craps strategy

Craps Strategy: Best Craps Strategies

Craps is an incredibly fun and popular casino dice game. You’d be hard pressed to find any North American casino without a craps table. They’re featured in almost every Hollywood casino movie, too. They always have well-dressed folks around the table, with excitement mounting as lucky players win roll after roll.

It’s like that in real life too — players take turns rolling dice and betting on the results, usually to a lot of excitement. In street craps, players wager against each other. In casino craps, they bet against the bank.

This post will focus more on casino craps, and cover some general knowledge, as well as more detailed info on craps strategy and tips.

What is Craps?

Craps is a dice game played on a large table (roughly the size of a bathtub) marked with various betting options. Players take turns rolling a pair of dice (as the “shooter”) and bet on the outcomes of the roll. In a casino setting, players bet with chips and wager money against the “bank.”

The game can be fast-paced and frantic. Therefore, you can often find up to four casino employees watching the table at a given time. Since it’s so fast-paced, you need to have your wits about you at all times, especially if you’re just learning about craps strategy.

How to Play Craps Online

With the explosion of online casinos, it’s only natural that software developers would produce an online craps game. There are any number of reputable online casinos that offer craps, but your best bet is to research the games themselves first. Once you find one you like, look for an online casino that offers it. Not all casinos have the same versions of craps.

Some players feel that playing craps online doesn’t have quite the same excitement as playing at a real live casino. That said, if you’re looking to familiarize yourself with the game, playing a few rounds at an online casino will help you perfect your betting strategies.

How to Bet in Craps

Pass line and Don’t pass line bets are the most important craps bets. If a shooter wants to shoot, they must make either a Pass line bet or a Don’t pass line bet. On the first roll (also known as the come-out roll) each player can make one bet on the Pass line, one on the Don’t pass line, or they can bet on both if they wish.

Pass Line Bet

This is a bet that the shooter will win. Minimum and maximum bets are set by the table:

  • If the come-out roll is 7 or 11, the bet wins.
  • If it is 2, 3 or 12, the bet loses (this is also known as crapping out).
  • If it’s any other value, a point is established.
  • If the point is established, the bet wins if that point is rolled again before a 7, and loses if the 7 is rolled first.

Don’t Pass Line Bet

This is a bet that the shooter will lose. Again, the minimum and maximum bets must be within the table limits:

  • If the come-out roll is 2 or 3, the bet wins.
  • If it’s 7 or 11, it loses.
  • If it’s a 12, the bet is a PUSH and neither wins or loses (this rule depends on the casino).
  • If the roll is any other number, a point is established as with a Pass line bet. Only the opposite occurs. If the 7 is rolled before the point, the bet wins and vice versa.

Pass Odds

On the come-out roll, if a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 are thrown, Pass line players are invited to take odds by placing a multiple bet behind the pass line. Not all casinos offer this option, but most have some variation.

Don’t Pass Odds

Similar to the Pass odds bets, players who have a Don’t pass bet can place more chips behind the Don’t pass line.

Odds and House Edge Craps Strategies

Craps is a game of chance, and like any casino game, craps has a house edge. In this game, however, the odds vary by which bet you place. That’s where the strategic part comes into play. One of the best craps strategies you can employ is to get really comfortable with house edge by bet type. Here are the calculations based on the different wagers:

Bet TypeHouse Edge Percentage
Any 716.7%
2 or 1213.9%
Yo (11) or 311.1%
Hardway 4 or 1011.1%
Hardway 6 or 89.09%
Any Craps11.11%
Field Bet5.56%
Lay 4 or 102.44%
Lay 5 or 93.23%
Lay 6 or 84.76%
Buy 4 or 104.76%
Buy 5 or 94.76%
Buy 6 or 84.76%
Place 4 and 106.67%
Place 5 and 94.00%
Place 6 and 81.52%
Don't Pass/Don't Come 2X Odds0.83%
Pass Line/Come Bet 2X Odds0.85%
Don't Pass/Come1.40%
Pass Line/Come Bet1.41%

Craps Strategy for Beginners

The best advice we have for craps beginners is to learn the game mechanics, first and foremost, before you start playing for real money. Do your research, read about house edge, and practice by playing craps online for free.

One beginner strategy that some experts suggest is to start every roll with either a Pass or Don’t pass bet at the minimum the table will allow. Once you get a set point, then look to place a free odds bet (make it a big one if you can afford it). This will give you the best chance at a big payout.

Low-Risk Craps Strategy

If you’re a beginner or short on your bankroll, a low-risk strategy is best if you just want to get a feel for the game. If you don’t end up winning big, you might at least get a few free drinks. This strategy involves placing a small-stakes wager on the Pass line bet, and double the amount on the Don’t pass bet. You can still lose, but the scenarios in which you could come out ahead are many, and the wagers are small enough that you could play a few rounds.

Advanced Craps Strategy

If you’re feeling comfortable with craps and seeing some modest wins at the table, the best way to level up your game is by studying more advanced craps strategies. These normally involve getting intimately familiar with the different bets you can make. We recommend further research on specific betting types like Lay Bet Craps, Iron Cross Craps, Yo Bet Craps and Hop Bets.

More Advanced Craps Strategy

Now that you’re a serious player and want to know more, we recommend doing some research on additional advanced betting strategies like Mini Max Strategy, Big 6 8 Craps Strategy, Craps 4 10 Strategy and Dark Side Strategy. They’re a bit more complicated to master, but will have you well on your way to affecting that house edge.

Managing Your Money in Craps

Managing your money in craps is really about understanding what your limits are. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the game. A good strategy for beginners is to set a modest goal for a win and walk away if you reach that target. After all, the point is to come out ahead.

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