Craps Strategy Guide

Introduction

The game of Craps is one of the simplest games in the casino, both land-based and online, once you understand the fundamentals of how the game works. Once you have come to understand the workings of the game, every single bet on the table is fairly straightforward, but there are only a few smart bets to make if you are playing recreationally.

In the meantime, some online bonus offers might present an advantage if your game of choice is Craps. It should be mentioned that most online casinos do not permit play at Craps while on a bonus, or if they do, it often does not count towards the bonus requirements. Therefore, it is important to check the general Terms & Conditions as well as any additional Bonus Terms that may be in place if you choose to make Craps your game.

We will begin by examining many of the different bets that can be made at Craps after initially explaining the game play. By the time you reach the end of this page, you should have a full understanding of all of the different bets available on the table, and which ones are the most intelligent to make.

Game Play

Regardless of what bets you choose to make in the game of Craps, there is a fundamental game that will always take place whether or not you are making bets that have to do with the fundamental game. In a land-based casino, you will have to make a bet on either the Pass Line or Don’t Pass Line (the base game) in order to be allowed to roll the dice. Whether or not these bets need to be made at an online casino may vary depending on the casino.

If you are not shooting the dice in a brick-and-mortar casino, you can generally make any bet on the table that you wish. In effect, you do not have to play the base game if you don’t want to. However, the base game invokes the two best bets (highest return-to-player, lowest House Edge) on the table, so generally, those are the only bets you should be playing, anyway.

The game of Craps starts with what is termed a, ‘Come Out Roll.’ When there is a new hand of Craps, the first roll will always be a, ‘Come Out Roll.’ At this point, that, ‘Hand,’ can either end immediately or move on to a series of rolls that will ultimately resolve the Pass and Don’t Pass bets.

If the result of a Come Out roll is a 2, 3, 7, 11 or 12, the Pass & Don’t Pass bets shall resolve immediately, as follows:

  or  

Roll 2 or 3: Pass Line Loses, Don’t Pass Wins

  or   or   or  

Roll 7 or 11: Pass Line Wins, Don’t Pass Loses

 

Roll 12: Pass LIne Loses, Don’t Pass Pushes

The numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10 are all termed, ‘Point Numbers,’ and if a point number has been rolled, the game continues until the point number repeats or a seven is rolled. If someone has a Pass Line bet out, and the point number repeats, the Pass Line bet wins and the Don’t Pass Loses. If a seven rolls before a point number, then the Don’t Pass bet wins and the Pass Line bet loses. All other numbers are inconsequential during this time, as far as Pass and Don’t Pass bets are concerned.

In effect, once a point number has been established, only that number and the seven matter unless you are making other bets.

The probabilities of rolling the following numbers on the Come Out are as follows:

  or  

2 or 12: 1/36 (2/36 combined)

  or  

3 or 11: 2/36 (4/36 combined)

  or   or   or  

4 or 10: 3/36 (6/36 combined)

  or   or   or  

5 or 9: 4/36 (8/36 combined)

  or   or    or   or   or    

6 or 8: 5/36 (10/36 combined)

  or   or  

7: 6/36

As you can see, the sum of the combined results is 36/36, which means that there are thirty-six possible combinations of dice. Don’t be confused, while it seems that 5-4 is only one way to roll a total of nine, it is actually two because 4-5 is a possibility. Imagine if the dice were two different colors, blue and green, the blue die could be four and the green five or the green four and the blue five and the total is nine either way.

That is the fundamental game of Craps. Again, in a land-based casino, someone is betting on the Pass or Don’t Pass or there is no shooter and Craps is not being played.

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at all of the possible bets on the table.

The Main Game Bets

Pass Line

We have briefly discussed the Pass Line and the Don’t Pass Line, so let’s take a look at what goes into those bets, starting with the Pass Line.

If you place a Pass Line bet, then that bet will automatically be a winner with a result of seven or eleven on the Come Out roll, and will immediately lose with a roll of two, three or twelve. Any number shall result in a point being established, and the game will continue.

Let’s look again at those Come Out Roll probabilities from above:

  or  

2 or 12: 1/36 (2/36 combined)

  or   or   or  

3 or 11: 2/36 (4/36 combined)

  or   or   or  

4 or 10: 3/36 (6/36 combined)

  or   or   or  

5 or 9: 4/36 (8/36 combined)

  or   or    or   or   or    

6 or 8: 5/36 (10/36 combined)

  or   or  

7: 6/36

What that means is that there is an 8/36 probability of winning immediately as compared to a 4/36 probability of losing immediately. While that may seem like an advantage for the Pass Line, strictly speaking, a point being established is a disadvantage for the Pass Line.

After a point has been established, the only numbers that matter to the Pass Line at all are the point number itself or a seven. Therefore, if the point number is a four and there are three ways to roll a four as compared to six ways to roll a seven, then the probability of winning is 3/9. The probability of losing, at that point, is 6/9. Let us now take our probabilities from above and check our winning and losing percentages:

  or   or   or  

Come Out Winner, 7 or 11: 8/36 = 22.222%

  or   or  

Come Out Loser, 2, 3 or 12: 4/36 = 11.111%

  or   or   or  

Point Established, Made, 4 or 10: 6/36 * 3/9 = 5.56%

Point Established, Seven-Out, 4 or 10: 6/36 * 6/9 = 11.111%

  or   or   or  

Point Established, Made, 5 or 9: 8/36 * 4/10 = 8.889%

Point Established, Seven-Out, 5 or 9: 8/36 * 6/10 = 13.333%

  or   or    or   or   or    

Point Established, Made, 6 or 8: 10/36 * 5/11 = 12.626%

Point Established, Seven-Out, 6 or 8: 10/36 * 6/11 - 15.152%

Come Out Winners: 22.222%

Point Established Winners: 5.56% + 8.889% + 12.626% = 27.075%

Total Winners: 49.297%

Come Out Losers: 11.111%

Point Established Losers: 11.111% + 13.333% + 15.152% = 39.596%

Total Losers: 50.707%

Now, we can take the overall probability of winning and compare it to the overall probability of losing based on a $5 bet:

(5 * .49297) - (5 * .50707) = -.0705

What that means is that the player is expected to lose 7.05 cents for each $5 that is bet on the Pass Line, based on the expected loss against the amount bet, we come up with the following house edge:

.0705/5 = .0141 or 1.41%

Therefore, we conclude that a Pass Line bet has a House Edge of 1.41%, or an RTP of 98.59% if you prefer. Again, the Pass Bet is generally the best bet on the table other than Don’t Pass.

Don’t Pass

The Don’t Pass bet works almost the opposite of the way that the Pass Line bet does, the key difference is that a twelve on the Come Out roll does not resolve the bet at all. Some would say that the bet is resolved as a Push, it really doesn’t make a difference. I would say it technically results as a Push because the bet can be picked up, at that point, if the player does not wish to bet the Don’t Pass again.

From a player standpoint, more players in land-based casinos bet the Pass than those who bet the Don’t Pass in land-based casinos. This is most likely due to the fact that a Don’t Pass bet wins on a seven-out, but the player then has to pass the dice to the next player. Whether or not the player is betting the Pass or Don’t Pass, the Pass bet must win in order for the shooter to get to keep the dice. In that sense, you could say the game operates based on a Pass Line bet.

Don’t Pass shooters, therefore, find themselves betting, ‘Against the table.’ This may not result in being the most popular person at a brick-and-mortar casino, but if you’re only playing with yourself online, then there is no pressure to bet the Pass Line. Besides that, land casino players will usually not be verbally hostile towards you unless you are loudly celebrating when the, ‘Table loses,’ or something along those lines. You can generally play the, ‘Dark Side,’ quietly without incurring the wrath of your fellow players.

Let’s look at our probabilities from the Don’t Pass perspective on the Come Out:

  or   or   or  

Come Out Loser, 7 or 11: 8/36 = 22.222%

  or  

Come Out Winner, 2, 3: 3/36 = 8.333%

 

Come Out Push, 12: 1/36 = 2.778%

  or   or   or  

Point Established, Made, 4 or 10: 6/36 * 3/9 = 5.56%

Point Established, Seven-Out, 4 or 10: 6/36 * 6/9 = 11.111%

  or   or   or  

Point Established, Made, 5 or 9: 8/36 * 4/10 = 8.889%

Point Established, Seven-Out, 5 or 9: 8/36 * 6/10 = 13.333%

  or   or    or   or   or    

Point Established, Made, 6 or 8: 10/36 * 5/11 = 12.626%

Point Established, Seven-Out, 6 or 8: 10/36 * 6/11 - 15.152%

The ‘Point Established,’ probabilities remain the same, it’s just that the Don’t Pass wins on a Seven-Out.

Come Out Winners: 8.333%

Point Established Winners: 39.596%

Come Out Losers: 22.222%

Point Established Losers: 27.075%

Come Out Push: 2.778%

Total Winners: 47.929%

Total Losers: 49.297%

Total Push: 2.778%

Let’s look at what happens with that $5 bet:

(5 * .47929) - (5 * .49297) - (.02778 * 0) = -0.0684

In other words, each bet you make is expected to lose 6.84 cents for every $5. In other words, the house edge is .0684/5 = .01368 or 1.368%.

That is the House Edge per bet made, if you do not look at a Push as constituting a resolved bet. If you do not consider a Push as a resolution, then you must total the types of resolution and redo your probabilities accordingly. The sum is 97.226%, so we do this:

(5 * (.47929/.97226)) - (5 * (.49297/.97226)) = -0.07035155205

That number certainly isn’t as clean, so let’s call it an expected loss of 7.035 cents per five bucks. That results in a house edge of .07035/5 = .01407 or 1.407%.

In effect, the House Edge of the Don’t Pass bet is a few tenths of a percent lower on a bet made basis (if you don’t look at a Push as a resolution) and barely lower on a per bet resolved basis. In the long run, players will notice very little difference in betting the two sides, but it theoretically does matter in the extreme long run.

NOTE: Some people like to use the phrase, “Crap Out,” when they are actually referring to a Seven-Out. While people really shouldn’t cast aspersions on others for making simple and inconsequential colloquial mistakes, you may give other players a chuckle if you use, “Crap Out,” when referring to a Seven-Out.

In fact, the closest thing to what could be called a, ‘Crap Out,’ is the fact that any Crap number (2, 3 or 12) loses on the Come Out roll if you are betting the Pass Line. While that is true, the shooter is not, “Out,” and does not have to pass the dice. The only possible event that can end a shooter’s hand (other than the shooter volunteering to stop shooting) is a seven-out, and for that to happen, a point must have been rolled on the Come Out.

Come/Don’t Come Bets

I am lumping these two together because, relative to their sister Pass and Don’t Pass bets, they are the same thing. These are simply bets that function the same way as Pass or Don’t Pass bets but are made AFTER a point has been established. There is a separate betting area for these bets and they are crew service bets rather than player service bets. In other words, you would toss in your chip(s) and ask for a Come or Don’t Come bet.

The odds, probabilities and house edges are exactly the same as their counterpart Pass and Don’t Pass bets. The player has the option of having Come Bets that have travelled (went to a point number) working or not working (active or inactive) during a Come Out roll, but what the player chooses to do does not affect the probabilities at all.

Pass Line Odds

Pass Line Odds bets are often called, “Free Odds,” for a good reason. The Odds bets (on both sides) are one of the only opportunities a recreational player will have to get his money out there with no expectation of either winning or losing. The pays that a player receives for an Odds bet correspond exactly to the probability of the event.

The Odds bets are made when a point has been established on the Come Out roll, or alternatively when a Come bet has traveled. Let’s take a look at the probabilities and pays for these Odds bets:

  or   or   or  

Four or Ten: Pays 2:1, Probability of Winning: 3/9

  or   or   or  

Five or Nine: Pays 3:2, Probability of Winning: 4/10

  or   or    or   or   or    

Six or Eight: Pays: 6:5, Probability of Winning: 5/11

Instead of looking at the probabilities, if you invert the number of ways to roll the point number in question with the number of ways to roll a seven (after simplifying the fraction, if possible) you will notice that corresponds to the pays exactly. For example, 3/6 becomes 1/2 which then becomes 2/1. 4/6 becomes 2/3 which is inverted to 3/2. 5/6 cannot be simplified as is simply inverted to 6/5. Simply put: the pays are the same as the odds.

If you are playing at a live casino, you might hear a dealer admonish a Craps player making an Odds bet on a five or nine by saying, “Even Odds.” The reason for that is because, given the 3:2 payout, the player has to bet an even number on Odds for those two numbers for the pay to come out to a solid dollar amount. When it comes to the other numbers, any multiple of five is fine.

Let us now take a look at the Odds bets probabilities and pays based on a $10 bet:

  or   or   or  

Four or Ten: (20 * 3/9) - (10 * 6/9) = 0

  or   or   or  

Five or Nine: (15 * 4/10) - (10 * 6/10) = 0

  or   or    or   or   or    

Six or Eight: (12 * 5/11) - (10 * 6/11) = 0

What that means is that, in the long run, your expected result is nothing. You are expected to neither win nor lose on your odds bets as they have a return of exactly 100%.

Odds bets are also unique in that they can be pulled at anytime, or you may add to them, up to whatever multiple the casino allows.

The Effect of Odds on the House Edge

If you want a topic that is more controversial than it should be, here you go:ere are two schools of thought as pertains to the effect that the Odds bets have on the house edge, and here they are:

A.) No Effect

-The first school of thought is that the Odds Bets do not affect the House Edge of the Pass Line in anyway whatsoever. For what it’s worth, I am of this school of thought.

The argument for this side is that the Odds bet is an optional bet and the Pass Line bet (and it’s house edge of 1.41%) have already been made no matter what. There is no taking back the Pass Line bet, so as a result, how could an additional bet lessen the house edge of the Pass Line bet itself.

Essentially, these are two separate bets, one has a house edge and the other doesn’t.

B.) Reduces the House Edge

-The second school of thought is one that essentially states that the Odds bet should effectively be considered as part of the Pass Line bet for the purposes of calculating House Edge. Of course, this naturally assumes that the player will in fact be taking odds and will be taking the same multiple of odds every time, otherwise, there would be no way to make a categorical distinction.

Imagine if a Craps Table allowed what is known as 2x Odds, that means you can take up to double your Pass Line bet in Odds. What essentially happens for a $5 bettor is that said bettor has an expected loss of 7.05 cents on the Pass Line. That is the same expected loss even if Odds are taken, and Odds will be taken 66.667% of the time and not taken 33.333% of the time. Therefore, the average bet per each Come Out roll would be as follows:

(5 * .33333) + ( 15 * .66667) = $11.6667

In other words, the total that a player can expect to bet with that expected loss of 7.05 cents is $11.6667, and therefore, the effective house edge is .0705/11.6667 = .0060428399 or 0.604284%.

Effect on House Edge Conclusion

What the two sides must agree on is the expected loss, and the fact remains that the expected loss is the same amount no matter what Odds are taken, or no Odds at all. If you make a Pass Line bet of $5 and may take $50 in Odds, the expected loss is the 7.05 cents from the Pass LIne bet. If you take no Odds, the Expected Loss is the 7.05 cents from the Pass Line bet.

Both sides also must agree that your total expected loss vs. the amount of money you have exposed (as a ratio) is a lesser dollar amount if you take Odds. In other words, $100 in Pass Line bets have an expected loss of $1.41, but a $10 Pass Line bet with $90 in Odds has an expected loss of only 14.1 cents or $0.141.

It is a debate that rages on amongst Craps enthusiasts, however, and I have my side even though I would not vociferously assert my opinion on a subject that is largely immaterial to the mathematical fact. I say they are two separate bets, one with a house edge of 1.41% and one with a House Edge of 0.00%; some say they should be treated all as one bet, effectively. Six of one, half dozen of the other.

The same argument also theoretically exists for the Don’t Pass Odds, but we’re not going to get into it right now.

Don’t Pass Odds

The Don’t Pass bet was slightly the opposite of the Pass Line bet, but the Don’t Pass Odds bet is conceptually even easier to understand because it is the exact opposite. As with the Pass Line Odds, the Don’t Pass Odds represent an opportunity to get some money out there at a return-to-player of 100% in the long run.

Let’s take a look at our payouts and probabilities:

  or   or   or  

Four or Ten: Pays 1:2, Probability of Winning: 6/9

  or   or   or  

Five or Nine: Pays 2:3, Probability of Winning: 6/10

  or   or    or   or   or    

Six or Eight: Pays: 5:6, Probability of Winning: 6/11

This is called, ‘Laying the Odds,’ simply because when one is, ‘Laying,’ a bet that means betting from a position more likely to win than lose. Indeed, one is more likely to win that lose when making a Don’t Pass Odds bet, but that is mitigated by the fact that you will win less than the amount you are betting. Interestingly, in the case of the Five and Nine, you would no longer wish to bet, “Even Odds,” because that would not result in a correct payout in a Land-Based casino unless you were betting at least $30. We are going to base our bets off of $10, $15 and $12.

(5 * 6/9) - (10 * 3/9) = 0
(10 * 6/10) - (15 * 4/10) = 0
(10 * 6/11) - (12 * 5/11) = 0

 

As you can see, the long-term expectation of these bets is that you will neither win nor lose in the long-run.

The Don’t Pass Odds bets function in a slightly different way that Pass Odds bets in that a player can generally bet enough to win what the Pass Odds bet would be given the Odds multiplier at that casino. For example, if a casino offered 10x Odds and a player made a $5 Pass LIne bet, then the player could bet as much as $50 on odds regardless of the point. On the other hand, on the Don’t Pass Odds, the player could bet as much as it would take to win $50 based on the Odds payouts.

Thus, with 10x Odds, the player could bet the following amounts in Don’t Odds on the following points with a $5 Don’t Pass or Don’t Come bet:

Point 4 or 10: $100 (to win $50)

Point 5 or 9: $75 (to win $50)

Point 6 or 8: $60 (to win $50)

Again, the player is betting an amount sufficient to win the maximum that could be bet on Pass Line Odds were the player playing the Pass Line.

Don’t Pick Up Your Don’t!!!

The most important tip I can give players who are playing the Don’t Pass or Don’t Come bets is to never pick up a bet once a point has been established for that bet. There are many casinos that will allow the player to do so, and there is not a worse decision that a player can make.

Due to the fact that a seven is more likely than any other number, once a point has been established, the Don’t Pass bet now finds itself at an advantage. Regardless of the point number, the Don’t Pass bet is more likely to win than it is to lose. The opposite is true of the Pass Line bet, which is why casinos absolutely WILL NOT allow Pass bets to be picked up after the point has been established.

Pass and Dont’s Conclusion

Absent unusual circumstances, the Pass Line, Come Bets, Don’t Pass and Don’t Come bets are going to be your best bets on the table with exception to Odds bets. Of course, in order to make an Odds bet, you must first have made one of the four bets mentioned in the previous sentence.

For recreational players, those bets (and Odds) are really the only bets that you will ever need to know if you wish to minimize your expected losses (maximize RTP) while playing Craps. Granted, they are not as sexy as some of the bets that can immediately pay many times over your bet on the table, but those bets come at the cost of a greater expected loss. If you want to maximize your time at the table and value of the game, then those are the only bets that you really need to know.

For those of you who are interested in playing worse bets than those, or are just curious, please read on for some more multi-roll bets.

Multi-Roll Bets

Place Bets

Place bets are bets for people who want to, “Get to the Point,” so to speak. How they work is that the player will bet a particular amount on a certain point number (4,5,6,8,9 or 10) and will win if that number rolls before the next seven and lose if a seven rolls before that number.

These bets couldn’t be any simpler, and best of all, we already know the probability of success for each of these bets, so let’s get to the pays.

Place 6&8

  or   or    or   or   or    

We know that, when only the seven and the six (or eight) matters, that the probability of the six hitting before the seven is 5/11. The probability of the seven hitting before the six is 6/11.

Place Bets pay worse than true odds because they do not require a Pass Line bet to have been made in order for you to make the bet. In other words, if these bets paid true Odds, the casino would not be expected to make any money on them in the long-run.

In the case of Place Six and Place Eight, those bets pay 7:6 on a win, which means that the minimum bet on them at a land casino is often $6, but can rarely be $3 if the casino uses $0.50 chips. Now, let’s look at our probabilities v. our pays to generate an expected loss on a $6 bet, and therefore, a house edge.

(7 * 5/11) - (6 * 6/11) = -0.0909090909 or 9.091 cents

If we are expected to lose 9.091 cents on a six dollar bet, the house edge is:

.09091/6 = .0151516667 or 1.5152%.

Even when it comes to sticklers for a low house edge (such as myself) many of us will consider Place Bets acceptable on the six and eight because the house edge is low in comparison to the other bets on the table and only a tenth of a percent greater than the Pass Line. In other words, there are much worse bets that can be made.

It is very common to see people place the six or eight if the opposite is the point as well as to see a player place both of them if some other number is the point. Granted, it may be tough to justify a Place Bet of any kind if you have not already maxed out your Odds on the Pass Line, but some people (myself included) often place these numbers anyway because it makes the game more exciting to have more than two results (the point and the seven) that accomplish anything.

Place 5&9

  or   or   or  

The rest of the Place Bets can be made with a bet of $5 if that is the table minimum. The reason why is because all of the pays on those on the basis of to-five.

In the case of Place five or nine, we already know that the probability of winning such a bet is 4/10 because of what we went over earlier. Again, if you have placed the five (or nine) then only the number you have placed and the seven matter for the purposes of that bet.

The Place Five or Place Nine payout at 7:5, which you might notice is worse than 3:2 because 3:2 would be 7.5-to-5. Again, the bet will not pay true odds because no Pass Line bet has been made. Let’s take a look at our expected loss on a $5 bet and corresponding house edge:

(7 * 4/10) - (5 * 6/10) = .20 or $0.20.

If we are expected to lose twenty cents on a five dollar bet, then our house edge is .2/5 = .04 or 4%. Obviously, that is a terrible house edge compared to our Line Bets, Odds Bets and Place 6/8 bets.

Place 4 & 10

  or   or   or  

The Place 4 and 10 bets are worse still than all of the previous Place Bets, though the Buy Four and Buy Ten bets (which we will address later) are an improvement.

As we discussed, there is a 3/9 probability that either of these numbers will roll before a seven and a 6/9 probability that the seven will come first. If you make a $5 Odds bet on this event, then a win will get you $10, but that is knocked down to 9:5 for a Place Bet on either number. They’re shaving an entire dollar off of the win for the same bet amount!

Let’s take a look at our expected loss and then house edge:

(9 * 3/9) - (5 * 6/9) = -0.333333 or 33.333 cents.

As compared to a $5 bet, that represents a House Edge of .33333/5 = .066666 or 6.667%.

As you can see, that is more than four times the House Edge of a Pass Line bet, so I would suggest staying away from Placing that Four or Ten.

A Few Notes on Place Bets

1.) The game of Craps can often be boring for people who only make Line bets because a long time can pass for such people without anything happening. For example, on an established Point of Four, 27/36 (75%) of all rolls WILL NOT resolve the Line bet. This can result in long lulls in the action for a player playing only Line bets or Line bets with Odds. Come Bets can be a partial solution to this perceived problem, but some people don’t like making those and/or find them difficult to follow, especially when multiple Come bets have travelled to a point number.

For that reason, many players will make Place Bets to increase their overall amount of action as well as to have more rolls that win for them.

Again, you should stick to only the, ‘Good,’ Place bets if you wish to have more numbers in action, and those are the eight and the six.

2.) There are some different Place Bet calls that you will hear players make at a live Craps Table, so it can often be more entertaining to understand the calls that players frequently make in order to have an idea of what is going on. Here are a few common calls:

“Six and Eight”: This means that a player is tossing chips in and asking them to be divided evenly between the six and eight.

“Inside”: This means that the player is tossing chips in and requesting that they be spread across all inside numbers (5,6,8 and 9) that are not the point. For example, if the point is four and a player yells, “$22 inside,” while tossing in chips, he wants $5 on the five, $5 on the nine, $6 on the six and $6 on the eight.

“Across,”: When a player asks tosses in chips and asks for them to go, ‘Across,’ he wants them placed on all numbers that are not the point. If the point is four, a player might yell, “$27 across,” which means he wants $6 on the six and eight and $5 on each of the remaining three numbers.

3.) Place bets DO NOT help you win money.

Many players will, “protect,” their Pass LIne bet by placing all of the numbers, ‘Across,’ in the hopes that one of them (or the point) will hit before a seven. If that happens, the player either wins on a point number hitting, or has won more than the amount on the Pass Line if the Place Bet is equal to or exceeds the Pass Line bet. Let’s understand why this is a terrible bet with the following scenario:

A player has $5 on the Pass Line and the Point is Four. He asks for, “$27 across,” so let’s look at the different amounts that he can win or lose vs. the probabilities.

(5 * 3/36) + (9 * 3/36) + (7 * 8/36) + (7 * 10/36) - (32 * 6/36) = -0.6666 or -$0.67

The player is expected to lose $0.67 on this proposition if he sees it through until either one of his numbers hits or a seven rolls, that represents an expected loss of 2.09375% of the money he has exposed at the time. It is true that a four wins him $5, a ten wins him $9, a five or nine win him $7 and an eight or ten win him $7, but he will lose $32 if a seven hits prior to any of those numbers. He has a probability of 24/30 (ignoring the inconsequential 2,3,11 or 12) or 80% to win something, but that 20% of losing $32 overcomes that.

In other words, Place Bets are expected to result in you losing your money faster, not to help you win money.

4.) Pressing Bets

You will often hear players say, “Press,” after a winning Place Bet or a dealer asking, “Do you want to press?” All that means is that the dealer is asking whether or not the player wishes to double his Place Bet (or add to it) after a win. Again, this does not benefit the player in any way as double the bet means double the expected loss.

Place to Lose Bets

Place to Lose bets are very rarely made, and in the United States, they are pretty much never made. If you toss in chips and ask for a, “Place to Lose,” bet in the U.S., the casino will assume that you are asking for a Place Bet and you will end up losing when you think you have won, or vice-versa.

Otherwise, Place to Lose bets function in a manner that is the opposite of Place Bets. When you Place a number to Lose, you would like a Seven to come up before that number.

Place to Lose 6&8

If you Place a 6 or 8 to lose, then you are betting that a seven will show up before the number in question. As we know, the probability of same is 6/11, so the probability of losing your Place to Lose bet is 5/11.

Place to Lose bets on these numbers pay 4:5, which means you bet $5 to win $4, so let’s take a look at the expected loss and house edge:

(4 * 6/11) - (5 * 5/11) = -0.0909090909 or 9.091 cents

Now, compared to the amount bet results in a house edge of .09091/5 = .018182 or 1.8182%.

Again, this is a bet with a somewhat low house edge compared to most bets on the Craps table, certainly anything with a house edge of less than 2% can be considered reasonable.

Place to Lose 5&9

This works the same way as the 6 or 8, except now you want a seven to come before a 5 or 9. The probability of such an event is 6/10, so the probability of losing is 4/10.

Place to Lose bets on these numbers pay 5:8, which means you risk $8 to win $5, so let’s see what the expected loss result is and determine our house edge:

(5 * 6/10) - (8 * 4/10) = -0.20 or a loss of $0.20

Comparing that to our bet amount of $8, we get a house edge of .2/8 = .025 or 2.5%.

In fairness, there are much worse bets on the table, but do you really want to put $8 on a bet that is expected to take 2.5% of your money every time you resolve it?

Place to Lose 4&10

Finally, we will address the Place to Lose on the 4 and 10 which has a probability of winning of 6/9 and a probability of losing of 3/9.

Place to Lose bets on these numbers pay 5:11, which means that you risk $11 to win $5, so let’s see what the resulting expected loss is as well as house edge:

(5 * 6/9) - (11 * 3/9) = -.33333 or -$0.33333

If we take that expected loss and divide by the amount bet, .33333/11 = .0303027273 or 3.0303% is the house edge of that bet.

There are worse bets on the table, but this one is pretty bad.

The only Place to Lose bets that come in with a return to player of more than 98% are on the six and the eight, so I would consider those reasonable and the others awful. Besides that, if you absolutely want to bet against a number, wouldn’t you rather just wait for an established point and get your money out there on Don’t Pass Odds with a House Edge of 0%?

Buy Bets

Buy bets are similar in concept to Place Bets insofar as you are betting on a number to hit before a seven comes out and it must be a point number. They differ because, rather than make a bet of a particular amount and get paid a particular amount, you are making a bet and paying commission on the bet amount your are making (or on the win only). That may seem like the same thing, but it’s not exactly. Think of it as the house taking a little of your money before anything has even happened, except when commission is on a win only.

The commission on the bet amount is 5%, so while some online casinos may handle it differently than others, this is a bet of $20 bet in most land casinos as the commission would be $1. When it comes to commissions on Buy bets only, those are generally only offered on the four and the ten, if at all.

Aside from the commission, the bet pays at true odds. Let’s look at what true odds would pay on $20 bets for the numbers:

Six and Eight: 6:5 Odds, Pays $24 to $20. (Buy effectively pays $23)

Five and Nine: 3:2 Odds, Pays $30 to $20 (Buy effectively pays $29)

Four and Ten: 2:1 Odds, Pays $40 to $20 (Buy effectively pays $39)

As you can see, when the commission is always paid, the $20 as well as the $1 commission are both gone on a loss and the $1 commission can effectively be subtracted from the amount to be won on a win. With that, let’s look at our probabilities and corresponding house edges based on a $20 bet and $1 commission paid:

Six and Eight:

(23 * 5/11) - (21 * 6/11) = -1 or $1.00 Loss
1/21 = .0476190476 or 4.7619% House Edge

Five and Nine:

(29 * 4/10) - (21 * 6/10) = -1 or $1.00 Loss
1/21 = .0476190476 or 4.7619% House Edge

Four and Ten:

(39 * 3/9) - (21 * 6/9) = -1 or $1.00 Loss
1/21 = .0476190476 or 4.7619% House Edge

 

What that means is that making this bet on a 5,6,8, or 9 is a worse bet from a house edge standpoint than making a Place Bet on any of those numbers. Most land-based casinos would not allow you to make a bet on those numbers, effectively. They would generally just treat the 5/9 as Place Bets (because you bet those in multiples of $5 anyway) and would generally modify the six/eight to an $18 Place Bet and throw you $3 back. Either that, or they’ll just be really confused and ask you to specify what you want.

In short, when it comes to the inside numbers, just pretend that Buy Bets do not exist. Place your Sixes and Eights with multiples of $6 and Place those Fives and Nines (if you must bet them at all) with multiples of $5 and everything will be fine.

When it comes to the Four and Ten, as bad as it is, the Buy Bet is substantially better than a Place Four or Place Ten. The only downside, other than the fact that the house edge is horrible to begin with, is that you must bet at least $20 at a land casino unless it deals with $0.25 ($5.00 minimum bet) or $0.50 ($10 minimum bet) chips. Even then, you might not always be able to Buy for less than twenty. It’s a horrible bet, anyway.

As we mentioned before, sometimes you may Buy the Four or Ten paying commission only on the win, so let’s take a look at that. In the case of commission only on the win, it’s almost more like a modified Place Bet than anything because, if you lose, you will lose only $20. If you win, then you will profit $39. Let’s see how that works out:

(39 * 3/9) - (20 * 6/9) = -0.33333 or -$0.3333

The house edge is therefore: .3333/20 = 0.16665 or 1.6665%.

That’s not a bad house edge, really, less than 2%. Definitely better than Placing those numbers. In fact, the house edge is only 0.15% greater than the Place Six and Eight.

NOTE: Before making the bet, make sure to ask if it is Commission Only on a Win. You don’t have to do that directly, if you throw your $20 in and say, “Buy the Four,” the dealer might respond, “Drop a Dollar,” which means you have to pay commission no matter what. If that happens, just ask for your $20 back.

Lay Bets

Lay Bets share the commission element with Buy Bets, but they otherwise work like Place-to-Lose bets in the sense that you are hoping for a seven to come prior to a particular number. This bet comes with a 5% Commission that must be paid based upon the amount to be won, but otherwise pays true odds. As with Buy Bets, some casinos only charge commission on the win.

Let’s pretend that we are trying to win $20 in all cases, and we shall figure out what we need to bet based on true odds payouts.

  or   or   or  

4 and 10: Odds 1:2, Bet $40 to Win $20 (and $1 Commission)

  or   or   or  

5 and 9: Odds 2:3, Bet $30 to win $20 (and $1 Commission)

  or   or    or   or   or    

6 and 8: Odds 5:6, Bet $24 to win $20 (and $1 Commission)

We understand our probabilities from before, so let’s see what we come up with:

Six and Eight:

(19 * 6/11) - (25 * 5/11) = -1 or -$1
House Edge: 1/25 = .04 or 4%

Five and Nine:

(19 * 6/10) - (31 * 4/10) = -1 or -$1
House Edge: 1/31 = .0322580645 or 3.2258%

Four and Ten:

(19 * 6/9) - (41 * 3/9) = -1
1/41 = .0243902439 or 2.439%

 

As with the Buy Bets, some casinos only charge the commission on the Lay Bets for four and ten if the player wins. In those cases, the player only loses $40 if he or she loses and profits $19 on a win, let’s see how that affects the expected loss and house edge:

(19 * 6/9) - (40 * 3/9) = -0.6667 or -$0.6667
House Edge: 0.6667/40 = .0166675 or 1.6668%

 

Again, Place to Lose bets are preferable on the inside numbers, but they essentially do not exist in land casinos in the United States. Lay Bets are better on the four and ten regardless of how the commission is paid, and those are often the only Lay Bets that you will see players make, if you even see those.

I have personally only ever seen one Lay Bet made in my life, and that was a $400 Lay Bet against the Four by a man who was berating the Craps crew for no apparent reason though he had just walked up to the table. He was cussing everything and everyone. I was pleased as punch with the fact that I rolled a four two rolls later and sent the jerk packing.

Big Six and Big Eight

These bets are the two stupidest bets on the table in the sense of how easy it is to be making a better bet, and many Craps layouts do not have a spot for these bets anymore. It is basically the same thing as a Place Bet on the six or eight, except you get paid Even Money. I don’t know who ever preferred these to Place Bets or why, maybe the casinos would accept $1 bets on them, I have no idea.

We know from earlier that the probability of winning a Place Six or Eight is 5/11, and that hasn’t changed, nor has the 6/11 probability of losing. Let’s make our same $5 bet and see how this is going to affect the house edge by determining the expected loss:

(5/11 * 5) - (6/11 * 5) = -0.45454545454 or -$0.45455
House Edge: .45455/5 = .09091 or 9.091%.

 

Awful. Never do this.

Put Bets

Put Bets may not be as directly stupid as Big Six and Big Eight bets, but they are close. Essentially, a Put Bet is making a bet on the Pass Line AFTER a point has already been established, which means that you do not get the inherent Pass Line advantage of having twice as many ways to win as lose on the Come Out roll.

As with the Pass Line Bet itself, Put Bets pay Even Money.

Some players will combine a Put Bet with odds, sometimes if they have just walked up to the table and want to get in on the game. Just wait until the hand completes and make a Pass Line bet prior to the Come Out roll.

Four and Ten: (3/9 * 5) - (6/9 * 5) = -1.6667 or -$1.6667. House Edge: 1.6667/5 = .33334 or 33.334%.

Five and Nine: (4/10 * 5) - (6/10 * 5) = -1 or -$1. House Edge: ⅕ = .2 or 20%

Six and Ten: (Same as Big Six or Big Eight, Loss $0.45455, House Edge: 9.091%)

Awful. Never do this.

Hard Ways

One common Craps call you’ll hear from a player who tosses $4 at the center of the table is, “Cover the Hard Ways!” What that means is that he wants to bet $1 on each of the Hard Ways.

  or   or  or  

Hard Ways are bets on even point numbers (4, 6, 8 and 10) that call for the number to be hit with both dice faces reading the same number. (i.e. 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5) If a, “Soft,” version of the number hits (such as 3-1 to make a total of four) or a seven hits, the bet loses.

As with Place Bets, the only numbers that matter to a Hard Way bet are the Point in question and the seven, any other roll has no impact on the Hard Way bet. Also as with Place Bets, Buy Bets and similar bets, a player can ask for a Hard Way to be, “Picked up,” at any time, but most players just ride it out until it is resolved. For that reason, as before, we are only going to pay attention to the House Edge when such a bet is resolved.

In the cases of Hard Sixes and Hard Eights, a roll of 3-3 wins with the former and a roll of 4-4 wins with the latter. Any seven loses on either bets while soft sixes (1-5, 5-1, 4-2, 2-4) and soft eights (5-3, 3-5, 6-2, 2-6) cause those respective numbers to lose. In other words, there is one way to win and ten ways to lose.

Under United States rules, Hard Sixes and Hard Eights generally pay out at 9:1, so here is the math for both the Hard Six or Hard Eight:

(9 * 1/11) - (1 * 10/11) = -0.0909090909 which corresponds to an expected loss of $0.09091 cents on the dollar and a House Edge of 9.091%.

In Australia, an extra half unit (fifty cents on a dollar bet) is added to the pay, so you end up with:

(9.5 * 1/11) - (1 * 10/11) = -0.04545454545 which corresponds to an expected loss of $0.045455 cents on the dollar and a House Edge of 4.5455%.

The Hard Four and Hard Ten is such that a result of 2-2 wins on the former and 5-5 wins on the latter. Any seven loses for either, and a soft Ten (4-6, 6-4) and a soft Four (1-3, 3-1) loses on those respective bets. In the United States, those bets pay 7:1. There is one way to win and eight ways to lose, so here is our math:

(7 * 1/9) - (1 * 8/9) = -.11111111, which is an expected loss of 11.111 cents on the dollar for a House Edge of 11.111%.

Again, in Australia, they add a half unit to wins, so you end up with:

(7.5 * 1/9) - (1 * 8/9) = -0.05555555555 which is an expected loss of 5.5556 cents on the dollar and a House Edge of 5.5556%.

For many Craps players, the Hard bets are very much a, ‘Revolving door,’ in a manner of speaking. After a point has been established, several players will, “Cover all the Hard Ways,” and then as each bet loses to a soft number, they’ll put the bet right back up with another dollar. That’s just quick and easy money for the casinos in the long run.

Players will also, ‘Press,’ Hard Way winning bets, sometimes they will just double the bet, but occasionally, you’ll see a player put all of the winnings on there one (or more) times in an effort to, “Turn a dollar into something big.” Again, even though the initial bet was only a dollar, any additional bets only increase a player’s expected loss and should be discouraged.

Proposition Bets

If ever there was a quick way to lose your money on the Craps Table, that way is by making single-roll, “Proposition Bets.” These bets resolve on the next throw of the dice one way or the other, and are all made in favor of a particular outcome.

There is no better expected way to reduce your time at the table than making these sorts of bets as they all carry a House Edge greater than a Pass Line bet and resolve immediately. Players who play some of these bets are often, “Press,” winning bets hoping to make a big score on rolling two twelves in a row, or other similar results.

In stark contrast to many of these proposition bets is the Field Bet, only because it has a lesser House Edge than the rest of the Proposition Bets. By no means is it a good bet, of course, as it still carries a greater edge than the Line Bets and either wins or loses after a single roll.

The Field Bet

The Field Bet is a pretty popular bet for players who are looking for constant action. It is a bet that people make that wins on multiple numbers, namely, the two, three, four, nine, ten, eleven and twelve. While there are seven numbers that win on the Field Bet, not all of the wins pay 1:1. Generally speaking, many casinos will Triple either the twelve or the two and Double the opposite of the one that was tripled.

More stingy casinos will simply double both the twelve and the two.

Most casinos require a player to make a bet equal to the table minimum in order to make a Field Bet, unless one is making a toke (i.e. tip) bet for the dealers, then players may generally bet whatever they like.

Let’s first figure out how many ways the Field Bet can be won:

  • Two: (1/36)
  • Three: (2/36)
  • Four: (3/36)
  • Nine: (4/36)
  • Ten: (3/36)
  • Eleven: (2/36)
  • Twelve: (1/36)

In total, there are 16 ways to win the Field Bet which means that there are twenty ways to lose. Let’s first determine our House Edge when either the twelve or two is tripled and its opposite is doubled:

(1/36 * 3) + (14/36) + (1/36 * 2) - (20/36) = -0.02777777777

The expected loss is 2.778 cents on the dollar which is a House Edge of 2.778%. While that may not seem terrible, remember, you experience that expected loss immediately every time you make the Field Bet. It is also important to remember that most casinos will make you bet the table minimum on the Field, so if the minimum is $10, then you have an expected loss of 27.78 cents on a single roll result compared to 14.1 cents on a Pass Line bet that often resolves only after several rolls.

Now, all we have to do to determine the impact of the Field doubling on both the Twelve and the Two is change the, ‘3,’ in the above equation to a, ‘2.’:

(1/36 * 2) + (14/36) + (1/36 * 2) - (20/36) = -0.05555555555

That means an expected loss of 5.556% per dollar, or a House Edge of 5.556%, which is double the previous House Edge.

Hopefully, you guys can all see that the Field Bet is one that should generally be avoided.

Any Craps “Crap Check!”

Another terrible bet is a bet of, “Any Craps,” which will often be denoted by a player tossing in an amount in chips and calling out, “Crap Check.” This often happens on the Come Out roll for players betting the Pass Line because the Pass Line bet loses on the three Crap numbers (2, 3 and 12).

The Crap Check offers the player no advantage whatsoever as it is a bet with a high House Edge working against the player and resolves in one roll. Some players like it because it pays 7:1 which means that a player who loses a $5 Pass Line bet to a Come Out Crap but, ‘Protected,’ it with a $1 Crap Check will actually profit $2. What players often forget is that, when a point number is established, they have lost that dollar.

If the bet wins on 2, 3 and 12 but loses to every other number, then it has a 32/36 probability of losing against a 4/36 probability of winning. Let’s check out the math on a 7:1 Crap Check:

(4/36 * 7) - (32/36) = -0.11111111111

That is an expected loss of 11.11 cents on the dollar for a House Edge of 11.11% on a single roll bet!

Some casinos will add a half unit to a winning Crap Check bet, so let’s see what does to the House Edge:

(4/36 * 7.5) - (32/36) = -0.05555555555

That represents an expected loss of 5.556 cents per dollar, so a House Edge of 5.556%.

Crap Checks on the Come Out are a guilty pleasure of this writer despite the terrible House Edge. I’m willing to pay 11.11 cents every Come Out roll to make a bet that substantially increases my enjoyment of the game. I just don’t like seeing my Pass Line bet swept away in one roll with nothing to show for it. Also, if I am playing Craps at a negative expectation, then I am playing with money that I expect to lose, anyway.

That’s not an excuse, it’s still, admittedly, a very stupid bet to make. I just think it’s fun.

Any Seven

  or   or  

Let’s move on to the worst bet on the entire table, ‘Any Seven.’ This is a simple bet by which someone can bet as little as a dollar that the next roll will be, you guessed it, a Seven. There are six ways to win, thirty ways to lose and it pays 4:1, so:

(6/36 * 4) - (30/36) = -0.16666666666

The expected loss on a dollar bet is 16.667 cents, for a House Edge of 16.667%!!! That’s on a bet that resolves after a single roll!

Any Seven Alternative

It’s still not a good bet, but one option for players who wish to bet that a Seven will be the next roll is to simply, ‘Hop,’ all possible Sevens. For instance, a player might throw three dollar chips out there and say, “Hop all the Sevens.” The probability of winning for each seven (3-4, 4-3, 2-5, 5-2, 6-1, 1-6) is 2/36, and each often pays 15:1, so here’s your result on each:

(2/36 * 15) - (34/36) = -0.11111111111

That is an expected loss of 11.11 cents or a House Edge of 11.111% for each dollar bet. That means that you expect to lose 33.33 cents by hopping all the Sevens and betting a total of $3, so by no means is that a good bet and your cash expected loss is double that of just betting $1 on Any Seven.

The best advice is to avoid betting on sevens entirely.

Easy Hops

Easy Hops are simply Hop Bets on any specific faces of the dice with two opposite numbers. For example, you can Hop Eleven or Three as those are 6-5, 5-6 or 1-2, 2-1, respectively. If you wanted to make an Easy Hop on anything else, then you would have to specify the dice faces, such as saying, “Hop the 4-2.”

These bets are not made terribly often and the math when they pay 15:1, as they commonly do, is the same as the Any Seven alternative discussed above. In fact, that, ‘Any Seven Alternative,’ is just a Hop Bet on specific types of sevens.

(2/36 * 15) - (34/36) = -0.11111111111

The expected loss is 11.111 cents for each dollar bet for a House Edge of 11.111%.

Some casinos will either pay 16:1 or 14:1 depending on the casino, so let’s see what each of those does:

16:1---(2/36 * 16) - (34/36) = -0.05555555555
14:1---(2/36 * 14) - (34/36) = -0.16666666666

 

Thus, the expected loss on 16:1 is 5.556 cents per dollar bet for a House Edge of 5.56% and 14:1 results in an expected loss of 16.67 cents per dollar and House Edge of 16.67 cents.

Again, these bets are universally terrible, but fortunately, they’re not really all that common.

There can occasionally be circumstances when you are playing with Bonus money at an Internet casino that making a high variance Hop Bet might give you an advantage on a promotion despite the high House Edge. Those situations are rare and might get you flagged for Bonus Abuse as they necessitate you betting a significant portion of your bankroll that will draw attention.

Hard Hop Bets

Hard Hop Bets are actually a bit more common than Easy Hop Bets when it comes to Land-Based casinos. That’s because players will occasionally bet on, “Snake Eyes,” (2) or, “Midnight,” (12). Those are simply Hard Hop Bets.

  or  

A player might also say, “Hop the Hard Ways,” and toss in four chips, which means he is betting that either 2-2, 3-3, 4-4 or 5-5 will come up on the next roll.

  or   or  or  

These bets can pay anywhere from 29:1 to 33:1, but I would maintain that 30:1 is probably the most common, a least based on ones I have seen. Let’s do the math on 30:1 with one way to win an individual Hard Hop and thirty-five ways to lose:

(1/36 * 30) - (35/36) = -0.13888888888

That means there is a House Edge of 13.889% with an expected loss of 13.889 cents per dollar bet. If you want to figure out 29:1, 31:1, 32:1 or 33:1, I am going to leave you to your own devices (just do what I did for different pays on Easy Hops) this time. The reason why is because, more than anything, my goal is to teach gamblers how to be able to figure these things out on their own so they know what they are getting into when making a bet.

Garbage 'Strategies'

I want to preface this section by saying that Craps is a negative expectation game and every bet (other than Odds) carries with it a House Edge that works against the player and in favor of the casino. The simple fact of the matter is that negative numbers cannot be added together to result in a positive number, when you add negative numbers together, you just get a bigger negative number.

The long and short of it is that absent a promotion, over-comping, dealer mispays or outright cheating, there is no way to gain an advantage over the game of Craps. Some people believe that dice control is viable, I do not, and it has never been proven to be viable. Sliding the dice is technically viable, but it is cheating AND against the law in many states of the U.S. and elsewhere.

In other words, absent some sort of promotion that makes your overall play positive, you should ONLY play Craps for fun and you should expect to lose. If you do win a session or find yourself ahead overall after any meaningful length of time, congratulations, you have (temporarily) beaten mathematical expectations. All Craps players who play long enough at the game (without offsetting promotions and the like) will ultimately lose, even if they make the smartest bets on the table. The best a Craps player can do is hope to extend his/her play time by making the bets with the lowest House Edge and staying away from those single-roll propositions.

With that out of the way, I’m not going to get into betting systems, per se, because you should already know they are garbage. What I will address shall be a few, ‘Strategies,’ that are basically just betting systems in disguise and no more effective.

Point + Place Across

We already discussed this in the Place betting section. The goal of this, ‘Strategy,’ is to make a Pass Line bet, and then make a Place Bet equal to or exceeding the Pass Line bet on all of the point numbers except for the point itself (which is covered by the Pass Line bet). Players will lay out these bets hoping that any Point Number is rolled before a Seven, and if it is not the Point itself, they will take all of the Place Bets down thereby locking in a profit.

As discussed before, the problem with this, ‘Strategy,’ is that a Seven is really punishing when it comes as you lose all of those Place Bets and your Pass Line Bet. Staying away from this strategy, and the higher House Edge Place 4, 5, 9 and 10 is a no-brainer.

The Iron Cross (Anything but Seven)

This one is about to get a little bit complicated, so I’m going to do my best to explain this as simply as possible.

The Iron Cross system could just as easily be called the, “Anything but Seven,” system, because you are betting in such a way that any number except Seven results in a net profit. The way the Iron Cross works is that you will make a $5 Field Bet, then you will make a Place Five Bet for $5 and make Place Six and Place Eight bets for $6 each. You have a 30/36 probability of profiting some amount an a 6/36 probability of losing the full $22.

For the first one, we will act as though the Field triples either the Two or the Twelve and doubles the opposite. We’ll say it triples Snake Eyes, so let’s see what our possible results are:

Roll 2: The Field Bet wins $15, the Place Bets do not lose.

Roll 3: The Field Bet wins $5, the Place Bets do not lose.

Roll 4: The Field Bet wins $5, the Place Bets do not lose.

Roll 5: The Field Bet loses $5, the Place Five bet wins $7 for a net profit of $2.

Roll 6: The Field Bet loses $5, the Place Six bet wins $7 for a net profit of $2.

Roll 8: The Field Bet loses $5, the Place Eight wins $7 for a net profit of $2.

Roll 9: The Field Bet wins $5, the Place Bets do not lose.

Roll 10: The Field Bet wins $5, the Place Bets do not lose.

Roll 11: The Field Bet wins $5, the Place Bets do not lose.

Roll 12: The Field Bet wins $10, the Place Bets do not lose.

Roll 7: Lose $22.

Using our probabilities from before, here is the expected result:

(1/36 * 15) + (14/36 * 5) + (14/36 * 2) + (1/36 * 10) - (22 * 6/36) = -0.25

Now, you might do the expected loss of $0.25 and say .25/22 = .0113636364 or 1.1364% House Edge, which is lower than the House Edge of any of the individual bets, but that’s not actually true. What that 1.1364% represents is your House Edge per roll, but the Place Bets do not necessarily resolve every roll. In fact, the Place Bets only all resolve at once when a Seven is rolled.

Many people will represent the Iron Cross as a superior system citing this 1.1364% as the overall House Edge, but it’s simply not the case because 30/36 of the time, not all of the bets resolve.

Granted, if you are only going to play the Iron Cross once in your entire life, regardless of the result, then that would be your House Edge. That House Edge only comes by way of considering the Place Bets on a, “Per Roll,” basis rather than a, “Bet Resolved,” basis.

More specifically, the House Edge on a Place Six or Eight bet per bet resolved is about 1.52%, but the bets only resolve 11/36 of the time, which means that they each have a House Edge per roll of .0152 * 11/36 = 0.00464444444 or 0.4644% on a, “Per Roll,’ basis taken alone. The Place Five Bet has a House Edge of 4%, but only resolves on 10/36 rolls, so the House Edge per roll is .04 * 10/36 = 0.01111111111 or 1.111% per roll.

The Field Bet has a greater House Edge per roll (there only is one roll) than those Place Bets, so as a result, the Iron Cross has a greater overall House Edge per roll than the Place Bets do. In other words, it is not a good strategy because making bets with greater House Edges is never a good strategy.

Let’s take a look at our House Edge, per roll, if both the 2 and 12 on the Field only pays double:

(1/36 * 10) + (14/36 * 5) + (14/36 * 2) + (1/36 * 10) - (22 * 6/36) = -0.38888888888

The expected loss per roll is 38.889 cents per $22 bet, so the House Edge per roll on that one is .38889/22 = 0.01767681818 or 1.7677%. Much worse than the edge per roll on each individual Place Bet. In fact, that House Edge is worse than the House Edge per bet RESOLVED on the Place Six and Place Eight bets.

Granted, the total House Edge of the Iron Cross (per resolution) is better than that of many individual bets on the table, but those are only bets you should not be making to begin with. This is simply a case of trying to add negative numbers together to make a less negative number...math doesn’t work that way.

Doey-Don’t

The Doey-Don’t is not so much a, ‘Strategy,’ as it is a mechanism. The idea behind the Doey-Don’t is to bet an equal amount on both the Pass and Don’t Pass thereby enabling the player to make an Odds bet on whichever he/she prefers while not losing anything 35/36 of the time.

This mechanism is a foolhardy one as there is literally no way to win on your Line Bets! It’s true that your House Edge on total action (especially if taking Max Odds) will be pretty low, but it still makes no sense to bet in a fashion that prevents you from having any chance of winning.

Let’s take a look at the Doey-Don’t with $10 on each:

(1/36 * 10) = 0.27777777777

The reason for the 1/36 is because you only lose on a Come Out roll of twelve, and only the Pass Line side of the bet loses whilst the Don’t Pass is a push. You are expected to lose 27.7778 cents for every $20, so the effective House Edge is .277778/20 = 0.0138889 or 1.38889%, which you might recognize as being the House Edge per bet made of the Pass Line and House Edge per bet made (as opposed to resolved) of the Don’t Pass added together and divided by two.

Players in brick-and-mortar casinos will sometimes employ this mechanism because they want to Lay Odds on numbers such as the Four and Ten, but would like to Take Odds on 5,6,8 and 9, or any other combination of things. Some players do the Doey-Don’t and always Take Odds while some do it and always Lay Odds which is silly.

There are some situations in which this is a perfectly sensible way to play and can yield and advantage with little to no variance. When this happens, players will usually put Max Odds on the Don’t side and the Pass side in an effort to generate a ton of coin-in.

This is also a mechanism that used to be used at online casinos in order to take a bonus and work through the playthrough requirements quickly for an expected profit. My advice is DO NOT DO THIS because you will likely be flagged for Bonus Abuse and it is tough for me to say the casino would be wrong to do so, in that instance. It is also for this reason that Craps, and to a lesser extent, Roulette, are often not permitted games while playing on a Bonus.

Craps is a fundamentally social game in brick-and-mortar casinos, so the crew will often talk joyfully with each other and the players. Players will also occasionally talk and root one another on, mainly because most tables will see everyone playing the Pass Line, so the players are all hoping for the same result! It is that which makes Craps the most exciting Table Game on the floor, it’s almost like a whole table hoping for a dealer bust on Blackjack...but all the time!

Final Conclusion

As you have learned, there are many different advantages to playing online Craps. Among them are playing in the privacy of your home, learning the game, playing at a speed that is comfortable for you and, most importantly, the potential for beatable promotions.

The goal of this page is that you will have learned how to identify beatable promotions and determine whether or not Craps is the best game to be played with those bonuses. Hopefully, you will have also learned about all the different types of bets available on the table as well as how much each bet costs you in expected loss.

If you have any questions about anything, feel free to shoot me (Brandon James) a private message and I will be sure to answer. If it’s a detailed question, I’ll probably turn it into an Editorial, so you’ll also be giving me something to do! As always, thanks for reading and may the dice roll your way!

Brandon  profile image Brandon LCB Reviewer - last updated 2022-02-22
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