Category Archives: Craps

Craps Basics: What’s a Horn Bet?

Even if you’ve played craps, you still might be fuzzy about “horn” bets. We can help.

Horn bets are commonly referred to as “not especially smart bets,” also known as “sucker bets,” mainly because the house edge is high-ish compared to other bets on the craps table. Who cares, though, right? Horn bets are a blast and keep the game interesting.

The horn bet is found in the middle of the craps table where the proposition, or just “prop,” bets are. A horn bet is a bet split between the numbers 2, 3, 11 or 12. A $4 horn bet is a bet of $1 on each number.

If one of your numbers hits, the 2 and 12 pay 30-to-one and the 3 and 11 pay 15-to-1. Horn bets are a one-time roll, by the way.

Proposition bets

The layout says 16-for-1 and 31-for-1 on horn bets, but they keep a buck to replace your bet. The house is sneaky like that.

That’s the basic horn bet. You can always toss out a $5 chip, and rather than getting $1 back, you can ask the dealer (the stickman, specifically) to double up the bet on one of the numbers.

To double up on the 11, for example, the bet is “horn, high yo.” “Yo” is used rather than 11, because 11 sounds too much like “seven,” and craps players are superstitious like that. With a “horn, high yo,” $1 is put in 2, 3 and 12, and $2 goes on 11.

A “horn, high 12” bet puts the $2 on 12 and $1 on the other numbers. A “horn, high aces” bet means the $2 goes on the 2, with $1 on the other numbers. There’s probably a name for the bet where $2 goes on the 3, but we have no idea what it is. If we did, it would mean we have a gambling problem. (It’s “horn, high ace-deuce.”)

Now for the bad news: The “horn, high aces” and “horn, high 12” bets have a house edge of 12.78%, and the “horn, high ace-deuce” and “horn, high 11” bets have a 12.22 % house advantage. Translation: It’s only a sucker bet if it doesn’t pay!

So, now you know. And, yes, there will be a quiz. But quizzes about craps are the most fun kind of quizzes.

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Today’s Sucker Bets, Courtesy of The Orleans

We popped by The Orleans, a casino-hotel about five minutes west of The Strip on Tropicana, and saw two side bets we hadn’t played before, and sort of wish it had stayed that way.

Orleans

Sucker bets aside, The Orleans is a great place to play. Insider tip: Ask for Beaver. (That may not be his real name.)

Specialty bets on table games have notoriously high house edges, and these two beauties followed suit.

First, up a blackjack side bet called “Let’s Play.” This bet has a $1 minimum, and pays based upon the player’s cards (and in one case, the combined cards of the player and dealer).

Given the odds, let's not.

Given the odds, let’s not.

If your two cards are the same suit, you’re paid 2-to-1, you’re paid 4-to-1 for a straight flush, 15-to-1 for a suited queen-jack, 20-to-1 for ace-king suited and 250-to-1 for ace, king, queen and jack suited (this one includes your cards and the dealer’s).

Even for those of us math-challenged, it only takes a moment to realize those payouts are pretty awful. Overall, the house edge for this game is a killer 11.01%.

See all the numbers for this game at one of our favorite number-crunching sites, Wizard of Odds.

Our next side bet was truly a doozy. Yes, there are still doozies, although these days, they’re called WTFs.

Moving over to craps, The Orleans has a side bet called the Replay Bet. It’s akin to the popular Fire Bet, but this is the only casino where we’ve see the Replay Bet.

Here, you’re betting you’ll roll the same number three times before you seven out. Given that seven is the most commonly-rolled number on the dice, you’re definitely bucking the odds to win this bet, and it shows.

The Replay Bet has a gargantuan house edge of 24.79%. For laypersons, we can best describe that house edge as “Run! Run for your life!”

Replay Bet

This bet has ouch written all over it.

All the numbers for the Replay Bet can be found here. Seriously, this side bet competes with keno (house edges of up to 35%) as the worst bet in a casino.

So, as with most bets in a casino, caution is paramount. It’s fairly safe to assume side and specialty bets aren’t great for players, so they should be avoided, or at least bet sparingly.

Sometimes, your instincts, or copious amounts of liquor, tell you different, and you have to go for it. Gambling, after all, is meant to be fun, not a retirement plan.

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Today’s Fun Sucker Bet: Craps High Dice/Low Dice

Pretty much all craps players understand the perils of the Big 6 and 8. Those giant red numbers, within easy reach, are such a temptation for inexperienced players.

Big 6 and 8 craps

Caveat bettor! Which we should totally put on a T-shirt.

What those tricky craps layouts don’t point out, however, is there’s another bet on the 6 and 8 that pays more for the very same dice roll. The Big 6 and 8 pay even money ($5 in winnings for a $5 bet), but if you ask the dealer to “place” a 6 or 8, that bet pays $7 for a $6 bet.

The Big 6 and 8 bet has a house edge of 9.09%, and the place 6 and 8 bet has a relatively teensy 1.52% house advantage. Now you know why they’re called “sucker bets.”

A couple of casinos in town have added a new wrinkle to this craps table real estate by swapping out the Big 6 and 8 sucker bet for a less suckery one, the High Dice/Low Dice bet.

We saw this bet at the Cannery casino, but understand it’s also available at the Hard Rock casino.

Low dice high dice craps

We’re hoping this bet will bump the Big 6 and 8 off craps tables everywhere.

Here’s how it works. It’s a one-roll, self-serve bet (the player can bet it directly, as opposed to asking the dealer to do it).

On the Low Dice side, if a 3, 4, 5 or 6 is rolled, the bet wins and is paid even money (you get $5 for your $5 bet). If a 2 is rolled, the bet is paid 5-to-1 (so, $25 for a $5 bet). If a 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 or 12 is rolled, the bet is lost.

The High Dice bet is the flip side. If an 8, 9, 10 or 11 is rolled, you’re paid even money. If a 12 is rolled, the bet pays 5-to-1. If a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 is rolled, the bet is lost.

It’s a fun little side bet and here’s why. The house edge is 5.55%. To be clear, that makes it a sucker bet, but it’s half the sucker bet a Big 6 and 8 is!

By comparison, the house edge in roulette is 5.26%, so it’s on par with one of the most popular table games in Las Vegas casinos.

Let us know how it goes!

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Ten Movies Featuring Craps, In Honor of National Dice Day

December 4 is National Dice Day, and as a Las Vegas blog we would be embarrassingly remiss if we didn’t acknowledge this most auspicious of quasi-holidays. Happy National Dice Day!

Red dice

The spots on dice are called “pips.”

What, you thought that was the whole thing? Of course not. Here are 10 movies where dice were involved, specifically in the form of craps, one of the most boisterous, exciting games in any Las Vegas casino.

1. Indecent Proposal

Woody Harrelson never had a prayer.

2. Diamonds Are Forever

James Bond always had a fondness for the ladies and dice. But mostly that first thing.

3. Guys and Dolls

Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra star in this 1955 film, and inexplicably, it’s Brando that sings “Luck Be a Lady” during a craps session.

4. Harlem Nights

The f-bomb gets dropped a lot in this little gem. We forgive it because, you know, craps.

5. The Cooler

One of our favorite craps movies. We once played craps with the writer of “The Cooler” at Primm Valley Resort & Casino. Random factor: Infinite.

6. Hard Eight

More f-bombs. Don’t worry, you never hear them at a real craps table, ever. Ahem.

7. Walking Tall

Let’s just say Buford Pusser isn’t one to suffer dice cheats lightly.

8. Ocean’s 13

“Oceans 13” could totally happen. Especially the dice part. Because casino pit bosses never notice magnets or dice that have been tampered with and stuff.

9. The Big Town

A classic for lovers of craps, starring Matt Dillion as a kid from a small town who discovers he’s got a talent for shooting craps. What could possibly go wrong?

10. Casino

It’s the crème de la crème of casino movies, and not just because it’s named “Casino.” “Casino” has maybe the most famous of movie craps scenes, as Sharon Stone’s character stirs up some drama just to make Robert De Niro’s character fall in love with her. Or something.

Here’s a bonus National Dice Day trivia item: The man playing the high roller in that scene with Sharon Stone is Ali Pirouzkar (pictured below). He’s quite a character, and can often be seen roaming Caesars Palace and The Forum Shops. You can’t miss him, and he loves being asked for his autograph.

Ali Pirouzkar

Ali Pirouzkar is as Vegas as dice, baby.

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Why Craps Players Love Downtown’s Fremont Casino

Craps is one of the most exciting games in any Las Vegas casino, and craps devotees have a special place in their heart for the Fremont Hotel & Casino, downtown.

That’s because the Fremont Casino has the only live craps games in Las Vegas that keep a running count of your dice rolls on a digital display. (We say live craps games for a reason.)

A woman named Patricia Demauro once rolled 154 times at the Borgata casino in Atlantic City. She rolled a record-setting four hours and 18 minutes.

A woman named Patricia Demauro once rolled 154 times at the Borgata casino in Atlantic City. She rolled a record-setting four hours and 18 minutes.

Read more about the longest craps roll in history.

This counter makes it easy to know how your roll is going, although a growing or diminishing number of chips is also a good way to keep track. Ahem.

The Fremont gives back some love to its craps players, too. The casino has a Sharpshooter Club for players who reach 25 rolls or more.

Craps is great because you don't have to be a great shooter yourself. You just have to be there with someone else who is.

Craps is great because you don’t have to be a great shooter yourself. You just have to be at the table with someone who is.

Players who qualify for the Sharpshooter Club at Fremont Casino get their photo framed and placed on the wall of the casino and win prizes like loyalty club points, merchandise and other goodies.

We love the craps roll counters at Fremont Casino, and while we haven’t made it into the Sharpshooter Club yet, we hope to change that soon.

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