What is ‘Buffalo’?
In craps, the expression buffalo means staking a bet on both the hard way and any seven outcomes.
Craps is a game of many, many colloquialisms and lots of game-specific jargon. Each numerical outcome from rolling the dice has a phrase (or three) associated with it, while even the act of announcing what you will bet on is called something else.
In this case, the term buffalo, when announced, means that a player has bet on the hard way and any seven occurrences. These are best explained separately and with examples.
Firstly, the hard way is a bet that means a “hard (number)” is expected to arise – or at least, that’s what the bettors hope for if they have staked a wager on this happening. To roll a hard outcome, the two dice must show the same number. So, for example, a hard eight would be comprised of two fours, while a hard twelve would have meant that the dice landed on two sixes. For a win, these must be rolled before a seven is.
Quite conversely, any seven refers to the shooter rolling a seven with a 4/1 payout. This bet is also referred to as big red, since it has been deemed unlucky to speak the word “seven” at the craps table, and because the betting space of seven is typically big and red – hence, big red for seven.
So, buffalo is a bet comprised of these two elements – that is, the player has bet on both a hard way outcome and the shooter rolling any seven.
In a similar way, the term buffalo yo is another way of referring to a bet made on any hard number outcome coupled with a bet on eleven being rolled. The ‘yo’ has links with the number eleven’s representation in craps, which is yo leven.