Craps Right and Wrong Bettors

Published on: March 10, 2011 

The terms “right bettors” and “wrong bettors” have become an integrated part of craps literature. At some point of time these terms were introduced and later writers have continued to use them. Understanding of these terms is not a prerequisite for playing craps. The rules and strategy can be explained without reference to “right bettors” and “wrong bettors”. But since these terms are used it makes sense to understand them.

Upfront it is important to understand what is not meant by right and wrong bettors because they do not have the common sense meaning. Right and wrong do not refer to strategy, in that the right bettors adopt optimal strategy and wrong bettors make the wrong moves. This classification is also not on an ethical basis. It is not that right bettors play according to the rules and wrong bettors are cheaters.

The definition of right and wrong bettors has a technical basis. In land casino craps games one of the players is the shooter, who rolls the dice. He is said to win or lose depending on the outcome of the rolls even if he has not placed any wager. If he throws 7 or 11 in the come out roll he wins and if he throws 2, 3 or 12 in the come out roll he loses. Later, if the shooter throws the point before 7 then he wins and if he throws 7 before the point then he loses. Bets that win when the shooter wins are called right bets and the bettors who back these bets are called right bettors. Bets that win when the shooter loses are called wrong bets and the bettors who back these bets are called wrong bettors.

The use of the terms right and wrong bettors perhaps has something to do with the history of craps. In the early history of the game players could only bet on the shooter winning. The bets won when the shooter won and the bets lost when the shooter lost. There was only one type of bettor. Some unscrupulous operators began to exploit this by using dice that were loaded in a manner to increase the chances of the shooter losing, thereby increasing their own profits using unethical means. A very simple mechanism was devised to counter this cheating. There was no need to inspect the dice to ascertain if it was fair. That option would be impractical if not impossible. Craps players were allowed to bet against the shooter. They could bet that the shooter would lose and if the shooter then lost their bets would win. These bets came to be referred to as wrong bets and the regular bets as right bets.

In the beginning craps players bet against the shooter only when they thought that the dice were loaded. Therefore this could be a reason for them to be called wrong bettors. They were betting on the assumption that something wrong was being done. Allowing players to bet against the shooter eliminated the use of loaded dice. With fair dice the shooter is equally likely to win or lose. However most craps players continue to wager on the shooter winning. At land casinos players exhort the shooter to roll 7 or 11 in the come out roll or to roll a point subsequently. Players betting against the shooter are generally in the minority and that is another reason given for them being called wrong bettors.

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