By Steve Beauregard
When the table is good, craps is an exciting, seat-of-your-pants thrill ride. Somehow, they’ve figured out a way to make the game even more exciting with a longshot side bet called the “Fire Bet.”
A fairly recent addition to the green felts in Las Vegas and beyond, the Fire Bet is a small side bet you place in hopes of the shooter making four or more unique points. If he or she does, the payoffs can be huge, as a shooter who makes 6 unique points before crapping out results is a Fire Bet payout of 1,000 for one. I want to emphasize the “unique points” section of the previous sentence.
Here’s how it works:
Prior to a new shooter, you toss the dealer a Fire Bet amount. The minimum is almost always $1 dollar, while the maximum is typically either $5 or $10.
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Winning or losing on the come out roll has no effect on the Fire Bet. In other words, say there’s a new shooter, and you make a $5 Fire Bet. If the shooter rolls say, a 3, and you crap out, you will lose your pass line bet of course, but the Fire Bet will remain. It will stay there until the shooter establishes a point and then either craps out, or rolls four or more unique points.
Once the shooter has established a point, the Fire Bet is in play. If she or she makes four or more unique points, you will be paid on the Fire Bet. Keep in mind, they have to be unique points.
A shooter who establishes a point of say, 8, then shoots a 9, makes his 9, shoots a 10 on the Come Out and then hits his 10, has made 3 points. If he then rolls and shoots an 8, and makes his 8, the Fire Bet is still in play, but does not pay out as he has only made 3 unique points.
In order to make the minimum Fire Bet payoff, he would have to establish a unique point (in this example, either the 3, 4 or 5), then make the point.
(Here’s some guys hitting a 6 point Fire Bet at the new O’Sheas at the Linq in Las Vegas)
So basically, you, as a Fire Bet bettor, want the shooter to ideally make all six different points, the 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10. If done so, you’ll will probably already be making a fortune on the regular bets you made during this hot roll, however those gamblers who made the Fire Bet will be further enriched by the following payouts:
Fire Bet Payout
4 Unique Points pays 25 for 1.
5 Unique Points pays 250 for 1.
All 6 Unique Points pays 1,000 for 1.
According to Mark Bollman, author of the book, “Basic Gambling Mathematics: The Numbers Behind the Neon, the odds of hitting any of the Fire Bets are pretty slim. Here are the percentages each Fire Bet will be hit:
A 4 Number Fire Bet will hit 0.88% of the time, or 1 in 113 times.
A 5 Number Fire Bet will occur 0.16% of the time, or once every 610 times
Lastly, a 6 Number Fire Bet will happen 0.0162% of the time, or once every 6,156 shooters.
So if you bet $1 every single shooter, (theoretically), you would win the 6 point Fire Bet once every $6,156 bet. The problem is that you would be paid $1,000 for winning.
Casinos offering the Fire Bet in Craps
Casinos are always mixing up their games, so it’s hard to keep tabs, especially since some casinos are removing the Fire Bet in exchange for another prop bet, the “All Tall/All Small” bet.
In fact the Fire Bet seems to be disappearing on the Strip.
This trend began in March of 2016, when Caesars Palace and most of the other casinos in the Caesars Entertainment chain began switching many tables from Fire Bet to All/Tall/Small. Other casinos, such as the Venetian, have a repeater side bet, rather than a Fire Bet.
As recently as November 2017, the Cromwell still offered the fire bet option, however it is no longer there.
And as recently as the summer of 2018, the Margaritaville (attached to the Flamingo), had the only firebet craps table on the Strip. However the Margaritaville Casino has since “closed” in essence, having gone back to becoming part of the Flamingo.
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The Fire Bet is not offered at MGM Resorts casinos.
Recently it was offered at the following Las Vegas casinos, (on and off the Strip): The Westgate, The Downtown Grand, and the Plaza Hotel and Casino downtown, along with the Gold Coast, Cannery, Eastside Cannery, the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, and the Rampart Casino JW Marriott, however I’m unsure if any or all still offer it.
What I can say is that, per their website, the various Stations casinos still have the firebet. These include: Aliante Station, Boulder Station, Fiesta Henderson, Fiesta Rancho, Green Valley Ranch Resort, Palace Station, Red Rock Resort, Santa Fe Station, Sunset Station and Texas Station.
Outside of Las Vegas, you can find the Fire Bet at the famous Mohegan Sun and various Indian tribal casinos in the East. Many casinos in New Jersey and Pennsylvania offer the Fire Bet, and my understanding is that they all have a $5 maximum bet. Horseshoe Cleveland (a Caesars Entertainment property) is among the many Caesars properties spreading the bet.
Other Casinos Outside of Vegas with the Fire Bet
The fire bet is offered at the various Rivers Casinos (Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Des Plaines, Illinois), with the standard payouts 25-1 for four points, 250-1 for 5 points, and 1,000 – 1 for hitting six individual points.
According to the “You Can Bet on That” podcast duo of Mark and Dr. Mike, (an excellent podcast by the way), casinos like Harrah’s Kansas City have the Fire Bet, albeit in a slightly different version. There, the 4 point Fire Bet pays 40 to 1, rather than the standard 25 for 1. The house edge, however, is made up by paying a person who wins a 6 point Fire Bet only 500 for 1, rather than the more standard 1,000 for one.
Others, like Caesars Southern Indiana reportedly differ from other casinos by offering a maximum Fire Bet of $25.
Some other tidbits about the Fire Bet:
A Fire Bet cannot be taken down after a shooter has established the first point.
On a table with a standard Fire Bet payout, (1000 for 1 when making 6 unique points) the house edge is 21.27%.
(Photo courtesy of the Stations Casino Press Release blog).