Craps is a fairly odd casino game. It’s one of the games most associated with casinos in movies and TV shows, and tends to be portrayed as particularly glitzy and glamorous. It is also, however, probably the single most complicated game on the floor. Craps draws the crowds precisely because of its pop culture associations, but even hardcore gamblers may struggle to understand the various bets and rules that go with any roll of the dice. For people who aren’t serious casino goers, though, they are sure to look on with pure befuddlement
If trying to understand even basic bets – the kinds that are clearly marked on the craps table – and what it takes to win with them is daunting at even the best of times, imagine how much more difficult it is to come to terms with bets that are so specific and so rare that they don’t actually appear on the table as a bet. There’s certainly nothing like this in baccarat or blackjack, let alone in roulette, slots or big six wheel.
Welcome to the world of hop bets.
What They Are
A hop bet is a special kind of verbal bet that is available at most casinos that is, however, not actually shown on the betting table. You need to ask the dealer specifically if you wish to place a hop bet. A hop bet, to put it simply, is betting that the next single roll of the dice will result in a certain combination of numbers – and nothing else. They are high risk bets with high payouts.
This is normally expressed as X-Y bets, whereby the X refers to one die, the Y to another. So, if you want to bet that the next combination is a 1 and a 4, for example, this would be expressed as 1-4. If, on the other hand, you want a “hardway” bet – which is to say two numbers of the same value – you would express it as, say, 4-4.
These two bets (1-4 and 4-4) may seem to just be variations of the same thing, but they actually represent two kinds of bets with two kinds of payouts.
1-4 is considered a bet with the possibility of paying out in two ways. In other words, you win whether the dice show 1-4 or 4-1. The payout for this bet is 15:1.
4-4, on the other hand, would be considered a bet with only one way to pay out, as both dice need to be showing a 4 in order for the player to win. This is much less likely to occur than a 1-4 or any other dice with two separate values and, as such, it has a much bigger payout of 30:1. Literally, double the payout!
Note, though, that hop bets usually have to be done verbally and always only applies to the very next single roll. Also, while 15:1 and 30:1 are the usual payout rates, you will need to check with the dealer (or boxman, as they’re actually called) that these are the payout rates of that casino.
When to Use Them
Hop bets are, by their very nature, a very high risk bet. Whether playing to have two specific, unmatching numbers turn up in the very next roll or, even less likely, to have the same specific number show up on both dice in the next roll, the odds are definitely not in your favor.
As such, there are only really two times that you would go for such a risky bet. First, if you’re just feeling really lucky or you have an intuitive feeling that you “know” which numbers will come next or simply you just want to “go big or go home”, you may well want to try your luck with a hop bet.
The other time would be if you’re a really, really good dice player. It’s not really possible to totally control a pair of dice, but it is possible to get good enough at rolling a dice that you can land on the exact numbers you want, say, one out of ten times or even, if you’re exceptionally good, one out of five times. If you’re that good a dicer and you’re allowed to dice yourself, it’s really not a half bad bet to make. If you can turn 1 in 15 odds (though it’s probably quite a bit less) to 1 in 10 or even 1 in 5, it’s definitely worth playing a hop bet or five at the craps table.