How to Avoid String Betting at Craps

From time to time I’ll get a question from a player regarding some of the language experienced players use when placing their bets.  I thought I’d go through some of the more common bets in this article, explain why we make those bets the way we do, and give you a few one-offs to go with them.

Obviously you don’t have to give the dealer any instructions when you’re making self-service bets like the Pass Line, Don’t Pass, or Free Odds.  Field bets and Come bets don’t usually require any instructions, although a busy dealer may move the bets around a bit to make sure they’re in front of the right player.  He may even say something like “Your Come bet?” just to make sure that the bet in front of you is, indeed a Come bet and not a Place bet that he missed.  But once a dealer picks up on your betting pattern – and most will rather quickly – he’ll fall into a rhythm of taking and paying and everything will go smoothly.

But what about Place betting?  One of the first mistake many new players make is making what the dealers sometimes refer to as “string bets.”  Let’s assume the player wants $10 each on the five and nine and $12 each on the six and eight.  A string better would toss out $10 and say “Ten dollar five.”  Then he’d toss out $12 and say “Twelve dollar six.”  Then he’s toss out another $12 and say “Twelve dollar eight.”  Then he’d toss out the last $10 and say “Ten dollar nine.”  It took four separate actions and four separate sets of instructions to get the bets placed.  An experienced player will cut $44 out of his rack, set it in the Come area and tell the dealer “Forty-Four inside.”  One action – one set of instructions – and the bets are done.

The most common inside bets are $22 inside, $44 inside, $66 inside, $88 inside, and $110 inside.  If you want to go up from there simply add a zero to each of those bets.  $22 becomes $220, etc.  It’s not that unusual to see a well-heeled player betting $440 inside – or $1100 inside for that matter.  In fact, that used to be the favorite bet of one former forum member I used to step up to the table with from time to time.

There are some less common inside bets you’ll run across from time to time.  One of my old standbys in a $5 game is $34 inside – high on the six and eight.  That amounts to $12 each on the six and eight and $5 each on the five and nine.  But I’d much rather add an extra $2 to that bet and just play $18 each on the six and eight.  So hold that thought.  Odds are we’ll get to it later.

Things get a little confusing for Place bettors who are also playing the Pass Line.  Let’s say you have $10 on the Pass Line and the shooter establishes the six as the point.  You won’t want to bet $44 inside because you already have the Pass line bet on the six.  So in this case you’d drop $32 on the table and tell the dealer you want “Thirty-two inside – excluding the point.”  If you like to bet three units per number then you’d be looking at $48 inside.  But be careful if the point is the five or nine.  If that’s the case you’ll be looking for $51 inside.  Confusing?  Just remember that the six and eight are bet in $6 units.  That extra dollar on three units takes your $48 bet to $51.  It’s really not that complicated.

So what about “Across” bets?  Well, you have the same issues you have with the inside bets if you’re a Pass Line bettor.  If you’re by-passing the Come Out roll and just placing all of the numbers it’s simple.  You want $32 across, $64 across, $96 across, $128 across, or $160 across.  If you want to bet bigger than that – again – just add a zero.  These are standard sized bets at the table and, because most dealer see them hundreds of times a day, there’s no delay of game in getting them up and on.

If you’re betting the Pass Line then you simply skip the point number when making your bets.  So if you’re a $10 bettor instead of playing $64 across you’ll play $52 or $54 across, depending on the point.

Confusion will arise if you play non-standard across bets.  One of my favorite bets is $120 across.  That’s $10 each on the four and ten, $20 each on the five and nine, and $30 each on the six and eight.  I like this bet because I can press to some of my favorite numbers on subsequent rolls without taking additional chips from my rack.  My $10 four or ten can go directly to $25.  My $20 five or nine can go to $35.  My $30 six or eight can go to $42.  In each case I get to press the bet and lock up a few chips as well.  And the next hit on any of those pressed numbers pays $50 for $1 – another of my favorite moves at craps.  But inevitably I have to explain what $120 across is the first few times I make the bet.  But once the dealer has placed the bet a few times he has the set up mastered and you’re good to go – until stick change and the next dealer cycles on.

Another across bet that will confuse the dealers the first few times you make it with a dealer is MP’s $204 Across –for essentially the same reason that my $120 across confuses them.  You’re making non-standard sized bets.  The $204 Across play is designed to start you out at the level I’m trying to get to from $120 across.  It consists of $25 each on the four and ten, $35 each on the five and nine, and $42 each on the six and eight.  Any number that rolls will produce a $50 for $1 payoff.  The downside, of course, is the quick seven out.

In business as well as in life, communication is the key to success.  That includes communicating with the dealer at the craps table.  Taking the time to learn the language of betting will make the game more enjoyable for both of you.