The game of craps may seem a bit intimidating to a new player, but it’s actually a simple game with a wide array of more than 100 different bets. With odds payouts between 1 to 1 and 30 to 1, craps is one of the few games in the casino where the house may not have an edge over you on a given bet.

There are 12 possible dice total combinations. Obviously 12 and 2 have only one possible combination, while rolling a 7 has the most potential combinations with six possibilities. The probability of rolling a number combination is what you make your bets on.

Not all bets on the craps table are created equal. House edge can vary from 0% to as much as 16.67%, depending on the bet you make. The best bets on the craps table are the Pass Line bets (with odds). These bets have no house edge, and can be added on to a Pass Line bet in multiples of your original bet size (up to as much as 100 times in some casinos).

Other bets that offer good odds are the Pass Line and Don’t Pass Line bets. The house has a slim 1.4% edge over these bets. Betting on 6 or 8 is almost as good, giving the house a 1.52% edge. Betting on 6 or 8 only pay 7-to-6, so it might take awhile to make some money – but it’s still your best chance to get ahead.

The bets that you want to stay away from on the craps table include betting on any 7, betting on any craps (2, 3 or 12), any 2 or 12, any 3 or 11, a Big 6 or Big 8, Hardways 6 or 8, and Hardways 4 or 10. Any proposition bet at all is not recommended as all these bets give the house a big edge, some as high as a 16.7%.  They are not the best way to get ahead of the game on the craps table.

This list outlines the house edge for the major bets in the game of craps:

  • Pass, come bets (no odds) – 1.42%
  • Don’t pass, don’t come bets (no odds) – 1.36%
  • Place 6, 8 – 1.52%
  • Place 5, 9 – 4.00%
  • Place 4, 10 – 6.67%
  • Buy 6, 8 – 4.76%
  • Buy 5, 9 – 4.76%
  • Buy 4, 10 – 4.76%
  • Lay 6, 8 – 4.0%
  • Lay 5, 9 – 3.23%
  • Lay 4, 10 – 2.44%
  • Field bet – 5.56%
  • Big 6, 8 – 9.09%
  • Hard 6, 8 – 9.09%
  • Hard 4, 10 – 11.11%
  • Craps 3, 11 – 11.11%
  • Any craps – 11.11%
  • Craps 2, 12 – 13.89%
  • Any seven – 16.67%

Like most casino games, there are different variants of craps. Players should be aware of what craps odds they may be giving up when playing a different form of the game. One example of this is in the game Crapless Craps.

This game can be found in some casinos and it offers the player a misleading advantage of never crapping out on the pass bet during a come out roll. In this craps variant any number other than a seven will become the point, making it very difficult to win the bet if the smaller and bigger numbers become point.

What players don’t realize is that they’re giving up the sure winner of 11 for the less likely option that the point 2 or 12 hits. This small option, which seems like an advantage in most players' eyes, is in reality raising the house edge on the pass bet up to 5.4%. These other variants of craps offer all sorts of different bets, most of which take 5% or more to the house.

Optimum strategy for playing craps is to “play the dark side”. That consists of betting the don’t pass or don’t come bets followed with a maximum odds bet. This is not the best way to make friends on the craps table, as most other players will be playing the opposite results odds. All of that doesn’t matter much in an online craps games, but at the live casinos you’ll want to maintain a low profile when you win.

Playing with most of the action at the craps table (on the pass and come bets with max odds) will give almost as good odds, but you’ll be able to celebrate loudly with the others when a favorable streak comes the table’s way.

The best way to get used to playing craps is simply to try out the game. There are plenty of free games you can play online until you get accustomed to how the game is played. The internet is a good place for new craps players to start playing the game because they’re not faced with the many distractions that a live game will often present.