One of the most confounding casino games for rookie gamblers visiting Las Vegas is real money craps.
And that’s a shame too, because the classic dice rolling affair is also one of the most entertaining experiences on any casino floor. Even better, despite the trappings of exotic bets like the “hard way,” the basic wagers in craps offer odds which are among the most favorable around.
Unfortunately, due to the craps table’s reputation as the domain of hardcore gamblers, many beginners who want to learn the game never step up to take the dice in hand. This phenomenon can be attributed to many reasons, but first and foremost is the intimidating atmosphere presented by a traditional Las Vegas craps table.
And even when you’re not rolling the bones yourself, a crowded caps table can feel more like a frat party than a casino game. Everyone is shouting their desired number, yelling to the dealer to get bets down, and celebrating in unison when the shooter nails their point number.
As for the craps table itself, this elongated piece of equipment is always home to no less than five casino staff members working the game. You’ll see a boxman supervising the action, a stickman sliding the dice to shooters, and three dealers scanning bets to collect losers and pay out winners.
Throw in one of the more complex betting layouts found in any casino – one featuring several dozen unique wager types listed using all variety of slang terminology – and traditional craps can easily dissuade would be beginners from giving the game a try.
For these reasons, whenever I encounter a craps rookie lingering near the rail and showing hesitation, I politely suggest that they try a “Bubble” craps machine first.
Officially known as “Shoot to Win Craps,” these innovative machines manufactured by Aruze Gaming manage to recreate the game to perfection in a personalized play format.
The only thing is, many Las Vegas gamblers simply ignore these Shoot to Win Craps machines out of hand, mistakenly believing them to be bastardized versions of the real deal.
That’s what Scott Roeben of the popular Vital Vegas blog used to do, as the experienced local simply didn’t see Shoot to Win Craps as a viable alternative. Here’s what Roeben had to say about this first impression of the machine:
“We love traditional craps, at a craps table, with the chips and the cussing and the dice you can fondle, so we spent months just walking right by the Shoot to Win Craps game.
Until recently, when we sat down and played, and we loved it right from the start.”
After taking the time to play Shoot to Win Craps – which takes its “Bubble Craps” moniker from the plexiglass bubble used to house and roll large foam dice – Roeben took to his Vital Vegas page and spread the new game’s gospel to the masses:
“Craps can be intimidating. While craps tables are often the most boisterous parts of a casino, the jargon and fast pace of the game can be a little off-putting.
The table layout and bets can take some time to learn, so many just watch and move on to game they’re more comfortable with.
Shoot to Win Craps makes craps accessible to everyone, and even provides a lot of benefits more experienced players will appreciate.”
If you’ve ever wanted to play craps for yourself, but couldn’t quite muster the courage to put chips down on a real table, this page is here to tell you that Shoot to Win Craps provides the perfect entry point.
Shoot to Win Craps Machines Won’t Hit You With Hidden Changes
First things first… you’re probably wondering how the house uses Shoot to Win Craps machines to get one over on players.
In other machine-based replicas of traditional table games, the casino can easily adjust the odds ever so slightly in their favor to increase the house edge. Video blackjack machines largely eschew the more favorable 3 to 2 payouts on a natural 21 for the inferior 6 to 5 reward. And on a video roulette machine, you might find 34 to 1 payouts on a single number hit instead of the standard 35 to 1.
But on a Shoot to Win Craps machine, the payouts and house edge rates are identical across the board to those offered on a genuine craps table:
Payouts and House Edge Rates for Common Bets on the Shoot to Win Craps Machine:
|Odds 4, 10||2 to 1||0.00%|
|Odds 5, 9||3 to 2||0.00%|
|Odds 6, 8||6 to 5||0.00%|
|Don’t Pass/Don’t Come||1 to 1||1.36%|
|Pass/Come||1 to 1||1.41%|
|Place 6, 8||7 to 6||1.52%|
|Field (3:1 on 12)||1 to 1||2.78%|
|Place 5, 9||7 to 5||4.00%|
|Field (2:1 on 12)||1 to 1||5.56%|
|Place 4, 10||9 to 5||6.67%|
|Big 6, 8||1 to 1||9.09%|
|Hard 6, 8||9 to 1||9.09%|
|Any Craps||7 to 1||11.11%|
|Hard 4, 10||7 to 1||11.11%|
|Hi-Lo (2 or 12)||15 to 1||11.11%|
|3; Yo-leven (11); Easy Hops||15 to 1||11.11%|
|2; 12; Hard Hops||30 to 1||13.89%|
|Any Seven||4 to 1||16.67%|
This may not seem like much at first glance, but knowing that Aruze Gaming chose to design their Shoot to Win Craps machines with integrity is very important. I would never advise my readers to take a shot on an inferior wager, so rest assured that you’ll be facing the exact same odds and house edge rates, while playing for the same payouts, when you try the Bubble Craps alternative.
The Minimum Bet Limits and Odds Offered Can Be Much Better on Bubble Craps
Speaking of odds, one of the most popular and profitable wagers in craps – and all of casino gambling for that matter – is known as the Odds bet.
After you’ve placed an introductory bet on either the Pass Line or the Don’t Pass Line, and the shooter sets a point number on their come out roll, you are then free to “take the Odds.” Essentially, this is a second bet placed behind your Pass Line or Don’t Pass Line wager which pays out at true odds when based on the point number.
In other words, you’ll receive a payout of 2 to 1 on your money when the shooter rolls the point of 4 or 10 again; 3 to 2 odds on a 5 or 9 point; and 6 to 5 on a 6 or 8 point. And as the table above makes clear, the Odds bet offers one of the rarest sights in all of casino gambling – a wager with no house edge whatsoever.
Of course, casinos aren’t in the business of offering fair odds like this, which is why you have to place a perfunctory Pass Line or Don’t Pass Line bet first. Furthermore, craps tables nowadays have ditched the old 100x limit on Odds bets which once made Las Vegas the craps capital of the world. Instead, you’ll often see physical craps tables in Sin City limit the Odds bet to 3x on 4 or 10 points, 4x on the 5 or 9, and 5x on the 6 or 8.
Here’s how the various limitations on Odds betting can affect your overall house edge rate when the Pass Line or Don’t Pass Line wagers are factored in:
House Edge on Craps Odds Bet (by Odds Limit):
|Odds (Taken)||Pass Line||Don’t Pass|
|Full Double Odds||0.572%||0.431%|
Now that you know how the Odds bet works, check out the list below to see how various Las Vegas casinos choose to limit this crucial wager:
Survey of Craps Tables in Las Vegas:
|Casino||Minimum Bet||Maximum Odds|
|Main Street Station||$5||20x|
|New York New York||$10||3x-4x-5x|
|Red Rock Resort||$5||10x|
|SLS Las Vegas||$5||10x|
As you can see, almost all of these venues like to cap their Odds bet action using the 3x-4x-5x structure. And when you can find higher limits than that, you’ll usually need to place a higher minimum wager on the Pass Line or Don’t Pass Line to “earn” that right.
Conversely, players sitting at a Shoot to Win Craps machine can almost always limit their initial liability via lower minimum bets.
Almost every casino in town uses a $5 or $10 minimum on the initial bets when you play at a traditional table. But when you try the Shoot to Win Craps machine, you’ll be able to learn the game at a more leisurely pace thanks to lower limits – all while still enjoying up to 5x on your Odds bet:
Survey of Shoot to Win Craps Machines in Las Vegas:
|Casino||Minimum Bet||Maximum Odds|
|New York New York||$2||5x|
Comfort Is Key on the Shoot to Win Craps Machine
Enough about the intricacies of craps mathematics for a moment though… the real hook offered by Shoot to Win Craps machine is ease of entry.
When you play Bubble Craps, you won’t have to worry about anybody else at the table sizing you up and pegging you as a rookie.
That means no dirty looks if you decide to dance with the “dark side,” a colloquial craps term used to describe Don’t Pass Line bettors. Similarly, when you want to splash around on some of the more longshot exotic wagers like the Any Craps, Hard Way, or Yo-Leven, you can feel free to indulge yourself without receiving a lecture from more conservative players.
And for pure beginners who are simply trying to learn the rules and basic gameplay, Shoot to Win Craps uses a convenient touchscreen input to make the betting layout easy to read and navigate.
You can watch this short video provided by Aruze Gaming to see exactly how Shoot to Win Craps machines present the game from the player’s perspective:
I’ll be the first to admit that as a longtime craps player, adjusting to the machine-based Bubble rolling can be a bit tricky. Cradling the dice in hand and letting them fly is all part of the fun, as is high-fiving and back-clapping your fellow players when the right number comes in.
But for folks who have little to no experience rolling real dice at the tables, sitting down for a session on the Shoot to Win Craps machine is definitely the next best thing. When you’ve learned the ropes there, feel free to take your newfound knowledge and confidence to the tables to complete your evolution from student to master.