Craps is intimidating to newcomers. And it’s easy to see why.
The table is littered with different betting options, many of which seem to make little sense. Moreover, in land-based casinos, there’s often a throng of people standing around the table, expectantly watching each roll of the dice. When the shooter hits the right numbers, these players tend to get excited. Some cheer.
That’s a daunting experience for the beginner.
Here’s the good news: when you play craps online at places like Bovada Casino and Slots.lv, you don’t have to worry about infiltrating a crowd of experienced players. Learning how to play the game need not be a trial by fire.
You can learn at your own pace.
And here’s a secret… you can play craps for free while learning the ropes. Both Bovada and Slots.lv offer a free-play environment where you can get some experience without putting a dime at risk.
What about strategy? As you know, there’s a smart way to play craps, and a not-so-smart way. Below, I’m going to show you the former. You’ll learn how to minimize the house edge and maximize your chances of walking away from the table with a profit.
Note that it is possible to lose money. But use the following suggestions and you’ll stand a good chance of hitting your numbers and increasing your bankroll.
Without further ado, here are my top 10 tips for winning at casino craps.
Maximize Your Odds Bets
Be Willing to Play the “Dark Side”
Place the 6 or 8 to Win
The odds bet is the best bet you can make playing craps. In fact, it’s the best bet in the casino. The house edge on the odds bet is zero since the bet is paid at true odds.
This is a separate wager that’s made after the come out roll. It’s associated with your come bet, don’t come bet, pass bet, or don’t pass bet. That being the case, the casino still has a net advantage. But that doesn’t change the fact that the odds bet is the best bet in the house.
Most casinos will allow you to take (or lay) odds up to three times your pass line bet. For example, if you bet $10 on the come out roll, you can place an odds bet up to $30.
Maximize this bet. Since the casino pays true odds on it, betting the maximum gives you the best chance to make money. So, if you wager $10 on the flat bet (before the come out roll), take (or lay) odds at $30. If your flat bet is $25, you can buy odds up to $75.
This is a controversial tactic. Not because it doesn’t work, but because it’s likely to put you out of favor with your fellow craps players.
Playing the dark side in craps means placing lay bets and ‘don’t come’ bets. Instead of buying odds, you’ll be laying odds. In practical terms, that means betting against the shooter. You’re hoping he rolls a 7 before he hits the point. That essentially means you’re betting against everyone at the table.
To appreciate why this is a controversial method, imagine how this might play out in a land-based casino…
The point is rolled on the come out roll and everyone starts placing their bets. The majority of the bets are that the shooter will hit the point before he rolls a 7. You, on the other hand, place lay bets, hoping the shooter hits a 7 before he hits the point.
Let’s suppose he does exactly that. What happens next? You win your bet, but everyone else loses. Can you see how this might put you out of favor with the rest of the table?
Playing the dark side in craps is smart from a strategic point of view. But it won’t make you any friends in a land-based casino. Expect to get a few hard glares from other players.
Fortunately, you won’t have to deal with the glares when you play online. The casino has the edge in both bets so they do not care which way you bet.
Place bets on both the 6 and 8 carry a low house edge. On a table paying 7:6 for these numbers, the edge is only 0.46%. That’s slim!
- There are five ways to roll a 6: 1-5, 2-4, 3-3, 4-2, and 5-1.
- There are five ways to roll an 8: 2-6, 3-5, 4-4, 5-3, and 6-2.
- Meanwhile, there are six ways to roll a 7: 1-6, 2-5, 3-4, 4-3, 5-2, and 6-1.
The odds are against you, but not by much. Bottom line, place 6 and 8 are solid wagers on craps.
Lay Against the 4 And 10
There are only three ways to roll a 4: 1-3, 2-2, and 3-1.
Likewise, there are only three ways to roll a 10: 4-6, 5-5, and 6-4.
From above, we know there are six ways to roll a 7. That means the chances of seeing a 7 before a 4 or 10 are high. Given that, it’s a good idea to lay against those numbers.
Bovada and Slots.lv pay “fair odds” on these wagers. That means you’ll earn 1:2 if you see a 7 before the 4 or 10. You’ll also have to pay a small commission (4%) to the casino if you win. The commission is charged because the odds of winning are in your favor.
You don’t have to wait until after the come out roll to lay against the 4 and 10. You can do it at the same time you place your pass line bet. If you do so and see a 7, you’ll win on the pass line and win payouts for your lay bets.
Don’t Double Your Lay 4 or 10 on an Outside Point
Suppose you’ve laid $25 on the 4 and $25 on the 10. The shooter rolls a 10 on the come out roll. You lose the lay 10 and that number becomes the point.
You may be tempted to double the amount of your lay bet on the 4 (or vice versa if the shooter rolls a 4 on the come out).
Don’t do that. Just place full odds, either on your pass or don’t pass bet, and leave your existing lay bet as is. For example, if the come out roll is a 10, leave your lay 4 at $25. Don’t double it to $50 in an attempt to make up the loss on your lay 10.
These first five tips have focused on the bets you should make on craps. Let’s shift gears and talk about the bets you should avoid. We’ll start with field bets.
Ignore the Field Bets
Take a look at the craps table. Between the don’t pass bar and the area labeled “Come,” you’ll see a space designated “Field” with numbers 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, and 12. The first and last numbers (2 and 12) are circled.
This area of the table is for making field bets. Field bets are one-time wagers on whether any of the numbers listed will appear on the next roll. Here are the payouts:
- If the next roll is a 3, 4, 9, 10, or 11, you’ll be paid even money on your bet.
- If the next roll is a 2, you’ll be paid 2:1.
- If the next roll is a 12, you’ll be paid 3:1.
At first, this seems like a good bet to make. After all, there are lots of numbers on which you can win.
But statistically, field bets are terrible bets. Consider that there are 16 ways to roll a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, and 12. But there are 20 ways to roll a 5, 6, 7, and 8.
The odds are against you.
You might think being paid 2:1 to roll a 2 and 3:1 to roll a 12 makes up for the added risk. But there’s only one way to roll a 2 and one way to roll a 12. That means each number only has a 1 in 36 chance of appearing.
Again, terrible odds. To put it perspective, the house edge on field bets is 2.78%.
Ignore The Hardways Bets
Betting a hardway is betting that the dice will end up on an even number with both dice showing the same number. A 5-5 makes a hardway 10. A 2-2 makes a hardway 4. Shooting a 4-6 is considered an easy way 10. Likewise, shooting a 1-3 is an easy way 4.
There are four numbers on which you can make a hardway bet: 4, 6, 8, and 10.
You win if the shooter rolls the number you bet before rolling a 7 or rolling the number bet the easy way. For example, if you bet a hardway 10 and the shooter rolls a 7 or 6-4, you lose your bet.
Take a look at the payouts for these bets. You can tell at a glance that the odds of winning are low.
- Hardway 4 – 7:1
- Hardway 6 – 9:1
- Hardway 8 – 9:1
- Hardway 10 – 7:1
The house edge on these wagers is 2.78%. That’s high. It’s best to ignore these bets.
Ignore the Yo, the Horn, and the Any 7
First, let’s quickly define these three bets.
- The Yo bet is a wager that the next roll will be an 11.
- The Horn bet is a wager that the next roll will be a 2, 3, 11, or 12.
- The Any 7 bet is a wager that the next roll will be a 7.
For some reason, these bets are popular with craps players – at least in land-based casinos. Stand at a craps table for less than a minute and you’ll see at least one person – and probably a few – make these bets.
But they’re sucker bets.
Let’s do the numbers, starting with the Yo bet.
There are only 2 ways to roll an 11: 5-6 and 6-5. With true odds (the actual probability or rolling that number), you have a 1 in 17 chance. Meanwhile, the payout is 15:1. The house edge? 11.1%.
With the Horn bet, your true odds are 1 in 5. Meanwhile, the house typically pays 27:4 on 2 and 12, and 3:1 on 3 and 11. The overall house edge? 12.5%.
The Any 7 bet gives you true odds of 1 in 5. Meanwhile, the house only pays 4:1. That gives the house an edge of 16.67%.
All three of these wagers are terrible. You may as well as burn as your money.
Ignore Craps Betting Systems
If you’ve read my other online casino tutorials, you’ll already know how I feel about betting systems. Simply put, they’re generally a waste of time in the context of improving your chances of winning.
Most of the people who use these systems are under the delusion that doing so will move the odds of winning in their favor. In reality, there’s no truth to that presumption.
The best known betting system is arguably the Martingale. It entails doubling your bets when you lose. For example, if you bet $25 on the pass line and lose, your next bet should be $50. The idea is that you’ll make up your previous losses when you finally win. The problem is, an extended losing streak can easily eat through your entire bankroll.
Other systems include the Iron Cross and the Paroli.
With the Iron Cross, you make place bets on 5, 6, and 8, and simultaneously make field bets. That ensures you get paid on every roll as long as the shooter doesn’t roll a 7. That strategy lowers the house edge to 1.36%. While that’s reasonably low, it’s worth noting the effect is because the house edge on a place 6 or 8 is so low (0.46%). As we covered above, the house edge on field bets is 2.78%. You’d be better off to ignore the field bets and make place bets on the 6 and 8.
The Paroli system is a progressive betting scheme. It’s based on a 3-bet progression whereby wagers are doubled with each win until the final bet of the progression. For example, suppose you bet $10 on the pass line. If you win, your next bet (the 2nd wager of the progression) would be $20. If you win again, your 3rd wager would be $40. At that point, win or lose, you would start a new progression with $10. Like all betting systems, the Paroli system is flawed.
The takeaway is that you should ignore betting systems when playing craps. They make you feel as if you’re doing the right thing, but offer no advantage.
Come Up With A Craps Bankroll Management System
You should have a bankroll management system in place whenever you play casino games. Such a system is doubly important when playing craps. With so many different betting options available, it’s possible to have hundreds of dollars at risk even if you bet the $1 minimum bet on the pass line.
If you’re not careful, you can easily blow your bankroll.
Come up with a system that helps you to preserve your cash. For example, limit each bet to $3 and stick to the bets I recommended above. Also, establish a stop-loss figure at which point you log off and walk away for the evening (e.g. $50).
Having these type of rules in place will allow you to enjoy playing craps without worrying about burning through your money in a single session.
Armed with the above tips, you’re probably excited to get started. I highly recommend visiting Bovada Casino and Slots.lv, two of the most reputable casinos online. As I mentioned earlier, both will let you play craps for free with zero risk.
Register your accounts, make your first deposits, and claim your New Player bonuses. That way, you’ll be ready to play craps for real money when the mood strikes.
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