, 3 and 12 numbers. After all, the shooter could throw a 4 or 6 or maybe a 10. Don’t panic because what happens is not all that difficult to understand.


Let’s suppose we make our come bet and the next roll is a 6. The dealer (not you) will pick up the chip(s) that you wagered in the come and move them inside the 6 point box at the top of the layout. It’s still your bet only it traveled from the come betting area, where you initially put it, up to the point box corresponding to the number that was thrown (in our example the 6). That number 6 is known as your come point number. Now that wasn’t too difficult.


Those chip(s) resting in the 6 point box are yours and you will win or lose the bet as follows:


  1. The shooter rolls the 6 again on subsequent rolls before throwing a 7 and you win even money or
  2. The shooter throws a 7 on any subsequent dice roll before throwing the 6 again and you lose.


So let’s get this straight. On the very next roll after you make a come bet you win if 7 or 11 is rolled and lose on 2, 3 or 12. If any other number is rolled, your bet travels to that number and wins if that number repeats again before a 7 and loses if the reverse happens, namely the 7 shows before the number repeats. In other words, come bets have two different “rules” for how they win or lose. For one roll only (immediately after you make the bet) you win if 7 or 11 is thrown and lose on 2, 3 or 12. But if your bet travels up to point box, you win when the come point number is rolled again before the 7 (and lose if the 7 shows before the come point number repeats). It may take several dice throws to determine the outcome of your come point number.


Notice that the number 7 is like a dual-edge sword. If it’s thrown immediately after you make a come bet you win. However, if it is rolled after your come bet travels to a point number, you lose. Interesting.


Key Point: If a point number is thrown, your come bet travels to the corresponding point box and wins if the number repeats before a 7 and loses if 7 shows before the come point number.


Let’s try a few examples of dice throws so you get the hang of this. Suppose you walk up to a table and notice that the puck is on the on side (white side). Before the dealer pushes the dice to the shooter with his stick, you place a $5 chip in the come. The next sequence of dice tosses is:


5 2  11  9  6  5


The 5 became the come point number for your come bet because it was rolled right after you made the come bet. The dealer picked up your $5 chip and places it inside the 5 point box. The next sequence of rolls – 2, 11, 9, 6 – have no affect on your $5 bet on the number 5. However, when the shooter’s next roll was a 5, your $5 bet wins because the 5 repeated before the 7 showed.


Try to determine the win/lose outcome for the following five sequences of dice rolls. Assume that you made a come bet immediately before each dice sequence begins.

  1. 10  3  7
  2. 6  9  11  12  6
  3. 11
  4. 4  5  8  3  4
  5. 12


In dice sequence #1, you lost because the 7 rolled before the 10 repeated.
In #2, you won because the 6 repeated before the 7 showed.
In #3, you won because the 11 showed on the next roll after you made your come bet.
In #4, you won because the 4 repeated before the 7.
In #5, you lost because the 12 was rolled immediately after you made your come bet.


If you were able to get the above correct, congratulations because you’ve now mastered how a come bet wins and loses. But there is still a little more you need to know so hang in there.


Most likely you won’t be the only come bettor. There may be two, three or as many as 5 or 6 bettors on your side of the table that will be making come bets for different amounts of money. If the shooter throws a point number the dealer will move all those come bets inside the point box. How, you might ask, does the dealer keep track of which bet belongs to whom? Answer – he positions the chips within the box to reflect your position at the table. So if you are standing immediately left of the stick person, the dealer will position your chips in the front right corner of the point box (as viewed by the player). Pretty neat, huh?


If your come bet travels to a point number and it wins, don’t expect the dealer to hand you the winning chips. What happens is that he will place your winning chips (plus the original amount wagered) back to the come betting area. It’s up to you to bend down and retrieve the chips otherwise the bet will ride as another come bet on the next dice roll (“if it lays, it plays”).


You also are not allowed to take down or remove a come bet once it is resting on a come point number. Come bets are contract bets that remain on the layout until they win or lose.


Key Point: Winning come bets are placed in the come betting area. It’s the player’s responsibility to pick up their chips before the next roll otherwise they will become a new come bet for the next roll.


Percentage wise, you are a big favorite to win the come bet on the next dice roll since the winning 7/11 can be rolled 8 different ways compared to only 4 ways for the losing 2/3/12 numbers. However, once a come point is established you are now the underdog since the losing 7 can be rolled more ways than any of the winning come point numbers. However, overall the house edge on a come bet works out to 1.41%, which isn’t too bad compared to most other casino bets.


You can of course make more than one come bet. In fact most players have multiple come bets working simultaneously. Suppose you make a come bet and 6 is rolled. Your bet will be moved to the 6 point box. You make another come bet and 9 is rolled. The dealer will move your bet to the 9 point box. You now have two come bets working, one positioned in the 6 point box and the other in the 9 point box. The come bet on the 6 wins if it repeats before a 7. The come bet on the 9 wins if the 9 shows before the 7. However, if the 7 shows before the 6 and 9, then both bets lose.


Why would anyone make more than one come bet? Because most players want several numbers covered in the hopes the shooter gets “hot” and throws lots of numbers while avoiding rolling the 7. If this happens and you’ve got several numbers covered with come bets you’ll clean up. But remember, once the 7 shows all your come bets on point numbers will get wiped off the table in one fell swoop.


There is nothing wrong with making just come bets when you play craps. But it’s rare to see this because most players who bet the come will also bet the pass line. In fact, the rules for winning a pass line bet are the same as the come bets. The only difference is when the bets are made (for the basics of the pass line bet, see my column in the March 2001 issue of Casino Player).