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Craps Rules & Strategies by Jerry Whittaker…
The Gambling Wiz        
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Craps Strategy


I am proud to introduce you to various craps strategic techniques you can undertake and leverage your craps expertise one step forward as you play craps online. In addition, other bet strategies are here for your scrutiny and learning. Don't miss it.


Place the chips half-on and half-off the bottom of the pass line. If on the next roll a 4 is hit you win your pass line bet back, and an additional sum of money derived from the odds bet. In this case, the payoff is 2 to1 on the odds bet. The actual number the point is set to determines the payout on odds bets. If the point is set to 4 or 10, odds bets are paid back at 2 to 1 odds. If the point is set to 5 or 9, odds bets are paid back at 3 to 2 odds. If the point is set to 6 or 8, odds bets are paid back at 6 to 5 odds.


The odds bet is usually explained as being an intelligent bet in the game of craps. This is because the more you wager (double, triple, quadruple odds bet) the lower the house edge drops. A standard pass line bet holds a house edge of 1.41% - respectable, and compared to many other casino games you have to choose from its downright excellent, but take into account the potential for odds betting and it's a whole different story. The house edge on a pass line bet with ten times odds is an incredible 0.18%.

For quick reference here is a chart showing the advantage derived from each stage of odds bets.


Casino Payoff

Casino Advantage

Pass Line Bet

Even Money


With Single Odds (1x)

Even Money Plus Odds


With Double Odds (2x)


With Triple Odds (3x)


With Five-Times Odds (5x)


With Ten-Times Odds(10x)



The Don't Pass Bet  

If you're in a land based casino and having a good time at the craps table, maybe making a few new friends, then we don't recommend you to bet on the don't pass bet. Essentially its like betting against the shooter or against the dice, which means you win when everybody else loses. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but you want to keep those new friends don't you? You want to be invited to the next party no? Craps is a party game in a casino, filled with good vibes, my well learned advice, don't disrupt the vibes. They may have nothing at all to do with mathematics, but they are no less important.

On the don't pass bet (to make this bet place your chips in the narrower section just beyond the pass line labeled don't pass) made on the come out roll, you lose on a 7 or 11, and win on a 2 or a 3. A 12 on the come out roll is like a push in blackjack, it's a standoff where nobody wins or loses. If anything else is rolled it becomes the point, and you win if a 7 is rolled before the point is repeated. Notice how this is the opposite of the pass line bet, and notice how you win when the shooter loses. Seems awfully nice of the casino to offer an opposite bet of the normal one, wouldn't the house lose their statistical edge? Only if they kept the numbers straight. Sadly on a don't pass bet with odds, the casino pays out pretty crappy amounts. The odds of a 7 coming out before a 10 are quite good so the casino has to hedge its bet in effect.

  The Come Bet  

You'll quickly notice the large area of the craps board labeled with 'COME' smack dab in the middle of the playing area. Make sure you have read the section on the Pass bet in our craps rules section and earlier in this section, if you know all there is to know about the Pass line bet, then you wont have any trouble getting your head around the simple 'COME' bet. The easiest way to think about the COME bet is to think, it's exactly the same as the Pass line bet, but can be made after the point is set. There is no such thing as a come bet on the come out roll, because it would be exactly the same as a Pass line bet.

Say I wanted to make a come bet, and the point had been set to 5. I would put my come bet down in the come section and wait for the next roll. If a 7 or 11 is hit you win (while the shooter looses), and you lose on a craps shot (2, 3 or 12). If it's any one of the other numbers, this becomes your 'come point'. If your 'come point' is rolled before a 7, you win. So say a 9 is rolled, at that time the stickman moves your come bet to the 9 on the board. Now if the shooter rolls a 9 before a 7 you win, if they roll a 7 before a 9 you lose. Also remember that on come bets you also have the ability to place "odds" bets just like pass line bets after your 'come-point' is established.

  The Don't Come Bet  

The don't come bet is the opposite of the come bet, much in the same way the don't pass bet is the opposite of the pass bet. The don't come bet must be made after a point is set by the shooter. If a 7 or 11 is rolled you lose, if a 2 or 3 is rolled you win, and a 12 is a standoff. Otherwise a come point is set and you win if a 7 is rolled before the come point is repeated, and lose if the come point is repeated before a 7 is rolled. The don't come bar is highlighted in our graphic.

Once again the odds are in your favor that a seven would be rolled before a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 so the odds bets pay the opposite of a pass line odds bet.

  The Hardway Bet  

Named that way because it's a hard way to win, just kidding, but the hardway bet has some pretty horrible odds, so I recommend you stick with pass line bets with odds for the most part. Actually the 'hard' bit derives from the doubles involved. To roll a 'hard eight' means to roll it with double 4's, to roll a 'hard 6' means to roll it with double 3's. So in craps the only hardway bets that exist are a hard 4, 6, 8, and 10. When you make a hardway bet your betting that the hard version of what your betting on will come up before the soft version, or a seven. The soft version is the opposite of the hard version. Two threes is a hard six, but a 4 and a 2 is a soft six.

Odds are not completely consistent from casino to casino on the hardway bets but generally they go like so: a hard 4 pays 7 or 8 to 1, a hard 6 pays 9 or 10 to 1, a hard 8 pays 9 or 10 to 1, and a hard 10 pays 7 or 8 to 1.

Hardway bets are usually placed to add a little spice to the game, not in any effort to win more money. This is emphasized by the fact that the house edge is something atrocious on these bets. For a 4 or 10 the hard way, there is an 11.1% house edge, for a 6 or 8, it's around 9%.

  The Buy Bet  

You may find some people who look like they know what they're talking about around the craps table 'buying' instead of 'placing' numbers. What's the difference, why do we care? A buy bet decreases the house edge and enables you to win more. The numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10 can all be bought, but usually the 4 or 10 is picked because its pays off better. The buy bet is similar to the place bet in that the number you buy must come up before a 7 does. The odds are higher for a buy bet. 2:1 on a 4 or 10 buy, 3:2 for a 5 or 9, or 6:5 for a 6 or 8. The catch is, you have to pay a 5% commission on any bets you buy (often called a 'vig'). Depending on how much you bet, buying a bet can make you more money in the end even after accounting for the 'vig'. The odds are only in your favor on a buy bet for a 4 or 10, so stick with the place bet on any others.

  The Proposition Bet  

Proposition bets are the ones you can make in the middle of the table, and exist only on the 'next roll'. As one roll bets they can be heart racing and exciting, an integral part of the craps experience.

These bets include:

  • "any seven" bet
    With the "any seven" bet you're betting the shooter will hit a 7 on the next roll. Horrible house edge, never make this bet.


  • "snake eyes" bet
    With the "snake eyes" bet you're betting the shooter will throw a two on the next roll.


  • "yo eleven" bet
    With the "yo eleven" bet you're betting the shooter will hit an 11 on the next roll.


  • "any craps" bet
    With the "any craps" bet you're betting the shooter will throw a 2, 3, or 12 on the next roll.


  • "any three" bet
    With the "any three" bet you're betting the shooter will throw a 3 on the next roll.


  • "midnight" 12 bet
    With the "midnight" bet you're betting the shooter will throw a 12 on the next roll.


  • "horn" bet
    With the "horn" bet you're combining the snake eyes, 3, yo 11, and midnight bets.

Just to illustrate the horrible house edge on many of these proposition bets I have provided a table:



Casino Payoff

Casino Advantage

Any Seven



2 or 12



3 or 11



Any Craps



Horn Bet

2 or 12 - 27:4 3 or 11 - 3:1


  The Field Bet  

The field bet is also among the smarter bets in craps, but not the great odds you get with odds on the pass line. The field holds approx a 5.5% house edge. As you'll notice in our graphic, the field is an area on the craps table just beyond the don't pass bar. The other handy bit about a field bet is that it can be played on any roll, so it's a very non-threatening move.

The great aspect to the field bet is the simplicity. It's a one-time bet which states simply: if the shooter throws a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12 (any of the numbers in the field area) then you win. If a 5, 6, 7, or 8 are thrown then you lose. There is no trick to placing your chips on one of the numbers in the field, its just anywhere you want and any of those number can be hit. If your betting on the field, most casinos also give you a bonus if a 2 or a 12 is thrown (notice the circles on those numbers). Many casinos pay 2x your bet when a 2 or "snake eyes" is thrown and some even pay 3x your bet if a 12 (commonly called a 'midnight') is thrown.

So look at that, even if you're just a beginner you already know exactly how to make a pass bet, a pass bet with odds, and a field bet. Most of the wagering at a craps table revolves around just these betting techniques.

  The Place Bet  

The place bet is a variation of betting with a number. You can make a place bet anytime by handing the dealer your bet and saying 'I want to place the 8' or whatever number you want to place bet for. You can make a place bet at any time on any of 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10. If the number you have 'placed' is hit before a 7, you win and you're paid as follows: 4 or 10 placed - 9:5 odds, 5 or 9 placed - 7:5 odds, 6 or 8 placed - 7:6 odds.

Notice the pass line bet offers better odds, so basically you should stick with it over the long run. Although you can technically place a place bet at any time, it is impossible for it to come into effect until the shooters point is set, therefore it is more acceptable to ask for this bet after the come out roll is over.

  The Lay Bet

An unusual and uncommon fellow, the lay bet resembles the don't pass and don't come bets in that you are playing against the dice. The lay bet can be made at any time. In essence it's the opposite of the buy bet, and the same as the don't come bet, but with different odds. The lay bets may be placed on 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10. The bet is on the fact that a seven will be rolled before your number. 7 is more likely to come up than any other number so the casino requires you to wager more than you could win. This bet also requires a commission of 5% on average. If the bet is on 4 or 10 you get 1:2 odds, on 5 or 9 2:3 odds, on six or 8 5:6 odds. Lay bets are usually only made by people who think they understand more about what's going on that is probably possible. I would be surprised if anyone were ever in a position where a lay bet is the best option, I recommend sticking to the basic bets if your not an expert already.


Remember, you can beat the odds, but you can't beat the percentages.
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