JeffBet by Matthew Gover |
Date of Publishing: 26 October 2022

5/5 - (4 votes)

Craps strategy

Craps is among the most popular dice games with quick action and various bets to suit all types of gamblers. This game has been around since the middle ages, and today, the majority of casinos still provide this game for their players. This game might look tricky at first but when you know what you are doing, this game can be very entertaining and rewarding.

This guide talks about how to best utilise craps strategies, describes the best bets to try, and offers craps tips and a chance to enhance your gameplay.

Understanding the Basics of Craps

Before jumping in, understanding the rules of craps is paramount. This dice casino game involves two dice, a table to play at, and chips for placing your bets with the primary objective of correctly guessing what dice value the “shooter” will roll. This game is played in rounds and may have up to twenty players at a table taking turns rolling the dice. There are plenty of ways the dice can land, and each bet is accompanied by specific odds that explain why the craps casino table has various fields for betting.

You will also notice the staff seated around the table at a brick-and-mortar or live casino.

Boxman: The boxman handles the chips at the table. They exchange cash for chips for craps players, swapping them for varying denominations when needed. They also supervise the dealers and ensure the game runs smoothly.

Base Dealer: You typically find two base dealers at a craps casino table. They collect losing bets and pay out the winners. They also place bets on behalf of players when asked to do so.

Stickman: The stickman handles the dice and moves them around the table using a stick (which is where they get their name). They pass the dice to the shooter at the beginning of each roll and call out the result.

While a table can handle up to twenty players, there are typically about eight players at a craps table, with each player betting on every roll. Every player (called a shooter) gets the chance to roll the dice. A player’s initial roll at the craps table is referred to as the “come-out roll”, and it can have three outcomes:

Natural Numbers

A come-out roll landing a 7 or 11 is known as a natural and a winner. Any craps bets placed on the “pass line” for this roll wins, and any on the “don’t pass line” lose. Whenever craps players roll a natural, they can have another go at shooting the dice.

Craps Numbers

Any bets placed on the pass line lose whenever players get a 2, 3, or 12 during an initial come-out roll. On the other hand, bets on the don’t pass line win, even though the 12 or 2 might be a push based on the craps casino’s rules for the table. The advantage of craps numbers is that you get another chance at rolling the dice.

Points Numbers

If a player’s come-out roll is among the place numbers, i.e., 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10, the dealer will mark it as a point on the craps table. For any pass bets to win and bets on the “don’t pass line” to lose, the player will have to roll that particular number before a 7. Moreover, they will get to roll again. Rolling a 7 before the point numbers gives the opposite effect.

Craps Odds Explained

Craps primarily involve two kinds of odds — true odds and payout odds. Below is how they work in detail:

If you find true odds in craps with numbers like 5/1 or 5 to 1, that means five will lose out of six possibilities. You have five times more odds of losing than winning. That has nothing to do with how much you will win.

Craps Payout Odds

In craps casinos, payout odds are typically called odds. These are an amalgam of true odds and house edge (the money the casino earns). 

To explain it simply, suppose you have a 3-to-1 payout on six-sided dice. You would have to make six bets worth £1 for a total sum of £6 to cover all options. Five will lose; however, the winning one will give the player £3, so the house edge is still up £3. True odds are 1 in 6, but the payout does not include that. If it did, the house would not earn money.

Craps Betting Strategies

Once you know the ins out outs of craps bets, you can begin utilising betting strategies in your game. Below are the best bets in craps:

The “Come” and “Don’t Come” Craps Strategy

This type of bet offers a lowered house edge of 1.41%. This bet pays 1-to-1 and represents odds of 251 to 244. Therefore giving a 49.3% chance of winning.

The player must know whether the pass bet is on a come-out roll. The board includes a marker that typically reads “on” or “off, with the former representing a come-out.

The initial roll of the dice determines the point. If the first roll comes out a 7 or an 11, the table wins on pass bets and is paid out at even money. The player’s bet loses if the roll is a 2, 3, or 12. Any other number determines the point of the game.

The marker flips to “on” once the point is established. The craps players continue rolling the dice until they roll the number denoted as the point for the game. If they hit the number, the table wins, once again paying out at even money. Your bet loses, and the game resets if a 7 rolls.

It is not recommended to make a pass bet after the come-out roll. While you are allowed to do so, your bet’s value will reduce, which could negatively impact the house edge for the pass. Instead, wait until the game resets.

The “don’t pass” bet works opposite to the pass bet, meaning you bet on opposite results. You win if you roll a 2 or a 3, and lose with a 7 or an 11. The bet is known as a “push” if a 12 is rolled. The player continues rolling for this bet until a 7 lands or the point line is hit.

What is different about this bet is that you are betting against the rest of the table. Most craps players may choose the pass line (come) bet, so most players will lose when you win. This does not have the same impact when played online, though it can be fun to try in live dealer casino games

The house edge and odds are nearly identical for the come and don’t come bets. This strategy pays 1-to-1, has a house edge of 1.36% and odds of 976 to 949.

Field Bets Craps Strategy

Field bets involve betting on the number that the next roll could be. This comprises 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12. You lose the bet if you get 5, 6, 7, or 8. This bet pays even money on all numbers, save for 2 and 12. 

The 2 pays 2-to-1, and 3 pays 3-to-1. Note that the odds for these can change. Some craps casinos only pay 2-to-1 in case of both results, doubling the house edge from 2.78% to 5.56%. This craps betting strategy pays 1-to-1 except for 2 (2-to1) and 12 (3-to-1), which has a house edge of 2.27% and 5-to-4 in terms of odds.

Craps Strategy Alternatives – Going for the Glory

This strategy comprises many single-roll bets with 30-to-1 and 15-to-1 payouts and numerous variances. If a player plays “for the glory” and tries to spin up a significant win fast, they should do it with a limited bankroll since things can go out of control quickly. Hence, if a player considers applying a high-variance approach, they must have complete control over their bankroll.

If a player makes long-shot bets, they should know when to quit. While this is not the best way if a player wants to learn how to win at craps, it is still entertaining.

Craps Strategy: Hedging Your Bets

This is also considered one of the best craps strategies for winning at craps. If a player has a limited bankroll for gambling, they can choose to hedge even the best craps bets with single or multi-roll bets. 

The best you can hedge your pass and free odds bets in craps is by utilising “place 6 and place 8” bets with them. You do this by placing bets on these options after the point is established.

  • If the point is 8, place 6
  • If the point is 6, place 8
  • If any other point is rolled, place both 8 and 6.

The house edge on “place 6 and 8” is not that high, so you will not risk losing too much on such bets. Furthermore, you are using free odds to back your pass bet. Hence, you can be at ease regarding the house edge for the bet.

Hedging your bet this way reduces your odds and payouts; however, the payouts are more frequent.

Another hedge bet that players can make, along with their “pass” and “come” bets, is the “any 7” bet. The “any 7” is a single-roll bet that wins when the shooter rolls a 7 on that roll. Remember that the house edge on any 7 bets is high.

A list of Wagers That You Never Want to Place

While some bets are considered lucrative, others are not. Below are some strategies to steer clear of, especially if you are a beginner:

Proposition Bets

The stickman’s job is to lure players into proposition bets because the house is most likely to win on such bets. The stickman may suggest something like “anybody on 8” for you to bet on the next roll following that number.

The payout may be high, i.e. at 15:1, but since the house edge is over 16% in various cases and not under 11%, it is best to avoid the risk.

Hi-Lo (2 or 12)

You can win the Hi-Lo bet if you land a 2 or 12. Your bet will lose if any numbers besides these two are rolled. The Hi-Lo strategy’s payout (15:1), true odds (17:1) and house edge (11.11%) are identical to the “Yo” and “3” bets. Hi-Lo offers only two combinations that could land you a win or a significant loss. Hence, it is a risky bet to try.

Hardways, 4, 6, 8, 10

Hardway refers to any point number consisting of a pair of specific numbers, i.e., 4 (2×2), 6 (2×4), 8 (2×4), and lastly, 10 (2×5). The payouts are generous, e.g., 7:1 for a hard 4 or hard 10 and 9:1 for a hard 6 or hard 8. These strategies carry significant risk considering the house edge of over 11% for the hard 4 and hard 10 and 9% for the hard 6 and hard 8.

Strategy Myths to Avoid

Craps may be challenging, and learning how to win craps can take time, but it is still fun to learn. Despite that, several misconceptions are scattered throughout hotel bars and online gambling forums. Below are some craps strategy myths worth avoiding:

It is Bad Luck When the Stickman Sends out the Dice to a Shooter with a 7 Showing

Professional stickmen do not send the dice out on a 7. Nonetheless, sometimes the dice hit chips or take a tumble while being sent to the shooter, showing a 7. Most experienced players often preset the dice to their preference or shake them up regardless. This myth comes from players not grasping that the odds of a 7 showing are one out of six, no matter the perspective.

A First-Time Shooter Equals Good Luck

First-time or “virgin” shooters only attract attention when they have a good roll and are disregarded just as they seven-out. Superstition plays a big part in a lot of gamblers’ choices but in our opinion placing any type of bet based on this reasoning will not work out for anyone.

Craps Strategy FAQs

Although craps is a game of chance, understanding the chances of specific numbers landing on the dice can help you make educated bets.
By learning which craps bets offer the best odds and the lowest house edge, you can learn to make better bets and possibly yield more wins however being consistent is something nobody can guarantee.
Online craps games typically operate on RNGs (Random Number Generators), ensuring fair results. You just need to be ensured that you are using a legitimate casino.
The don't pass/don't come bet has a very low house edge of 1.36%. Therefore this is considered the most conservative bet you can make in craps.

About the Author

Author: Matthew Gover.

After graduating, Matthew began working as an English teacher abroad, initially in Spain and then Vietnam before finally coming back to the UK to settle. Matthew has always had a love for writing and an even bigger love for the igaming industry... Read More

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