Dear Mark: 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 (4-5-6-8-9-10) in any order before 7 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 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. 


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 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 that you won something on that $5 wager: $1,250.


As for to your inquiry about the worthiness of this wager, John, consider this. There is a reason why, as 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%.


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


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



This feature has been updated with the proper byline. Mark Pilarski’s column is syndicated and the editor neglected to attribute it properly before publishing. L.J.