The Horn and Whirl Bets

T he Horn Bet.

The Horn is a one-roll proposition bet on the 12, 11, 3, and 2.  The inexperienced player might think the Horn is a single bet, but it’s really four individual bets, one on each of the four numbers.  The inexperienced player might also incorrectly think the Horn is the same as a Craps & Eleven (C&E) bet.  It’s similar but not exactly the same as we’ll discover in a moment.

The layout’s boxes for these four numbers are in the center section, with all the other proposition bets.  Depending on the casino, the layout may use the separate boxes for each number or it may have a special box labeled “Horn.”  As with all the bets in the center section, the stickman manages Horn bets (i.e., it’s not a self-service bet).

If your Horn bet wins, you win for the specific number that hit, not for the combination of numbers.  For example, if the shooter rolls a 12, your bet on the 12 wins and your bets on the 11, 3, and 2 lose.  Unlike the Any Craps bet, the Horn payoff is based on each individual number, not a combination of the numbers.  For the Any Craps, if the shooter rolls a 12, 3, or 2, the payoff for that combination of numbers is 7:1.  On the contrary with the Horn, the payoffs are based on each individual number.  If a 12 or 2 appears, the payoff is 30:1.  If a 3 or 11 appears, the payoff is 15:1.  Remember, the Horn is a one-roll bet, so if one of the four numbers doesn’t appear on the very next roll, you lose all four bets.

If you’re a beginner or have difficulty doing math quickly in your head, it’s best to make your Horn bet amount a multiple of $4; otherwise, you’ll have “fractional” bets that become mathematical brain teasers and may end up with you getting shorted on the payout when you win.  When your bet amount is divisible equally by 4, the stickman puts one-fourth of your bet amount on each of the four numbers (i.e., in this case, all four bets are whole-dollar amounts, not fractions with cents).  You can still make the bet with fractional amounts, but if the net payoff isn’t a whole-dollar amount, then the casino keeps the remainder.

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Let’s look at an example where a bet amount that’s not divisible by 4 sometimes results in a whole-dollar payout, but sometimes doesn’t depending on which number is rolled.  Assume the casino’s table layout has a separate box for the Horn bet.  Now, suppose you toss a red chip to the stickman for a $5 Horn bet.  He puts your chip in the Horn box.  You must then mentally calculate the fractional amount of the bet for each of the four numbers.  Your $5 chip divided by the four numbers = $1.25.  So, with your $5 chip in the Horn box, you actually have a $1.25 bet on each number 12, 11, 3, and 2.  Here’s where the math gets tricky.

For example, if a 3 appears, then you win $18.75 because the payoff is 15:1 (i.e., $1.25 x 15 = $18.75).  But the other three bets on the 12, 11, and 2 lose.  Those bets were for $1.25 each, so the total loss for them is $3.75 (i.e., $1.25 x 3 = $3.75).  The dealer has to mentally subtract the losing $3.75 from your winnings.  So, $18.75 – $3.75 = $15.00.  In this case, the fractional bet of $1.25 for each of the four numbers resulted in a net payoff to you of $15.00, which is a whole number.  Let’s look at what happens if a winning 2 appears.

If a 2 appears, then you win $37.50 because the payoff is 30:1 (i.e., $1.25 x 30 = $37.50).  But the other three bets on the 12, 11, and 3 lose.  Those three bets were for $1.25 each, so the total loss for them is $3.75 (i.e., $1.25 x 3 = $3.75).  The dealer has to mentally subtract the losing $3.75 from your winnings.  So, $37.50 – $3.75 = $33.75.  The dealer can’t pay you cents (they don’t have chips for cents), so he rounds down your winnings to the nearest whole dollar.  In this case, the fractional bet results in a net payoff to you of $33.00.  The casino keeps the remainder of 75 cents!

As you can see, it can get a bit complicated.  Since the Horn is four independent bets, it’s easier for you to keep track of your winnings if the amount of your bet is a multiple of 4 so the stickman can split your bet into four equivalent amounts.  Therefore, if you can’t help yourself from throwing in an amount that’s not a multiple of 4 (e.g., you’re lazy and you toss in a single $5 chip instead of counting out four $1 chips and carefully placing them in the layout for the stickman), I suggest that you tell the stickman how you want the remainder to be handled so you don’t have to worry about fractional bets.  You have three options:

  1. Add the remainder to one of the four Horn numbers.  For example, tell the stickman, “Gimme a Horn, high yo.”  In this case, the stickman picks up your $5 chip that you tossed on the table and makes change for it.  He then puts a $1 chip in each of the four boxes (i.e., the 12, 11, 3, and 2), and then puts the remaining $1 in the 11 box, thereby, making your 11 a $2 bet.  Your $2 bet on the 11 is now “higher” than the $1 bet amount on the 12, 3, and 2.
  2. Use the remainder to make another entirely different bet.  For example, tell the stickman, “Gimme a Horn, and I want the Hard 10, too.”  In this case, you have a $1 bet on the four Horn numbers and a $1 bet on the Hard 10.

3. Tell the stickman you want the remainder back by saying, “Gimme a Horn and I’ll take the change, please.”  In this case, after the stickman makes change and puts a $1 chip in the boxes for the Horn numbers, he tells the dealer to pay you $1 (the stickman doesn’t make payouts).  The dealer then puts a $1 chip in the apron for you to pick up.

T he Whirl Bet

The Whirl, which is also known as a “World” bet, is a one-roll proposition bet that adds the Any Seven bet to the Horn.  The Whirl is actually five independent bets, one on each of the five numbers (i.e., it’s not a combination bet).  Therefore, to keep things easy, you want the amount of your bet to be a multiple of 5.  Like the Horn, the layout may use the separate boxes for each number or it may have a special box labeled “Whirl.”

When you win the Whirl, you win for the specific number that hit.  For example, if the shooter rolls a 7, your bet on the 7 wins, and your bets on the 12, 11, 3, and 2 lose.  The payoffs for the 12, 11, 3, and 2 are the same as for the Horn.  The payoff for the 7 is 4:1.

You can now go to the page that we list the craps bets or You can now head over to the table of contents to find more great content.

Author
Written by John Nelsen in partnership with the team of craps pros at crapspit.org.