You must know the Field’s casino advantages before making this bet. The casino edge is different depending on whether the 2 and 12 pay double (the most common configuration), or one of them pays triple (you rarely see this), or both pay triple (you basically never see this).
Suppose you play at a casino that offers 2:1 (double) odds for both the 2 and 12, which is what you’ll find in most casinos. In this case, the Field is a sucker bet. Regardless of what other players at the table tell you, and regardless of what you read in online articles, and regardless of anything you hear or read from any other source, the Field bet with 2:1 odds for the 2 and 12 is a bad bet. Say it out loud so it sinks in, “The Field that pays double for the 2 and 12 is a lousy bet.” In this case, the Field has a big 5.5% casino advantage. But most people don’t realize it and, time after time, you see them plopping down their chips on the Field. What makes the Field so attractive to those brain-dead robots who keep playing it?
The Field is easy to see on the layout, the letters and numbers are big and pretty, it’s easy to drop your money on it (you don’t have to reach far), and you can do it yourself without bothering the dealer. It just looks and feels like a nice bet. However, the beautiful thing about this bet (from the casino’s perspective) is that it gives the illusion that there are more ways for the player to win than lose.
The Field wins if a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12 shows, which means there are seven different numbers that can win. The Field loses if a 5, 6, 7, or 8 shows, which means there are only four different numbers that can lose. Certainly, seven winning numbers compared to only four losing numbers is a great deal for the player. Right? Wrong! That’s entirely the wrong way to view it. You must consider the number of ways to make each of those numbers, not the numbers themselves. Let’s do the math. (Note: To ensure you understand the term “ways to make it,” let’s look at the number 9 as an example. Using two dice, there are four ways to make a 9 in craps: 1) Die #1 is a 5 and Die #2 is a 4; 2) Die #1 is a 4 and Die #2 is a 5; 3) Die #1 is a 6 and Die #2 is a 3; and 4) Die #1 is a 3 and Die #2 is a 6. Another example, there’s only one way to make a 12, which is a 6 on Die #1 and a 6 on Die #2.)
For the winning numbers:
Number Ways to Make It Cumulative Ways to Win the Field bet
2 1 1
3 2 3
4 3 6
9 4 10
10 3 13
11 2 15
12 1 16
As you can see, there are 16 ways to win a Field bet.
For the losing numbers:
Number Ways to Make It Cumulative Ways to Lose the Field Bet
5 4 4
6 5 9
7 6 15
8 5 20
As you can see, there are 20 ways to lose a Field bet.
Therefore, with 36 possible combinations for a two-dice roll, the Field bet has 16 ways to win and 20 ways to lose (in terms of the player). Because all the numbers except 2 and 12 pay even money, you basically get even money for a bet that has more ways for you to lose than win. Even with the 2 and 12 paying double, the casino edge is still about 5.5%.
If you can find a table that pays double for the 2 and triple for the 12, then the casino edge is reduced to only about 2.8%. This rare configuration makes the Field bet more attractive to the player. Note that it doesn’t matter which number pays triple (i.e., the 2 or 12) because both only have one way to make them so the odds don’t change regardless of whether the casino offers triple for the 2 or for the 12.
If you’re really lucky to find a table that offers triple odds for both the 2 and 12, then the Field is a dream come true. When the Field pays triple for both the 2 and 12, the bet becomes a zero expectation bet, which means the casino has no advantage. That’s right, no casino advantage. But don’t get too excited. As we know, the casino isn’t in business to gamble; it’s in business to make money. So, you only find a Field that pays triple for both the 2 and 12 in special cases where the casino is trying to attract new customers, such as running a short-lived promotion. Most casinos never offer it for any reason. Remember, they’re in business to make money, not gamble. You’re the gambler, not the casino.
When you see a craps table with the Field offering double odds for the 2 and 12 (this is the most common configuration), avoid it because the casino advantage is a whopping 5.5%. No matter how much money the guy next to you is winning on the Field, don’t do it. No matter how many times the guy says, “Man, you need to get on that Field,” don’t do it. If you develop a habit of playing the Field where the 2 and 12 pay double, you’re going to lose big time over the long term. Don’t let yourself develop a habit of betting the Field. Just don’t do it. The idiot next to you may be winning at that particular instant in time, but he is guaranteed to lose over time if he regularly plays the Field.