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How to Win Consistently at Craps

Craps gives you one of the best chances to win in the casino if you know the right strategy. But it’s also one of the worst games in terms of house edge when you place the wrong bets.

In order to win consistently, this makes the goal to place the best bets and avoid the worst ones.

But what are the best bets? And is there anything else that you need to know to win regularly in craps?

I’ll answer both of these questions while discussing what you can do to boost your craps odds. You and I will also discuss a bet with no house edge that dramatically improves your chances of winning.

Separate the Good Bets from the Bad

Craps offers you one of the biggest betting varieties in all of gaming. You’ll see dozens of potential wagers on a craps table.

This is great if your goal is to just have fun and try as many different bets as possible. But there are very few wagers you should pay attention to if your main goal is to win consistently.

Here are the different craps bets, along with their house edges:

  • Don’t pass line/don’t come = 1.36% house edge
  • Pass line/Come = 1.41%
  • Place 6/Place 8 = 1.52%
  • Lay 4/Lay 10 = 2.44%
  • Lay 5/Lay 9 = 3.23%
  • Place 5/Place 9 = 4.0%
  • Lay 6/Lay 8 = 4.0%
  • Buy 4/Buy 10 = 4.76%
  • Buy 5/Buy 9 = 4.76%
  • Buy 6/Buy 8 = 4.76%
  • Field = 5.56%
  • Place 4/Place 10 = 6.67%
  • Hard 6/Hard 8 = 9.09%
  • Big 6/Big 8 = 9.09%
  • Yo (11) = 11.11%
  • 3 = 11.11%
  • 2 or 12 (Hi Lo) = 11.11%
  • Craps (2, 3, or 12) = 11.11%
  • Hard 4 / Hard 10 = 11.11%
  • Horn = 12.5%
  • Whirl = 13.33%
  • 2 = 13.89%
  • 12 = 13.89%
  • Any 7 = 16.67%

You can see above that the top six craps wagers are as follows:

  • T – 1. Don’t pass line
  • T – 1. Don’t come
  • T – 2. Pass line
  • T – 2. Come
  • T – 3. Place 6
  • T – 3. Place 8

Anything beyond these six bets isn’t worth making, unless you don’t care about winning.

Learn How the Best Bets Work

You don’t have to know how the top six bets work to make them. But you’ll certainly want to know how they win and lose just for the sake of understanding craps.

Here’s a closer look at what you must know about pass line, don’t pass line, come, don’t come, Place 6, and Place 8.

Pass Line

The pass line bet is made on the “come out” roll, or the first roll by a new shooter. This wager wins if a 7 or 11 is tossed on the come out, and it loses when a 2, 3, or 12 is rolled.

Any other number (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10) establishes a point. Pass line bettors want the point number to be rolled before a 7 in order to win.

Pass line pays 1:1, and it has 251:244 odds of winning.

Don’t Pass Line

The don’t pass line bet is made on the come out roll. It wins when a 2 or 3 is tossed on the come out, loses when a 7 or 11 is rolled, and pushes when a 12 is rolled.

Any other number becomes the point. Don’t pass line bettors need a 7 to be rolled before the point to win.

Don’t pass line pays 1:1 for a win and features 976:949 true odds.

Come

The come bet has the same rules as pass line with regard to how it wins and loses. The only difference is that you can’t make a come wager until a point has been established.

Your come out roll becomes the shooter’s first roll after the point has been determined.

You win with a 2 or 3 on the come out, and lose with a 2, 3, or 12. When a point is established, you need the point number to be rolled before a 7.

Don’t Come

A don’t come bet has the same rules as don’t pass line. But like the come bet, you can only place this wager after a point is established.

You win with a 2 or 3 on the come out, lose with a 7 or 11, and push with a 12. During the point rolls, you need a 7 to come up before the point number.

Place 6

Place 6 and Place 8 are the two best prop bets in craps.

With Place 6, you need a 6 to be rolled before a 7 to win this bet. Place 6 pays 7:6 and has 6:5 true odds.

Place 8

With Place 8, you need an 8 to be rolled before a 7. Place 8 is just like Place 6 in that it pays 7:6 for a win and has 6:5 true odds.

Quick Tip on Don’t Betting

Don’t pass line and don’t come bets have the lowest house edges at 1.36%. This means that you should theoretically make these wagers every time because they give you the best chance to win.

Interestingly enough, though, many players instead make pass line and come bets in land-based casinos. But why?

Players traditionally like pass line and come wagers because they’re betting with the shooter. In contrast, don’t pass line and don’t come bets see you rooting for the shooter to lose.

Many craps players like following tradition because it creates a team-like atmosphere. And this camaraderie adds something to the game because players cheer together when their pass line bets win.

Of course, nothing is stopping you from making don’t bets. And other players won’t be waiting in the parking lot for you afterward if you do.

But I personally think that it’s worth sacrificing the extra 0.05% on the house edge in order to experience the camaraderie.

The one time that you do want to make don’t pass line and don’t come wagers, though, is when you’re playing online. You’re not at the table with anybody else in an online game, and it does no good to make pass line and come bets, since they have a slightly higher house edge.

Make Odds Bets

Earlier we covered how pass line and don’t pass line are two of the top craps bets. But there’s another wager that’s even better, called odds.

The odds wager doesn’t carry a house edge. Instead, this bet pays at your true odds of winning.

You need to wait until a point has been established to make an odds bet. You then put an odds wager behind either your pass line or don’t pass line bet and inform the dealer.

You “take odds” when you put odds behind a pass line bet, and you “lay odds” when you place odds behind a don’t pass line wager.

Taking odds means that you need the shooter to roll the point number before a 7 for win. Here are payouts for taking odds:

  • 2:1 on point numbers of 4 and 10.
  • 3:2 on points of 5 and 9.
  • 6:5 on points of 6 and 8.

Laying odds means that the shooter must toss a 7 before the point for you to win. Here are the payouts for laying odds:

  • 1:2 for points of 4 and 10.
  • 2:3 for points of 5 and 9.
  • 5:6 for points of 6 and 8.

The size of the odds bet you make depends upon the casino.

Most limit their odds to 5x or lower. But there are rare exceptions like the Cromwell in Las Vegas, which allows up to 100x odds.

Ideally, you’ll get the highest odds that you can afford, because this lowers the house edge. Of course, you also need the bankroll to place higher odds.

I recommend betting at least 1x or 2x odds if they’re available because this improves your chances of winning by quite a bit. Here’s a look at how the house edge decreases on your pass line or don’t pass line bet based on the size of odds:

Odds

Pass Line/Come

Don’t Pass Line/Don’t Come

0x

1.41% house edge

1.36% house edge

1x

0.848%

0.682%

2x

0.606%

0.455%

Full Double Odds

0.572%

0.431%

3x

0.471%

0.341%

3x 4x 5x

0.374%

0.273%

5x

0.326%

0.227%

10x

0.184%

0.124%

20x

0.099%

0.065%

100x

0.021%

0.014%

Get Craps Comps

Comps won’t swing the craps house edge in your favor. But they will make you feel like you’re winning more often when you’re picking up rewards like free meals, show tickets, free hotel stays, and store merchandise.

The first order of business when playing at a land-based casino is to make sure you’re getting comps. This can be done through one of three ways:

  • Buy into the game for several hundred dollars in hopes of the pit boss noticing.
  • Make big bets so that you draw the pit boss’ attention.
  • Sign up for the players club and hand your card to the boxman. He’ll then tell the pit boss that you wish to be rated.

The last method is the most consistent with regard to getting yourself rated. But if you’re a high roller, you can usually just start betting and the pit boss will spot you.

You don’t have to worry about this at online casinos, because they award loyalty points as soon as you deposit and begin playing real-money craps. You can later exchange these points for cash.

Regardless of whether you’re playing at online or land-based casinos, you should never chase comps. It feels great to earn a free meal or more cashback, but you’ll actually be winning less because your losses will theoretically be higher.

Let’s look an example below:

  • The casino’s comp rate is 0.1%.
  • You make $10 pass line bets (1.41% house edge).
  • The average number of rolls at your table is 100.
  • Your pass line bet takes 5 rolls to be decided.
  • This means you’re making 20 bets per hour ($200 in wagers).
  • Your theoretical comp value is $0.20 per hour (200 x 0.001).
  • Your theoretical losses are $2.82 an hour (200 x 0.0141).

The theoretical losses are over 10 times what your theoretical comps are. That said, it definitely doesn’t make sense to extend sessions just to get rewards.

Dice Control: Real or Myth?

Advantage play is the only true way to consistently win at casino games. And craps has an alleged advantage-play method called dice control (a.k.a. controlled shooting).

Dice control involves holding the dice in a specific away and tossing them with the same amount of force every time. The idea is to throw in a consistent manner to produce desired results.

Oftentimes, dice control experts try to avoid throwing 7 on a pass line bet once the point is established. The common method for doing this involves holding the dice in a V shape, where the 3s form of a V.

This grip avoids showing any 7 combinations. And you want to lightly toss the dice off the back wall so they don’t fly apart and randomize results.

Dice control experts like Dominic LoRiggio and Frank Scoblete suggest that players need to practice controlled shooting just like a basketball player practices their shot. The goal is to become skilled enough to where you can produce desired results once every 30-40 rolls, because this is all that’s needed to overcome the house edge.

While this sounds good in theory, dice control is rarely touted by anybody who’s not writing books or teaching seminars on the subject. Furthermore, this isn’t a widely proven advantage-play technique like card counting is.

In the end, there’s nothing you can do to win consistently in craps, other than making pass line and don’t pass line bets backed with odds.

Conclusion

Craps offers one of the lowest house advantages in gaming when odds bets are involved. Even taking the lowest odds (1x) will lower the house edge to 0.85% with a pass line wager.

This means that you can win more consistently in craps than just about any other casino game.

What’s more is that you don’t even need to use extensive strategy to do so.

The only catch is that you must have a bankroll that’s big enough to make odds bets. As long as this is the case, then you’ll have a great chance to win.