The Don’t Pass Bet in Craps
B ecause the Don’t Pass bet is almost exactly opposite of the Pass Line bet, you might want to review our other article about the Pass Line where concepts and terms used in this article are defined, such as “flat bet.” The Don’t Pass Flat bet is a self-service bet, which means you make this bet yourself by placing your chips in the Don’t Pass area. The Don’t Pass area on the table layout is adjacent to the Pass Line visibly marked “Don’t Pass Bar 12.” The Don’t Pass area is called the “back line” (opposite of the Pass Line, which is called the “front line”).
The minimum and maximum Don’t Pass Flat bets are the same as those for the Flat Pass Line as defined on the placard located on the inside wall of the table. The min and max for the Don’t Pass Odds bet work a little differently than the Pass Line Odds bet and are explained later in this article.
The Don’t Pass Flat bet is always made before the shooter rolls the come-out roll for a new game (i.e., once a point is established, you cannot make a Flat Don’t Pass bet). When betting the Don’t Pass, the come‑out roll can have one of four outcomes:
1. If a 7 or 11 shows, the Don’t Pass loses, and the game ends immediately.
2. If a 2 or 3 shows, the Don’t Pass wins, and the game ends immediately.
3. If a 12 appears, it’s a tie and the bet doesn’t win or lose, and the game ends immediately (assuming the layout for the Don’t Pass is labeled “Bar 12”).
4. If a point number shows (i.e., 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10), then a point is established and the game continues. Then, if a 7 shows before the point number, the Don’t Pass wins, and the game ends. If the point number shows before a 7, the Don’t Pass loses, and the game ends.
The “Bar 12” portion of the Don’t Pass label indicates that a 12 on the come-out roll is a tie. In this context, “bar” means “exclude.” So, “Bar 12” means the number 12 is excluded (or “barred”) as one of the winning numbers on the come-out roll. Some casinos have “Bar 2,” which means a 2 on the come-out is a tie for the Don’t Pass. It doesn’t matter if the 12 or 2 is barred because the odds are the same for both numbers (i.e., there’s only one way to roll either number). You might rarely find a casino that has a Bar 3, which means 2 and 12 are winners for the Don’t Pass and the 3 is a tie. There’s only one way to roll a 12 or a 2 but there are two ways to roll a 3. By barring the 3 (i.e., making the 3 a tie on the Don’t Pass), the house advantage jumps from 1.4% with the Bar 12 or Bar 2, to about 4.4% with the Bar 3. You’ll probably never see a Bar 3, but if you do stumble upon one, you should walk out and find someplace else to play. Right off the bat, you know the casino is trying to screw you to the max. If that casino is the only game in town, then you’re stuck with the higher house advantage if you want to bet the Don’t Pass.
Since the Don’t Pass is the opposite of the Pass Line, you can remove your Don’t Pass Flat bet at any time, even after the point is established (with the Pass Line, you cannot remove it after the point is established). While the come-out roll favors the house with the Don’t Pass, the advantage swings to the player after a point is established. Because the advantage swings to you after a point is established, the casino not only allows you to remove your bet, but they actually want you to remove it because they don’t like you having any advantage.
You can’t make a “put” bet with the Flat Don’t Pass. (“Put” bets are explained in another article.) Also, you can’t increase or add to your Don’t Pass Flat bet after a point is established. As noted, the come-out roll favors the house with the Don’t Pass, but after a point is established the advantage switches to you. Therefore, the casino requires you to go through the come-out roll if you want to bet the Don’t Pass (i.e., if you want to bet the Don’t Pass, you must make it before a point is established when the casino has the advantage over you; they won’t let you wait for the point to be established and then make your Don’t Pass bet when the advantage has switched to you).
The Don’t Pass is an even-money bet, which means you win the exact amount that you bet. For example, if you make a $5 Don’t Pass bet and win, then you win $5.
If you bet the Don’t Pass, it’s also called betting “against” the dice (as opposed to betting “with” the dice on the Pass Line), or betting the “wrong” way (as opposed to betting the “right” way with the Pass Line).
On the come‑out roll, a Don’t Pass bet has an 8:3 house advantage. For the player, there are three ways to win on the come‑out, eight ways to lose, and one way to tie. Let’s review. For a Don’t Pass bet on the come‑out roll, a 7 or 11 loses, a 2 or 3 wins, and a 12 ties (assuming the table has the Bar 12). There are six ways to roll a 7 and two ways to roll an 11; therefore, there are eight ways to lose a Don’t Pass bet on the come-out. There’s one way to roll a 2 and two ways to roll a 3; therefore, there are three ways to win a Don’t Pass bet on the come‑out. Eight ways to lose versus three ways to win is written in terms of odds as 8:3. That’s how we get an 8:3 house advantage for a Don’t Pass bet on the come‑out. But that’s only for the come‑out roll. For a Don’t Pass bet after the point is established, the advantage shifts to the player. No matter what the point is (i.e., 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10), there are always more ways to roll a 7 and win with the Don’t Pass than there are ways to roll the point and lose. The advantage that you enjoy after the come‑out roll with a Don’t Pass bet is outweighed by the 8:3 disadvantage that you have to survive on the come‑out roll. The net result is that the house maintains a small advantage on the Don’t Pass bet, even when you make an Odds bet.
After a point is established, you can make an Odds bet, or “lay Odds on the point.” Notice for the Don’t Pass bet, the Odds bet is called “laying” Odds; whereas, for the Pass Line bet, it’s called “taking” Odds. The Odds bet is another bet against the point number in addition to the Don’t Pass Flat bet.
Like the Flat bet, the Odds bet is a self-service bet, so you make this bet yourself by putting the chips next to your Don’t Pass Flat bet in the Don’t Pass area. Like the Pass Line bet, there’s no marked location on the table to define where to put your chips for the Odds bet. The location for your Odds bet is directly adjacent to your Flat bet. Refer to the figure below.
Assume you’re in player position #1. In this example, your $5 Don’t Pass Flat bet is placed in the Don’t Pass area directly in front of you as shown in the figure above. Your Don’t Pass Odds bet is placed next to your Flat bet. In this example, your Odds bet amount is $12 (i.e., assume the two bottom chips are $5 chips and the two top chips are $1 chips). Notice the white “On” puck in the 8 point box. The “On” puck indicates that the point for this game is 8. Because you bet the Don’t Pass, you hope a 7 shows before the point (i.e., 8). In terms of a decision to end the game, only the 7 and the point number matter; all other numbers are meaningless in terms of winning or losing the Don’t Pass bets.
Unlike the Pass Line bet where the chips are all stacked in one pile behind the Flat bet, the Don’t Pass Odds bet is either heeled or bridged. To understand what “heeled” and “bridged” mean, we should first review true odds and how much Odds we need to lay on the Don’t Pass.
The Don’t Pass Odds bet against the point is based on true odds, or the odds that a 7 will appear compared to a point number. Let’s review the data our other article about basic craps math.
NUMBER ROLLED |
WAYS TO ROLL IT |
7 |
6 |
6 or 8 |
5 |
5 or 9 |
4 |
4 or 10 |
3 |
3 or 11 |
2 |
2 or 12 |
1 |
Remember, for a Don’t Pass bet after a point is established, the bet wins if a 7 is rolled before the point, and loses if the point is rolled before a 7. Therefore, like the Pass Line bet, odds are based on the number 7. For example, if the point is 6, the odds of rolling a 7 and winning the Don’t Pass bet are 6:5 (i.e., six ways to roll a 7 and win versus five ways to roll a 6 and lose; therefore, 6:5). If the point is 5 or 9, the odds of winning are 6:4 (which reduces down to 3:2). If the point is 4 or 10, the odds of winning are 6:3 (which reduces down to 2:1).
So, how much Odds can you lay for each point number? This may seem a bit trickier than “taking” Odds on the Pass Line bet, but it’s not. It’s simply the exact opposite of the Pass Line Odds bet. For the Don’t Pass bet after a point is established, the player has the advantage because there are more ways to win than to lose (i.e., there are more ways to roll a 7 than ways to roll any of the point numbers). Since we’re dealing with true odds, and since you have an advantage over the house once a point is established, you must bet more in Odds than the amount you expect to win.
As you recall from our article about the Pass Line, for a Pass Line Odds bet on the point of 6 or 8, if you “take” $5 in Odds behind your Pass Line bet, you expect to win $6 for that $5 Odds bet. The Don’t Pass Odds bet is the exact opposite. Therefore, for the Don’t Pass bet and a point of 6 or 8, you have the advantage after the come‑out roll so you must “lay” $6 in Odds to expect to win $5. Simply put, you have to bet more money in Odds than you expect to win. In this case of the point being 6 or 8, you must bet $6 to expect to win $5.
For the point of 5 or 9, the true odds are 3:2 (i.e., six ways to make a 7 versus four ways to make a 5 or 9), which means you lay a multiple of 3 to win a multiple of 2. For example, suppose you make a $5 Don’t Pass Flat bet and the shooter rolls a point of 9. You have a gut feeling that the dice are cold and a 7 will appear before a 9, so you decide to lay maximum Odds on the point. Suppose the table maximum allowable Odds for the 5 or 9 is 4x; which means, with your $5 Flat bet, the most you can win for an Odds bet is $20 (i.e., 4 x $5 = $20). Therefore, to win $20 on a Don’t Pass Odds bet, you must lay $30 because the true odds are 3:2. Remember, there are six ways to make a 7, and four ways to make a 9 (hence, the odds of 6:4 or 3:2). With a Don’t Pass bet, you have the advantage after a point is established, so if you want to lay an Odds bet, you have to lay your fair share.
For the point of 4 or 10, the true odds are 2:1 (i.e., six ways to make a 7 versus three ways to make a 4 or 10), which means you lay exactly double what you expect to win. For example, suppose you make an $8 Don’t Pass Flat bet and the shooter rolls a point of 4. Suppose the table maximum allowable Odds for the 4 and 10 are 100x, which means for your $8 Flat bet, the most you can win for an Odds bet is $800 (i.e., 100 x $8 = $800). The true odds of rolling a 7 versus a 4 are 2:1; therefore, you have to lay $1,600 in Odds to win $800 (i.e., you have to bet your fair share, which is $1,600 in Odds to expect to win $800). Remember, for a Don’t Pass bet after a point is established, you have the advantage so your Odds bet must be the higher amount to win the lower amount.
“heeling” and “bridging” the Odds bet
Now that we know how much Odds we must lay for a Don’t Pass bet, let’s get back to “heeling” and “bridging” the Odds bet. Remember from our other article, for the Pass Line Odds bet, you put the higher-denomination chips on the bottom of your Odds bet stack and the lower-denomination chips on the top of the stack. The same is true for the Don’t Pass Odds bet (i.e., higher-denomination chips go on the bottom, lower denominations go on top).
You “bridge” your Don’t Pass Odds bet if the payoff when you win equals the amount of your Don’t Pass Flat bet. To make the bridge, you first place the portion of your Odds bet that’s equal to your Flat bet adjacent to your Flat bet. Then, place the remaining portion of your odds bet on top so it straddles the two. Refer to the figure below.
Let’s use the above figure as example to clarify this concept. Suppose the table is really cold with lots of 7-outs. Instead of your normal $5 Flat bet, you feel frisky and decide to double it to take advantage of the cold table. You make a $10 Don’t Pass bet and the shooter rolls a 6 on the come-out roll; the point is 6. You know from our article on basic craps math that the true odds for the 6 are 6:5 (i.e., six ways to roll a 7, and five ways to roll a 6). You decide to lay single Odds (i.e., 1x). So, with a $10 Flat bet, your single Odds bet would be $12 (i.e., 6:5 equates to 12:10, and we learned earlier that you must bet the bigger amount to win the smaller amount; 12 is bigger than 10, so the Odds bet is $12). In this example, if the shooter were to roll a 7 before rolling a 6, you’d win $10 for the Flat bet and you’d win $10 for the Odds bet. Because your Flat bet and Odds bet would win the same amount (i.e., $10 each), you bridge your $12 Odds bet by placing two $5 chips (i.e., $10) directly next to your $10 Flat bet, and then placing the remaining two $1 chips so they bridge (i.e., straddle) the two stacks as shown in the figure above. Let’s review. In this example, with your $10 Don’t Pass Flat bet, you decide you want to lay 1x Odds. For a Don’t Pass Odds bet, you lay the bigger amount to win the smaller amount. In this example, you lay $12 to win $10. Because the Odds bet payoff (i.e., $10) equals the Flat bet payoff (i.e., $10), you “bridge” your Odds bet chips by putting $10 next to your Flat bet and then straddle the two $10 stacks with the two $1 chips.
If the payoff for the Don’t Pass Odds bet doesn’t exactly equal the amount of your Flat bet, then you “heel” your Odds bet instead of bridging it. To do this, place your Odds bet chip stack adjacent to your Flat bet and then move all chips except the bottom one so the stack leans over crookedly. Refer to the figure below.
In this example, assume the point is either 6 or 8. With your $5 Don’t Pass Flat bet, you lay 4x Odds for $24. For a Don’t Pass Odds bet, you lay the bigger amount to win the smaller amount. In this example, you lay $24 to win $20 (i.e., the true odds of 6:5 with 4x odds means multiply each by 4 to get the equivalent 24:20). Because the Odds bet payoff (i.e., $20) doesn’t equal the Flat bet payoff (i.e., $5), you “heel” your Odds bet chips. Notice that the higher denominations are on the bottom of the heeled stack to avoid a “barber pole.”
If you’re still a bit mystified, that’s okay, it took me a while to get the hang of it, too. You’ll get it after a while. If you’re uncertain about whether to bridge or heel your Don’t Pass Odds bet, just tell the dealer, “I want Odds but I don’t remember how to do it.” The dealer will ask how much you want to bet. Suppose the point is 4 and you tell him you want to lay $20 to win $10 (i.e., true odds are 2:1, so you lay the bigger amount to win the smaller amount). He’ll tell you to drop $20 in chips on the table, and then he’ll pick them up and properly stack them next to your Don’t Pass Flat bet. The key is don’t be shy and don’t be afraid to ask the dealer for help. That’s what he’s there for.
Playing the Don’t Pass
When playing the Don’t Pass, you should consider controlling your emotions a lot more than when playing the Pass Line. Most people play the Pass Line even when the table is ice cold. When the table goes cold, the Pass Line players become grouchy and sometimes downright mad because they lose time after time. They’re too stupid to adapt to the cold table, so they keep losing every time a game ends with a 7-out. Your constant winning on the Don’t Pass adds to their frustration. In fact, they blame you and your Don’t Pass bets for causing the table’s bad mojo. You’ll hear all sorts of mumbling, such as, “It’s cold because that butthead keeps betting the Don’t.” They have to blame someone for their losses, and they’re certainly not going to blame themselves, so they blame you for creating bad luck at the table. If you scream and clap every time your Don’t Pass wins, you make their misery worse. So, unless you enjoy making people mad, it’s best to simply remain calm on the outside and quietly pick up your Don’t Pass winnings. However, if you don’t care about those losers and how they feel about you, then go for it. Scream and clap as loud as you can. Just be aware that everyone else at the table will hate you and blame you for their misfortune.
Now that we have all that gobbledygook about the Pass Line, Don’t Pass, true odds, taking Odds, and laying Odds whizzing around in our brains, let’s walk through a scenario to make everything clear. If you need to review our article about the Pass Line, do it now. The following scenario is an example of making Pass Line, Pass Line Odds, Don’t Pass, and Don’t Pass Odds bets. The following assumes the table minimum is $5, maximum is $2,000, and the maximum allowable Odds are 10x.
1. A new shooter prepares to make a come-out roll for a new game. You make a $5 Flat Pass Line bet. The shooter rolls a 3. The game ends immediately. For a Flat Pass Line bet on the come-out roll, 3 is a craps. You lose $5. The dealer takes your $5 Flat bet.
2. The same shooter prepares to make another come-out roll for a new game. (Remember from the Pass Line article, a shooter loses the dice only when he rolls a 7-out, not when he rolls a craps. Since the shooter rolled a craps on the come-out, he still keeps shooting the next game.) You make another $5 Flat Pass Line bet. The shooter rolls an 11. The game ends immediately. For the Pass Line on the come-out, 11 is a winner. You win $5. The dealer places a $5 chip next to your Pass Line bet. Pick up your winnings, but leave your original $5 chip on the Pass Line because a new game is about to start.
3. The same shooter rolls a 6 on the come-out; therefore, the point for this game is 6. You take $5 in Odds on the point behind the line (i.e., you bet $5 hoping to win $6).
4. After a point is established, the only numbers that matter for Pass Line and Don’t Pass bets are 7 and the point number, which in this case is 6. The shooter rolls a 4. The number 4 doesn’t matter, so the game continues
5. The shooter rolls a 9, which doesn’t matter, so the game continues.
6. The shooter rolls a 6 (i.e., the point). The game ends. “Winner, winner, chicken dinner!” The point showed before a 7, so the Pass Line Flat bet and the Pass Line Odds bet win. The dealer pays you $5 for the $5 Flat bet (pays even money) and $6 for the $5 Odds bet (pays 6:5). Pick up your winnings and your Odds bet. Leave your original $5 Flat bet on the Pass Line because a new game is about to start.
7. The same shooter rolls a 7 on the come-out for this new game. The game ends immediately. For the Pass Line on the come-out, 7 is a winner. You win $5. The dealer places a $5 chip next to your Pass Line bet. Pick up your winnings, but leave your original $5 chip on the Pass Line because a new game is about to start.
8. The same shooter rolls a 5 on the come-out; therefore, the point for this game is 5. You take $6 in Odds on the point behind the line (i.e., you bet $6 hoping to win $9).
9. The shooter rolls a 12, which doesn’t matter, so the game continues.
10. The shooter rolls a 7. The game ends. The stickman shouts, “Seven-out!” Because a 7 showed before the point, you lose everything. The dealer takes your $5 Flat bet and your $6 Odds bet. You decide the dice are turning cold, so you change tactics and bet the Don’t Pass. You make a $5 Don’t Pass Flat bet. Because the shooter rolled a 7‑out, the dice move clockwise around the table to the next player who wants to shoot.
11. The new shooter starts a new game by rolling a 12 on the come-out. The game ends immediately. For the Don’t Pass, a 12 is a tie. The dealer leaves your $5 chip on the Don’t Pass. The same shooter prepares to make another come‑out roll for the next new game.
12. The shooter rolls a 7 on the come-out. The game ends immediately. For the Don’t Pass on the come-out, 7 is a loser. You lose your $5 Don’t Pass Flat bet. While the shooter prepares to start a new game, you make another $5 Don’t Pass Flat bet.
13. The shooter rolls a 4 on the come-out; therefore, the point for this game is 4. Your gut tells you that the dice are ice cold. A gorgeous woman walks up to watch the game. You fantasize about being James Bond, so you lay a whopping $50 in Odds against the point. Although you’re nervous as hell about making such a big bet, she’s not at all impressed because the loser next to you is also fantasizing and he plopped his entire $500 bankroll on the table.
14. The shooter rolls a 10, which doesn’t matter, so the game continues. (You let out silent sigh of relief that you didn’t lose.)
15. The shooter rolls a 7. The stickman shouts, “Seven‑out!” The game ends. But a 7 is good for you because you bet the Don’t Pass! Woohoo! A 7 showed before the point so your Don’t Pass Flat bet and Odds bet win. You want to jump and scream, but that wouldn’t be cool, so you pretend to be calm. You fantasize, “Just call me Bond, James Bond.” The dealer pays you $5 for the Flat bet (pays even money) and $25 for the Odds bet (pays 1:2, or $25 for a $50 bet). You pick up all your chips and put them in your chip stack with a bit more emphasis trying to get her attention. You think, “Is she looking? Did she see me win all that money? I’m such a stud.”
16. Your wife walks up to the table, puts her arm around you, and asks, “Hi, Honey, you winning?” You look down at your chip stack and realize you’re $30 ahead. Woohoo! This is easy! You can’t wait to make another quick $30. But before you can put down a $5 chip on the Don’t Pass, your wife says, “You hungry?” You reluctantly respond, “Yes, dear.” Your wife takes all your chips and secures them safely in her purse. You walk away dejected wondering if you can talk her into eating at a fast-food joint instead of having a long drawn-out dinner with endless conversation that’ll keep you away from the tables for two hours.
“Winner, winner, chicken dinner,” seems to be a universal cheer for drunks at all casinos across the country. The first time I heard it, I took a swig of beer and almost choked from laughing so hard. The shooter made something like her seventh point in a row. The table was on fire and the players were clapping and hollering. Every time the shooter rolled her point, the drunk at the other end of the table jumped up and down screaming, “Winner, winner, chicken dinner!” The boxman had to ask him to turn it down a notch. I had no clue what the drunk meant with his “winner, winner, chicken dinner” nonsense. Maybe now he could afford to buy a bucket of chicken or something. I don’t know, but we all thought it was hilarious. Wherever I go, whether it’s Vegas, Biloxi, or anywhere in between, I always hear someone yell, “Winner, winner, chicken dinner!” Listen for it the next time you play. Yes, I’m guilty. Even I yelled it once when a shooter was blazing. Oh, well, when a shooter is hot and everyone at the table is winning, no one cares how silly everyone else sounds.