Gambling City

We are Cash Back

Yo Levine the Dancing Queen

Author: Mark Pilarski

Dear Mark: When at the craps table, I occasionally place a bet for the dealers. Usually, it is either a two-way “Yo,” or a Horn bet when I am making the same. What do you think about these two bets for the dealer, or should I be placing another bet that dealers appreciate more? C. D.

First, let me say that all dealers welcome any bet made on their behalf, but they most assuredly prefer bets a player makes for them to have a low house edge. Some examples would be the Pass, Come, Don't Pass, Don't Come and Placing the 6 or 8 wagers. Wagers made on a "Yo" ("Yo" means 11) or a Horn bet means that most of your tip ends up going to the casino, and not to the dealers.

Let’s take a look at both of your “tip” wagers.

The “Yo 11” is one of the most popular bets at a crap table. Its name tells you, an "eleven" must be rolled in order to make this wager a winner. The bet is only good for a single roll. If it is a winner, you and the dealers will receive 15-1 odds and the original bet(s) will remain on the table.

The way to make this bet is to toss two low-value chips on the table, and say, "two-way Yo,” and the dealer will then place two Yo bets, one for you and one for the crew. Although the odds on this bet are 15-1, the true odds are 17-1. This gives the house an 11.11% edge on this wager.

The “horn,” otherwise known as the “craps-eleven” bet, is a single roll wager that the next roll of the dice will be a 2, 3, 11, or 12. If the total is anything else, such as a 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10, you lose. If the total is 3 or 11 you are paid 15:1 and if it is 2 or 12 the payoff is 30:1.

A Horn bet is made in even dollar amounts that are divisible by four, with equal sums placed on all four of the outcomes. Horn bets are treated as if four possible winners had been bet individually. Payoffs on the Horn can vary between casinos, but the house edge on them is more than 12%.

Now, do I recommend either of these two wagers? Absolutely not. A craps table offers only two kinds of single roll bets — bad and ugly. Although your two proposition bets seem to have lofty payoffs, the house edge is way too high for you, and the dealers, to waste your hard-earned cash on.

True, for the dealers any bet is better than no bet at all. But sadly, both of your chosen bets are a far cry from some of the better bets on the table, like a 1.36% Pass line bet. Placing the crew on the line with your bet and adding some booties (odds) behind a Pass line bet will get you the recognition and benefits of a member of the ruling class of the crap table.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “Here is the terrible truth. I get more pure happiness winning twenty grand at the casino crap table than when I receive a check for many times that amount as the result of honest hard work on my book.” – Mario Puzo