Craps Strategy

So you’ve pushed your way through the crowd and made your way to the Craps table. You reach for the chips to make your first ever bet and stop cold. The confusing layout in front of you presents too many options to make a quick decision. Other players are barking commands that sound like a long extinct language and you can’t seem to get a feel for how the game is played. All of the sudden, three rounds have gone by and you’re still standing there deciding on your first bet.

Understanding Pass Line and Point

However, your knight in shining armor is staring you right in the face. The “Pass Line” bet is the most common (and safest) bet on the craps table. With a house edge of a mere 1.41% and a simple to understand win. The dice are rolled (called the come out roll). In essence, a roll of a 2,3 or 12 means that you lose. A roll of 7 or 11 wins even money. If any other number is rolled, the “point” commences. The dealer asks the shooter to re-roll. If you roll a seven, you lose. If you roll the same number that became the point, you win even money.

All players are allowed to make a pass line bet after the come out roll. However, never make this bet. The bet is significantly diminished after the first roll of the round. you should always make a pass line bet on every round, but only before the first roll of the round. While this is still a little bit confusing, gaining an understanding of pass line bets can allow you to play craps every round. In essence, it is the only thing that you really need to know about craps to make money.

The Odds

How about a bet with almost no house edge? Only in craps will you find such a bet. Betting the odds is a fairly simple bet that you can make. A 1X odds bet carries a house edge of only 0.85%. A 100X bet has a remarkably low house edge of only 0.02%. The odds bet occurs after a point (see previous section) has been thrown. You must have a bet on the pass line to make an odds bet.

Think of the odds as an added wager that the point number will be rolled before the 7 is rolled (a loss). The table below shows the payout ratios.

Point Payout
6 6 to 5
8 6 to 5
5 3 to 2
9 3 to 2
4 2 to 1
10 2 to 1

The best way to make money in craps is to make odds bets after a point comes from a pass line bet. It is no wonder that the pass line and odds combination is the favorite bet of craps players from around the world. Always make a pass line bet and an odds bet on points.

Do Not Pass Go!

Making a bet on the Don’t Pass line is the complete opposite of placing a bet on the Pass Line. It is basically the equivalent of winning while everyone else is losing. You may want to keep a low profile when betting on the Don’t Pass line as you may end up losing some friends. Still, by counting ties (or pushes), the house edge is reduced to 1.36% when you bet on the Don’t Pass line.

If a 2 or 3 is rolled, you win. If a 7 or 11 is rolled, you lose. If a 12 is rolled, it is considered a push (with exception to Reno and Lake Tahoe games). Most statisticians agree that the respective odds of wins, ties and losses are:

Win 0.479%
Push 0.027%
Lose 0.492%
Total -0.013% return

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