Skip to main content

The Hardways Bets

S. Stoynova (editor) |

Craps Hardway Bets Explained

Craps is definitely one of the most entertaining table games at casinos and it has many fans all over the world. One of the reasons for that is the fact that there are plenty of betting options to choose from. This way you can join the game and pick the one that sounds the most thrilling or lucrative to you.

To be able to make the right choice, however, you should be familiar with all wagering options on the craps table. While there are two identical side sections on both ends of the craps table, there are also several additional options known as propositional bets, positioned in the center of the table. They offer quite tempting payouts but at the same time, they impose higher risks.

One prop bet that you will come across while playing craps is the Hardway. As the name suggests, you are betting on numbers rolling the “hard way” before the “easy way” or before the shooter throws a 7. There are four numbers on which you can make a Hardway bet and there are both some similarities and differences between the wagering options. In this article we will cover everything you need to know about Hardways and whether it is worth it making such wager on craps.

Located in the center of the craps table, Hardway bets are placed when players wager on the two dice rolling the same number. We will examine in greater detail the Hardway Bet variations, including Hard 6, Hard 8, Hard 4, and Hard 10. Once you are familiar with the ins and outs of Hardway bets, we will review several Hardway Craps Strategies.

What Exactly are Hardways?

In order to understand this type of craps bet, you will have to differentiate between the hard way to form a number and the easy way. If you are making a Hardway bet, then you are putting your money on the two dice rolling the same number, forming one of the four numbers you can bet on thanks to Hardways.

You can make a bet on a hard 6, hard 8, hard 4 and hard 10 on craps. If we take 10 for example, we will notice that there are three possibilities to roll a 10. The first two are 4 – 6 and 6 – 4 which are combinations known as soft (easy) 10. The third way for the dice to show 10 is to roll 5 – 5. This is what is considered as a hard 10 and is the combination you are putting your money on when you are making a Hardway bet.

The reason why 5 – 5 is called a hard 10 is that out of all 36 dice combinations, there is only a single one that can roll 10 as a pair of 5’s. Since rolling 10 as a non-pair is easier, the other two combinations are referred to as easy or soft 10.

There is a total of 5 combinations to form 8 or 6 and just one of them is forming a hard 8 (4 – 4) or a hard 6 (3 – 3). The last number you can bet on the hard way is 4 and just like with 10, there are two options to roll the number the easy way and just one chance for a hard 4.

Just like the rest of the proposition bets, the Hardways are located in the center of the craps table. This being said, they are different than the other props wagers due to the fact that Hardways are standing bets, while the other proposition options can be made only on a single roll. This would mean that unlike the cases when players either lose or win their props bets in the next roll of the dice, the Hardways will be active until the dice roll either a win or a loss for those who have made this bet. Craps players have the freedom to make or take off their Hardway bet or change the amount they are wagering at any time.

The Hardway bet can be made only on even numbers that are formed by a pair. Even though 2 and 12 can also be formed by a pair, players will not be able to bet they will roll the hard way. This is simply due to the fact that there is no easy way for these two numbers to appear.

While the betting limits of the craps table do apply to the other standing bets, usually the minimum you can bet on a number rolling the hard way is the chip with the lowest value at the table.

Hard 6 and Hard 8

As already mentioned, craps players can place their money on 4, 6, 8 and 10 appearing the hard way. You can often see that 4 and 10 are considered a similar type of Hardway wager, while 6 and 8 are the other two options that have something in common. The reason for that is that the numbers which are often placed in couples when explaining the Hardways, share the same winning odds.

Let us take a look at hard 6 and hard 8. If either one of these options is your betting choice, you are putting your money on either 6 rolling as a pair of 3’s or 8 showing as 4 – 4. There are five possibilities to roll a 6 and those include 5 – 1, 1 – 5, 4 – 2, 2 – 4 and 3 – 3. This means that there are four chances for the dice showing soft 6 which will cost you the bet you have made.

If you have decided to bet on hard 8, you are facing pretty much the same situation. There are four ways to form a soft 8 (5 – 3, 3 – 5, 6 – 2 and 2 – 6) and only a single chance to roll 4 – 4 which will reward you with a win.

Hard 4 and Hard 10

When you take a look at the craps table where the Hardways bets are positioned, you will notice that the payouts for hard 4 and hard 10 are lower than the amount you will be awarded for bets on hard 6 and hard 8. This is due to the fact that there are fewer losing combinations for a hard 4 and hard 10. When you are making a wager on hard 4, you will win if the dice roll a pair of 2’s. On the other hand, there are two possibilities of rolling either 3 – 1 or 1 – 3 which will mean that a soft 4 rolled before the number showed the hard way. The same applies if you are betting on a hard 10 as there are two ways to form an easy 10 by rolling 6 – 4 or 4 – 6 and just one way to roll a pair of 5’s.

How to Make a Hardway Bet?

As mentioned earlier, the Hardway is a type of propositional bet which is positioned in the center of the craps table. There, you will find the bets which do not fall under the category of self-service wagers. This means that instead of placing the chips yourself, you will have to tell the stickman the bet you would like to make and he will handle your stake.

If you want to put money on hard 8 rolling, you should tell the stickman “Give me a hard 8, please.” and place your chips somewhere on the table layout where they will not interfere with other players’ bets. Then, the stickman will take your chips and place them in the Hardways section, corresponding to your location on the table so that dealers would know that this wager is yours.

You can make or turn off your Hardway bet at any time and you would usually see players turn off their bets on hard numbers before the come-out roll. If the shooter throws a number which will end the current game, players who have turned off their Hardways bets will not lose since their bets will be active for the new game.

There are some casinos which will utilize the rule of having all Hardways bets off for the come-out roll. This means that the stickman is not required to put an OFF button on any of the Hardway bets since they are automatically turned off. This is why it is important to know the rules about when the Hardway bets are on and off at the craps table where you play. If the Hardway bets are left active, the stickman would usually remind players by announcing “Hardways work, unless you turn/call them off!”. If you, for instance, decide to make a bet on the Pass Line before the come-out roll and your Hardway bet is active, a 7 will be good for your first bet but you will lose the stake you have placed on a Hardway number. This is when the option to turn off your Hardway wager will be helpful.

The House Edge and Payouts of Hardways

If you are trying to determine whether making a Hardway bet is a good strategy when you play on craps, you should take a look at the house edge and the payout you will receive for this type of wager.

In order to determine the house edge of the Hardway bets, we will have to take a look at the true odds of the bets and the actual payout that you will receive. If you have chosen to place your money on hard 6 and 8, the true odds of winning are 10 to 1, while the actual payout for this stake is 9 to 1. You may be fooled by the table layout of some craps variations. Often you may encounter tables which have listed the payout for hard 6 and hard 8 like “10 for 1”. At first glance, this may sound more beneficial, however, it simply means that you will receive $10 for every $1 which you wager. In the end, 10 for 1 is the same thing as being paid 9 to 1. The house edge of this bet is 9.09%.

If you opt for making a bet on a hard 4 or hard 10, however, you will enjoy a lower payout. This is due to the fact that players have fewer chances to lose this bet as there are only two ways to form a soft 4 or a soft 10. The true odds for the Hard 4 and Hard 10 are 8 to 1 but players are actually paid 7 to 1. Yet again, you can see at some tables that the payout for this type of bet is 8 for 1 which is still the same as 7 to 1. The house edge for these Hardway bets is 11.1%.

Should You Make a Hardway Bet?

As you can see, whether you are betting on Hard 6 or Hard 8 or you are choosing to put money on Hard 4 or Hard 10, the casino’s advantage is still pretty high. If you are on the lookout for better chances, then maybe it will be more beneficial to opt for bets which have a lower house edge.

Since the Hardway is a prop bet, just like the rest of options in the center of the craps table, it will suit the taste of high-rollers. If you win a bet on Hard 8, you can quickly turn a wager of $1 into a profit of $10 and gather great payouts if you parlay the wins and enjoy a long-lasting winning streak. This, however, is quite difficult to achieve which makes the Hardway bets quite risky.

While many compare the Hardways with hopping a hard number, there are some advantages to each of the two bets. While winning a hop on a hard 10 offers a whopping payout of 30 to 1, it is even riskier than making a Hardway bet on 10. Although you will enjoy a payout of only 9 to 1, you have better winning chances with simply betting on a Hard 10. This is due to the fact that hopping on bets can be done only on a single roll. This means that players will know whether they lose or win on the next throw of the dice. In the meantime, if you make a Hardway bet on 10, it will be active until you win or until you lose when the shooter throws a soft 10 or a 7.

If you are not a fan of thrilling gambling actions, then you are not advised to embark on making Hardway bets on craps. There is, however, a way to make your betting more profitable and advanced craps players know how to make the most of Hardways. If you are using the right betting strategy, you can actually enjoy your game even with making this risky prop bet.

Hardways Craps Strategies

If you are wondering how players who make Hardway bets can still leave the craps table with an enviable amount of winnings, then you probably have not heard of utilizing betting strategies. Even though, just as it is with everything in life, at craps there is nothing certain, you can still make your gambling more profitable by being more daring and smart about your betting choices.

Since the Hardway bets have the advantage of staying active until they are won or lost, this gives players the chance to apply a progressive betting technique. If you enjoy making riskier bets and have the bankroll to use this system, you can enjoy a fruitful game of craps by betting on Hardways.

You can start by making a $1 stake on each of the Hardway bets (Hard 4, Hard 6, Hard 8 and Hard 10) which will total to $4 as your starting bet. If the shooter throws a soft number or a 7, then you should increase your bet with $1. This may lead to having wagers of different sizes on the four Hardway bets. If you take for example a situation where you have followed this system and made a $1 bet on each of the four Hardway options. If the shooter throws a soft 10, you would increase only the bet on Hard 10 to $2. If the no-seven streak is long enough, you might be lucky enough to win all of the Hardway bets you have made. Despite this being a wonderful outcome, the odds of experiencing such a fruitful game are not in your favor.

This is why you have to be cautious when approaching craps with such betting strategy. It is good to have a set limit of 30% for your winnings and losses. Let us assume that you have decided to gamble $500, this would mean that you should stop playing once your profit or your losses have reached the range of $150.

There is also another method which is also suitable for more daring craps players. If it is their lucky day, however, they can enjoy great payouts and a very fruitful game. This betting system was popularized by Eddie Gorniak and many craps players have found his method to be quite successful.

You can start by making a bet on either a Hard 6 or Hard 8. Let us assume you have staked $5 on your initial bet. The essence of this betting strategy is to parlay the full amount of your winnings three times. After the third win, you should make an additional $100 bet on the neighboring number, which will be Hard 8 if you have so far enjoyed wins on Hard 6 (or the other way around). So if you take your $5 initial stake, you should parlay to $50, then to $500 and do it for a third time with a $1000 wager, stake $100 on the other hard number which is next to the one you have bet on until now. You should take down your winnings of $3900 and from this point on, you are advised to double your bets only if they win.

This system is also quite risky and may often not work in favor of players. However, if you wish to make your game more exciting, you should definitely give it a try.