When Puts Come to Shove

If you’ve ever stood at the table with me for any length of time you’ve probably heard me say “Get those late bets in early, guys.” That’s because late bets – bets made after the dice have already been sent to the shooter – disrupt the flow of the game and generally annoys both dealers and experienced players. But there is a kind of late bet that is acceptable. No, it’s not a bet made after the dice are out. It’s a bet that can be made after the point is established. It’s called a Put bet.

A Put bet can be made on the Pass Line on an existing point – or made on any box number that you might ordinarily place. It is essentially a flat bet with odds, and when you’re in a casino that offers higher odds limits a Put bet can go a long way toward bringing down the house edge.

Popular theory has long been that in any casino that offers 10X or higher odds, players who bet amounts that could capitalize on those odds – say $5 on any box number with $50 odds – should make that play as opposed to placing the number for an equivalent – or approximately equivalent amount.

According to the Wizard of Odds, the breakeven point on Put bets 5X odds on the six and eight, 4X odds on the five and nine, and 3X odds on the four and ten. Do those numbers sound familiar? Yep, it’s the old 3-4-5X odds game you see all over Vegas. So in those casinos you can forget about Put bets. There’s simply no advantage to going there. However, if you are taking larger odds in casinos that offer 10X, 20X, or 100X odds – it is to your advantage to do so.

Okay, here’s a sad but true fact. Some dealers don’t have a clue what a Put bet is, and some casinos that offer 100X odds have gotten wise to what savvy players are up to and won’t book Put bets. When in doubt – ask. But only if you’re going to add 10X odds or more to your bet.
You’ll also see rules vary from casino to casino in properties with the same corporate ownership. For example, many years ago the Harrah’s folks had a property in Vicksburg, Mississippi that offered a $3 game with unlimited odds up to $500 per number. A lot of well heeled farmers and river barge operators routinely set up shop at that table and Put every number with max odds on every shooter, just waiting for someone to catch a roll. That’s $3,018 at risk on every toss of the dice. A tad too rich for my blood. At the same time, their property in Shreveport/Bossier offered a $5 game with 100X odds, and they wouldn’t book a Put bet. When I asked why – they cited the 100X odds as the reason. In their words – the game is already too good.

I like Put bets when they fit my bankroll and betting strategy because, like Place bets, I get to choose my own number. Also like Place bets, I get paid the first time the number hits. For Come bettors to win the number has to hit twice. When Puts Come to Shove – it’s not a bad way to play.