For one of the more complicated games in the casino, the secret to winning consistently at craps is actually to keep it simple. Most craps experts advise sticking to the pass line bet, as this basic wager offers an incredibly low 1.41 percent house edge – making it one of the best values on the casino floor.
The pass line bet is the traditional craps bet, because this means you’ll be betting along with the shooter and the vast majority of others at the table. When they win, you win, and vice versa.
You’ll actually find another bet available on the craps table that offers an even lower house edge than the pass line, and that is the don’t pass bet. At just 1.36 percent house edge, the don’t pass bet is really a better value than the pass line, but you’ll soon discover that not many players opt to take advantage of the slightly better odds. This is because by betting on don’t pass, you’re actually wagering on the shooter crapping out by rolling a 7 before they roll the point number.
Two things to keep in mind regarding the don’t pass bet: first, you’ll actually be at a disadvantage during the come out roll, because you can only win when the shooter rolls a 2 or a 3. There are 3 combinations of dice totaling 2 or 3 (1+1, 1+2, and 2+1), while there are 8 ways to roll a 7 or 11 (1+6 6+1 2+5 5+2 3+4 4+3 5+6 6+5). However, after the come out roll has occurred and a point number has been set, don’t pass bettors will win approximately 66 percent of the time, while pass line wagers will win 33 percent of rolls.
More important to consider though, is the negative connotations associated with betting the don’t pass line. Simply put, betting on don’t pass will make you Enemy Number One at the craps table, because every time you win money represents a loss for the other players at the table. Even though the house edge is slightly better for don’t pass bets, craps players typically stick to pass line wagers because this allows for camaraderie, excitement, and a more fun experience overall.
In addition to the pass line and don’t pass bets, the other optimal bets to place during a craps roll are the place bets on 6 or 8, and the buy bets on 4 or 10. A place bet occurs after the come out roll has set a point number. Essentially, by placing a wager on 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 (or any combination of these), you’re betting that the shooter will roll that number before rolling the point or crapping out. These bets offer payouts of 9:4 on 4 or 10 (at 6.7 percent house edge), 7:5 on 5 or 9 (4 percent house edge), and 7:6 on 6 or 8 (1.5 percent house edge).
A buy bet is the same as a place bet only with different payouts, which is why you’ll use place bets for 6 or 8, and buy bets for 4 and 10 – doing so gives you the best price.
Another great bet in craps is to take odds on your pass line bet. This bet offers no house edge whatsoever, making it one of the best values on the casino floor.
Craps strategy is based as much on avoiding the wrong bets as making the right bets, because some bets on the craps table offer terrible odds and huge house advantages. Generally speaking, you should always avoid the hard way, field, and big round bets, as these wagers offer huge house edges.