Come Any Time

The foundation of Craps is the Come game. All other games are supplements, or complements, or sideshows. Pass is simply Come with extra fries.

When Craps was born in early 19th century New Orleans as a simplified derivative of the European game of Hazard, the only game in Craps was Pass. Because the rules of Pass lead to occasionally lengthy games, it wasn’t long before impatient players began to invent additional games. After they invented Don’t Pass and some silly sideshows including the familiar Propositions, players realized that each roll of the dice can begin another game similar to Pass and with exactly the same rules. All of these similar games with the same rules can be played at the same time, in parallel, using the same dice. Because there are six possible Points, as many as six similar yet separate games can await resolution of their respective Points as a final seventh game begins with its Come-out roll.

In decades past, the Pass game was known as the Center Bet, around which all of the other games of Craps revolved. Today, one game of Pass must always be in play. When the single Pass game concludes, a new Pass game must commence with the very next dice roll. Most importantly, the Pass game controls table protocol such as selection of the Shooter and the calls of the stickman. Additionally, many non-Come games may be automatically suspended (“OFF”) until the new Pass game has a Point. Other than its protocol and special name, however, the Pass game is no different from any other Come game. They are mathematically identical.

A useful image is trucks on a freeway with six parallel lanes. There must always be a single black truck on the freeway. When the black truck makes its exit, a new black truck must immediately enter. The black (“OFF”) side of the puck indicates the imminent entry of a new black truck. The white (“ON”) side of the puck indicates that the next truck will be white. Several white trucks may already be on the freeway. Other than color, the trucks are identical. Each truck enters the freeway at a different time and each truck stays in its own separate lane. Each truck can carry its own load, an Odds game, which logically is separate from the truck itself. The trucks themselves have nothing to do with each other.

Come is an excellent game with only a small advantage for the casino. From the player perspective, each new bet on Come is a hedge for one roll against loss of other bets to a Seven. Moreover, each Come bet with a Point can serve as a vehicle for a bet on an Odds game, which has no advantage for either the casino or the player. Other than some constraints imposed by prudent management of your bankroll, there need be no limit to the number of Come bets in your play. From the standpoint of probability, it is perfectly reasonable to Come any time.

However, there are several prudential reasons why you should limit the number and size of the Come bets that you make, and there are several irrational reasons why you should carefully control their frequency and timing as well. No Come bet should be automatic. In particular, your bet on Pass should not be automatic for each new shooter. I am not alone in the literature in recommending your judicious reconsideration of Pass bets on new shooters. The beauty of Craps is its flexibility, including your right to take up space at the table for a while and simply observe.


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