Craps is the ultimate gambler’s game, one based mostly on chance, while nonetheless offering just enough strategic play to separate the skilled from the suckers.
The roll of the dice might be entirely random, but the best craps players out there know full well that their own decision-making ability is essential for sustained success.
Don’t take my word for it though, just get a load of the standard craps table betting layout found in every casino in Las Vegas. Craps offers by far the most complicated betting layout of all the table games, featuring dozens of wager types to choose from. Making things even tougher – at least for amateur players experiencing the game for the first time – craps betting is defined by slang terms like “yo-leven,” “hard way,” and of course, “snake eyes.”
As you might’ve suspected by now, unless you know your way around the craps table’s complex betting layout, it can be all too easy to get lost.
That applies to you as well as your chips, because when you make unwise wagers in a heated craps game, the price paid often trends toward some of the highest house edge rates in all of gambling.
As you can see in the table below, craps bets come in two distinct varieties – relatively safe plays that have the right risk-to-reward ratio; and longshot “exotic” bets that are basically like buying a lottery ticket:
Payouts and House Edge Rates for Common Craps Bets
|BET / RULES||PAYOUT||HOUSE EDGE|
|Odds – 4, 10||2 to 1||0.00 percent|
|Odds – 5, 9||3 to 2||0.00 percent|
|Odds – 6, 8||6 to 5||0.00 percent|
|Don’t Pass / Don’t Come||1 to 1||1.36 percent|
|Pass / Come||1 to 1||1.41 percent|
|Place 6, 8||7 to 6||1.52 percent|
|Field (3:1 on 12)||1 to 1||2.78 percent|
|Place 5, 9||7 to 5||4.00 percent|
|Field (2:1 on 12)||1 to 1||5.56 percent|
|Place 4, 10||9 to 5||6.67 percent|
|Big 6, 8||1 to 1||9.09 percent|
|Hard 6, 8||9 to 1||9.09 percent|
|Any Craps||7 to 1||11.11 percent|
|Hard 4, 10||7 to 1||11.11 percent|
|Hi-Lo (2 or 12)||15 to 1||11.11 percent|
|3; Yo-leven (11); Easy hops||15 to 1||11.11 percent|
|2; 12; Hard hops||30 to 1||13.89 percent|
|Any Seven||4 to 1||16.67 percent|
Anytime you start talking about double-digit house edge rates, you have a big problem as a gambler.
It’s one thing to battle against a game like blackjack, where the house edge of 0.40 percent for basic strategy players means you can expect to bring back $99.60 for every $100 wagered over the long run. That’s a fair fight, and while the whims of short-term variance will inevitably rear their ugly head, low house edge rates ensure players aren’t flirting with bankroll disaster over the long run.
But when the house edge climbs to 11.11 percent – as it does on the uber-popular Any Craps and Hi-Lo bets – even sweet payouts of 7 to 1 and 15 to 1, respectively, can’t make up for that huge hole the house edge puts you in.
Knowing this, savvy craps players who know the score seldom (if ever) tempt fate by betting on the exotics. Instead, they stick to the low house edge bets like the Place (6 or 8) and Field.
Betting against those house edges of 1.52 percent and 2.78 percent, respectively, is all well and good – but eagle-eyed readers are probably asking one question right about now:
What about those first entries on the table offering no house edge whatsoever?
Those are the infamous Odds bets, a follow-up wager made after players put a chip down on the Pass Line or Don’t Pass Line. Once a point number has been set, the Odds bet allows craps players to place a one-time wager that the shooter will roll the point number again before “sevening” out.
If the shooter does their job and hits the point again, Odds bettors receive one of the rarest gifts found on the casino floor – a true odds payout which doesn’t provide the house with a percentage point of inherent edge.
Those true odds payouts – of 2 to 1 on points of 4 and 10; 3 to 2 on 5 or 9; and 6 to 5 on 6 or 8 – make the Odds bet extremely attractive to players who appreciate value.
Let’s say you want to play craps for $15 per rolling session. You could risk the whole $15 on a Pass Line Bet without taking the Odds, and this plan of attack would net you an expected loss of $0.212 ($15 x 1.41 percent house edge on Pass Line = 0.212).
On the other hand, you could also place a $5 Pass Line Bet and save the other $10 for an Odds bet. Using this approach, your expected loss falls sharply to only $0.049 per session.
That’s right, using the Odds bet to your advantage makes every craps session approximately 4.5 times better in terms of expected value.
And based on the size of that Odds bet – based on multiples of your original Pass / Don’t Pass wager – the house edge on craps can be carved down to infinitesimal levels:
House Edge on Craps Odds Bet (by Odds Limit)
|ODD (TAKEN)||PASS LINE||DON’T PASS|
|0X||1.41 percent||1.36 percent|
|1x||0.848 percent||0.682 percent|
|2x||0.606 percent||0.455 percent|
|Full Double Odds||0.572 percent||0.431 percent|
|3x||0.471 percent||0.341 percent|
|3x-4x-5x||0.374 percent||0.273 percent|
|5x||0.326 percent||0.227 percent|
|10x||0.184 percent||0.124 percent|
|20x||0.099 percent||0.065 percent|
|100x||0.021 percent||0.014 percent|
Old-timers who love rolling them bones have long appreciated the Odds bet as one of the best around. Back in the day, casinos gladly offered Odds of up to 100x on your base wager, knowing players would erase their equity gains by splashing around on exotic bets too.
Today, however, the corporate casinos have essentially eradicated 100x craps in Las Vegas, where only a single venue still honors the tradition.
The 100x Odds tables might be a thing of the past, but if you’re visiting Las Vegas and feel like testing your luck at the craps table, take your action to one of the six best “Off-Strip” places to play in Sin City listed below.
1 – Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall on the Boulder Highway
A classic local’s casino, Sam’s Town is a no-nonsense gambling hall that caters to craps players.
The four craps tables at Sam’s Town each offer 20x Odds, which are the highest in Las Vegas (aside from the lone 100x holdover at the Cromwell on The Strip). Players here also get 3 to 1 payouts (Triple) on the Field bet when a 12 hits, which is always a nice bonus.
Craps base bet limits at Sam’s Town start at $3 minimum and run through the $1,000 maximum, but it’s those juicy 20x Odds that keep players coming back for more.
2 – Main Street Station Casino Brewery Hotel on Main Street
Another no-frills local’s casino, Main Street Station is a fixture for hardcore craps players.
You’ll find three tables here using a $5 – $1,000 limit on base bets, 20x Odds, and Triple for 12 on the Field.
3 – Green Valley Ranch Resort Spa & Casino in Henderson
One of the glitzier Off-Strip casinos is Green Valley Ranch, where craps players enjoy a 10x Odds game and 2 to 1 (Double) payouts on 12 when betting on the Field.
But the four tables here have something special in a series of side bets that can produce massive payouts:
After a point number is established, winning on All Small or All Tall requires the 2-3-4-5-6 or the 8-9-10-11-12 combos, respectively, to land before the shooter sevens out. As for the Make ‘Em All bet, you’ll need to see all non-7 numbers land before the shooter’s roll ends to collect.
4 – Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa in Summerlin
It’s a bit of a drive from The Strip, but Red Rock Resort is definitely worth the wait.
This place is modelled after the most modern luxury resorts on Las Vegas Boulevard, except for its craps selection that is. At the Red Rock, you’ll have five tables offering 10x Odds at $10-$5,000 base bet limits, plus the popular Small/Tall/All side bet described above.
5 – The D Las Vegas on Fremont Street in Downtown
Downtown Las Vegas used to be the home of the 100x Odds, and while those days have passed, The D still spreads two tables with 10x Odds, Triple on the 12 for Field bettors, and low limits of $5-$5,000 on base bets.
6 – Jokers Wild Casino in Henderson
If you like the idea of betting tiny on the base bets, then upping the ante on your Odds wager, Jokers Wild is the place for you.
The craps table here uses a $1 base bet minimum, the lowest limit in all of Las Vegas, alongside 10x Odds and Triple on 12.
This quaint but classic gambling hall also offers roulette for a quarter per spin, and $3 per hand blackjack, making it perfect for budget-minded gamblers.
The Odds bet in Craps has become the stuff of legend, as all it takes is a hot shooter to turn a small stack of chips into a mountain of money. Now that you know your way around Las Vegas’ best Off-Strip venues for craps, get out there and take the house on in the fairest fight casino gambling can ever offer.