When I go to Vegas I usually spend most of my time playing poker but if I do want to take a shot at some table games it's going to be Craps. Some of my fondest memories at a casino are playing Craps. When the table is hot there is nothing better. In this article I'll give you a basic strategy that will give you the best chance at leaving the table with more chips than you bought in for.
How to Play
A lot of people are intimidated by the craps table and therefore avoid it. For some reason a lot of people think it's a complicated game. This could not be farther from the truth. Craps is a very simple game. Lets start with the basics.
The Come Out Roll
The initial roll is called the come out roll. This is where the point is established. When you roll the dice the number is going to be between 2 and 12. Here is the three things that are possible on the come out roll:
- You roll a 7 or 11 and win
- You roll a 2, 3, or 12 and lose
- You roll a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 and that becomes the point
Once a point is established it's as simple as rolling that number again before you roll a 7. For example if the point is established as a 6 then you will keep rolling the dice until you either roll a 6 and win or roll a 7 and lose . There are a ton of other bets you can make but this is the basic Craps strategy.
The Pass Line
This is where you want to place your initial bet. For easy math let's say it's a $ 10 minimum table and you put down $ 10. You or the shooter (the person rolling the dice) rolls a 7 on the come out. Guess what? Everyone cheers and you get paid $ 10 by the dealer. The great thing about Craps is all the players are on the same team against the casino. There is an exception to this and I'll address that later but for now let's dive further into proper strategy for you to win some money.
Assume for now that on the next roll we still have our $ 10 on the pass line and the shooter rolls a 10. Now the point becomes 10 and the shooter must roll the 10 again before he rolls a 7. Now we have the option to take odds on our 10. You definitely want to take the odds because they are free. That means that the casino has no edge on this bet. You want to take the maximum odds. For most casinos here are the max odds:
- 4 and 10 is 3x your pass line bet ($ 30 on a $ 10 bet)
- 5 and 9 is 4x your pass line bet ($ 40)
- 6 and 8 is 5x your pass line bet $ (50)
So you are going to toss $ 30 to the dealer and say "odds on my 10 please." You now have $ 40 in play and here's what you'll win if the shooter rolls a 10:
- $ 10 on the pass line bet
- $ 60 on your odds bet because 4 and 10 pay 2 to 1
Collect your $ 70 in winsnings and your $ 30 odds bet and put it in the rack. It's that easy! Without of course the shooter rolls a 7 and in that case you would lose $ 40. In a similar scenario if your point was 5 or 9 you would have been paid 3 to 2 on your odds bet of $ 40 which would also equal $ 60 and on a 6 or 8 you are being paid 6 to 5 on your $ 50 odds bet which again would be $ 60. The casino does this to make it easier for their dealers. The odds payout will be the same amount no matter which number you hit as long as you took max odds.
Always Take Max Odds
On the pass line bet in Craps the casino gets a 1.4% edge. Meaning that over time after hundreds or thousands or rolls the casino is going to win on average $ 1.40 for every $ 100 that is bet. It's simple math and it's the reason they can build those beautiful hotels and can afford to comp you a free room if you play long enough. So why take max odds? Because is you do you lower the house edge to about 0.7% and cut in half their edge. That is as good of a bet you are going to find in the casino without you can count cards in blackjack and I'm guessing you can not or you would not be reading this article. By taking the max free odds you can only expect to lose $ .70 over time for every $ 100 you bet. That's pretty cheap entertainment if you factor in that the cocktail waitress is going to bring you as many free drinks as you want.
So How Do You Make Money?
Always sign up for the casino's players club and take advantage of comps or freebies the casino is willing to reward you with for gambling with them. One thing you can do to help your comps is to buy in for more than you are willing to gamble with. For example, I never buy in for less than $ 1,000 even though the way I am playing I only need about $ 300. The secret to being profitable in Craps is to quit while you're ahead. Groundbreaking stuff I know but it's really as easy as that. Craps is a very streaky game. The table will go cold, hot, and choppy. When the table is cold quit playing. Take a break or find another table but when you go to the next table buy in for $ 1,000 again and if you do that 4 or 5 times in a day the casino may think your bankroll is much bigger that it actually is and will be to bring you back by sending you a free room in the mail. It may be a minor thing but every little thing helps. As long as the table is hot keep playing and you might even want to bump up your bets a little if it gets real hot but as soon as it cools down take your profits and cash out. Stay away from other bets such as the field or other one roll bets on the table. These are called sucker bets for a reason. Only play the pass line with full odds.
- Get a players card
- Buy in for more $$$ than you plan to play with
- Place your initial bet on the pass line for the come out roll
- Take max odds once the point is established
- Keep playing as long as the table is hot
- Cash out when the table cools down