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 for me. No way can I figure out which of those betting squares are for me.” Turns out, I was wrong. Craps, when played correctly, is a beautifully simple game that generates outrageous excitement even for beginning players. And, best of all, the best online craps strategy can bring the house edge down to less than one percent. You can try out craps at any of the casinos listed below:
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Best craps bets
Odds bets: The best bet on the table is the Odds bet, which players make by placing money behind their Pass Line wager. Essentially, with the Odds bet, gamblers are 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! There are often restrictions on how much players 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: Players may put wagers on rolls of 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10 — these are known as Place numbers. Wagering on this outcomes is similar to placing an odds bet, except players don’t have to wager on the pass line, and Place bets carry slightly worse odds. The house edge for these wagers is as follows:
- Place 6 and 8 — 0.46 percent
- Place 5 and 9 — 1.11 perecent
- 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 is 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, dropping the house edge from 0.42 percent to 0.40.
Worst craps bets
Hard Ways: Craps tables almost 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 at 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 on the following 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.
If you don’t want to read all 800 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. 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. If 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 7’s 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 get going.
So, now you have my take on this, and you’re ready to build your own optimal craps betting strategy. Again, my way — Pass Line, max Odds, Place bets on 6 and 8 — is not 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. Craps really is a beautiful game, what with its unbelievably fair odds and remarkably simple game play. Don’t let the massive felt table and all its various bets intimidate you. You’ll love this game.