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Craps

Reading time: 13 minutes

Dice games are amongst some of the oldest gambling games ever. They were already known in ancient Rome and it is assumed that even the ancestors of contemporary humans played different variants of dice games. Even in the 21st century, dice still have their place in people's lives. And they're not just another game. Craps are among the most popular gambling games in the world.

Craps are easy to find in the casino. They are played on a large table, typically surrounded by noisy players. Yes, playing craps in casinos is primarily a form of social entertainment. The bettors will join up against the casino and try to beat it together. Just watching the other players is already a great experience. There are many superstitions surrounding dice games and the players often make the game a real show.

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At first glance, craps in the casino look a little daunting – the complicated game plan resembles that of roulette, there are unknown concepts and the course of the game seems unclear. An inexperienced player may not even want to start playing. But that would be a mistake. Learning how to play craps could be hard at the beginning, but after you understand the basics, rest is pretty easy.

At the beginning of each game, the shooter rolls two dice. But even before that players bet on pass line or don’t pass line, which means that the sum is either 7 or 11 (pass line and instant win) or it is 2 or 3 (don’t pass line and again an instant win), respectively. If a 12 is rolled, that’s a draw and the bets are returned. If other numbers are rolled, the game continues with another round goes and the players can bet on other numbers. The complete rules can be found in our article on the craps rules.

How to Beat the Casino at Craps

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In order to be able to beat the casino or at least have a chance to do that, you have to know three important things. The first is to know the game and its rules. The second is the proper management of bankroll. But this is not limited to craps, so if you regularly play any gambling games, you are surely already familiar with this issue. The last thing also concerns every gambling game – it’s limiting your losses.

Once you start at the table or open the online casino and choose craps, you can start playing assuredly. And indeed, there are many opportunities. There are dozens of possible bets on craps. It is very important that you always choose only bets with a low house edge. You can often find a bet with a house edge below 1%. And that’s exactly what you should bet on.

If you are just learning to play and don’t want to spend hours playing with imaginary money, we recommend you to choose the pass or don’t pass bets and use table minimum bets. After the first dice roll, support this bet the best you can.

This is the best way how to play craps. Even if you play at table minimum, you can support your bet after your first roll by 3x to 10x (or even more in some casinos). These are the so-called odds that will support your original bet and they come without a house edge.

Craps Strategies – How to Win at Craps

If you are starting with Craps, make sure to start with reading other articles which explain certain terms, otherwise, this article may seem uninformative and confusing, as it uses terms that a layman does not understand.

Three-Point Molly (use only when the table is hot)

  • The goal of the strategy: Get three numbers that will always work for you.
  • Used bets: Pass Line Bet w/ 2X odds, 2 Come Line Bets w/ 2X odds
  • Maximum loss: $45

Bet on Pass Line. Then ensure the Pass Line bet with another bet; here you have a choice of either a single or a double bet.

Bet on Come Line. Ensure this bet with another Come Bet. Once again, you can choose a single or double bet, the decision is up to you. But keep in mind that you can bet double at most.

Once one of your bets wins, place another immediately using the same betting style. Continue betting like this until the shooter rolls a Point or a seven.

It’s important to realize the advantage of your Come bet actually covering your already placed Come Bet.

Classic Regression

  • Strategy Goal: win big money with one bet
  • Used bets: No Pass Bet, $12 on 6 and 8
  • Maximum loss: $24

In this strategy, you are waiting for the shooter to get a Point and only then you bet; you never join a game that was already started. After the shooter rolls a Point (which concludes a game round), bet $12 on 6 and $12 on 8. Once you win a bet, ask the dealer to return the money from one of the two bets. That means you will get your deposit back from one bet and the other bet will keep earning.

So, after you complete this strategy successfully, you’ll have a $2 profit and you can no longer be eliminated even by a seven. Moreover, you still have $12 in play to win more money. Now you are actually waiting to see whether your profit will be only $2 or much more; that will be decided by the shooter rolling a seven or your bet.

Should you get two hits, your profit is $21. It’s only up to you whether you’d rather win slowly and make do with a $2 profit or want to earn more, but also risk losing everything, even your sure profit.

Anything but seven

  • The goal of the strategy: Win on any number other than seven.
  • Used bets: Bets on all numbers but seven. The most frequent numbers are 5, 6 and 8.
  • Maximum loss: $39

Note: If you want to be constantly in the game, bet on Pass Line, but do not raise your bets on it until you get your money back. However, do not bet on Don’t Pass or Pass Line if you want to earn big money.

Put two units on numbers 5, 6 and 8 put one unit on the Field.

This method is quite risky compared to other strategies, as your total loss can be as high as $39. That’s why it is best to use it only in the short term, i.e. always for only three rounds, then remove it.

Once the shooter hits your number, you can win from $15 to $20, which is quite nice money. It may help you decide to use this strategy that on average, the shooter gets rusty five times in a row before he rolls a seven and the game ends.

Craig’s method number one

  • The goal of the strategy: Get the most out of the fact that a given number must fall eventually, i.e. the good old Martingale system applied to craps.
  • Used bets:2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12
  • Maximum loss: cannot be determined, but it could get very high

This method is really very simple. That’s why some people don’t believe it – they think that nothing so simple can work – but the opposite is true.

So how do I make money in craps? This is a simple set of steps that a five-year-old could follow.

Find a game where the limits are set as follows: minimum $5, maximum $500. Never start playing with less than $400. More is always better than less. Remember that you cannot win in the long term if you don’t have enough capital.

Never be the only one at the table. Always look around and find a table where there are already two or three players. You may have to wait for your turn, but you can bet even without shooting.

Wait for someone to roll any combination of the following numbers two or three times in a row: 5, 6, 7 or 8.

Once you see these numbers rolled several times in any order, put $5 on Field and wait for further throws. If 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12 is not rolled, wait until it is rolled.

If any of these numbers is rolled, you have won: 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12. Once you win, you should wait a minute (2 to 3 games) and then proceed from the beginning using the same steps.

If numbers that you haven’t bet on (5, 6, 7 or 8) are being rolled rather than your lucky number, you should start raising bets. If you started at $5, the next bets will look as follows: $10, $20, $40, $80 and $160. Just like in the Martingale system, there’s a really great chance that you’ll win, but once you’re out of funds, you’ll lose everything. That can be very uncomfortable, but it’s part of the game.

Bet with the best House Edge

  • The goal of the strategy: Play for big money with the smallest risk
  • Used bets: Pass Line
  • Maximum loss: $15

To make the most of your money, this strategy is the right one for you. You can play as the shooter or as a regular player, it doesn’t matter. One way or another, craps should give you good odds, but they require a good shooter to really make some money.

As soon as a new shooter arrives, bet on Pass Line. Bet on the number that the shooter already rolled, but never bet many times (always bet about 5x on this number and then let it go). Now, wait to see if you won or lost due to a seven.

The Hedge Hog Strategy

  • The goal of the strategy: To win as much money as possible using a combination of bets; you decide how much you want to win depending on the length of a series
  • Used bets: Don’t Pass Line and a bet on a number
  • Maximum loss: $22

The first thing you have to do is bet $10 on Don’t Pass Line. After the first round when the Point is determined, bet on 6 and 8, $6 each.

If the shooter manages to hit a Point the Point is not 6 or 8, you will lose all the money. However, if the shooter throws a seven, you’re winning $10 already. You can also win by using side bets on 6 and 8.

Should the shooter roll a seven or a Point before he rolls one of your numbers, immediately continue betting. The second number you should bet on is 5 and the third is 9. If you are successful and get here, no one will take your deposit anymore, you will not lose any money.

If the shooter throws a seven or a Point, repeat this system, but always repeat it at most three times in a row, then start betting from other numbers or give up.

Let’s look at the options that you may encounter with this system

The shooter throws a seven

If the shooter throws a seven and you fail to hit any number, you lose the $12 you bet on numbers, but you won $10 for your Don’t Pass Line bet. So you lose only $2, but a loss is a loss. However, if you hit one more number, you’re are already winning $5. If you also hit the second number, you’re winning $7 ($7 from the first hit, $2 from the second hit and $10 from Don’t Pass, minus $12 for bets). If you hit a even a third number, you’ll be winning $9 ($7 + $2 + $2 + $ 10 for Don’t Pass – $12)

If the shooter makes a Point

If the shooter hits a Point before you hit any number, you’re $10 in the loss. If you hit one number, you are $3 in loss (you earned $7 for the number, but you lost $10 for Don’t Pass). Hitting two numbers means you are only $1 in loss (you earned $7 for the first number, $2 for the second number, but you lost $10 for Don’t Pass). If you’re lucky and hit even a third number, you’re winning $1 (you earned $7 for the first number, $2 for the second number and $2 for the third number, but you lost $10 for Don’t Pass).

REMEMBER: If you keep making new bets on numbers, you’ll never make any profit

Worst case scenario:

The shooter hits a Point even before he rolls any of your numbers and you will actually lose everything, all your twenty-two dollars.

Since a loss of $22 is quite a lot, I recommend playing with a minimum bankroll of $110, which will afford you to lose four games and still have enough to play with.

Probability in Craps

While it is true that all bets on craps are advantageous for the casino, some of them favour the casino by only one percent, while other bets can have a catastrophic effect because they favour the casino by almost 17 percent. That’s a really a big share and you should never place your money on such bets. While it is not excluded that such bets may sometimes work out, you will be in great loss in the long term.

Specific Probabilities

Before we get to which bets are beneficial and which ones you should avoid, it is important to understand the basic mathematical facts about the probabilities of certain dice thrown. As you probably know, in craps, the player throws two dice, each of which can yield a number between 1 and 6. The probability of throwing a specific digit is 1/6 since the result is a choice of one of six options. Since we are throwing two dice at the same time, the total number of possible combinations is 36. The resulting sum of numbers on both dice, therefore, ranges from 2 to 12. However, not all numbers in this range occur with the same probability.

The Probability of Resulting Sums

The most often occurring number in craps is 7, with a probability of 1/6. We’ll explain the reason. Regardless of the number on the first die, you will always have a chance of 1/6 that after the sum after the second throw will be 7. If the first die yields a 6, you will need the second die to yield a 1, which happens once in six attempts. If you get a 2 on the first die, you have to get a 7 on the second die for a sum of 7 which, again, happens in 1/6 attempts. This is true regardless of the number on the first die. The sum of 7 thus occurs in one of 6 throws.

The probability of getting a sum of 6 and 8 is equal but smaller than for the sum of 7. This is because if 6 is rolled on the first die, the sum of the two dice can never be 6 because after adding the number from the second die, the sum will always be higher. The same is true for a sum of 8, which cannot happen if 1 is rolled on the first die. That’s why the sum of 6 or 8 will occur in one of 7.2 throws.

As we go further away from number 7, probabilities get smaller and smaller. Sums of 5 and 9 occur with a probability of 1/9 and so on. It’s not hard at all to figure out how often the individual sums from 2 to 12 occur. For a sum of 2, you need 1 on both dice. This happens only once in 36 attempts because the first 1 occurs with a probability of 1/6 and the other one, too. Since both ones have to occur together, we multiply their probabilities to get the 1/36. Of course, the same goes for a sum 12 when two sixes have to occur rather than two ones.

The table below lists the probabilities of all possible sums in a single dice cast.
Sum Probability of occurrence Combinations
2 1/36 1,1
3 1/18 1,2+2,1
4 1/12 1,3+3,1+2,2
5 1/9 1,4+4,1+2,3+3,2
6 1/7,2 1,5+5,1+2,4+4,2+3,3
7 1/6 1,6+6,1+2,5+5,23,4+4,3
8 1/7,2 2,6+6,2+3,5+5,3+4,4
9 1/9 3,6+6,3+4,5+5,4
10 1/12 4,6+6,4+5,5
11 1/18 5,6+6,5
12 1/36 6,6

Avoid following bets

Now that we already know how often the individual sums on the dice occur, let’s look at the most and least advantageous bets in craps. You should always avoid betting on number 7. It is true that this sum is the most common, but because of payouts offered by most casinos, the bet on a 7 gives the house a 16.7% edge. So if you put €100 altogether on a seven, you should expect to end up with a loss of €16.7 on average.

You should also avoid betting on the so-called “hard-way” fields, where the number 2, 3, 4 or 5 occurs on both dice at the same time. These bets are very attractive for the players due to the great potential payouts, but the house has an edge between 9 to 11%. You should also avoid bets on a two or twelve where the house has a huge 13.9 percent edge.

Most advantageous bets

Now you know which bets you should not place. Let’s look at which bets you should pay attention to when playing craps. You should always focus on bets on numbers which were or weren’t rolled, due to the negligible house edge of 1.4 and 1.41%, respectively. If you have the option, you should always bet on Odds, where the house has no edge.

In Odds you bet your money to see whether the given number is rolled before a 7. However, these bets are often limited, mainly due to the zero house edge, depending on the bet on a rolled number. The conditions vary from one casino to another.

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