Craps is the most exciting game in the casino. If you’re social and an adrenaline junkie, you’ll love it. Here are 7 ways to win at craps even if you’ve never played before.
I want to point out up front that craps is a negative expectation bet, no matter how well you play. The math behind all the bets ensures that the casino profits in the long run.
But the house edge on some bets at the craps table is lower than at any other casino game. (Some of the bets have ridiculously high edges, too. The trick is being able to discern the good bets from the bad bets.)
My goal with this post is to provide you with a fighting chance of walking away from the craps table a winner. Advanced craps players might find this post boring.
But if you’re a beginner and want to learn how to win at the most exciting game in the casino, you should love this post.
1- You can’t win at craps if you don’t understand how to play. So learn the rules first.
Craps seems incomprehensible at first. But the game’s a lot simpler than you think.
Craps is played in rounds. The shooter (the person throwing the dice) starts the round by making a “come-out roll”. That’s the first roll of the dice.
The basic bet in craps is the pass line bet. This is a bet that the shooter will succeed.
The shooter succeeds by rolling a 7 or an 11 on the come-out roll. If the shooter rolls a 2, 3, or 12 on the come-out roll, she fails.
If the shooter rolls any other total, she’s set a point. She keeps rolling the dice until she rolls the point again or rolls a 7.
If she rolls the point again, she succeeds. If she rolls a 7 before then, she fails.
The pass line bet pays off even money if the shooter succeeds.
The house edge on that bet is only 1.41%.
That’s not the only bet available, though. You can also bet “don’t pass”, which pays off if the shooter fails. The house edge on that bet is marginally better–1.36%.
You have a whole lot of other bets to choose from at the craps table, but if you know these two bets, you can get started.
2- Once you understand the rules, figure out which bets have the lowest house edge.
This part’s easy. The more complicated the bet, the worse the odds are.
The most basic bets in craps have the lowest house edge. Pass and don’t pass are close to the best bets on the table.
On later rolls of the dice during a round, you can also place come and don’t come bets. These bets treat each of those rolls as if they were the beginning of another round. They have the same house edge and same rules for paying off as the pass and don’t pass bets.
They just start later in the action.
The worst bets at the craps tables are the proposition bets. A lot of these bets are single roll bets. They’re bets that a certain outcome will happen on the next roll of the dice.
Here’s an example of a single roll bet:
Any craps pays off at 7 to 1 if you win. And you win if the next roll totals 2, 3, or 12.
But the house edge on that bet is 11.11%.
That’s almost 10 times the house edge of the pass or don’t pass bet.
You’ll see all kinds of crazy proposition bets available on the inside of the table. Just ignore them. The odds are lousy on all of them.
The most important and exciting bet is the odds bet, though. I’ll talk about that next.
3- Always take the biggest odds bet you can.
The odds bet is the only bet in the casino with no house edge. Here’s the catch with the odds bet:
You can only place the odds bet if you made a pass or don’t pass bet. You can only place the odds bet if a point has been set. And the odds bet must be a multiple of the pass or don’t pass bet.
This bet pays off at true odds. This means that the casino has no edge over the player.
Casinos limit how much money you can bet on the odds bet with a multiple of your pass or don’t pass bet. For example, if the casino only allows 2X odds, you can only bet twice the size of your pass/don’t pass bet.
This has the net effect of reducing the cumulative house edge of your pass bet or don’t pass bet combined with the odds bet to ridiculously low numbers
Suppose you bet $100 on the pass line. The shooter rolls an 8, which sets a point. You place an odds bet of $200. You now have $300 in action.
The house edge on that $300 is now only 0.6% instead of 1.41%.
If you’re able to bet 3X, 4X, or 5X, the house edge is even smaller.
If you can find a casino that allows you to place 100X odds, the house edge is only 0.02%.
You won’t find better numbers in the casino than that unless you’re counting cards or cheating.
4- Since we’re talking about odds bets, find the casinos with the best odds and the most appropriate limits.
Now that we know the house edge goes down when we place higher odds bets, our next goal is to find a casino with a high limit on that bet. The Wizard of Vegas has readers who survey rules conditions at casinos throughout Las Vegas.
You can use that table to find the craps game that offers you the best chance of winning. For the most part, the best deal you’ll find in Vegas these days is a casino that allows you to place 10X odds. The good news is that most of those casinos have a $5 minimum bet.
This means that you can bet $5 on the pass line. When the point is set, you can place a $50 odds bet. The house edge on that combination is only 0.18%.
Craps is notoriously streaky, but this works to your advantage. Craps is your best chance to chalk up a big win.
Don’t be surprised if that big win evaporates fast, though.
Easy come, easy go.
5- Always take advantage of the players club at the casino.
The players club is also often called the slots club or the loyalty club. Casinos use this method to reward their players for sticking with the casino and placing lots of bets.
Signing up is easy. Once you’ve provided the casino with your info, they give you a card that’s used to track your action.
It’s important to understand that they don’t track your wins versus losses. The casino has a mathematical edge in every game on the floor. If you play long enough, you’ll lose all your money.
The casino’s only goal is to keep you playing, so that’s what they reward.
They take your total action and pay you back 0.2% or 0.3% of that action in rebates and comps.
If you’re good at math, you’ve probably already figured out that you can get a small edge over the casino. All you have to do is combine the low house edge with the rewards, and you have a net positive expectation.
Suppose you’re facing that 0.18% house edge on the pass line + odds bet. With 0.2% in comps and rebates, the house edge is actually -0.02%.
You’ll never make a living on that, but you can have a lot of fun at the casino for next to nothing.
And the rebates and comps the casinos offer don’t cost them much, either.
They offer things like free play on their slot machine games. That will evaporate quickly, so the casino doesn’t mind that.
They also offer free food and drink. They’re paying wholesale for that, so the cost of that reward is small compared to your perceived value. A $45 buffet probably only cost the casino $15.
Craps is the perfect game to earn comps playing.
6- Look into dice control techniques.
I’m skeptical of gambling writers who claim they can influence the outcome of dice rolls. I’ll tell you why:
Casinos aren’t taking countermeasures against these dice control experts.
Think about it. Look at how casinos treat suspected card counters. They run them off the blackjack tables or out of the casino altogether. They even keep databases of suspected card counters.
I’ve never seen a casino back a player off the craps table because he was getting too lucky, though.
That being said, I’m intrigued by the concept.
The idea is that if you can set the dice and reduce the odds of crapping out by even a tiny percentage, you can turn a negative expectation game into a positive expectation game.
If you want to try this for yourself, get ready. It ain’t easy or cheap.
First, you’ll need a craps table to practice on. So you need a garage or basement that will hold such a large piece of furniture.
Then you’ll need a buddy to help you track your progress. You could probably track your progress without help, but you’ll go a lot faster with some help.
You’ll also want to buy a book and/or a video explaining dice control techniques. You might even look into attending a seminar on the subject.
IF dice control works, it’s a skill. It takes practice to develop skills. If you’re able to pull it off, though, craps might be the most profitable casino game you’ve ever played.
If you’ve mastered dice setting, PLEASE leave a comment. I’d love to learn more about it.
7- Never play craps with money you can’t afford to lose.
I’ve had a similar bullet point in almost every posts in this “how to win at” series. The sad truth is that if you’re gambling with money you can’t afford to lose, you’re being foolish.
The only money you should ever gamble is money you don’t need for other purposes. You can hear many sad tales of gamblers who became homeless or lost their families because they kept gambling with money they couldn’t afford to lose.
Your gambling bankroll should only start accumulating AFTER you’ve got all the basics handled. What do I mean by the basics?
- Car payments
In other words, unless you’ve got your act together financially, you shouldn’t even be playing craps.
If you’ve ever seen the movie Indecent Proposal, you can see a dramatic reenactment of what it’s like to ALMOST achieve your financial goals when gambling. You know where it goes from there, too.
Craps is a negative expectation game. This means the math is against you. I know of no betting system or strategy that will enable you to buck the math in the long run.
The good news is that a little knowledge and skill CAN help you win in the short run. In fact, craps is a streakier game than most. The trick is to stick with the bets with the lowest house edge. Then hope you get lucky.
This means using a disciplined approach and betting pass or don’t pass most of the time. The only other bet you’ll make is the odds bet. (Come and don’t come count too.)
You might want to investigate dice control and dice setting techniques. But I think only the most dedicated dice control students can use these techniques to win at craps with any kind of consistency.
I think most people should just enjoy having fun at craps. Try to get lucky in the short run. And don’t gamble with money you can’t afford to lose.
Do that, and you’ll have a better chance of winning than most.
I hope you enjoyed reading these 7 ways to win at craps.