What A “Both Ways” Wager Means In Craps

 What A “Both Ways” Wager Means In Craps

Craps has language and terminology all its own, like “Yo,” or “yo-leven” for 11 and “hard way” for rolling a total with both dice showing the same number – 4-4 is 8 the hard way.

One reader wrote recently about a term he’d never heard before.

“One of the players had been winning pretty good, and he put out $10 and said, “$10 hard 6, both ways,” he wrote. “The shooter rolled an easy 6, a 1-5, and the bet lost, so I never got to see what the ‘both ways’ was.”

Translation: The player was making a bet for the dealer. The “both ways” meant the $10 was to be broken down into a $5 bet for the player and a $5 bet for the dealer. That way, the dealer and player are temporarily a team, winning together or losing together.

That said, the high house edge bets are not my favorite way to tip craps dealers. When you bet on hard 6, you win only with 3-3, but lose on the four other ways to make 6 and on the six ways to make 7. An average of 10 times out of 11, you’re going to lose the bet for the dealer you’re trying to tip. True odds against winning are 10-1, and the 9-1 payoff leaves a house edge of 9.09 percent.

Another common wager used to tip the dealer is the one-roll bet on 11, or “yo.” Again, this bet will lose a lot more often than it wins. There are 36 possible two-dice combinations, and only two total 11, so the odds against winning are 17-1. The payoff is 15-1, leaving a house edge of 11.11 percent.

I like the dealers to actually get some money more often than that. For a long time, my favored tipping method has been to make an extra pass line bet for the dealers. They’ll win the bet just under 49.3 percent of the time on a bet with a 1.41 percent house edge. Some players don’t like to go that route because it leaves open the question of whether to back the dealer’s bet with free odds. I don’t do that – I bet my targeted tip amount at pass and leave it at that.

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