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A Guide to Becoming an Expert Craps Player

Craps can appear to be very confusing, there are many different types of bets and the action is fast. This of course makes it very exciting to play, but it also means that you need to be entirely sure you understand exactly what is going on. The following guide will take you through the finer points of the game of Craps, so that you feel fully equipped to conquer the table.

Understanding Craps Odds

If you are to have any chance of consistently winnings at Craps, you need to fully understand the different bets and their associated odds. When you play the correct bets, Craps actually has some of the most favourable odds of all casino games.

As you are aware, there are four main Craps bet, pass bet, come bet, don’t pass, and don’t come. Furthermore, these are the bets that you should be placing most often as they have the lowest house edge of all the bets. The pass bet has a house edge of just 1.41% and the don’t come bet’s house edge is even smaller, just 1.36%.

With these bets, you should have little problem sustaining your bankroll, allowing you to play for as long as you wish. Better yet, by taking free odds, which is discussed later in this guide, you can further improve upon these bets.

In regards to the odds, the only other bet that you want to consider is the place bet on 6 or 8, which allows you to bet on those numbers rather than the current point. Furthermore, it has a small house edge of 1.52% and a payout of 7/6.

When you look at the other multi-roll bets and the single-roll bets, you will notice that the odds and payouts are simply nowhere near as favourable.

Expert Tip #1: Don’t Make Single-Roll Bets

If you are serious about winning at Craps, the first thing to learn is not to place single-roll bets. These include:

  • Field Bet – This requires the roller to roll a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12 for you to win, which means it can have a house edge between 2.78% and 5.56%.
  • Any Craps Bet – You win at 7:1 if the roller rolls a 2, 3, or 12, which translates to a house edge of 11.11%.
  • Any 7 – This is simply a bet that total points on both dices add up to 7, which means a huge house edge of 16.67%.

With such high house edges, single-roll bets in craps are extremely risky. It is true that they can be very exciting, but they are not ideal if you want to build a winning strategy.

A quick look at the maths shows why this is so. The true odds of the Any 7 bet are 5/1; however, the game pays out at 4/1, which is where the huge house edge comes from. Similarly, the 12 craps and 2 craps bets. They offer payouts of 30/1, making them very exciting. However, with true odds of 35/1 and a house edge of 13.89%, they are not a good way of building a winning strategy. As such, stay away from single-roll bets.

Expert Tip #2: Using Free Odds

As explained above, the pass and come bets are the bets that you want to be focusing on. However, the strategy does not end with the initial bet.

After the shooter has taken the come out roll, a point is set (unless an instant win or loss is rolled). In this case, those who bet on the pass or come have another betting opportunity. The free craps odds option gives you the chance to reduce the house edge even further. This is because these bets are paid at true odds.

Furthermore, most casinos do not place restrictive limits on these bets, you will often find that you can make bets up to 100 times bigger than your pass bet on free odds. If you place a bet the same size as your pass bet, the house edge is reduced to 0.8%. If you double the bet, then the house edge becomes just 0.6%. If you were to take full advantage of the betting limits and place a free odds bet that was 100 times greater than your pass bet, the house edge will be just 0.02%. However, you will need a fairly large bankroll.

Regardless of the size of the free odds bet you place, making use of the free odds bets as much as possible is easily the best craps strategy there is and the only one that will truly reduce the house edge. Furthermore, you can use free odds on both sides, if you start by betting on the don’t pass and don’t come bets, you can lay odds.

This is precisely the opposite of taking odds in the pass example. It gives you the chance to reduce the house edge even more, right the way down to 0.01% with a 100 times bet on the lay odds. To make the most of this strategy, you should bet the table minimum on the initial pass bet and then make as large a bet as you can on the free odds.

This means that you will have minimised the risk on your initial bet and only increase the bet once the point is set. It means that you are playing with favourable odds and the chance of large payouts.

Expert Tip #3: Hedging Your Bets

The above betting system is ideal as it provides the lowest house edge and the best chance of a win. However, you may be risk-averse and wish to reduce your variance, especially if you have a limited bankroll.

If that is the case, then it is an idea to hedge your craps bets with some reasonable single or multi-roll bets. The best way to hedge pass and free odds bets in Craps is by simultaneously using the place 6 and place 8 bets. You do this by placing the bets once the point is set:

  • Place 8 if the point is 6
  • Place 6 if the point is 8
  • Place both 6 and 8 on any other point

The place 6 and 8 bets have a low house edge, which means that you will not lose too much. Furthermore, you are making use of free odds to back your pass bet, which reduces the house edge further. By hedging your bet this way, it will reduce your overall odds and payouts, but it will make the payouts more frequent, which is ideal if you need to keep your bankroll topped up. Furthermore, it can result in some big wins.

Many people use the any 7 bet alongside their pass and come bets as a hedge. However, as explained above, this has a very high house edge. Furthermore, often you will find yourself in the situation where the shooter rolls a number that will have them repeating the roll, which means that you will be repeating the 7 bet numerous times with no real benefit.

Expert Tip #4: Playing For Entertainment

As explained, the strategy above is best in terms of odds and by hedging it, you can reduce the risk and variance. However, many people play Craps for the thrills it can provide and will not want to be making the same fairly boring bets time and time again.

If that describes you, then you may wish to consider a strategy that includes many single-roll bets that pay at 30/1 and 15/1 and a lot of variance. However, if you are going to play this way and aim for a fast big win, then it is probably best to do it with a limited bankroll, otherwise you may find that you run out of funds very quickly. If you are playing with a high variance strategy, be sure to control your bankroll carefully. You may also wish to consider setting loss and win limits, so that you never exceed your budget and don’t turn wins into losses.


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