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Is the Field a Good Bet?3 August 2006
Craps is a game with a legion of bets and combinations of bets. If you are a novice craps player or just someone passing a craps table, the language of the game, the shouts, yells, moans and groans of the players might make you pass the game by. That's too bad because craps has some of the very best bets in the casino.
It also has some of the very worst bets in the casino.
And then it has some in-between bets - they aren't horrible but they aren't good either. One such bet is called the Field.
If you look at the craps layout, the Field bet is just above the Pass Line bets of those players who are on either side next to the stickman. You'll note the Field is a bet on a multitude of numbers: 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, and 12. [Some ancient craps layouts substitute the 5 for the 9.] You'll note that on the 2 and 12, the house pays 2-to-1.
The bet is a one-roll wager that one of the above numbers will be hit instead of a 5, 6, 8 or the dreaded 7. You can win the bet 16 ways and lose the bet 20 ways. You get paid one-to-one on most of the numbers. However, since the house pays you 2-to-1 on the 2 and 12, the actual monetary edge of the casino is 5.26 percent, although many gaming authors choose to use 5.56 as the house edge. No matter; you get the picture.
What does the edge mean? Simply that you will lose between $5 and $6 for every $100 you wager on the Field.
At first this does not seem so intimidating - after all a $5 Field bet is not that much money. However, consider the poor soul who decides to bet that $5 in the Field on each and every roll. There can be 120 decisions in one hour of craps play. So that $5 must be multiplied 120 times as the Field bet is decided on each and every roll of the dice. Watch the toll that takes.
Our player will bet $700 in the Field in one hour. The house has a 5.26 percent edge. Our player will lose almost $37 in that hour on average. That's a lot of money for a mere $5 bet!
Sometimes it's good to compare different bets to see the damage certain wagering practices can have on your bottom line. If you were to place the 6 for $6 on each and every roll - how much would you lose in that same one-hour time period?
Well, you'd have five winners when the number 6 was made and six losers when the 7 reared its ugly head. That means 11 decisions overall. However, in one hour many other numbers will roll besides the 6 or 7. In fact, all the Field numbers would roll, as would the 5 and 8. So in 120 rolls, the 6 or 7 will be rolled approximately 37 times. You'd lose between $3 and $4 if you made that bet each and every roll. The house edge would be a mere 1.5 percent.
Now, that is some difference isn't it? Why would someone make a Field bet when he could make a bet like the 6 or 8?
The only explanation would be two-fold: The bettor doesn't understand the math of the game or the bettor needs action (winning or losing) on each and every roll. Keep in mind that the non-six and non-seven rolls are meaningless to the 6 bettors. Some casino gamblers just need to be in the action all the time - non-decisions bother them.
Yes, the Field bettors are losing $37 per hour betting $5 per roll and the 6-place bettor is only losing between $3 and $4 in that same hour. Which bet gives you the bettor chance of being ahead at the end of one hour? It's no contest. Placing the 6 just requires a small dose of good fortune to come out ahead in a single hour, while placing the Field bet requires a nice, hefty dose of Lady Luck's charms.
The Field bet can be made even more attractive because some casinos will pay 3-to-1 on the 12 (or 2). That cuts the house edge just about in half on the bet.
Would I recommend the Field as a good bet? No. Would I recommend the Field as a good bet if the 12 (or 2) were paid at 3-to-1? Not for the average gambler. For those of you who are playing against the house edge with no chance of overcoming it, the lower the edge, the better it is for you. So I would stick with the Pass and Come, with odds, and maybe placing the 6 and 8.
However, if a person was a skilled dice controller who was adept at hitting those outside numbers, it is conceivable that the Field might be a decent bet. After all, a player who could not afford to buy the 4 or 10 at $25 would find a 2.7 percent house edge much lower on the Field bet than placing the 4 or 10, which comes in with a 6.67 percent house edge. It would be easier to overcome the lower edge, obviously. But not many players can actually control the dice well enough to even overcome a 2.7 percent house edge.
The Field is a bet that many craps players make as an aside. They'll throw a dollar or two up every so often on the Field in an attempt to have many numbers working for them. That is essentially throwing money away.
The bottom line of craps for the average player is really quite simple: Make the lowest house edge bets and you have the best chance to come home with the money. That is, after all, what gambling should be all about!
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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