Craps Rules – Complete Guide to Craps Basics
At first glance the game of craps looks a little intimidating because of all the various bets you can make but actually the game itself is very simple, so first let me explain the game without any reference to the betting.
Everyone at the craps table gets a turn to roll the dice, but you don’t have to roll if you don’t want to. The dice are passed around the table clockwise and if it’s your turn to roll you simply take two dice and roll them to the opposite end of the table. This is your first roll of the dice which is also called the “come-out” roll. If you roll a 7 or 11 that’s called a “natural” and you win, plus you get to roll again. If you roll a 2,3 or 12 those are all called “craps” and you lose, but you still get to roll again. The only other possible numbers you can roll are 4,5,6,8,9 or 10 and if one of those numbers shows up, then that number becomes your “point” and the object of the game is to roll that number again before you roll a 7.
If a 7 shows up before your “point” number does then you lose and the dice move on to the next shooter. If your “point” number shows up before a 7 does, then you have made a “pass.” You then win your bet and you get to roll again. That’s all there is to the game of craps.
How to Bet Craps
Now that you know how to play the game, let’s find out about the different kinds of bets you can make. Two of the best bets you’ll find on the craps table are in the areas marked “pass” and “don’t pass”. When you bet on the “pass” line you’re betting that the shooter will win. To make a pass line bet you put your bet right in front of you on the pass line. Pass line bets are paid even-money and the house edge on a pass line bet is 1.41% You can also bet on the “don’t pass” line in which case you’re betting that the shooter will lose. To make a don’t pass bet you put your bet in front of you in the don’t pass area. Don’t pass bets are also paid even-money and the house edge on them is 1.40%.
In reality, the odds are always 1.41% against the shooter and in favor of the “don’t pass” bettor by that same amount. Of course, if you’re a “don’t pass” bettor the casinos don’t want to give you a bet where you have an edge so they have a rule in effect on “don’t pass” bets where on the come out roll if the shooter throws a 12, you don’t win. You don’t lose either, the bet is just considered a “push,” or tie, and nothing happens. In some casinos they may make 2 instead of 12 the number that’s a push. Just look on the don’t pass line and you’ll you see the word “bar” and then the number that the casino considers a push. In our illustration it says bar 12, so in this casino your bet on the don’t pass line will be a push if the come-out roll is a 12. This rule is what gives the casino its advantage on don’t pass bets and it doesn’t matter whether the casino bars the 2 or 12 the result is the same 1.40% advantage for the house.
All right, let’s say you put $10 on the pass line and you roll the dice. If you roll 7 or 11 you win $10 and if you roll 2,3 or 12 you lose $10. So, what happens if you roll any of the other numbers? Well, as I said before, that number becomes your point and you have to roll that number again before you roll a 7 in order to win your pass line bet.
Once your point is established the dealer at each end of the table will move a marker into the box that corresponds to your point number to let everyone at the table know what your point is. The marker that’s used has two different sides. One side is black with the word “off” and the other side is white with the word “on.” Before any point is established the marker is kept in the Don’t Come box with the black side facing up until you roll a point number and then the dealer turns it over to the white side and moves it inside the box that contains your point number.
For example let’s say your come-out roll is a 4. The dealer simply turns the marker over to the white side that says “on” and places it in the 4 box. This lets everyone know that 4 is your point and that you will continue to roll the dice, no matter how long it takes, until you roll a 4, which will make you a winner, or a 7, which will make you a loser.
Now, keep in mind that once your point is established you can’t remove your pass line bet until you either win, by throwing your point, or lose, by rolling a 7. The reason for this is that on the come out roll the pass line bettor has the advantage because there are 8 ways to win (by rolling a 7 or 11) and only 4 ways to lose (by rolling a 2, 3 or 12). If a point number is rolled, no matter what number it is, there are then more ways to lose than to win and that’s why the bet can’t be removed. If you were allowed to remove your bet everyone would just wait for the come-out roll and if they didn’t win they would take their bet back which would give them a big advantage over the house and, as you know, casinos don’t like that, so that’s why you can’t remove your bet.
As previously noted, the pass line is one of the best bets you’ll find, but there is a way to make it even better because once your point number is established the casino will allow you to make another bet that will be paid off at the true odds. This is a very good bet to make because the casino has no advantage on this bet.
In this instance, since your point was 4, the true odds are 2-to-1 and that’s what your bet will be paid off at: $2 for every $1 you bet. This is called an “odds bet,” “taking the free odds” or “betting behind the line” and to make this bet you simply put your chips directly behind your pass line bet. There is a limit to how much you’re allowed to bet and for many years most casinos allowed a maximum of 2 times the amount of your pass line bet. Nowadays, however, many casinos offer 5 times odds and some casinos are even allowing up to 100 times odds. In the U.S. the Horseshoe casinos offer 100X odds at all of their locations.
Because the casino has no advantage on these bets you are effectively lowering the house edge on your total pass line bet by taking advantage of these free odds bets. For example, the normal house edge on a pass line bet is 1.41% but if you also make a single odds bet along with your pass line bet you will lower the house edge on your total pass line bets to .85%. If the casino offers double odds then the edge on your bets is lowered to .61%. With triple odds the edge is lowered to .47% and if you were to play in a casino that allowed 10 times odds the edge would be lowered to only .18% which means that, statistically speaking, over time, that casino would only make 18¢ out of every $100 you bet on that table. As you can see, the more the casino allows you to bet behind the line, the more it lowers their edge, so it’s always a good idea to take advantage of this bet. By the way, free odds bets, unlike regular pass line bets, can be removed or reduced, at any time.
All right, let’s make our free odds bet on our point number of 4 by putting $20 behind the line. Then we continue to roll until we either roll a 4 or a 7. If a 4 came up we would get even money on the pass line bet, plus 2-to-1 on the free odds bet, for a total win of $50. But, if we rolled a 7, we would lose both the pass line bet and the free odds bet for a total loss of $30.
In this example we used 4 as our point number, but there are 5 other numbers that could appear and here are the true odds for all of the possible point numbers: the 4 and 10 are 2-to-1; the 5 and 9 are 3-to-2; and the 6 and 8 are 6-to-5. You’ll notice that the numbers appear in pairs and that’s because each paired combination has the same probability of occurring.
7 = 6 ways 1+6,6+1,2+5,5+2,3+4,4+3
6 = 5 ways 1+5,5+1,2+4,4+2,3+3
8 = 5 ways 2+6,6+2,3+5,5+3,4+4
As you can see there are 6 ways to make a 7 and only 5 ways to make a 6 or 8. Therefore, the true odds are 6-to-5.
7 = 6 ways 1+6,6+1,2+5,5+2,3+4,4+3 4 = 3 ways 1+3,3+1,2+2
10 = 3 ways 4+6,6+4,5+5
There are 6 ways to make a 7 and only 3 ways to make a 4 or 10, so the true odds are 6-to-3, which is the same as 2-to-1;
7 = 6 ways 1+6,6+1,2+5,5+2,3+4,4+3
5 = 4 ways 1+4,4+1,2+3,3+2
9 = 4 ways 3+6,6+3,4+5,5+4
and finally, there are 6 ways to make a 7, but just 4 ways to make a 5 or 9, so the true odds here are 6-to-4 which is the same as 3-to-2.
It’s important that you remember these numbers, because 1.You want to make sure that you’re paid the right amount when you do win and 2. You want to make sure that when you make your odds bets you make them in amounts that are paid off evenly.
As an example, if your point is 5 and you have $5 on the pass line, you wouldn’t want to bet $5 behind the line because at 3-to-2 odds the casino would have to pay you $7.50 and they don’t deal in change. When making the odds bet on the 5 or 9 you should always bet in even amounts and in the situation just mentioned most casinos would allow you to add an extra $1 so you would have $6 out and they could pay you $9, if you won. The only other situation where this occurs is on the 6 and 8 where the payoff is 6-to-5. So, in that instance you want to make your bets in multiples of $5. Also, if your pass line bet is $15, most casinos will allow you to bet $25 behind the line because, if you win, it’s quicker for them to pay you $30, rather than dealing in $1 chips to give you $18 for $15. When situations like this exist, it’s good to take advantage of them and bet the full amount you’re allowed because that helps to lower the casino edge even more.
We’ve spent all this time talking about pass line betting, so what about don’t pass betting? Well, everything applied to pass line betting works pretty much just the opposite for don’t pass betting. If you put $10 on don’t pass you would win on the come out roll if the shooter rolled a 2 or 3, you would tie if the shooter rolled a 12, and you would lose if the shooter rolled a 7 or 11. If any other number comes up then that becomes the shooter’s point number and if he rolls a 7 before he rolls that same point number, you will win. If he rolls his point number before he rolls a 7, you will lose.
Don’t pass bettors are also allowed to make free odds bets to back up their original bets, however, because the odds are in their favor they must lay odds rather than take odds. This means that if the point is 4 or 10, the don’t pass bettor must lay 2-to-1, or bet $10 to win $5; on 5 or 9 he must lay 3-to-2, or bet $6 to win $4; and on 6 or 8 he must lay 6-to-5, or bet $6 to win $5. By taking advantage of these free odds bets the casino advantage is slightly lowered on the total don’t pass bets to .68% with single odds; .46% with double odds; .34% with triple odds and .12% with 10 times odds. If you want to you can remove, or reduce the amount of your free odds, bet at any time. To make a free odds bet on don’t pass you should place your odds bet right next to your original bet and then put a chip on top to connect the two bets. Keep in mind that when you make a free odds bet on don’t pass the casino will allow you to make your bet based on the payoff, rather than the original amount of your don’t pass bet. In other words, if the casino offered double odds, the point was 4 and you had $10 on don’t pass, you would be allowed to bet $40 because you would only win $20 which was double the amount of your original $10 bet. Since you have to put out more money than you’ll be getting back, laying odds is not very popular at the craps table and you’ll find that the vast majority of craps players would rather bet with the shooter and take the odds. Statistically speaking, it makes no difference whether you are laying or taking the odds because they both have a zero advantage for the house.
One last point about don’t pass betting is that once the point is established, the casino will allow you to remove your don’t pass bet if you want to – but don’t do it! As noted before, on the come out roll the pass line bettor has the advantage because there are 8 rolls that can win and only 4 that can lose, but once the point is established, there are more ways the shooter can lose than win, so at that point the don’t pass bettor has the advantage and it would be foolish to remove your bet.
Now, let’s take a look at the area marked come and don’t come. Since you already know how to bet pass and don’t pass, you should easily understand come and don’t come because they’re the exact same bets as pass and don’t pass, except for the fact that you bet them after the point has already been established.
Let’s say that the shooter’s point is 6 and you make a come bet by putting a $5 chip anywhere in the come box. Well, that’s just like making a pass line bet, except that the shooter’s next roll becomes the come-out roll for your bet. If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11, you win. If a 2,3, or 12 is rolled you lose, and if anything else comes up then that becomes your point and the shooter must roll that number again before rolling a 7 in order for you to win. In this example if the shooter rolled a 4 the dealer would move your $5 come bet up into the center of the 4 box and it would stay there until either a 4 was rolled, which would make you a winner, or a 7 was rolled which would make you a loser. The house edge on a come bet is the same 1.41% as on a pass line bet. You are allowed free odds on your come bet and you make that bet by giving your chips to the dealer and telling him you want to take the odds. The dealer will then place those chips slightly off center on top of your come bet to show that it’s a free odds bet. By the way, if you win, the dealer will put your winnings back in the come bet area so be sure to pick them up off the table or else it will be considered a new come bet.
One other point to note here is that when you make a come bet your bet is always working on every roll, even a come-out roll. However, when you take the odds on your come bets they are never working on the come-out roll. That may sound a little confusing, but here’s what it means. In our example the shooter’s initial point was 6 and then we made a $5 come bet. The shooter then rolled a 4 which became the point for our come bet. The dealer then moved our $5 come bet to the middle of the 4 box at the top of the table. We then gave $10 to the dealer and said we wanted to take the odds on the 4. On the next roll the shooter rolls a 6 which means he made a pass by rolling his original point number. The next roll will then become the shooter’s come-out roll and the odds bet on our 4 will not be working. If the shooter rolls a 7 the pass line bettors will win and we will lose our $5 come bet because he rolled a 7 before rolling a 4. The dealer will then return our $10 odds bet because it wasn’t working on the come-out roll. Now, if you want to, you can request that your odds bet be working on the come-out roll by telling the dealer. Then he’ll put a marker on top of your bet to show that your odds bet is in effect on the come-out roll.
Naturally, don’t come betting is the same as don’t pass betting, except again for the fact that the bet isn’t made until after the point is established. In this case let’s say the point is 5 and you make a don’t come bet by placing a $5 chip in the don’t come box. Well, once again, that’s just like making a don’t pass bet except that the shooter’s next roll becomes the come-out roll for your bet. If the shooter rolls a 2 or 3, you win. If a 7 or 11 is rolled, you lose. If a 12 is rolled it’s a standoff and if anything else comes up then that becomes your point and the shooter must seven-out, or roll a 7, before rolling that point number again in order for you to win. In this example if the shooter rolled a 10 the dealer would move your $5 don’t come bet into the upper part of the 10 box and it would stay there until either a 7 was rolled, which would make you a winner, or a 10 was rolled which would make you a loser. The house edge on a don’t come bet is the same 1.40% as on a don’t pass bet and you can make a free odds bet on your don’t come bet by giving your chips to the dealer and telling him you want to lay the odds. The dealer will then place those chips next to and on top of your don’t come bet to show that it’s a free odds bet. The final point to note here is that don’t come bets, as well as the free odds bets on them, are always working – even on the come-out roll.
Now let’s talk about place betting and that refers to the 6 numbers you see in the area at the top of the table: 4,5,6,8,9 and 10. Anytime during a roll you can make a bet that one of those numbers will appear before a 7 and if it does you will receive a payoff that is slightly less than the true odds. For example: the true odds are 2-to-1 that a 4 or 10 will appear before a 7. However, if you make a place bet on the 4 or 10 you will only be paid off at 9-to-5 and that works out to a casino advantage of 6.67%.
The true odds of a 5 or 9 appearing before a 7 are 3-to-2, but on a place bet you would only receive a payoff of 7-to-5 which works out to a casino edge of 4.0%. Finally, on the 6 and 8 the true odds are 6-to-5 that one of those numbers will appear before a 7, but on a place bet you would only be paid off at 7-to-6 which means the casino would have an edge of 1.52% on this bet.
As you can see, making a place bet on the 6 or 8 gives the casino its lowest edge and this means that a place bet on the 6 or 8 is one of the best bets you will find on the craps table.
When you want to make a place bet you aren’t allowed to put the bet down yourself, you have to let the dealer do it for you. To do this you would just drop your chips down onto the table and tell the dealer what bet you wanted to make. For example you could put three $5 chips down and say “Place the 4,5 and 9.” The dealer would then put $5 on the edge of the 4 box, $5 on the edge of the 5 box and $5 on the edge of the 9 box. You’ll notice that when the dealer puts your bets on the edge of the boxes they will always be placed in an area that corresponds to where you’re standing at the table and this helps the dealer to remember who placed that bet.
When making a place bet you don’t have to bet more than one number and you don’t have to bet the same amount on each number. You should, however, make sure that you always bet in multiples of $5 whenever you bet on the 4,5,9 or 10 and in multiples of $6 whenever you bet the 6 and 8. This will allow you to always get the full payoff on your bet. If, for example, you bet $3 on the 6 and you won you would only get back even-money, or $3, rather than the $3.50 which your bet should have paid and this results in an even bigger advantage for the casino. Another thing about place bets is that, unlike pass line bets, you can remove your place bets at any time and you do that by telling the dealer you want your bet down and he will take your chips off the table and return them to you. You could also tell the dealer that you didn’t want your bet to be working on any particular roll or rolls and you do this by saying for example “off on the 5.” The dealer would then put a little button on top of your bet that said “off” and he would remove it when you told him you wanted that number working again.
When we spoke about come bets before I mentioned that come bets are always working on every roll, but that’s not the case with place bets because place bets are never working on the come-out roll. If you wanted to, however, you could ask for your place bet to be working on the come out roll by telling the dealer you wanted it working and he would place a button on top of your bet that said “on” to show that your bet was working on the come-out roll.
One last point about place bets is that when you win the dealer will want to know what you want to do for your next bet and you have three choices: if you want to make the same bet just say “same bet” and the dealer will give you your winning chips and leave your original place bet on the table. If you don’t want to bet again, just say “take it down” and the dealer will return your place bet along with your winnings. And if you want to double your bet just say “press it” and the dealer will add your winning chips to your other place bet and return any extra chips to you. For example, if you won a $10 place bet on the 5 the dealer would have to give you back $14 in winning chips. If you said “press it” the dealer would add $10 to your place bet and return the remaining $4 in chips to you.
Besides, place betting there is also another way to bet that one of the point numbers will show up before a 7 does and that’s called buying a number. A buy bet is basically the same as a place bet except you have to pay a commission of 5% of the amount of your bet and then if you win, the casino will pay you at the true odds. When making a buy bet you should always remember to bet at least $20 because 5% of $20 is $1 and that’s the minimum amount the casino will charge you. The reason for the $1 minimum is because that’s the smallest denomination chip they have at the craps table and they won’t make change for anything under $1. The casino edge on any buy bet for $20 works out to 4.76% so let’s take a look at a chart that shows the difference between buying and placing the point numbers.
Casino Edge Casino Edge
Point Number Buy Bet Place Bet
4 or 10 4.76% 6.67%
5 or 9 4.76% 4.00%
6 or 8 4.76% 1.52%
As you can see the only numbers that you would want to buy rather than place are the 4 and 10 because the 4.76% edge on a buy bet is lower than the 6.67% edge on a place bet. For 5 and 9 the 4.76% edge on a buy bet is slightly worse than the 4.00% edge on a place bet and for the 6 and 8 the 4.76% is a hefty three times higher than the 1.52% edge on the place bet.
To buy the 4 or 10 you would just put your chips down on the layout and tell the dealer what bet you wanted to make. For example, if you put down $21 and said “buy the 10.” The dealer will then keep the $1 chip for the house and put your $20 in the same area as the place bets but he’ll put a button on top that says “buy” to let him know that you bought the number rather than placed it. Buy bets, just like place bets, can be removed at any time and are always off on the come-out roll. Also, if you do remove your buy bet you will get your 5% commission back.
Besides buy bets where you’re betting with the shooter and hoping that a point number will appear before a 7 does, there are also lay bets where you’re doing just the opposite – you’re betting against the shooter and hoping that a 7 will appear before a point number does.
Lay bets are also paid at the true odds and you have to pay a 5% commission of the amount you will win rather than the amount you’re betting. Once again, when making a lay bet you should always remember to make them based on a minimum payoff of $20 because 5% of $20 is $1 and that’s the minimum amount the casino will charge you.
Lay Number Payoff Casino Edge
4 or 10 $40 for $20 2.44%
5 or 9 $30 for $20 3.23%
6 or 8 $24 for $20 4.00%
For 4 and 10 you’ll have to lay $40 to win $20 and the casino edge is 2.44%; for the 5 and 9 you’ll have to lay $30 to win $20 and the casino edge is 3.23%; and for the 6 and 8 you’ll have to lay $24 to win $20. The casino edge on that bet is 4.00%.
To make a lay bet you would just put your chips down on the layout and tell the dealer what you wanted to bet. For example, if you put down $41 and said “lay the 10.” The dealer would then keep the $1 chip for the house and put your $40 in the same area as the don’t come bets but he’ll put a button on top that says “buy” to let him know that it’s a lay bet. Lay bets, unlike buy bets, are always working on come-out rolls. Lay bets are, however, similar to buy bets in that they can be removed at any time and if you do remove your lay bet you will also receive your 5% commission back.
There are only a few other bets left located on the ends of the table to discuss and two of them are the big 6 and the big 8 which are both very bad bets. To bet the big 6 you place a chip in the big 6 box and then if the shooter rolls a 6 before rolling a 7 you win even money, or $1 for every $1 you bet. To bet the big 8 the same rules would apply: you put your bet in the box and then hope that the shooter rolls an 8 before rolling a 7 so you could win even money on your bet. The big 6 and big 8 can both be bet at any time and both are always working, even on the come-out roll. The casino edge on both the big 6 and the big 8 is 9.1%, which is the biggest edge we’ve seen so far. But, if you think back about some of the other bets we discussed doesn’t this bet sound familiar? It should. This bet is the exact same as a place bet on the 6 or 8, but instead of getting paid off at 7-to-6 we’re only getting paid off at even-money! Why would you want to bet the big 6 or big 8 at a house edge of more than 9% instead of making a place bet on the 6 or 8 at a house edge of only 1.5%? The answer is you wouldn’t – so don’t ever make this bet because it’s a sucker bet that’s only for people who don’t know what they’re doing.
The last bet we have to discuss on the player’s side of the table is the field bet which is a one-roll bet that will pay even money if a 3,4,9,10 or 11 is rolled and 2-to-1 if a 2 or 12 is rolled. To make a field bet you would just place your chip anywhere in the field box and at first glance it doesn’t seem like a bad bet. After all, there are 7 numbers you can win on and only 4 numbers you can lose on! The only problem is that there are 20 ways to roll the 4 losing numbers and only 16 ways to roll the 7 winning numbers and even after factoring in the double payoff for the 2 and 12 the casino winds up with a hefty 5.6% advantage. In some casinos they pay 3-to-1 on the 2 (or the 12) which cuts the casino edge in half to a more manageable 2.8%, but as you’ve seen there are still much better bets you can make. By the way, if you win on a field bet the dealer will put your winning chips right next to your bet so it’s your responsibility to pick them up, or else they’ll be considered a new bet!
Now, let’s take a look at some of the long-shots, or proposition bets in the center of the table. When you look at these bets one of the first things you’ll notice is that, unlike the bets on the other side of the table, the winning payoffs are clearly labeled. The reason they do that is so you can see those big payoffs and want to bet them, but as you’ll see, although the payoffs are high, so are the casino advantages.
All of the proposition bets are controlled by the stickman and he is the person who must make those bets for you. So, if you wanted to make a $1 bet on “any craps” you would throw a $1 chip to the center of the table and say “$1 any craps” and the stickman would place that bet in the proper area for you. Then if you won, the stickman would tell the dealer at your end of the table to pay you. You should also be aware that they will only pay you your winnings and keep your original bet in place. If you don’t want to make the same bet again, you should tell the stickman that you want your bet down and it will be returned to you.
There are only four proposition bets that are not one-roll bets and they are known as the “hardways.” They are the hard 4, hard 6, hard 8 and hard 10. To roll a number the hardway means that the number must be rolled as doubles. For example 3 and 3 is a hard 6, but a roll of 4-2, or 5-1 are both called an easy 6, because they are easier to roll than double 3’s.
To win a bet on hard 10 the shooter has to roll two 5’s before rolling a 7 or an easy 10 such as 6-4 or 4-6. To win a bet on hard 4 the shooter has to roll two 2’s before rolling a 7 or an easy 4 such as 3-1 or 1-3. The true odds of rolling a hard 4 or hard 10 are 8-to-1, but the casino will only pay you 7-to-1 which works out to a casino advantage of 11.1% on both of these bets.
To win a bet on hard 6 the shooter must roll two 3’s before rolling a 7 or an easy 6 such as 5-1, 1-5; or 4-2, 2-4. To win a bet on hard 8 the shooter must roll two 4’s before rolling a 7 or an easy 8 such as 6-2, 2-6 or 5-3, 3-5. The true odds of rolling a hard 6 or hard 8 are 10-to-1, but the casino will only pay you 9-to-1 which works out to a casino advantage of 9.1% on both of these bets.
As noted before, all of the other proposition bets are one-roll bets which means that the next roll of the dice will decide whether you win or lose. As you’ll see, the house edge on all of these bets is very high and they should all be avoided.
For the any craps bet you will win if a 2,3,or 12 is thrown on the next roll and lose if any other number comes up. The true odds are 8-to-1 but the casino will only pay you at 7-to-1 which gives them an edge of 11.1% on this bet and you’ll notice that the stickman can put your bet either in the any craps box or, more likely, he’ll put it on the circled marked “C” which stands for craps. The reason your bet will be placed in the “C” circle is that it’s put in the circle that corresponds to where you’re standing at the table and it makes it easier for the stickman to know who that bet belongs to.
For a craps 2 bet you win if the next roll is a 2 and lose if any other number shows up. The true odds are 35-to-1 but the casino will only pay you 30-to-1 which means that the edge on this bet is 13.9% In some casinos the odds for this bet will be shown as 30-for-1 which is actually the same as 29-to-1 and this results in an even bigger edge of 16.7% for the casino.
A craps 12 bet works the same as a craps 2 bet, except that now you will only win if a 12 is thrown. Again, the true odds are 35-to-1 but you will only be paid at 30-to-1 which means the casino edge on this bet is the same 13.9% as in the last craps 2 bet. Also if the bet is shown on the layout as 30-for-1 the casino edge is raised to 16.7%.
For a craps 3 bet you will only win if the next throw is a 3. The true odds are 17-to-1, but the casino will only pay you 15-to-1 which results in a casino advantage of 11.1% Once again, in some casinos the payoff will be shown as 15-for-1 which is the same as 14-to-1 and the house edge in that casino is an even higher 16.7%.
The 11 bet is similar to the craps 3 bet, except that now the only number you can win on is 11. The true odds of rolling an 11 are 17-to-1, but the casino will only pay you 15-to-1 which gives them an 11.1% advantage. Additionally, if the payoff is shown on the layout as 15-for-1 rather than 15-to-1 the casino edge will be even higher at 16.7%. By the way, because 11 sounds so much like 7 you will always hear 11 referred to at the table as “yo” or “yo-leven” to eliminate any confusion as to what number you are referring to. So, if you wanted to bet $5 on 11 you would throw a $5 chip to the stickman and say “$5 yo” and then he will either place it in the 11 box or place it on top of the “E” circle that corresponds to where you’re standing at the table.
With a horn bet you are betting on the 2,3,11 and 12 all at once. A horn bet has to be made in multiples of $4 because you’re making 4 bets at one time and you’ll win if any one of those 4 numbers shows up on the next roll. You’ll be paid off at the odds for the number that came in and you’ll lose the rest of your chips. For example, if you make an $8 horn bet, this is the same as betting $2 on the 2, $2 on the 3, $2 on the 11 and $2 on the 12. If the number 2 came in you would get paid off at 30-to-1 so you would get back $60 in winnings and the casino would keep the $6 that you lost for the three $2 bets on the 3,11 and 12. The only advantage of a horn bet is that it allows you to make 4 bad bets at once rather than one at a time.
The last proposition bet we have to look at is also the worst bet on the craps table and it’s the any 7 bet. With this bet you win if a 7 is rolled and lose if any other number comes up. The true odds are 5-to-1, but the casino will only pay you at 4-to-1 which gives them an edge of 16.7%
So there you have it! We’ve gone over all the possible bets you can make and now it’s time to tell you how to win at the game of craps. Unfortunately, as you’ve seen, craps is a negative expectation game which means that every bet you make has a built-in advantage for the house. Actually, there is one bet that the casino has no advantage on and do you remember the name of that one? That’s right it’s the free odds bet and it’s great that the casino has no advantage on that bet but the only way you’re allowed to make that bet is to first make a negative expectation bet on pass/don’t pass or come/don’t come, so in essence, there are no bets you can make where you have an advantage over the house and in the long run the game of craps is unbeatable.
So, if that’s the case then how do you win? Well, in reality there is only one way to win in craps and that way is to get lucky! Of course, this is easier said than done, but you will find it much easier to come out a winner if you only stick to the bets that offer the casino its lowest edge and those are the only bets you should ever make.
If you want to bet with the shooter I suggest you make a pass line bet, back it up with the free odds and then make a maximum of two come bets that are also both backed up with free odds. For example if double odds are allowed, you could start with a $5 pass line bet and say a 4 is rolled. You would then put $10 behind the line on your 4 and make a $5 come bet. If the shooter then rolled an 8 you would take $10 in odds on your come bet on the 8 and make another $5 come bet. If the shooter then rolled a 5 you would take $10 in odds on your come bet on the 5 and then stop betting. The idea here is that you always want to have a maximum of three numbers working and once you do, you shouldn’t make anymore bets until one of your come numbers hits, in which case you would make another come bet, or if your pass line bet wins and then you would follow that up with another pass line bet. The important thing to remember is not to make more than two come bets because you don’t want to have too much out on the table if the shooter rolls a 7. By using this betting system you’ll only be giving the casino an edge of around .60% on all of your bets and with just a little bit of luck you can easily walk away a winner.
If you wanted to be a little more aggressive with this betting system there are some modifications you could make such as making a maximum of three come bets rather than two, or you could add place bets on the 6 and 8. Remember that a place bet on either the 6 or 8 only gives the casino a 1.52% advantage and that makes them both the next best bets after pass/don’t pass and come/don’t come. To add the place bets you would start off the same as before, but after you’ve made your second come bet you would look at the 6 and 8 and if they weren’t covered you would then make a $6 place bet on whichever one was open or on both. By adding the place bets on the 6 and 8 you would always have at least three numbers in action and you could have as many as five covered at one time.
One final option with this system is to gradually increase the amount of your pass line and come bets by 50%, or by doubling them, and then backing them up with full odds, but I would only suggest you do this if you’ve been winning for a while because it could get very expensive if the table was cold and no one was rolling many numbers. Of course, if the table got real cold you could always change your strategy by betting against the shooter and the strategy for that is basically just the opposite of the one I just told you about.
To bet against the shooter you would start with a $5 don’t pass bet which you would back up with single free odds and then bet a maximum of two don’t come bets that are both backed up with single odds. The reason you don’t want to back up your bets with double odds is because when you’re betting against the shooter you have to lay the odds which means you’re putting up more money than you’ll be getting back and, once again, it could get very expensive if a shooter got on a hot roll and made quite a few passes.
For an example of this system let’s say you start with a $5 don’t pass bet and a 4 is rolled. You would then lay the odds by putting $10 next to your $5 don’t pass bet and then make a $5 don’t come bet. If the shooter then rolled an 8 you would lay $6 in odds on your don’t come bet on the 8 and make another $5 don’t come bet. If the shooter then rolled a 5 you would lay $9 in odds on your come bet on the 5 and then stop betting. The idea here is that you always want to have a maximum of three numbers working and once you do that, you shouldn’t make anymore bets until, hopefully, the shooter sevens out and all of your bets win. If that does happen, then you would start all over again with a new don’t pass bet. Once again, the important thing to remember is not to make more than two don’t come bets because you don’t want to have too much out on the table if the shooter gets hot and starts to roll a lot of numbers. With this system you’ll always have a maximum of three numbers in action and you’ll only be giving the casino an edge of about .80% on all of your bets. Some options to bet more aggressively with this system are to increase your free odds bets to double odds rather than single odds and also to make three don’t come bets, rather than stopping at two. The choice is up to you but remember that because you must lay the odds and put out more money than you’ll be getting back you could lose a substantial amount rather quickly if the roller got hot and made a lot of point numbers.
Now, one last point I want to make about betting craps is that the bankroll you’ll need is going to be much bigger than the bankroll you’ll need for playing any other casino game. If you’re betting with the shooter you’ll have one $5 pass line bet with double odds and two come bets with double odds which means that you could have as much as $45 on the table that could be wiped out with the roll of a 7. If you’re betting against the shooter you’ll have $5 on don’t pass with single odds and two don’t come bets with single odds which means you could have as much as $44 on the table that could be wiped out if the shooter got on a “hot” roll and made a lot of numbers. As I said before, you need to have an adequate bankroll to be able to ride out the losing streaks that will eventually occur and you need to be able to hold on until things turn around and you start to win.
So how much of a bankroll is enough? Well, I would say about 7 times the maximum amount of money you’ll have out on the table is adequate and 10 times would be even better. In both of our examples then you should have a bankroll of at least $300. If you don’t have that much money to put out on the table then you might want to consider having less money out on the table by making only one come or don’t come bet rather than two or maybe even just limiting your bets to pass and don’t pass along with the free odds.
Just remember that it doesn’t matter whether you want to bet with the shooter or against the shooter – both of these systems will give you the best chance of winning because they allow the casino only the slightest edge and with a little bit of luck you can easily come out a winner. Good luck!