Craps Basics: What’s a Horn Bet?

Even if you’ve played craps, you still might be fuzzy about “horn” bets. We can help.

Horn bets are commonly referred to as “not especially smart bets,” also known as “sucker bets,” mainly because the house edge is high-ish compared to other bets on the craps table. Who cares, though, right? Horn bets are a blast and keep the game interesting.

The horn bet is found in the middle of the craps table where the proposition, or just “prop,” bets are. A horn bet is a bet split between the numbers 2, 3, 11 or 12. A $4 horn bet is a bet of $1 on each number.

If one of your numbers hits, the 2 and 12 pay 30-to-one and the 3 and 11 pay 15-to-1. Horn bets are a one-time roll, by the way.

Proposition bets
The layout says 16-for-1 and 31-for-1 on horn bets, but they keep a buck to replace your bet. The house is sneaky like that.

That’s the basic horn bet. You can always toss out a $5 chip, and rather than getting $1 back, you can ask the dealer (the stickman, specifically) to double up the bet on one of the numbers.

To double up on the 11, for example, the bet is “horn, high yo.” “Yo” is used rather than 11, because 11 sounds too much like “seven,” and craps players are superstitious like that. With a “horn, high yo,” $1 is put in 2, 3 and 12, and $2 goes on 11.

A “horn, high 12” bet puts the $2 on 12 and $1 on the other numbers. A “horn, high aces” bet means the $2 goes on the 2, with $1 on the other numbers. There’s probably a name for the bet where $2 goes on the 3, but we have no idea what it is. If we did, it would mean we have a gambling problem. (It’s “horn, high ace-deuce.”)

Now for the bad news: The “horn, high aces” and “horn, high 12” bets have a house edge of 12.78%, and the “horn, high ace-deuce” and “horn, high 11” bets have a 12.22 % house advantage. Translation: It’s only a sucker bet if it doesn’t pay!

So, now you know. And, yes, there will be a quiz. But quizzes about craps are the most fun kind of quizzes.