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Field Bets
 

On the craps layout, the field bet is prominently featured, though it gets relatively little play except for some bets placed by small-time gamblers, systems players, and ignorant bettors who don't understand the other bets at the table. They see before them a large selection of numbers and feel the bet is a worthwhile one, possibly in their favor.

Like all other one-roll bets shown on the layout, however, the field is unfavorable to the player. On our craps layout, where both the 2 and 12 are paid off at 2-1, the house edge is 5.55 percent. Where either the 2 or 12 is paid off at 3-1, as it is in most of the downtown Las Vegas casinos and in some casinos in Northern Nevada, the house edge is reduced to 2.70 percent.

At first glance, it appears that the players, with all those numbers going for them, have the advantage, but the numbers shown on the field bet-2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, and 12-though in the majority in terms of numbers, can be made in fewer ways than the missing numbers, 5, 6, 7, and 8.

Let's examine this bet mathematically. First, we'll put down all the numbers on the field and the ways they can be made.

Numbers Combinations Ways Made
2 1-1 x 2 (2-1) 2
3 1-2,2-1 2
4 1-3, 3-1, 2-2 3
9 3-6, 6-3, 4-5, 5-4 4
10 4--6, 6--4, 5-5 3
11 5-6,6-5 2
12 6-6 x 2 (2-1) 2
Total 18

The missing numbers, 5, 6, 7, and 8, can be made in twenty ways, and therefore the chances of winning this bet is 20-18 against the player, giving the casino its advantage of 5.5 percent. When either the 2 or 12 is paid off at 3-1, the odds against the player are 20-19, giving the casino an advantage of 2.70 percent.

The field bet is always working, even on the come-out roll, and it is made by placing chips in the field box prior to the next roll of the dice. The field bet can be made in amounts ranging from the house minimum to the maximum bet allowed.

This is referred to as a one-roll bet since the next roll of the dice determines immediately whether the bet is won or lost. If one of the numbers shown on the field comes up, it's a winning bet at even money except for the 2 and 12. If a 5, 6, 7, or 8 comes up on the dice, then the player loses the bet and the chips are removed by the dealer.

There are much better wagers on the craps layout for the astute player, giving the house less of an edge, and therefore this bet shouldn't be made.

 
Do You Have the Stomach for Guts?
 
More than a few players have been introduced to poker as youths playing Guts (sometimes called Balls for reasons I need not discuss). There are two main variations, two card Guts and three-card Guts. In both games, the rules are simple. Everyone antes and the dealer gives everyone the requisite number of cards. The players sequentially state whether they are "in" or "out." This gives the late position players such a huge advantage that the game should only be played in full rounds, where everyone has a turn dealing. Curiously, the very early position players can have an advantage as well if the other players are at all conservative. In some variations, the declaration is simultaneous with chips (one for in, none for out).

After everyone has finished declaring, the hands are opened. The owner of the highest hand who has opted "in" wins, but anyone who loses must match the pot! Once someone has declared "in," it takes a gutsy opponent to follow with another "in" because he knows that someone is going to get whacked for a big number. When a third player also declares "in," you know that two players are going to get burned (the third-or fourth or fifth-player in only has to match the original pot).
 
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