Should You Make Multiple Bets at the Craps Table?

Hands Throwing Dice on Craps Table, Craps Table Layout
Most craps gamblers have multiple bets on the table simultaneously. This has the effect of creating huge winning streaks and huge losing streaks.

But is that the best way to play the game?

You might be surprised to know this, but I have an opinion about whether you should make multiple bets at the craps table.

Having 3 Bets Going at the Craps Table at One Time

Most craps players try to get 3 bets going simultaneously at the craps table. They’ll start by making a pass line bet. Then on the next roll of the dice, they’ll place a come bet. On the 3rd roll of the dice, they’ll place another come bet.

Two Red Dice Stacked on Top of Each OtherIf the shooter is rolling point numbers the whole time, the player winds up with 3 bets in action all at the same time.

And some craps bettors will just keep placing come bets until the shooter rolls a 7, which can result in gobs of chips on the table.

Real wild men at the craps table supplement these standard bets with other bets with worse odds. Some of them are only marginally worse, like some of the place bets, but others are outrageously bad, like the any craps or any 7 bet.

The problem with a craps bet is the same problem you face with any bet in casino games:

A bet on a casino game is, essentially, a negative number.

And if you paid attention in math class, you’ll know that no matter what, if you add a series of negative numbers together, the sum is always also a negative number.

It doesn’t matter if you double or triple the size of those bets.

The more money you put into action per hour at the craps table, the more money you’ll lose in the long run.

Sure, you’ll have big swings when you hit a lucky streak, and you’ll also have big losing streaks.

But on average, your results are going to follow the same formula:

The number of bets you make per hour multiplied by the size of those bets multiplied by the house edge determines your expected average hourly loss rate.

Having Only One Bet on the Table at a Time Reduces the Amount of Money You Have in Action

You have multiple techniques you can use to decrease your average hourly loss rate.

One of those is to stick with the games (or bets) that have the lowest house edge.

Up Close Focus of Pass Line on Craps Table, House Icon, Arrow Going Down

For example, the house edge for the pass line bet is only 1.41%.

But the house edge for a bet on snake-eyes is 13.89%.

If you put $300 into action per hour on the former, your expected hourly loss is only $4.23.

Put that $300 into action on the latter, and your expected hourly loss skyrockets to $41.67.

For the purposes of this post, I’ll assume you can already tell the good bets from the bad bets at the craps table. (The main thing to remember is to stick with pass, don’t pass, come, don’t come, and odds bets.)

Since you already know how to minimize the house edge, let’s talk about how many bets you’re placing per hour.

If you place a new bet every time the shooter rolls the dice, you’ll bet putting a lot more money into action per hour than if you placed just one bet and waited for it to be resolved before making another bet.

This will reduce the amount of money you lose per hour dramatically.

An average craps table with about 9 players sees about 120 rolls per hour.

About 1/3 of those rolls will be new come-out rolls, or 40 rolls.

This means that you can reduce the amount of money you lose dramatically by only betting on the new come-out rolls.

Let’s assume you’re betting $10 per roll, and you bet on either pass or come on every roll. That’s $1200 per hour you’re putting into action, and you can expect to lose (on average) 1.41% of that.

That’s an expected hourly loss of $16.92.

Now assume you’re betting pass on every new come-out roll. That’s 40 rolls at $10 each, or $400 in hourly action.

Your expected loss is 1.41% of $400, or $5.64 per hour.

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The only thing I want to warn you about here is that you shouldn’t pay too much attention to what’s happening in the short run – at least not as it relates to your decisions about how many bets to have on the table at one time.

Craps is a random game, and it’s streakier than most. (This means it has a high standard deviation or volatility.)

This means that you’ll sometimes be at the table and win seemingly constantly.

It also means that sometimes you’ll be at the table and seem to lose way more than you expected.

The math in the long run doesn’t change, though.

The Worst Thing You Can Do

The worst thing you can do at the craps table is take any of the prop bets being offered by the stickman. All of these bet have a high house edge. And even though the minimum bet is low, over time, that high house edge will more than make up for it.

Proposition bets are one-roll bets that are determined on the outcome of the next roll.

Craps Table and Two Dice Showing Six

One example is the boxcars bet in craps. This is a bet that the next roll of the dice will result in a pair of 6s, for a total of 12.

You probably already know that there are 11 possible totals in craps, but some totals are more likely than others. That’s because some totals have multiple ways of coming up.

There are actually 36 possible outcomes when you roll a pair of dice. A total of 12 is only 1 of these, which means the probability of that bet winning is 1/36, or 35 to 1.

So yeah, a bet on boxcars is a longshot, but that’s not what makes it a bad bet.

What makes it a bad bet is the comparison of the payout with the odds of winning.

The boxcars bet normally pays off at 30 to 1, which means that, in the long run, you’ll lose a lot of money on that bet.

How much? The math is easy.

Guy Thinking, Math Equations BackgroundJust assume you’re betting $1 on boxcars 36 times in a row. You’ll win once and lose 35 times – if you see the mathematically predicted results.

How much money will you win or lose in that situation?

On one of those rolls, you’ll win $30.

On the other 35 rolls, you’ll lose $35.

That’s a net loss of $5 over 36 rolls, or a little over 13 cents per roll.

The house edge on that bet is that number expressed as a percentage. In this case, we’re looking at a bet with a house edge of 13.89%.

It should be obvious why you’d want to avoid a bet where you’re going to lose an average of 13.89% of your money, but if it’s not:

There are much better bets on the table.

The house edge for the pass line bet is only 1.41%, which means that over time you’ll lose 10X as much betting boxcars than you would betting the pass line bet.

The boxcars bet isn’t even the worst of the prop bets. It’s bad, but some of the other proposition bets are even worse.

All of them have a house edge of almost 10%, but most of them are significantly more than that.

Conclusion

You should not make multiple bets simultaneously at the craps table. The only thing you accomplish by doing so is increasing the average amount of money you’re going to lose per hour when playing.

Instead, just stick with the pass line bet, and when it’s resolved, bet it again.

Taking odds every time is a good idea, too, because it’s a bet with no house edge.

But even if you want to skip the odds bet, you’re better off not making too many bets at a time at the craps table.

Do you agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments.