Although not as popular as table mainstays like roulette and blackjack, craps is a casino game that offers no shortage of thrills and betting opportunities. Although the variety of bet types can be overwhelming for some players, the game is quite easy to play even if you lack any previous experience at the craps tables.
Most craps veterans prefer to stick to flat wagers like the Pass/Don’t Pass and Come/Don’t Come bets whose outcome is often determined after multiple throws of the dice. And indeed, this is the wisest course of action as these are the wagers that offer you the least chance of losing your money in the long run due to their small house edge.
Casual players, on the other hand, often choose to experiment with more exotic wagers like the ones that belong to the category of proposition bets. Are proposition bets fun? Yes. Do they yield mouth-watering returns? Yes. Is it wise to make them? No, but they can be quite exciting. In this article, we cover all types of proposition bets in craps along with their house edge and payouts so read further to learn the specifics of this category of wagers and why you should rarely make them.
What are Craps Proposition Bets?
Proposition bets (also known as prop bets or center bets) are a category of single-roll wagers in craps. You will hear experienced craps players refer to them as “sucker” bets because their house edge is extremely high. In fact, there is not one proposition bet that gives the house an advantage under 9%. This percentage can escalate as high as 16.67% for some of the wagers from this group.
The key thing about proposition bets is that their either win or lose on the very next roll of the dice. Proposition bets can be made at any stage of the game, which is not the case for flat bets like the Come wager that is available only after the shooter has established a point for the Pass Line.
Hardways are a subgroup of proposition bets where the outcome may be determined by multiple rolls of the dice. These remain active on the layout until they eventually win or lose which sometimes may take many rolls.
How to Show Courtesy and Proper Table Etiquette When Making a Prop Bet?
The betting boxes for proposition bets are located in the very center of the layout. The only person at the table allowed to handle the chips for this category of wagers is the stickman. Only one exception is made for the Hop bets which are placed by the boxman, instead. If you are looking to make a proposition bet, you must ensure you catch the attention of the stickman before you toss your chips on the layout. Then you specify what proposition bet you want to make so that the stickman can place your chips in the corresponding betting box in the center of the table.
Table etiquette requires you to book your proposition bet before the stickman has pushed the dice towards the shooter. Tossing your chips on the layout right before the shooter is about to roll is considered a poor table etiquette and may evoke heated reactions on behalf of other craps players. So make sure the dice are still in the center of the layout.
Another peculiarity is that proposition bettors are allowed to bet smaller amounts than the actual table minimum, sometimes as little as a single dollar. That being said, the maximum a proposition bettor is allowed to wager is often lower than the maximum limit at the table and depends on the maximum the player can win from a single dice roll. Craps players are generally discouraged to request change for proposition bets.
After the outcome is determined on the next roll, the stickman waits for the base dealers to finish their job, calculates each player’s profits, and instructs the dealers how much to pay out to the winners. The stickman would normally start with the player that sits the closest to the base dealer and opposite of the shooter at the other side of the table. They proceed in this manner until they reach the player sitting next to them and then repeat the procedure for the winners sitting on the shooter’s side of the table.
The “For” Payouts on Prop Bets
An observant player will undoubtedly notice something is off with the payouts on some proposition bets. These are usually posted on the layout using the word “for” instead of the usual “to”. To give you an example, a winning Any Craps bet is said to pay out 8 for 1. Players are often misled by this wording, assuming they will receive 8 units on top of their original wager if the shooter rolls a 2 on the next throw. This could not be any further from the truth.
In reality, the 8 for 1 phrasing indicates the original wager is simply included in the payout. Respectively, a winning Any Craps bet would return at a rate of 7 to 1. So do keep that in mind before you presume you are paid out at enhanced odds – you are not.
Make Sure You Take Your Winning Proposition Wager Down
If you spend some time at the craps table, it will dawn on you the dealer pays out only the profits from proposition bets while the initial wager remains on the table. What this means is your bet is up and remains in play during the next roll of the dice as you are making the same proposition bet again.
It would be wise of you to speak up and demand your bet to be taken down before the dice are given to the shooter for the next roll. However, you should not reach out across the table to take the bet down yourself. Remember these are service bets and the stickman is the only person allowed to come in a physical contact with the chips once they have been placed in the center of the layout.
Types of Proposition Bets and Their Payouts
Proposition bets can be grouped into two categories. Most are single-roll bets that can be made at any point during the game and win or lose on the very next roll of the dice. Such is the case with the Any 7, Any Craps, and the Yo-Leven wagers. Hardways are a separate group of proposition bets which stay active until they win or lose. They can last for multiple rolls of the dice. Below, we offer you a breakdown of all types of proposition bets along with their payouts and the house edge attached to them.
With this wager, you are practically betting one of the three craps numbers (2, 3 or 12) will appear on the next roll of the dice. Players are allowed to wager below the table minimum with Any Craps bets. The stickman will take your chips and place them in the betting box that reads “Äny Craps”. This wager is a major no-no because of the small number of dice combinations that result in a roll of a craps number. There is only one combination resulting in tosses of 2 (1-1) or 12 (6-6) plus the possible permutations for a roll of 3 (1-2 and 2-1) for a total of 4 winning combinations.
Meanwhile, the house pays out at odds of 7 to 1 (or 8 for 1) while the true odds of winning with the Any Craps bet are actually 8 to 1. See the catch here? The house holds an 11.11% advantage on Any Craps bets. The expected theoretical loss you incur if you are betting $5 for 100 rounds on Any Craps for an hour is $55.55 (100 x $5 x 0.1111 x 1 = $55.55). Despite the poor odds, this bet remains fairly popular among casual craps players.
Yo-leven is basically a proposition bet that the shooter will roll 11 on the next dice throw. Craps players use this term to prevent confusion since 7 and 11 are pronounced identically. This number gets rolled out infrequently since it has only two dice permutations, 6-5 and 5-6. Respectively, there are only 2 ways to win with this bet out of 36 possible combinations. The actual odds of winning with Yo-leven are 17 to 1, yet the payout you receive is reduced to 15 to 1, which corresponds to a house edge of 11.11%.
The stickman places the chips for Yo-Leven bets in the betting box directly above the Any Craps one. It is easy to distinguish because it contains a picture of a pair of dices totaling 11. This bet is mostly reserved for players who are on a hot roll and are feeling lucky. The house collects too big of a cut of the Yo-leven profits and therefore, it would be smart to altogether avoid this proposition bet. The average expected losses you incur per hour when betting $5 on Yo-leven a hundred times in a row are as follows: 100 x $5 x 0.1111 x 1 = $55.55.
This is a single-roll bet that proposes the next throw of the dice will result in a roll of 7. When you request this wager, the stickman would position your chips in the topmost betting box in the center of the layout. You can take the bet down whenever you wish.
Then again, the payout the casino offers you is not that appetizing, either. You are paid out 5 for 1 which basically corresponds to 4 to 1 so you will hardly break the bank if you are successful with this wager. The true odds for this bet are 5 to 1, giving the casino an outrageous advantage of 16.67%. Therefore, you will lose $83 on average per hour if you go through 100 Any 7 bets of $5 each (100 x $5 x 0.1666 x 1 = $83.3).
If you think the Any 7 was bad, wait till you see this. The Snake Eyes is a single-roll wager that wins only if the shooter succeeds in throwing a 2 on the next toss of the dice. The odds for this happening are rather long since as we mentioned earlier, there is one possible combination for a roll of 2 (1-1) out of 36 possible combinations.
The house edge of 13.89% will grind very hard on your bankroll if you overdo it with this bet. The true odds for the Snake Eyes are 35 to 1 whereas you get a payout of 30 to 1 only. When we perform the necessary calculations, we establish that if you bet $5 and make 100 bets per hour, you can expect to incur average expected losses of $69.40 per hour in the long run (100 x $5 x 0.1388 x 1 = $69.40).
This proposition bet becomes a winner only if the shooter rolls a 3 on the next roll. This is yet another craps number with a limited number of combinations. In fact, there are only two permutations that result in a roll of 3, 1-2 and 2-1. If you are wondering why the bet is called that way, it is because craps players sometimes refer to the number 2 as a “deuce” while number 1 is nicknamed “ace”. So basically the bet borrows its name from these two playing cards.
The true odds for this bet are 17 to 1 but a successful Ace Deuce bet returns at casino odds of 15 to 1, giving the house an edge of 11.11%. The average losses per hour with 100 Ace Deuce bets of $5 each you can expect are as follows: 100 x $5 x 0.1111 x 1 = $55.55.
The Horn is interesting in that it is one of the so-called “combination” bets in craps. It covers 2, 3, 11, and 12 which, as we have already established, are the toughest numbers to roll in the game. If any of these four numbers gets rolled on the next throw, your Horn bet wins. The Horn involves individual bets on each of the four winning numbers so it is advisable for you to wager amounts that are divisible by four.
Just to give you a better idea of what we mean, if you wager $40 on a Horn bet, the stickman will break this amount down to four individual bets of $10 each. You probably understand where this is going. If one of the four numbers hits on the next dice roll, it wins but you lose your remaining three wagers. Mind you, this will be the least painful outcome as there is a good chance you might lose all four.
The true odds of a Horn bet winning stand at 5 to 1. The payout you collect is, of course, reduced for the purposes of the house edge. How much you get should you win depends on the number you win with. If the 3 or 11 hit, you collect at a rate of 15 to 1. Should numbers 2 or 12 hit, the payout will be 30 to 1. The overall house advantage for the Horn bet is 12.5%. What this means is you will incur average hourly losses of $50 if you make 100 Horn bets of $4 ($1 per number) for an hour.
Hi-Lo on 2 and 12
When placing a Hi-Lo wager, you are betting on numbers 2 and 12 simultaneously. If one of these two numbers appears on the next throw of the dice, you win. Should any of the other numbers roll, you lose. Keep in mind this bet is not always displayed on the layout, so if you are interested in trying it, you should inquire whether it is available or not. If it is, the stickman will position your chips on the intersection between the two numbers in the central area of the layout. The bet is called this way because 2 is the lowest possible result you can roll with a pair of dice whereas the 12 is the highest possible score.
The house edge and the odds for this wager are again unfavorable. In fact, they coincide with those for the Yo-leven and the Ace Deuce, which is to say you have two winning combinations (1-1 and 6-6) out of 36. The house pays out 15 to 1 instead of 17 to 1 as the true odds dictate. The house edge for the Hi-Lo is again 11.11% which is to say your average expected losses per hour when betting $5 on 100 rolls stand at $55.55.
The Hop bet is one of the most complicated wagers in craps and is normally not displayed on the table layout. This “secret” wager gives craps players the opportunity to collect hefty payouts which is precisely what makes it appealing in the eyes of many gamblers. Again, this is a single-roll bet meaning that the number you are backing must make an appearance on the next dice roll. Other than that, the Hop resembles the Hardway and the Easyway bets.
You are betting the next toss of the dice will result in a roll of a given number but the value must be rolled in a specific manner. For example, you can make a hop bet on a hard 10, meaning that the dice combination you are hoping for should be 5-5. If 5-5 appears on the next roll, you are in for a payout of either 29 to 1 or 30 to 1, depending on which casino you are gambling at. Respectively, the house edge for the 29 to 1 payout will be 16.67% and 13.39% for the 30 to 1 payout. No other dice combination adding up to 10 will do. The true odds for a hard 10 showing are 35 to 1.
Similarly, you may make a Hop bet on an easy 10 consisting of a combination of 6-4 (or 4-6). If any of these two permutations roll on the next toss, you will collect a payout of 15 to 1 (for a house edge of 11.11%) or 14 to 1 (for a house edge of 16.67%). The payout again depends on the casino’s policies.
Boxcars is a popular proposition bet among casual players and one that is incredibly difficult to win. Other names it is known under include Midnight and Cornrows. When placing a boxcar bet, the player is wagering that the next roll will result in a 12, with a 6 showing on each die.
The chances of this happening are smaller since there is one combination that results in a roll of 12 (6-6). The true odds for rolling this combination on any given throw are precisely 35 to 1 whereas the payout you get is decreased to 30 to 1. The house has a large profit margin on this bet, with an edge of 13.89%
Also known as the World bet, the Whirl bet is a combination between a Horn Bet and the Any 7 bet. As was explained earlier, the Horn bet itself is a combination wager which covers numbers 2, 3, 12, and 11. The Any 7 bet wins whenever the shooter throws any combination of 7 on the next toss.
The actual odds of the Whirl bet winning are 2 to 1 but the casino odds are a bit more complex as they depend on which of the five winning numbers (2, 3, 11, 12, and 7) gets rolled. Winners are paid at odds of 26 to 5 if 2 or 12 get rolled. The payouts are 11 to 5 if the shooter throws a 3 or an 11.
If a 7 is rolled, the bet practically results in a push with a payout of 0 to 1.The Any 7 is sort of a hedge wager in this case. You break even when it gets rolled. The house edge for the Whirl bet is 13.33%.
Hardways are a subgroup of proposition wagers whose outcome may be resolved after multiple rolls of the dice. They attract plenty of action on behalf of casual bettors and propose that the shooter will roll a given even number (4, 6, 8 or 10) the “hard” way, i.e. the dice will show a pair like 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, and 5-5. If the shooter sevens out or rolls the number the “easy” way, for example, 3-1 for a 4 or 6-4 for a 10, the Hardway bet loses.
The probability of rolling any of these numbers the hard way is 1 in 36, or only 2.77%. The true odds of a 6 or an 8 being rolled the hard way before the shooter rolls them the easy way or throws a 7 are 10 to 1. Meanwhile, the casino offers a payout of 9 to 1 and secures an edge of 9.09% over players. The same goes for the true odds of rolling a hard 4 and a hard 10 which are 8 to 1. The house offers odds of 7 to 1 if your 4 or 10 wins the hard way and holds an edge of 11.11% over you.
This wager has no usefulness for the player. Some gamblers would use it for tipping while other would place it every once in a while when feeling lucky.
Should You Make Proposition Bets?
As exciting as they are, proposition bets should be rarely placed, if at all. They are fun to make but their steep house advantage that may quickly eat your budget away if you overdo it with them. The house edge ranges between 9.09% and 16.67% for proposition bets which renders them the absolutely worst bets to make not only in craps, but in casino gaming in general.
If you still insist on making proposition bets every once in a while, make sure you take them down as soon as they win. Otherwise, the dealer will leave your initial stake on the layout for the next roll and you do not want to push your luck, do you?