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I will try to keep this as short as possible. Where I play, the Crap table offers what is called a Fire bet. If you make all the point numbers — 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10 — in any order before seven rolls, you are paid 1,000 to 1. I made the 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10, and then low and behold, the 9 rolled, which should have paid me $5,000 since I had $5 on a Fire Bet. However, the pit boss yelled out “no roll” and the shooter proceeded to roll a 7 three rolls later. My question is, was I screwed by the pit boss out of $5,000? While you are at it, should I be making the bet in the first place? I have been playing the Fire Bet for a few years now, and this was the closest I have ever come to hitting all six numbers. John K.

Here's the answer

I will begin, John, with the game, followed by the math and then that “no roll” call.

Some casinos offer what’s called a "Fire Bet" that pays if the shooter makes “at least” 4 different points — 4, 5, 6, 8, 9,10 — before the seven rolls.

The bet is typically offered at $1 to $5, and the bettor is betting that a hot shooter will make multiple valued points. For the points to count towards the Fire Bet, they must all be different. For example, if a player were to make a point of 4 twice, only one of those rolls would only be credited for a point on the Fire bet, not two.

For the first three points hit, there are no payoffs. However, increasing odds are paid for the fourth, fifth and sixth points. 25 to 1 odds are paid for the fourth point, which would be $125 for a $5 bet. The fifth point pays at 250 to 1 odds, which is $1250 for a $5 bet and the sixth point pays 1,000 to 1 odds or $5,000 in your case. It is important to note here you won something on that $5 wager — $1,250.

As for to your inquiry about the worthiness of this wager, consider this. There is a reason why you stated, “This is the closest I’ve come to hitting all six numbers.” The Fire Bet is the worst bet you can make on a crap game. It has a huge house edge of 24.7 percent.

Concerning your question about being screwed, I doubt you were unless, of course, your legitimate win of $1250 for hitting five numbers was not honored.

When the boxman supervising a crap game invalidates a roll, he or she will call “no roll” or “no dice.” Usually, this happens when one or both of the dice fail to cover much distance, they bounce off the game, a player tries to slide them or the dice do not land flat. More than likely one of those possibilities happened on that fateful roll.

I can tell you first hand in a fast paced game like craps, a boxman needs to make split-second decisions that won’t always be favorable to you.

True, I wasn’t there boxing the game, so I can only presume the boxman either thought it wasn’t a legal toss, or one of the dice after landing was tilted at such an angle he or she couldn’t clearly distinguish it as that 9 you were eager for.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week

“His hands become nervous when he picks up their cards, exactly as if he were holding live birds instead of inanimate pieces of cardboard.” - Maxim Gorky (1868-1936) describing Leo Tolstoy at cards.

Mark Pilarski is a syndicated gaming writer. Follow him on Twitter @MarkPilarski or visit www.markpilarski.com. 

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