Craps From A to Z - "B" is for Buy

April 13, 2017

by Larry Edell

Buy bets are very controversial in the craps circles.

They involve paying an extra fee, called "vig" (or vigorish) just to make the bet. However, in return for the fee, you get true odds instead of house odds for your bet. But are buy bets really worth this extra fee? If so, why doesn't everyone buy all of the numbers instead of placing them? Let's find out!

You can only buy six numbers - the four (or ten), the five (or nine), and the six (or eight). The odds you get for placing and buying these numbers are shown below:

Number
Place Odds
Buy Odds
4 (or 10)
9:5
2:1
5 (or 9)
7:5
3:2
6 (or 8)
7:6
6:5

If you would place the four (or ten) for $30 you would win $54. If you buy the four (or ten) for $30 you would win $60. Most casinos charge 5% of the bet for vig, so even after paying an extra $2 (actual vig is $1.50) it is easy to see that buying the four (or ten) is better than placing it.

If you would place the five (or nine) for $30 you would win $42. If you buy the five (or nine) for $30 you would win $45. If you paid $2 for vig you would make $1, and if you paid $1 (the actual vig is 5% of $30 or $1.50) you would come out $2 ahead.

Finally, if you place the six (or eight) for $30 you would win $35. If you buy the six (or eight) for $30 you would win $36. If you paid $2 for vig, you would actually lose $1, and if you paid $1 (the actual vig is 5% of $30 or $1.50) you would break even.

Since most casinos round the vig up you will end up paying $2 vig instead of $1 in most cases. However it costs nothing to ask the dealer if you can only pay $1. For example, you could ask "If I buy the four (or ten) for $30, can I pay $1 vig?" More often then not, the dealer will accept your bet. Give it a try - the extra dollar is certainly better off in your pocket than the casino's!

With the extra dollar on your side, you will profit or break even with all six buy bets. Without the extra dollar, the five and nine is marginal, and the six and eight is a money loser. But the four or ten should ALWAYS be bought, and not placed.

Buy bets are a good deal if you know which of the six numbers are the most profitable - and now you know!

And as always, good luck at the tables!


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