The Field Bet
O ne-roll bets are different from standing bets (e.g., Pass Line, Don’t Pass, Place bet, Buy bets, etc.) in that only one roll determines the outcome. In other words, they don’t “stand” for repeated rolls; instead, they win or lose on one roll. If the number you bet for that one roll appears, you win. If it doesn’t, you lose. The Field is a one-roll bet.
The Field wins if a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12 appears, and loses if a 5, 6, 7, or 8 appears. Don’t worry, you don’t have to memorize the winning numbers because they’re printed on the layout in the Field box. Some casinos swap the 9 for the 5 where a 5 wins and a 9 loses. If you remember from our lesson on basic craps math, there are four ways to make either a 5 or 9, so the odds of winning or losing the Field bet are the same whether the casino makes the 5 or the 9 part of the Field.
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The Field is a self-service bet that you can make or remove at any time. “Self-service” means you put your bet in the Field yourself without the dealer getting involved. If you win, the dealer puts your winnings adjacent to your bet, at which time it’s your responsibility to pick up your chips. If you’re not paying attention or otherwise forget to remove your chips from the Field, the table crew assumes you’re parlaying your original bet and your winnings. (“Parlay” means to make a subsequent bet using your original amount and its winnings.) The Field is plainly marked and positioned between the Come box and Don’t Pass Bar 12 box (see the figure below). Let’s look at a quick example to see how the Field bet works.
1. You walk up to the table and a new game is about to start. You don’t yet know if the table is cold or choppy, but you know it’s not hot because no one is cheering or clapping. You don’t want to make a Pass Line bet, but you want some immediate action. So, you put a $5 chip in the Field. The shooter rolls a 7 on the come-out roll. Everyone else at the table claps because a 7 is a winner on the come-out roll for the Pass Line. You’re the only one at the table not clapping because your Field bet lost when the 7 showed. (Remember, the Field is a one-roll bet and wins or loses on the very next roll.)
2. You decide to wait a few rolls before making another bet. The shooter rolls a 10 for the point. You stand at the table watching the shooter roll number after number. She seems to be rolling a lot of Field numbers, so you put a $5 chip on the Field. Your cell phone rings and you see it’s from the person you’ve been waiting all day to hear from, so you step back away from the table and answer your phone. You get so involved with the conversation that you forget about your Field bet. The shooter rolls a 9. You don’t realize that your Field bet wins and you don’t see the dealer put a $5 chip adjacent to your $5 bet.
3. The stickman pushes the dice to the shooter, who picks them up and rolls a 4. Again, you’re so engrossed in your phone call that you’re clueless about what’s happening at the table. Because you left your $5 bet and your $5 winnings from the last roll in the Field, the table crew assumes you’re parlaying it and making a $10 Field bet. Remember, it’s your responsibility to pick up your chips after a winning Field bet. The dealers are not obligated to remind you to pay attention to your bets. So, when the shooter rolled a 4, your $10 Field bet won. The dealer puts two $5 chips next to your $10 bet. Now, you have $20 in the Field.
4. Your phone call ends and you get back to the game. You remembered you made a Field bet and see the small pile of chips. The dealer says, “Sir, good bets on the Field, do you want to parlay it again?” You immediately say, “No, thanks,” and as the stickman pushes the dice to the shooter for her next roll, you quickly reach down and pick up all of your chips from the Field. The shooter picks up the dice and rolls a 7. You let out a big sigh of relief and tell yourself, “Whew, I timed that just right!” (i.e., if you had left your chips in the Field, you would have lost when the 7 appeared).
There are two key points to notice in this example: 1) you can make or remove your Field bet at any time, and 2) pay attention to your bets.
A winning Field bet pays even money if a 3, 4, 9, 10, or 11 appears. Depending on the casino, it probably pays double if a 2 or 12 shows. Notice in the figure below how the 2 and 12 are circled and labeled to clearly indicate that they pay double (i.e., 2:1).
I can’t remember ever seeing it at a live table, but I’m told that some casinos pay double on one number and triple on the other, such as 2:1 for the 2 and 3:1 for the 12, or vice versa.
I’ve also heard of (but have never seen) casinos doing temporary promotions to attract new players where they pay triple for both the 2 and 12. The reason why it’s so rare to see a table that pays triple is because the house advantages are not high enough for the casino.
When the Field pays double for the 2 and 12, the house advantage is 5.5%. When the Field pays double for the 2 and pays triple for the 12 (or vice versa), the house advantage is cut in half to 2.8%. And when the Field pays triple for both the 2 and 12, the casino has no advantage at all (i.e., it’s a zero expectation over time).