Should I Buy Bets or Place Bets?
First things first… What is a Buy Bet and what is a Place Bet?
Place Bets are similar to pass line bets except the player doesn’t have to wait for the number to roll twice before winning.
The player can win after one roll! The player may bet on the 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 with the goal of hitting their selected number before a 7 is rolled. If the player wins, then their base wager will be paid Even Money and their odds will be paid according to the winning number.
If a 4 or 10 wins, then the odds will be paid 9 to 5, giving us a house edge of 6.67%. If a 5 or 9 win, then the odds will be paid 7 to 5, giving us a house edge of 4% and if a 6 or 8 win, then the odds will be paid 7 to 6, giving us a house edge of 1.52%. Place bets can be made at any time.
Buy bets are exactly the same as place bets only the player gets paid true odds. If a 4 or 10 wins, then the odds will be paid 2 to 1, if a 5 or 9 hit, then the odds will be paid 3 to 2, and if a 6 or 8 are rolled, then the odds will be paid 6 to 5. However, the player must pay a 5% commission, or vigorish, on the bet.
Because of the vig, the house edge is higher for players who buy the 5, 6, 8, or 9 versus placing those bets. Yet the house edge for the 4 and 10 are lower which is why players habitually buy the 4 and 10 but no other number.
Some players may be confused about when to place or buy a bet so let’s clear this up. According to the Wizard of Odds, players must always place the 6 & 8. They must always buy the 4 & 10 and the 5 & 9 depends on the table. Let’s start with the 6 & 8.
Note: Watch the video above for image references.
As we can see here, the house edge for buying the 6 & 8 are 4.76% or 2.27%. If the player places the 6 & 8 the house edge goes down to 1.52%. Remember, the closer to zero the house edge is, the better for the player. 1.52% is closer to zero then 2.27% or 4.76% and that is why it is better for the player to always place the 6 & 8.
Next is the 4 & 10 which the Wizard of Odds says to always Buy. If we look at this image we can see that when placing the 4 & 10 the house edge is 6.67%. However buying the 4 & 10 will always have a lower house edge of either 4.76% or 1.67%. Since both of those numbers are closer to zero then the place bet, it’s always best if the player buys the 4 & 10.
What you do with the 5 & 9 depends on what table you’re on.
There are two columns for Buy Bets. This column is for casinos that have you pay the commission up front, which is most casinos, and this column is for casinos that have you pay the commission upon winning.
If you’re playing on a craps table where the commission is paid up front, then buying any number gives you a house edge of 4.76%. But if you place the 5 & 9 then that house edge goes down to 4% and we’re looking for a house edge that is closest to zero as possible. 4% is lower then 4.76% so therefore it’s better to place the 5 & 9 on craps tables that ask you to pay the commission up front.
If you can find a craps table that allows you to pay the commission upon winning then you’ve found a pot of gold. You can see the drastic differences in the house edge depending on that one simple house rule. In this case, it’s better for the player to buy the 5 & 9 instead of placing it.
If the player places the 5 & 9 the house edge is 4%, but that number drops down to 2% if they buy the 5 & 9 on a table that allows them to pay the commission upon winning. 2% is closer to zero than 4%, which makes buying the 5 & 9 more sensible.