There are multiple ways to play casino craps and while typically, players choose to either bet on the 7 or on the craps numbers, there are more complex and interesting strategies that could be employed. Some of them include the classic Don’t Pass bet when players rely on the shooter to throw 2 or 3 before 7. These Don’t Pass bet patterns could be very useful in covering as many dice outcomes as possible and in cutting one’s losses over the long term.
Although strategies can reduce the exposure to risk in the game, most players would typically stick to easier bets such as the Pass Line or the Come wager. There is nothing wrong in placing simpler bets, but those who wish to optimize their game should explore different patterns and more obscure wagers. Often, they could prove to be much more rewarding and exciting even if they are based on the so-called “wrong side” betting – betting against the dice and betting opposite the majority of players on the craps table.
The Don’t Pass wager is the most fundamental “wrong” bet in craps and once players learn how to place it, they can effectively incorporate it into their betting strategies. The article below explains what the Don’t Pass bet is and how it can be used to lower the intrinsic advantage casinos have over their customers.
Basics of the Don’t Pass Bet
The Don’t Pass wager is one of the two fundamental bets in craps, the other one being the Pass Line. The two bets can be considered opposite sides of the same coin as when one of them wins, the other one loses, and vice versa. Players who place the Pass Line win when the dice roll 7 or 11 and lose when they land on 2, 3, or 12. The Don’t Pass is exactly the opposite bet, losing if 7 or 11 are rolled in the come-out and winning in case of 2 or 3. However, rolling 12 is considered a push and the bet neither loses nor wins.
Just like the Pass Bet, Don’t pass bet is placed before the come-out roll, at the beginning of a new round. It is a multi-roll wager and it can take many throws of the dice until it is resolved. But as the dice can show any number from 2 to 12, a win (with 2 or 3) or a loss (with 7 or 11) are not the only possible outcomes. When any of the other numbers is thrown, it becomes the point for the following rolls where the Don’t Pass bet wins when 7 appears before the point. If the point number – any of 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, is thrown before that, the bet loses.
This wager offers an even payout while it comes with odds that are slightly in favor of the house. In both the come-out and in the following rolls of the dice, the losing combinations for the Don’t Pass bet are more than the winning ones. There are only 3 ways to win at the beginning of each round as the possible combinations for the two dice are only 1-1, 1-2, and 2-1. The ways to lose, however, are 8, as 7 can be thrown in 6 different ways and 11 can be rolled with two combinations (5-6 and 6-5).
Using the same logic, we can easily have the probabilities for this bet losing or winning in the following rolls. But the odds for it after it has been resolved would require a little more calculations that have already been done by professionals and are exactly 976:949. Expressed as a percentage, the probability of winning is 47.93%, compared to 49.29% probability to lose (2.78% chance of a push), which clearly shows that the casino has a slight advantage over players who place this bet. The house edge is 1.36%, one of the lowest percentages found in casino games today. It shows that on average, the casino makes a profit of $1.36 per $100 wagered.
Just like its “right” counterpart, the Don’t Pass bet can be supported with an Odds bet after the point has been established. This is an additional bet that works like a multiple of the original wager and it is usually 1x, 2x, or 3x its amount. With this side bet, players can lay Odds against the point numbers and the payout is based on the true odds of the wager. It varies, however, depending on the point number – it is 1:2 against 4 or 10; 2:3 against 5 or 9; and 5:6 against 6 or 8.
The greatest thing about the Odds bet is that it has no built-in casino advantage and when used with a Don’t Pass wager, it lowers its house edge. Another important thing to note is that when laying Odds against the point number after a Don’t Pass bet has been made, players need to wager more money than the expected return. To make this clearer, let us take an example of a $5 Don’t Pass bet. The point number is 10 and we lay it with 2x odds, for which the payout is 1:2. If 7 appears before 10, we win $5 from the original bet plus the payout for the odds. In this case, the 2x Odds against 10 is $10, while its payout equals $5. In total, we win $10 after betting $15.
Importance of Betting Patterns in Craps
Once players have a deep knowledge of the Don’t Pass bet, they can start placing it in craps either on its own or in conjunction with other wagers. Laying it with the maximum Odds available is always recommended as they reduce its house edge nearly to zero – with 1x Odds, this wager has a house edge of 0.682%, with 2x Odds the edge falls to 0.455%, while with 3x Odds, it is 0.341%. Sometimes, casinos may offer up to 100x Odds in order to attract more players to the craps table. These are even better as with 20x Odds, the edge is 0.065%, while with 100x Odds, it is only 0.014%.
Laying Odds against point numbers after making a Don’t Pass wager is a great strategy when available but not all casinos would offer Odds bets. Another option for an optimal play is using different betting patterns and combinations of two or more different bets. Their purpose is maximizing the payouts if the player is winning and minimizing the losses if the player is losing. Craps players should not assume that with combination betting, they can directly reduce the house edge and turn the odds in their favor.
This is a misconception some less experienced bettors tend to have but it can lead to a serious financial loss because craps strategies or betting patterns should be used with caution and after careful deliberation. They are not advisable for less experienced players who do not know the game in detail. They may not be suitable also for those with limited bankrolls and little or no tolerance for risk.
Popular Don’t Pass Bet Patterns
Employing “wrong” and “right” strategies in craps is not that different since the most fundamental bets, the Pass Line and the Don’t Pass are almost the same. Patterns that incorporate the Don’t Pass wager, however, generate winnings at a slightly slower pace. Still, the winnings are steady unless the strategy is highly aggressive and the wagered amounts are significant.
In order to bring a long-term success, craps strategies should comply with the popular 3% Rule. The concept says no bets with a house edge of over 3% should be made. Of course, many players tend to place such high-risk, high-reward bets, but their use should be kept to the minimum.
Don’t Pass Bet with 1 Don’t Come Bet
This pattern is a relatively conservative one, limiting players’ exposure to risk while providing small but steady winnings. It combines two of the simplest and most rewarding wagers in craps – and both are on the “wrong” side of betting. To employ this particular pattern, players start with placing a Don’t Pass bet and once the point is established, they lay Full Double Odds against the point. With this side bet, the house edge falls to 0.431%.
The next step is placing a Don’t Come bet, which is essentially the same wager but instead of being made before the come-out roll, it is placed after the point has been established. If the dice roll a 7 in the following throw, the Don’t Pass and Free Odds bets win, but the Don’t Come bet loses. It wins if 2 or 3 is rolled and loses if 7 appears before that. If another number rolls, it becomes the second point in this round. Here, players can lay this point number with the highest odds available.
Since the 7 still has not shown up, it is highly likely to be rolled in the next few throws of the dice. If it does, both bets win and the player receives additional payouts from the Free Odds. If the Don’t Come point appears, the player can replace it with another Don’t Come and add Odds to it. If the Don’t Pass point number shows, however, the player loses and the round comes to an end.
Don’t Pass Bet with 2 Don’t Come Bets
This pattern appears to be more aggressive as it includes three different bets, each supported with Free Odds. This means that the amount of money that need to be wagered increases significantly. At the same time, half of all point numbers would be laid with odds against them. Depending on when the 7 appears, the risk could be rather high.
Still, players have the chance at receiving an attractive payout if the shooter rolls 7 before any of the point numbers appear. The risk here is higher but so are the potential winnings. This pattern is not suitable for players with smaller bankrolls and it is certainly not for those who are novices on the craps table. For them, it would be difficult to track the different throws of the dice and determine which roll is the come-out roll. Often, when there are several point numbers, it could be difficult to follow all the bets on them.
Don’t Pass Bet with 2 Don’t Come Bets Plus a Field and Lay Bets on 4 and 10
This is yet another risky pattern offering players great potential rewards. It starts with placing a Don’t Pass bet along with a Field bet before the come-out roll. The field bet includes all craps numbers plus a few additions – 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, and 12. This is a single-roll bet and players are advised to leave it only for the initial roll of the dice as it comes with a higher house edge, reaching 5.56%. Most casinos, however, offer higher payouts if 2 or 12 is rolled, 2:1 for 2 and 3:1, which reduces the house advantage to 2.78%.
After placing these two wagers, players then make two Don’t Come bets, supporting them with maximum odds. In addition, Lay bets on 4 and 10 could be useful in increasing the potential rewards if 7 appears. These bets can be made in case the Don’t Come wagers lose in some of the rolls. With these wagers, players bet that the 7 will appear before a particular number is rolled. The Lay bet can be placed and removed at any time, both before the come-out roll and after the point has been established. If you place a Lay bet on 5, for instance, you will win if 7 rolls before 5 does. If the shooter throws 5 first, the bet loses.
Lay bets are placed only with the dealers’ help and unless you wish to let them “ride” with the following rolls, you need to ask the dealer to turn these bets off. You can also lay against as many numbers as you wish at the same time. Another important thing is that these wagers pay the same as the odds but feature a 5% commission on the winning. The house edge is relatively low, ranging from 1.67% to 2.27%, depending on the numbers you choose to place the Lay bet on. If the casino charges these bets a commission even when they are not winning, the house edge rises significantly to 4%. Since this pattern includes Lay bets on 4 or 10 only, the house advantage will be 1.67% up to 2.44%.
This particular pattern may seem too complex but, in fact, it includes wagers that are rather simple and straightforward. Once players learn how to make them separately, they would be able to use them in different strategies such as this one. As there are multiple bets in this pattern, it would be better if players stick to the minimum bet amounts for their Don’t Pass and Don’t Come wagers. Instead, they should focus their attention and money on the Free Odds laid on them. The higher the odds the better.
It is also recommended that the Field bet is of the same size as the Don’t Pass wager. The Field should also be made only at the beginning of each round, before the come-out roll. This should keep the total amount of the bet per roll and round manageable, especially for those with a more limited bankroll. Odds could be added to the Lay bet on 4 or 10, of course, which would reduce the built-in advantage of the casino over its customers.
Are Don’t Pass Bet Patterns Useful in Craps?
Betting patterns with different bets placed at a different time during the game could be very useful and rewarding for the players. There are a few basic rules that need to be followed at all times, however. The first one is to have a deep knowledge of the game and the different bets in it, as well as of the payouts and house edge percentages associated with them. It is important to be able to keep track of the dice rolls and distinguish between the come-out roll and the following ones.
Breaking the 3% Rule should be avoided as much as possible as any house edge of over 3% would simply result in more significant, steady losses. Of course, bets with lower house advantage do not guarantee a profit but in the long term, they are less likely to result in large financial losses for the player. This percentage determines the expected returns of the casino and is only a mathematical representation of the built-in advantage of the casino over it patrons.
Last, but not least, players should be careful with the size of each bet they place – it is always better to keep the original bets smaller and to wager more money when supporting them with Free Odds. These wagers have no house edge and provide players with great opportunities for reducing the advantage of the casino.