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Craps Tips

The Objective

The 1st throw of the dice in Craps is called the ‘come out’ which sets the ‘point’. The aim of this game is to roll the point number once again before 7 shows up. Before rolling however, the gambler needs to make a bet. All craps bets are categorized into two different groups:

Before the roll the following bets can be made:

Pass Line bet which will win automatically if the player rolls 7 or 11 and loses if 2, 3 or 12 is rolled. If the dice show 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10, such a roll becomes the point. After the point is set, the player must roll their point number again before 7 shows up, in order to win the bet. But if 7 appears earlier, the bet is then lost.

Don’t Pass Line bet is the exact opposite to the Pass Line bet. The player wins on 2 or 3, with 12 considered a ‘stand-off’ with no winner. After establishing the point the player must proceed with rolling 7 before the point number comes up again.

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Bets after the Point

These particular bet can be made at any time after the point is established. They all pay differently and give a range of advantages to the gambling house. The main principle of the payoff schedule can be described as follows: the tougher the particular combination to roll, the higher the payoff (e.g.: you can make 5 out of 1+4 and 2+3, but you can roll 2 with 1+1 only).

Come bet is similar to the Pass Line bet, with the only difference that it can be made any time after the come out roll. The shooter wins on 7 and 11, loses on 2, 3 and 12, with other rolls becoming a ‘come point’. It needs to repeat it before 7 shows up. Pays 1:1.

Don’t come bet is almost the same as the Don’t Pass Line bet. 7 and 11 are losing numbers, 2 and 3 win, while 12 is a stand-off. To win this bet equals to rolling 7 before the come out number is repeated. Pays 1:1.

Place bet is made on the numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10. If the number with a place bet appears before 7 is rolled, it wins and is paid: 9:5 for 4 and 10, 7:5 for 5 and 9, 7:6 for 6 and 8.

Buy bet is made on the numbers 4 through 10 with hope that these numbers roll before 7 shows up. Pays 2:1 for 4 and 10, 3:2 for 5 and 9, 6:5 for 6 and 8. Remember that the gambling house takes a commission of 5% on such winnings.

Lay bet is made on the numbers 4 through 10 and wins if the number doesn’t show up before 7 roll. Pays the same as the Buy bet.

Hard-way bet is made on 4, 6, 8 and 10 if they are made out of a hard-way, i.e. a combination when the dice show equal numbers. It wins if rolled before 7 or a hard-way different from the one wagered or a soft number. Pays 7:1

Proposition Bets

Craps ‘proposition bets’ are also referred to as ‘one-roll’ bets. The played with regard to the next roll that determines their lot. The following are the proposition bets:

Craps and Eleven bet wins if the next roll is either craps (i.e. 2, 3 or 12) or 11. Pays 7:1 for 2, 3 or 12 and 15:1 for 11.

Horn bet is similar to C&E bet with the only difference that it demands wagering on 2, 3, 11 and 12 each. Pays 30:1 for 2 or 12 and 15:1 for 3 or 11.

Field bet wins if the next roll is 3, 4, 9, 10 or 11 to pay even money, and 2 or 12 to pay 2:1. Mind that if no other proposition bets are made, casinos demand the minimum wager for the field bet equal to the Pass or Don’t Pass Line bet.

Any 7 (Big Red) is the bet which wins if the next roll is 7. Pays 4:1.

Basic Craps Strategy

The thing to remember in craps is to keep your pass (or don’t pass) bet as low as possible and take odds. The more you place on the odds the lower the overall house edge is on your total wager. Although most online casinos allow only 2x the odds there are many land based casinos that offer 20 times or even 100 times the odds. The following table shows how the house edge is reduced by placing odds on the pass line bet:

Bet Total House Edge
Pass Line 1.41%
1X Odds 0.85%
2X 0.61%
3X 0.47%
5X 0.33%
10X 0.18%
20X 0.10%

Taking odds can be very confusing for the novice craps player mainly because it is not advertised on the craps table. The fact is, the odds bet is the best bet at the craps table and an important part of increasing your chances of winning. The payout on the odds bet matches the true odds as follows.

For Pass and Come bets:

Number Odds (payout)
4 or 10 2-1
5 or 9 3-2
6 or 8 6-5

For don’t pass and don’t come bets:

Number Odds (payout)
4 or 10 1-2
5 or 9 2-3
6 or 8 5-6

Rounding Down

When placing odds bets you should make sure that the bets can be paid exactly or the dealer will pay off by rounding down. For example if you bet $2 on the pass line and the shooter comes out with an 8 (or 6) you shouldn’t back up the bet with $4 (assuming 2X odds). Since the odds bet on the 8 (or 6) pays 6 to 5 your payout would be (6/5) x $4 = $4.80 and the casino will round your payout down to either $4 or $4.50. Either way you lose that extra advantage of getting true odds.

The better approach would be to take $5 odds on the 8 (or 6) in which case your payout on the odds bet would be an even $6. Most land based casinos will let the player increase the odds bet slightly over the 2X (or whatever table limit) amount so that the payout will not be rounded down.

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