Let's talk a bit about the Buy bet.
All aspects of the Buy bet are the same as the Place bet except: 1) A Buy bet pays off at true odds, 2) You have to pay a tax, or a vigorish, to get the true odds, and 3) A Buy bet is positioned on the layout differently.
Everything else about the Buy bet is the same as the Place bet.
The casino is in business to make money, so they're not going to give you true odds for nothing (except, of course, the free true Odds bet that you can add to your Pass Line bet--they're "free" because you don't have to pay a vigorish).
So, how does the casino make money if they pay off a Buy bet at true odds (i.e., true odds means there's no built-in house advantage)? Ready to get screwed again? They tax you! You believe that? A tax! You have to pay for the privilege of getting true odds. This tax is called a "vigorish" or "vig."
John Winn is the father of modern craps. His version of the game allowed gambling halls to offer more player-friendly bets in return for a 5% charge. The worst the gambling halls could do was break even on true odds bets, but they still made money because of the added 5% tax. The added charge brought in so much money that they soon referred to it as giving vigor to their profits; hence, the term "vigorish." The vig today remains at 5%.
Buy bets on the 4 and 10 are always better than Placing the 4 and 10. Buy bets on the 5 and 9 may be better than Placing the 5 and 9, depending on when you pay the vig. However, Place bets on the 6 and 8 are always better than Buying the 6 and 8.
What makes the Buy bet on the 4 and 10 better than a Place bet on the 4 and 10? Suppose you make a $10 Place bet on the 4 where the Place odds are 9:5, which means you win $18 for your $10 bet ($10 divided by 5 = $2, multiplied by 9 = $18). Now, instead of a Place bet, suppose you make a $10 Buy bet and pay a $1 vig for the privilege of getting true odds, which are 2:1. For a $10 Buy bet on the 4, you win $20 but have to pay the $1 vig, which results in a net payoff of $19. Comparing results of the two bets, the winning Place bet nets you $18; whereas, the winning Buy bet nets you $19.
You can make or remove Place bets at any time during a game. You can also make them while the puck is OFF (before a new come-out roll), but typically, dealers prefer that you wait until a point is established and then
make your Place bets. Occasionally, you see a player try to make a Place bet while the puck is OFF by asking, "Can you Place the six for me now, please, so I don't forget after the come-out?" The dealer usually obliges (as he should; after all, you're the customer), but sometimes a dealer in a bad mood will ask the player to wait until a point is established.
Dealers who ask you to wait to make a Place bet until after a point is established do so because they're lazy. Suppose you Place the 6 before the come-out and the dealer moves your chip into the 6 point box. The shooter then rolls a 6 for the point. The dealer moves the ON puck into the 6 point box, and then has to ask, "Sir, what do you want to do with your six?" Since your Pass Line bet covers the 6 (because 6 is now the point), you likely don't want it covered again by your Place bet.
The dealer then has to move your Place 6 to whatever other number you want, or return it to you if you decide to take it down. You think, "Gee, wow, that sure is a lot of extra work for the dealer." You're right, it's no effort at all, but it's amazing how many dealers--even good ones--don't like moving your Place bets around because you couldn't wait until after the point was established to make them.
You can make as many Place bets as you want, up to a maximum of six (i.e., the 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10), including the point. Yes, you can Place the point. For example, suppose you walk up to a table and see an ON puck in the 6 point box (i.e., a game is in progress and the shooter's point is 6).
Suppose you love the number 6 and you want immediate action, but you don't want to make a Put bet so you decide to Place the shooter's point. To do this, place your chips centered directly on the bottom line of the Pass Line (i.e., the line that separates the Pass Line from the apron). As long as you center your chips on that line, the dealer knows it's a Place bet on the shooter's point instead of Put bet in the Pass Line. If you don't want to make your Place bet this way, simply drop your chips in the Come box and tell the dealer, "Place the point, please." The dealer then moves your chips to the point box.
The dealer positions all Place bets (except when you Place the shooter's point yourself), so you have to put your chips on the table and tell the dealer what you want. Then, the dealer puts them in the proper position in the point box for the number you want to Place.
To an untrained eye, players' chips appear to be scattered all over the point boxes. To the contrary, it's well organized. Each player position has a corresponding chip position for each point box. The same is true for Lay bets, Come bets, and Don't Come bets. For all bets in and around the point boxes, players' chip locations correspond to their positions at the table.
To make a Buy bet, drop your chips in the Come box and tell the dealer the number you want to buy. The dealer then moves your chips to the point box in a position that corresponds to your table position (in a manner similar to Place bets) and puts a BUY button on top. The button tells the boxman and camera that you're Buying the number instead of Placing it.
To help the inexperienced player, some dealers automatically Buy the bet instead of Placing it when it's to the player's advantage. For example, suppose the guy next to you makes a $25 Place bet on the 10. Being the observant player that you are, you notice the dealer move the $25 chip into the 10 point box and put a BUY button on it. The guy next to you doesn't have a clue that the dealer potentially made him an extra $4 if the bet wins (i.e., a winning $25 Buy bet nets $49; whereas, a winning $25 Place bet nets only $45).
The Buy bet is best made on the 4 or 10. However, it can also be advantageous for the 5 and 9 if the casino allows paying the vig after a win instead of up front. For example, suppose you make a $50 Place bet on the 5 where the Place odds are 7:5, which means you win $70 for your $50 bet ($50 divided by 5 = $10, multiplied by 7 = $70). Now, instead of a Place bet, suppose you make a $50 Buy bet and pay a $2 vig for the privilege of getting true odds, which are 3:2.
For a $50 Buy bet on the 5, you win $75 ($50 divided by 2 = $25, multiplied by 3 = $75), but you have to pay the $2 vig, which results in a net payoff of $73. Comparing results of the two bets, the winning $50 Place bet nets you $70; whereas, the winning $50 Buy bet nets you $73. If the casino requires an up-front vig, Placing the 5 or 9 is better than Buying them because the house advantage is lower (i.e., 4.00% for Placing the 5 or 9 versus 4.76% for Buying them with an up-front vig).
The Buy bet isn't smart for the 6 and 8. You should always Place the 6 and 8 instead of Buying them. Let's do the math. As we know, Place bets on the 6 or 8 must be in multiples of $6 to get the full Place odds of 7:6; and Buy bets on the 6 or 8 must be in multiples of $5 to get the full true odds.
Therefore, suppose you make a $96 Place bet on the 6 and win, which means you win $112 ($96 divided by 6 = $16, multiplied by 7 = $112). Now, instead of a Place bet, suppose you make a $95 Buy bet and, when you win, pay a $5 vig for the privilege of getting true odds.
For a $95 Buy bet on the 6, you win $114 ($95 divided by 5 = $19, multiplied by 6 = $114), but you have to pay the $5 vig, which results in a net payoff of $109. Comparing results of the two bets, the winning $96 Place bet nets you $112; whereas, the winning $95 Buy bet nets you $109. So, for the 6 and 8, a Place bet is better than a Buy bet. The house advantage for Place bets on the 6 and 8 is lower than Buy bets on the 6 and 8, regardless of whether you pay the vig up front or after a win.
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Let's talk a bit about the Buy bet.