Craps A to Z - "P" is for Pushing

April 13, 2017

by Larry Edell

Is there some way you can "push the house" to give you a better deal than it gives everyone else?

When you buy or lay a bet, you always have to pay a 5% commission (or “vig”) to insure that the casino makes a profit. This discourages a lot of people from making these bets.

But, could there be a method to actually cut down the casino commission from about 5% to about 2%, making the lay or buy bet an attractive alternative to the don't pass or pass bets?

Let's find out!

The vig that the casino charges is variable somewhat, depending on how friendly your dealer is. He will still charge you a set amount, but many times you can talk him into letting you bet a higher amount and still pay the same vig. Let's look at an example.

Say you want to buy the four and ten for $20 each. You would normally pay 5% of $20 on each bet, or $1 each. So for both bets you would have to pay $2 vig. If you bet more, of course, you must pay more - always 5% of each buy bet.

There is a better way, but you must befriend the dealer by talking to him and occasionally giving him a tip. Once you are on a first name basis with him, you are ready to go.

On the four and ten buy bets, a 5% vig changes from $1 to $2 at $40, because 5% of $40 is $2. Ask your friendly dealer then, if you can buy the four (or ten) for $38 and still pay only $1 vig. This is commonly called “pushing the house.” If he says no, just wait for another dealer or go to another table and try again. But if he says yes and you win your bet, you will win $76 ($38 at 2:1) instead of $50 ($25 at 2:1) and still pay the same $1 vig!

A lay bet on the four or ten is the opposite of a buy bet so now you must pay 5% of your winnings, not your bet. If you lay $40 you'll win $20 and pay 5% of $20 or $1. The vig changes from $1 to $2 at an $80 lay, because 5% of a $40 win is $2.

So, ask the friendly dealer if you can lay $78 (to win $39) and still pay only $1 vig. If he says no, just find another table. If he says yes and you win your bet, you win $39 ($78 at 1:2) and still pay the same $1 vig.

At their minimum $1 vigs, both lay and buy bets give the house about 5%. But at $38 or $39, the same $1 vig gives the house only 2.6% - making them both much better bets! And, you can make or remove a lay or buy bet at any time, unlike the pass or don't pass bets.

So have you ever wondered if you could talk the casino into giving you a better bet?

Well, now you know!

And, as always, good luck at the tables!

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