Field Bet : Is the Field a Sucker Bet?

W e evaluate whether the Field bet is considered good or bad based on its house advantage, which depends on how the casino configures the bet.

There are three options for the Field’s payout:

Configuration #1. Pays double (2:1) when either a 2 or 12 shows.  This configuration has a 5.5% house advantage.

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Configuration #2: Pays double for the 2, and triple (3:1) for the 12 (or vice versa, double for the 12, and triple for the 2).  The house advantage is 2.8%.

Configuration #3: Pays triple when either a 2 or 12 shows.  When the Field pays triple for both the 2 and 12, it’s a “zero expectation,” which means the casino has no advantage.

Unfortunately, most casinos have tables with configuration #1 that pay double for both the 2 and 12 with a 5.5% house advantage.  Configuration #2 is rare, so if you’re lucky enough to find this table, then the Field is an acceptable bet with only a 2.8% house edge.  You’ll probably never see configuration #3 because the casino can’t make any money from it.  Typically, this configuration is only available when a casino runs a limited-time-only promotion to attract new players.

You think, “I see people play the Field all the time, so if it’s such a bad bet, why do they play it?”  The answer is simple.  They’re clueless about the game’s house advantage.  Unlike you, they didn’t take the time to read and learn the material in our articles.  On the layout, you can’t miss the Field box.  It’s big, it has lots of numbers, and it’s within easy reach.

Three key points make this bet attractive to the clueless player.

1. You make this bet yourself without the dealer’s help.  Simply reach down and put your chips in the Field box.  Newbies are typically nervous or embarrassed that they’re gambling their hard-earned money on a game they know little about.  They’re sometimes intimidated by the dealers and don’t know the dealers are there to help them.  Simply put, they’re more comfortable with the least amount of dealer interaction.

2. The Field bet is easy.  It’s a one-roll bet so it’s over quickly.  You don’t have to do any math in your head to calculate how much odds to put down or whether the bet multiple is $5 or $6.  You don’t have worry about bridging or heeling your Don’t Pass odds.  You don’t have to think or worry about anything.  To make this bet, simply put down any amount between the table minimum and maximum.

3. The third point is what’s so devious, yet artful, about the Field bet.  It gives the clueless player the illusion that it’s a good bet by making him think he has more ways to win than ways to lose.

Field Bet Remember, the Field bet is a one-roll bet (i.e., it either wins or loses on the roll that occurs immediately after you put your chips on the layout).  As the layout shows, the Field wins if a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12 appears.  It loses if a 5, 6, 7, or 8 appears.  The clueless player looks strictly at the quantity of winning numbers against the quantity of losing numbers.  He thinks, “There are seven numbers that win and only four numbers that lose, so I’ve got a pretty good chance of winning.”  That kind of thinking is exactly why this player is a consistent loser.

As you know by now, a critical part of craps is knowing how many ways there are to make each number (we tried to pound that into your head in our article about basic craps math).  The Field bet is a perfect example why that lesson is so important.  If you need to review that article to better understand the number of ways to make each number 2 through 12, now is a good time to do it.

First, let’s look at the winning Field numbers and the ways to make each.

  • 1 way to make a 2.
  • 2 ways to make a 3.
  • 3 ways to make a 4.
  • 4 ways to make a 9.
  • 3 ways to make a 10.
  • 2 ways to make an 11.
  • 1 way to make a 12.

So, for the winning Field numbers, there are a total of 16 ways to make them (i.e., 1+2+3+4+3+2+1 = 16).

Now, let’s look at the losing numbers and the ways to make each.

  • 4 ways to make a 5.
  • 5 ways to make a 6.
  • 6 ways to make a 7.
  • 5 ways to make an 8.

So, for the losing numbers, there are a total of 20 ways to make them (i.e., 4+5+6+5 = 20).

As we know from our article on basic craps math, there are 36 possible combinations when using two six-sided dice.  Notice that the Field bet covers all the numbers 2 through 12.  And notice that the total number of ways to make the winning numbers plus ways to make the losing numbers equals 36 (i.e., 16 + 20 = 36).  What the clueless player doesn’t recognize about the Field bet is, although there are more winning numbers (i.e., seven winning numbers versus four losing numbers), there are actually more ways to make the four losing numbers than there are ways to make the 7 winning numbers (i.e., 20 ways to make the four losing numbers against 16 ways to make the seven losing numbers).  The Field pays even money for all numbers except the 2 and 12.  Paying you double for the 2 and 12 isn’t enough to make up for the disadvantage you have with only 16 ways to win against 20 ways to lose.  So, even when the casino pays you double for the 2 and 12, they still have a 5.5% advantage over you.

When the layout shows the Field paying only double for the 2 and 12, stay away from the Field.  In this case, the Field is, indeed, a sucker bet.  Don’t give in to your emotions.  No matter how much you want to put your chips in that big beautiful box, don’t do it.  Don’t give the casino a 5.5% advantage over you.  There are plenty of other bets on the table that have much less house advantage.  Stay strong.  Be a rock.  No matter how many times the drunk next to you wins the Field, don’t give in.  That guy may be winning now, but over the long term, he’s going to be a big loser.  Don’t get in the habit of playing the Field when the payout is double for the 2 and 12.  You’re smarter than that.  So just don’t do it.

You can now head over to the table of contents to find more great content. Also check out some safe reviewed casino such as Sun Palace, Casino Max, or Slots Plus to play craps for real money. Here you will learn how to play craps, find the best craps strategy and also how to win at craps.

By visiting CrapsPit, I hope you learn how to play craps, by studying the Craps Rules before you venture off to Play Craps Online. Here we also offer a free craps game, great to practice placing bets.

Comments 6

  1. I play the field all of the time as well as other numbers. You keep mentioning the 5.5% house advantage but failed to mention that buying the 4/10 charges a 5% tax. I would think if you play the field then the losing percentage is 1/5th. Hedging the field bet on a place bet will ensure no losses except on a 7 bet as long as the field bet is not greater than the place bet on 5/6/8.

    Not sure when you get this message but if you get it can you tell me which online craps sites let you play for money.

    1. W8, that’s not how the math works. We at the Crapspit don’t give math lessons, so we won’t dive into it. The math to define house advantages on the various craps bets has already been done decades ago and summarized in a table that you can find anywhere online, including in one of our other articles. We suggest, if you can’t do the math yourself, then simply accept the summary table as mathematical fact, which it is. Even with the vig (pay on a win), the house advantage for a Buy bet on the 4 and 10 is about 1.6%, and about 2% on the 5 or 9, and about 2.2% on the 6 and 8. The house advantage for the Field bet (double for the 2 and 12) is about 5.6%.

      Clearly, the Buy bet even with the vig on a win is a much better bet for the player in terms of house advantage. It’s just a mathematical fact that cannot be disputed. Now, regarding hedging the Field bet, have you read our other articles that discuss hedging? No matter how you analyze it, the fact is that hedge bets do nothing but increase the overall house advantage. There’s no way to combine bets so one or more bets “protect” another. With hedging, all you do is lose your money faster over the long term. This, too, is mathematical fact. Accept it. Your own statement, “…ensure no losses except on a 7…,” should give you a clue that hedging bets is a poor way to play craps. With a Field bet and three Place bets as hedges for the Field (i.e., Place the 5, 6, and 8), you lose all four bets when the 7 shows. Again, if you can’t do the math yourself, then just accept what the mathematicians have laid out for us. The 7 shows enough times over the long term to make you a bigger loser than if you played only the Field without hedging. Accept it.

      There’s no way you can decrease the built-in house advantages. There’s no way you can gain an advantage over the house. There’s no way you can be a consistent winner over the long term. Stop dreaming and hoping you can beat the house over the long term. Stop believing in systems that you think will make you a consistent winner. Instead, play craps for the fun and excitement that it provides, or for the social aspect of it, or for whatever other reason that makes you happy, but don’t play expecting to consistently win some extra spending money each month. Think of craps as entertainment, like going to the movies or to a show or a ball game. Such entertainment costs money.

      When you play craps, think of your losses as paying the ticket price for a ball game. With craps, you’ll have times when you walk away a winner or you break even, but over the long term, you’ll lose. Look at those losses as the price for having a great time at the tables. We at the Crapspit play craps because we love the game and we have so much fun playing it. We play for the excitement of maybe getting lucky and walking away a winner for that particular session. We don’t play with any expectation whatsoever that we’ll consistently walk away with a wheelbarrow full of money. That’s why, when we lose a particular session, we don’t feel the pain that most people do. Good luck, and have fun at the tables!

  2. True playing the field by itself is a bad bet but playing it with other numbers is a good one. The key to the game is getting paid for every roll of the dice with minimum investment. So if you play 5. 6. 8. and field you have every number covered. So if it’s a ten dollar table it’s twelve on the 6 and 8. You play ten in the field. Even if a 5 6,or 8 hits you still make four dollars. If a 2 or 12 hits you can press the5 6 and 8 now you make $10 on every roll of the dice. Your way play inside numbers and when a 2 3 4 10 11 12 hits you get paid nothing. That’s not very smart.

    1. Cecil, thanks for your post. Sorry to burst your bubble, but you’re wrong…dead wrong. You need to understand the math to understand that you can’t gain an increased advantage (or reduce the house advantage) by combining multiple bets and bet amounts. No matter how badly you want to believe it, combining bets into wacky systems doesn’t gain you an advantage. It just doesn’t. As noted in other responses to readers’ posts, the Crapspit doesn’t give math lessons on calculating the house advantage (other than the basics, which is provided in our other articles). The reason we don’t give these math lessons is because we’d spend 24 hours a day every day calculating the house advantage for every wacky system and combination of bets that people believe gain them an advantage. Your statement, “…if you play 5, 6, 8, and Field, you have every number covered…so if it’s a $10 table, it’s $12 on the 6 and 8, and you play $10 in the Field…even if a 5, 6, or 8 hits you still make $4,” is misleading because you exclude the 7 (i.e., the 7 is not covered, so you don’t “have every number covered”). When the 7 appears, you lose it all (i.e., you lose the Field, and you lose all those Place bets). Also, your statement, “If a 2 or 12 hits, you can press the 5, 6, and 8, and now you make $10 on every roll of the dice,” is misleading because, again, you lose it all when a 7 appears. The math proves that the 7 appears enough over time to wipe out your winnings on the 5, 6, 8, and Field. Your statement, “The key to the game is getting paid for every roll of the dice with minimum investment,” shows your lack of understanding of the game. We suggest that you do the math and believe the math instead of believing the hope and dreams that fake “craps pros” and bogus “dice doctors” spread on the Internet. Learn the math and then play accordingly. Remember, you play craps for the fun and excitement that it provides, not to beat the casino (yes, of course, you hope to beat the odds and win, but understanding the game’s math allows you to play for the fun of it and to calmly accept your losses). Good luck and have fun at the tables!

  3. The reason these suckers bets are so popular in craps is that the game can potentially get boring waiting for the 7 or the point to be rolled. So people just want more action. The optimal way to play craps is to put as little money on the pass line as possible, and then as much on the odds as possible so that it’s close to an even bet. Most people don’t have the bankroll to lay down 100x odds though. For people getting bored at the table, bet the 6 and 8 place bets if a 4/5/9/10 is the point, and just the 6 or the 8 if the 6/8 is the point. That way you have 2-3 bets going at one time and shouldn’t be bored.

  4. Neil, thanks for your comment. We agree that the smartest way to play craps is to minimally bet the Pass or Don’t Pass and take or lay maximum Odds. As many of our articles show, we also agree that playing only the Pass or Don’t Pass gets boring rather quickly, and that’s why we have an entire article devoted to explaining our favorite way to play that optimizes our fun and excitement while still playing solid as a rock. For us, Placing only one or two numbers doesn’t quite get us the excitement we want, but that doesn’t mean it won’t satisfy your (or some of our other readers’) needs. If those one or two extra bets provide the excitement you’re looking for, then go for it. Thanks again for your comment. Good luck, and have fun at the tables!

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