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.
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
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.
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).