Craps is one of the most popular games in the casino. This doesn’t mean that more people play craps than other games; it means that everyone around a normal craps table seems like they’re having more fun than at other games.
If this is your first time playing craps, it might look complicated. The craps table has many available bets and the people at the table use funny names for things. But you don’t have to worry about anything. Once you finish with this article you’re going to know how to make the best bets and how to avoid the top mistakes that craps players make. And don’t worry about the funny name; you’re going to learn them from other players every time you play craps.
1 – You Don’t Take Full Odds
After the come out roll, there’s a bet that some craps players don’t know about. The reason some craps players don’t know about this special bet is because there isn’t a spot on the felt that shows the bet. This special bet is called an odds bet, and it’s important because it’s one of the few fair bets available in the casino. I say it’s a fair bet because the odds bets pay out makes them have a zero house edge.
The most common odds bet is a pass line odds bet. Before you can make an odds bet you have to make either a pass line or don’t pass line wager. Once a point is set, you can back up your bet with an odds bet.
A common odds bet set up is called 3 – 4 – 5, and many casinos use this. This means you can place an odds bet up to three times your original bet size when the point is a four or 10, four times your original bet if the point is a five or nine, and five times your original wager amount if the point is a six or eight. When you make a bet on the pass line and a point is set on four, five, six, eight, nine, or 10, you can place an odds bet. You win the odds wager if the point is rolled before a seven.
If the point is a four or 10, the odds bet pays 2 to 1. When the point is a five or nine, the odds bet pays 3 to 2. When the point is a six or an eight, the odds bet pays 6 to 5. The reason why so many craps tables use a 3 – 4 – 5 odds bet structure is because it simplifies the payout amounts. When you make a maximum odds bet using the 3 – 4 – 5 structure, all winning odds bets pay six times the original pass line bet amount.
Some casinos accept higher odds bets, with some taking up to 100 times the size of your original wager or higher. The reason why you want to take the maximum odds is because when you make a zero house edge wager it effectively lowers the overall house edge for the game.
All of the other bets at the craps table have a casino house edge, but when you make a full odds wager it increases the amount you have in play, with a larger amount wagered with no house edge. The casino still has an overall edge, but taking max odds lowers the true edge against you.
The don’t pass line and pass line bets have the lowest house edges at the craps table. The house edge of the don’t pass line is 1.36%, and the house edge on the pass line is 1.41%. These are the only two bets you should ever make at the craps table other than the odds wagers.
You can’t place an odds bet without placing a pass line or don’t pass line wager. This way the casino guarantees that they always have an edge. The best way to play craps is to make the table minimum wager on the pass or don’t pass line and back it with full odds. This keeps the house edge as low as possible.
2 – You Make Inside Bets
In the last section I covered the best bets to make when you play craps. The odds bets have a zero house edge, and the pass line and don’t pass line wagers have a house edge of 1.41% and 1.36%. All of the other bets at the craps table should be avoided. The other bets run from worse to absolutely terrible.
The place six place eight bet has a house edge of 1.52%, which isn’t much worse than the pass and don’t pass wagers, but it’s still worse. Things quickly go downhill from there. The place five and place nine bet has a house edge of 4%. The field bet is at 5.56%, and the place four and place 10 comes in at 6.67%.
When I play craps I see players making all kinds of bets. The craps table is a fun environment, and many players use a system that hedges bets or follows some method that doesn’t make any sense to me. I’ve had other players try to explain their complicated systems to me, but at the end of the day any bets you make other than the pass line or don’t pass line backed by full odds is a mistake. Every time you make a bet other than these you’re losing more money than you need to, so stop making them.
3 – You Play Online
Playing casino games online offers many advantages. You don’t have to travel to a land based casino, find a place to park, and fight the crowds of other gamblers. Sometimes you can even get a nice deposit bonus when you play craps online. But most craps players shouldn’t play online craps.
The reason why you shouldn’t play online craps doesn’t have anything to do with the safety of online play. You should only gamble online where you feel safe, so this shouldn’t stand in the way of online craps play. I’ve gambled at dozens of safe online casinos, and you can too.
Every game offered by the casinos is designed to win more than it loses. This includes craps, as you can see from the house edge examples I included above. With a house edge, the casino knows it makes money when players gamble on craps. The more you gamble, the more you lose on average.
This is where playing online for real money into play. When you play craps in a land based casino the number of rolls you can bet on every hour is limited based on how fast the casino personnel keep the game going and how fast players roll.
When you play craps online you can play almost as fast as you can press a button. Using some rough numbers, consider how this changes how much you can expect to lose playing craps in a land based casino and an online casino.
You make a pass line bet of $20, and can play 100 rolls every. When you play online, you might be able to make 400 or more rolls per hour. I realize that you’re not going to be making 100 and 400 come out rolls every hour, but the important ratio you need to understand here is that you can make four times as many rolls or more playing online craps.
Using round numbers, say you make 25 come out rolls and the rolls to resolve them every hour in a land based casino. This means that you make 100 come out rolls and resolve them online. Betting $20 on ever come out roll is a total of $500 in a land based casino and $2,000 online.
With a bet on the pass line with a house edge of 1.41% you can expect to lose, on average, $7.05 every hour in the land based casino.
Of course, you have control over how fast you play online craps. If you’re disciplined enough, you can even take fewer rolls playing online than you have to make in a land based casino. But few online players are disciplined enough to take fewer rolls.
If you decide to play online craps for real money, make sure you play at a slow pace. Try not to make more rolls than you see at a live craps table so you don’t lose more than normal.
The craps odds wager is the best in the casino. Any time you can make a bet with a zero house edge in a casino, you should jump on the chance. Stick with the pass or don’t pass line bets and back them with the full available odds and you keep the house edge as low as you can playing craps. The last thing to watch for is how many rolls you take every hour if you play online craps.