Craps Strategy Guide

Stepping up to the craps table for the first time can make your head spin. I remember the first time I saw it, and my first thought was, “Nope, not my game. No way can I figure out which of those betting squares are for me.” Luckily I persevered, and as fate would have it, it turns out, I was wrong. I love craps!
The truth is, craps, when played correctly, is a beautifully simple game that generates outrageous excitement even for beginners. It’s just a matter of a little practice and familiarizing yourself with the rules and lingo. After that, the best online craps strategies can bring the house edge down to less than one percent, for remarkably good odds at a casino win. So If you’re ready to roll the virtual dice, there’s no better time than the present to play craps at any of our recommended casinos listed below:

Best craps bets

Succeeding at craps is a matter of luck. But even in matters of luck, there’s always an element of skill. That’s why it’s important to make the right choices when placing your craps bet.

Odds bets: The best bet on the table is the Odds bet, which you make by placing money behind your Pass Line wager. Essentially, with the Odds bet, you’re playing for a re-roll of the point. The good news here is that these wagers are exactly fair — the house edge is a tidy zero percent! Keep in mind, however, there are often restrictions on how much you can wager on Odds bets that usually look like this:

  • Point is 4 or 10 — Max Odds bet is three times the Pass Line bet
  • Point is 5 or 9 — Max Odds bet is four times the Pass Line bet
  • Point is 6 or 8 — Max Odds bet is five times the Pass Line bet

If you’re looking for a way to play aggressively, betting up to the max on the Odds bet after the come out roll is the way to go.

Place bets: You can put wagers on rolls of 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10 — these are known as Place numbers. Wagering on these outcomes is similar to placing an Odds bet, except you don’t have to wager on the pass line. That, however, means Place bets carry slightly lower odds. The house edge for these wagers is as follows:

  • Place 6 and 8 — 0.46 percent
  • Place 5 and 9 — 1.11 percent
  • Place 4 and 10 — 1.67 percent

Don’t Pass bets: Almost to a fault, everybody decides to bet the Pass Line when they gamble in brick and mortar casinos, both because it’s a smart bet, and because the odds are quite friendly. Here’s a little secret for you though — if you aren’t afraid to go against the grain and upset some table mates, the Don’t Pass bet is actually a slightly better bet to make, dropping the house edge from 0.42 percent to 0.40.

Worst craps bets

Worst bets isn’t exactly an accurate term here. Maybe more like lower odds bets. Still, just because they’re less of a sure thing, doesn’t mean they’re not worth making. Just think twice before placing such crap bets, and be aware of the outcome they may generate.

Hard Ways: Craps tables almost always lure you into making Hard Way bets, as they list the payouts for each right there on the table and advertise that those are among the biggest lottery tickets in the game. The problem with Hard Way bets is that the gambler is given poor odds on them. Here’s the house edge for the various types of Hard Way bets:

  • Hard 6 or 8 — 2.78 percent
  • Hard 4 or 10 — 3.40 percent

Those percentages are double or triple the house edge of most standard Place bets. It’s tempting to get fancy at the craps table, but trust me, you’re better off staying away from the Hard Ways.

Put bets: Technically, craps players have the option to skip the initial Pass or Come bets and wait until after the come out roll to wager on a Pass or Come. I would highly advise against it. Skipping the come out roll and then placing a Put bet on the Pass Line results in a huge house edge — 33.3 percent on 4 or 10, 20 percent on 5 or 9, and 9.1 percent on 6 and 10. Avoid these at all costs.

Proposition Bets: And here we have the Holy Grail of horrible craps betting. Like I said before, it’s tempting to get fancy and show off how well you know the rules of the craps table, but these bets simply aren’t worth it.

Here’s how Prop bets work: Unlike most other wagers, these are one-off bets that are determined by the results of the forthcoming throw. Tables might feature a number of varying Prop bets, which might include the following, listed with expected house edges (note, some casinos vary the payouts, which is why there’s a range of edges listed for some):

  • 2, 12 and all “hard” hop bets — 5.56 to 16.67 percent
  • 3, 11 and all “easy” hop bets — 5.56 to 16.67 percent
  • Any craps (2, 3 or 12) — 5.56 to 11.11 percent
  •  Any 7 — 16.67 percent

Like I said, steer clear.

Craps tips

If you don’t want to read all 880 words written above and just want a bit of quick and dirty advice, here it is: KEEP IT SIMPLE.

I totally get the temptation to show off with all sorts of fancy bets, especially if you hop off the web and take your crap talents to a brick and mortar betting palace. Believe you me, I spend my free time writing about online gambling — I love knowing more than everyone else. But here’s the thing — you need to know very little to play craps ideally, because the best craps strategy is the simplest almost the same as online slots.

If you’re a jerk, play the Don’t Pass and add odds. But if you’re not, and I’m assuming you’re not, you’ll do nearly as well playing the Pass with odds. Sprinkle in a Place bet or two if you must — I usually stick with the 6 and 8 — and THAT’S IT.

A few other bits of housekeeping — things can swing rapidly in craps, and it helps to have a bankroll to ride out those waves. You should come to the table with a set amount of cash you’re ready to lose, and that bankroll should give you the wiggle room to ride out a few quick 7s before the table hits a long roll.
I usually try to have 15 to 20 times my anticipated Pass Line bets with me when I start out.

I also recommend taking at least a few practice runs with play money before you dive in with your own cash. You can practice at most of my recommended casinos. If you’re just starting out, I recommend heading over to Royal Vegas to try this out.

So, now that you have my take on this, you’re ready to build your own optimal craps betting strategy – and put it into practice!

Again, my way — Pass Line, max Odds, Place bets on 6 and 8 — is not necessarily the best way to go, but for me, it perfectly blends keeping a slim house edge with creating enough opportunities to win that I’m not just sitting around watching others rake.

And if you’re just getting started, remember, craps really is a beautiful game, with its unbelievably fair odds and remarkably simple game play. Don’t let the massive felt table and all its various bets intimidate you. Once you get the hang of it – and you will sooner than you believe – you’ll love this game, dice, felt table, betting options, and all.