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Strategy for Craps

S. Stoynova (editor) |

Comprehensive Overview of Craps Strategies

Strategy for CrapsCraps is a dynamic table game, played with two dice, which has attained the status of a classic and attracts players the world over. Despite the immense popularity craps enjoys, it is often considered one of the most confusing games to play at the casino floor. At first glance, craps seems like a simple game because it is based on chance and there is nothing players can do to affect the outcome of the dice rolls. However, there is much more to craps than merely tossing a pair of dice.

The sheer number of betting options in the game will suffice to overwhelm any novice. In addition, the jargon and etiquette one is expected to comply with at the table often leave inexperienced players with the impression they have traveled to a foreign country where everyone is speaking in strange tongues.

Craps can indeed be intimidating but although it is a negative-expectation game, there is a way for players to end their betting session on profit. Knowing the available bet types and their odds in detail, managing one’s bankroll smartly, setting win goals and loss limits for oneself, and following a proper strategy are a sure recipe for success at the craps table. If you would like to learn more about the strategies that can help improve your craps gameplay, as well as become familiar with what you need to avoid while playing, the following article sets out to teach you all of this and more.

Know Your Bets

Know Your BetsSome inexperienced players join the game before they have actually learned the rules of play and what the available betting options are. The consequences are usually disastrous. There is an impressive number of bets in craps and if you do not understand how they work, when they are accepted, and what their payouts are, you might end your betting session with empty pockets.

What is more important, the house edge tends to fluctuate a lot, depending on the type of bet the player makes. With Pass/Don’t Pass Line and Come/Don’t Come bets, the tilt in favor of the house is relatively reasonable as it varies between 1.36% and 1.41%. Also, if you take or lay odds on the aforementioned bets, the house edge may be reduced to zero.

Needless to say, such bets give players the best odds and the greatest value at the craps table. Then again, we have the Big Red bet, which is absolutely one of the worst wagers you can possibly make as its house edge reaches an unprecedented 16.67%. It goes without saying placing one such bet is a terrible idea.

And this was only a single example of a sucker craps bet – there are a number of other bet types where the house edge exceeds 10%. Novices must ensure they are well-acquainted with all bet types, their payouts and their house edge, which will enable them to make informed, smart decisions during their betting session.

Adopt Combination Betting

Craps CombinationsSmart craps players typically resort to combining several types of bets that offer a relatively low house edge, which significantly increases their chances of collecting a payout. One of the options is to combine a Pass Line bet with a Come bet as both share the same rules.

Thus, if 7 or 11 hit on the come-out roll, both the Pass Line and the Come bet win
. If the shooter establishes a point and the point number is thrown before the 7, this also results in two winning bets for the smart player. The same effect can be achieved if Don’t Pass and Don’t Come bets are placed simultaneously. The only difference is the bets win if the shooter hits the craps numbers 2 or 3 or fails to roll the point number prior to a 7.

Another smart combination consists of a Don’t Pass, a Don’t Come and a Field bet. This combination is used to prepare you for the shooter throwing 2, 3 or 12 which are also part of the field. If the dice roll shows a 2, the player’s Don’t Pass and Don’t Come bets will pay even money while the payout ratio for the Field bet will be 1 to 2. Thus, the player will collect four units per every unit they have bet on the table. If the shooter throws a 3, all three bets will pay even money. A roll of 12 will result in a win with the Field bet only, with a payout of 1 to 2.

The probability of winning with this bet combination is high because seven out of twelve numbers are part of the field, which means the player will break even in the worse case scenario.

Follow the 3% Rule

Follow the 3% RuleThis again has to do with choosing one’s bets wisely as it will enable players to give the casino only a small statistical edge. As the name of this rule indicates, players should never give the house an edge that exceeds 3%. In other words, experienced craps players never place bets that come with an edge closer to or above 3%. The higher its edge, the less frequently a given bet should be in play.

From this, it follows the recommended frequency of use of Pass Line/Come bets (right betting) and Don’t Pass/Don’t Come bets (wrong betting) is 100% because their house edge is between 1.36% and 1.41%. Such bets should be kept in play at all times. Even more so, if you choose to take or lay odds on them.

The recommended frequency of use of Place bets on 6 and 8 is 50%, while that of Lay bets on 4 or 10 and Field bets, where 2 and 12 pay 3 to 1, stands at 25% and 20%, respectively. Buy bets, Lay bets, Big 6, Big 8, Big Red, Any Craps, Yo-leven, and other propositions are to be avoided altogether. Proposition bets lure players with impressive payouts, yet come with an outrageous tilt in favor of the casino that exceeds 11%.

Darby’s Field Bet

Darby’s Field BetCraps is a casino game, which is played at a fast pace, which makes many inexperienced players steer clear of it. With this in mind, it is indeed among the fan-favorites, and players are constantly looking for a strategy, which will help them make the most out of their betting session. The Darby’s Field Bet or the Cross Iron Strategy, as it is also known, is one more craps strategy craps players often resort to because it promises to bring handsome wins in a short period of time.

The best thing about this strategy is that gambling enthusiasts can apply it no matter if they prefer to play craps at a land-based or a virtual casino.

There are several important things players should be mindful of when making combination bets in craps. First and foremost, gambling enthusiasts should bear in mind that the house edge of such bets is equal to the average of all individual bets that are incorporated into the combination bet. Besides, the edge the house gains over players cannot be lower than the house advantage of the best bet type players have incorporated into the combination bet.

When using this strategy, players will be required to combine four bets. Namely, they must place bets on 5, 6, and 8 and a Field bet. As for the Field bet, such bets are winning ones on the condition that the number, which comes out in the next round is 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12.

As you might already know, the outcome of the Field bets is determined straight away as it is a one-roll craps bet. It should be pointed out that the payouts players will be offered will not be the same for all numbers. The 12 awards a payoff of 3:1, while the 2 pays at the rate of 2:1. The rest of the numbers award even money. With Place bets, on the other hand, gambling enthusiasts will be paid slightly more than even money.

If you take a closer look at the numbers these bets cover, you will notice that while using the Darby’s Field bet, you bet on all numbers, but the 7. Perhaps, at this point, you might think that this strategy is a fail-safe way to win at craps all the time, but you should bear in mind that it might take some time until you get the coveted profit and that you will be required to stake different amounts on the Place and Field bets.

That being said, the usage of this strategy will help players reduce the edge of the house to around 1.14%, which is lower than the house edge with Place bets. Another great benefit the usage of the Darby’s Field Bet strategy results in is that players are most likely to see the profit adds up by the minute.

Yet, this craps betting strategy does not go without its shortcomings, and what players might find somewhat annoying is that they will be required to keep on replacing the Field bet with each new game round.

If you are still wondering whether this strategy meets your requirements and style of play, you should also take into account the size of your bankroll. There is no betting system, which will work equally well for all players, and this one is in no way different as it requires a larger bankroll, especially in comparison with the Pass and Don’t Pass bets.

Craps Hedge Betting and the Logic behind It

Craps Hedge Betting and the Logic behind ItWhat hedge bets are intended to do is protect one of the bets of players with another bet. Unlike the Darby’s Field Bet, which effectively reduced the house advantage, hedge bets are placed in order to make up for the weakness of other bets.

As likely as not, you already know that the numbers that are called craps include 2, 3, and 12. In order to cover these numbers, players will be required to make Any Craps bet, and if it wins, they will get a payout of 7:1. The Pass bet is a multi-roll wager, which losses if 2, 3, or 12 is thrown on the come-out roll, and wins if 7 or 11 shows up. If any of the other numbers is thrown, a point will be established, and the game will go on until 7 or the point comes out.

One of the most widespread hedge bets is protecting a $5 Pass Line bet with a $1 Any Craps bet. In this way, if 7 or 11 is thrown, players’ Pass Line bet will win, and they will collect $5, while their Any Craps bet will lose and will cost them $1. Therefore, your profit will be $4. If the Any Craps bet happens to become a winning one, this will mean that you will get $7 for it, and will lose $5 because of the Pass Line bet. In such a scenario, the net profit of players will be $2.

Perhaps, now you might be thinking that Hedge Betting will help you guarantee yourself consistent wins, but you should bear in mind that these are not all possible scenarios. If the game pans out the way we described already, Pass Line bets will either win or lose. Still, what players should take into account is that such bets will stay on the table and wait until a decision is made if 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 is thrown.

Players should be mindful of the fact that Any Craps is not one of the best bets they can make as the house advantage jumps to 11.1%. This is not the case with the Pass Line Bet because the house will start having an edge over players as soon as a point is established.

With this in mind, the average win from Pass Line bets will be higher in comparison with the cases when players decide to hedge the bets.

Another way to apply the hedge bet method is to make a 6 or 8 Hard bet in order to protect your Flat Don’t Pass bet. Yet, most players frown upon this approach because it requires risking more money.

Can You Really Control The Dice in Craps

Control The DiceDice control is yet another method players prefer to use when they join the craps table. It is also known as dice setting, and as players might expect from the name, this strategy has to do with the way dice are thrown in order to screw the results. What players hope for when they use this strategy is to decrease the chances of a 7 being rolled out as this is the combination, which comes out most frequently and leads to a loss.

When players set the dice in such a way to avoid rolling 7s, the odds will turn in their favor in the long term. Many craps fans question the efficacy of this method simply because consistently throwing the dice to get a specific number or numbers is nearly impossible. In theory, it is possible for players to benefit from this dice rolling technique, it is hardly possible that players will not be able to produce observable and reliable results all the time. One of the reasons why this technique is unlikely to bring the desired results is that the dice should hit the back edge of the table each time the shooter throws the dice.

Yet, if you still wonder if dice control will do the trick, you should know that the way players will fix the set is indeed one of the most important elements as they should give their best to delay the appearance of the 7. The 3-V set is the most widely-used one, and while using it, the 3 should be facing up. It is important to note that pips should meet in such a way in order to form a V. The logic behind this set is pretty simple, and it should give players 6s and 8s on all sides, thus guaranteeing that the 7 will not come out.

The release of the dice is also of crucial importance, but the difficulty stems from the fact that players should abide by the house rules and hit the back edge of the table and, at the same time, avoid rolling a 7. To ensure that the dice will fall as you arranged them, you should give your best to throw them smoothly and consistently, without much force.

As you can see, dice control is not a walk in the park, and it will take much practice until players master it. Even then, it will be incredibly difficult for players to execute this technique during actual games, and what they should not forget is that the odds are invariably set to favor the house.

Avoid Negative Betting Progressions

Craps Betting ProgressionsSome inexperienced craps players assume that following a progressive betting system would tip the scales in their favor. This could not be further from the truth. First of all, following a given system has more to do with bankroll management and does nothing to affect the outcome of the dice rolls – after all, craps relies heavily on chance. Second, even if players succeed in winning with a given system for a while, there is a good chance of the odds catching up to them, causing them to lose money in the long run.

But if you insist on following a betting system, make sure you choose one that is not based on a negative betting progression. The Martingale is the perfect (and most popular) example of one such betting system. It calls for doubling your stakes after each loss and reverting to your base betting unit after a win. The idea here is that by increasing their stakes after losing bets, players will eventually succeed in offsetting their losses with a single win.

At first glance, this sounds logical. Yet, there are many disadvantages to aggressively increasing your stakes after each loss, especially in a dynamic game like craps, where money changes hands rather quickly.

First off, players who follow systems like the Martingale are risking colossal sums to win small amounts of money. What is more, there is a good chance of you reaching the table limit prior to securing the win that will eventually balance out the consequences of a losing streak. No one is “overdue” to win and there is no way to tell with absolute certainty when a losing streak will end. Not to mention you risk exhausting your bankroll completely.

If you are bent on following a system, flat betting or positive betting progressions are recommended. Systems based on positive progressions, like the Paroli, are basically the opposite of the Martingale – players decrease the size of their stakes after a loss and increase their bets after each win.

Determine Your Bankroll Size and Base Betting Unit

Determine Your Bankroll Size and Base Betting UnitSince there is nothing players can do to influence the outcome of the dice tosses, adequate money management is key if they wish to leave the craps table on profit. There are several aspects of proper money management. The first thing players need to do is determine the size of their overall bankroll. The amount you take to the craps table or deposit into your online casino account is entirely up to you. One important thing to remember is that you should never play with money you cannot afford to lose. Evaluate your monthly expenses carefully to determine how much you can afford to set aside for play.

If you are planning several betting sessions for the month, the next thing to do is divide your overall bankroll into several smaller ones, for each betting session. For example, if you have a bankroll of $500 and plan two betting sessions, you will have $250 for each. Also, it would be best to open a separate bank account, reserved for gambling purposes only, to avoid the temptation of pulling out more money to play with if you deplete your bankroll.

Once you have decided on the overall size of your craps bankroll, you should consider choosing a base betting unit, or how much you put on stake per dice roll. The optimal base unit is the one that allows players to maximize their winnings, while at the same time provides them with a hedge against high variance. As craps is played at a rapid pace, players are recommended to use a betting unit that amounts to 1% of their over bankroll for the session. So with a bankroll of $250, your betting unit should be about $2.50. This can prevent you from going bankrupt as it is almost impossible to lose one hundred Pass Line bets in a row.

Of course, one should also consider the table minimum when choosing a base betting unit for their session – at some tables, it might be impossible for you to bet as little as $2.00 or $2.50. The good news is reputable online casinos offer different craps variations to meet the needs of both high rollers and risk-averse players.

Increase Bets after the Point is Established

Increase Bets after the Point is EstablishedSome seasoned craps players recommend novices to treat each Pass Line and Come bet as an individual wager. If the roll results in a win, the following bet is increased. If it wins again, players increase their follow-up bet once more. The player’s other bets remain small and are to be increased only if and when they result in a win.

Some may argue this approach is way too aggressive and calls for a very long winning streak to result in a profit. Because of this, players betting on the Pass Line with two Come numbers are recommended to raise their stakes only after the shooter establishes a point. Once this happens, the bets on the next come-out roll should be increased and backed with double odds. So if you have started out with a $5 bet, your next Pass Line bet should be $10 while your Come bets remain $5 each. If you win with the Come bets before you win with your Pass Line bet, you should follow up with $10 Come bets. Your Come bets will now match your Pass Line bet.

If the point is repeated again, all your bets result in a win, in which case you follow up with $15 Come and Pass Line bets, and so on and so forth. This is what many experienced craps players call an intelligent progressive betting because the shooter rolling out a 7 no longer poses as such a great threat.

The Floor and Ceiling Strategy

Floor and Ceiling StrategyThe Floor and Ceiling strategy has to do with knowing when to quit regardless of whether you are on a hot roll or have entered a devastating losing streak. This is the approach smart players adopt and it involves setting a loss limit and a win goal.

This will also protect your profits and prevent you from giving everything you have won back to the house. Of course, the win goals and loss limits should be based on the player’s individual bankroll but as a rule of thumb, craps players are recommended to adopt a win goal of 30% of their starting bankroll for the session. So, if you join the table with $250, you should consider quitting once you are about $70 ahead. The best thing less experienced craps players can do is learn to settle for smaller wins – more often than not, greed at the craps table results in players wasting away their entire bankrolls.

The same applies to dealing with one’s losses. The advice most craps experts will give you is to call it quits after you have lost about 30% of your initial bankroll. And that is something many players forget to do, especially if they have entered a longer losing streak. If you have already lost 30% of your bankroll, it would be difficult for you to recover from your losses anyway. Even if you do enter a good streak, there is no telling how long it will last.

But more importantly, once you have set a “floor” and a “ceiling” for yourself, stick to it – get up and leave the table as soon as you have achieved your win goal or have reached your loss limit.

The Guarantee and Excess Principle

The Guarantee and Excess PrincipleAdopting the Guarantee and Excess approach is yet another thing a smart craps player would do. It is based on the theory that players are guaranteed to leave the craps table on profit as long as they play only with a portion of the winnings they have generated.

This is how it works – once you reach your win limit, you set aside what is left of your original bankroll. Then you collect what you have won at this point and subtract enough chips from your profits to be able to complete one more betting cycle. You do not touch the remaining chips because they will function as your guarantee.

The chips you put in play for the next betting cycle are your excess – even if you end up losing them all, you will still walk away on profit. Of course, you might end up winning with your excess, in which case, you add your further profits to your guarantee and continue playing with what is left of your excess. If the dice begin to chop or grow cold altogether, you can always end the betting session as a winner thanks to your guarantee.

The Gambler’s Fallacy

The Gambler’s FallacySome craps players fall prey to the so-called “Gambler’s Fallacy”, which is the false and totally ungrounded belief that previous dice rolls affect the outcome of the tosses that are to follow. For instance, if previous rolls have resulted in an Ace-Deuce (the fancy name for number 3 in craps) coming up and it was followed by a Boxcar or a 12, the next thing one such player would do is bet on the Boxcar the next time the shooter throws a 3.

Unfortunately, there is no guarantee a 12 will show on the next dice roll. This is called a fallacy because there is no mathematical proof that guarantees the dice are following a predictable pattern. The dice have no memory and are not interested in whether you are winning or losing. Each roll is completely independent of past events and has zero influence on the throws that are to follow. And this is something all smart craps players are well aware of.

Craps Strategy for Risk-Averse Players

Craps Strategy for Risk-Averse PlayersPerhaps, you have noticed that most craps betting strategies require players to risk larger amounts and involve what many consider to be too much risk. That being said, there are a couple of things risk-averse and short-bankrolled players can do in order to improve their chances to enjoy fruitful results.

The first thing they should consider doing is sticking to Pass and Don’t Pass bets with Odds as, in this way, they will cover three numbers, while the edge of the house will shrink to less than 1%. Yet, some players are not comfortable with this approach because the gameplay gets rather monotonous.

Some low-rollers prefer to give up on the Odds bet, and go only for a Pass bet. Although the Odds bet is one of the best options players will have at their fingertips when betting on craps, they should not worry too much if they cannot afford to place it.

Another approach risk-averse players might be comfortable with is placing a 6 or 8 or both numbers at the same time. The reason why gambling enthusiasts should consider having these numbers working is that they are the second most rolled numbers because there are five dice combinations that result in any of these totals. Besides, the house edge on either of these numbers is 1.52%, which is reasonably low, and players will not be required to risk such a significant share of their funds at once.

Gambling enthusiasts who do not mind having multiple bets working at the same time should consider following their Pass bet with 6 and 8 or just one of these numbers. This method might bring players good results simply because they will cover the most frequently rolled numbers, and will be exposed to a small casino advantage.


ConclusionIf you want to play craps for real money, you can choose one of the reputable online casinos we have reviewed on our website. Each of them provides fair and secure gaming environment and the outcomes of all dice rolls are determined by independently audited Random Number Generators.

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