Have you ever walked by a craps table in a casino and stopped to watch? Then you probably saw players yelling out bets to the dealers, chips flying and non stop action. You also probably thought to yourself that craps is the most confusing casino game and there is no way you could figure out how to play. If so, then you need our basic craps strategy guide.
There are literally dozens of different bets that can be placed at a craps table and the action is fast and furious. But at its heart, craps is a simple game. As a craps beginner you should focus your playing strategy on just two bets: the pass line bet and the odds bet.
The Pass Line Bet
The pass line bet is the most basic and common bet in craps. You can only place a pass line bet on the first dice roll of a new game, which is called the “come out” roll. To place a pass line bet, put at least the minimum table stake in the area of the craps layout labelled “Pass”, which should be directly in front of you.
After all bets are placed, one of the players – called the “shooter” – will roll the dice. If the total of the dice are 2, 3, or 12 you lose your bet. If the player rolls a 7 or 11 you win even money, or in other words, the amount of your bet. If any other number is rolled on the come out roll (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10) then that number becomes the “point”.
Once a point is established, you will win even money on your pass line bet if the point is rolled before a 7 is rolled. If a 7 is rolled, then you will lose your pass line bet. A roll of any number other than 7 or the point has no effect on the pass line bet.
A new game of craps is starting and you place £10 on the pass line. The shooter rolls the dice and they total 3. You lose your £10 bet. You then put another £10 on the pass line. This time the shooter rolls a 7 and you win £10. Next, the shooter rolls an 8, which becomes the point.
Now, in order to win, the shooter has to roll an 8 before he or she rolls a 7. After a few more rolls that are neither 7 nor 8 the shooter gets lucky and rolls an 8. Your pass line bet wins and you get paid £10.
The Odds Bet
After a point is established, you can place “odds” on your pass line bet. Odds is simply an additional bet that the point will be rolled before a 7 is rolled. You must place a pass line bet to be able to place an odds bet. The difference between a pass line bet and an odds bet is that an odds bet pays more than even money.
Most casinos allow you to place an odds bet of up to two or three times your pass line bet. A few casinos offer odds up to 100 times your pass line bet. Craps tables do not have an area marked for the odds bets; simply place the chips directly behind your original pass line bet.
The attraction of an odds bet, is that it pays true odds, meaning that there is no house advantage on this particular craps bet.
Since some numbers are harder to roll than other numbers, the payoff of an odds bet varies based on the point. The following table lists the odds bet payoff for each possible point.
Point – Payoff
4 – 2 to 1
5 – 3 to 2
6 – 6 to 5
8 – 6 to 5
9 – 3 to 2
10 – 2 to 1
You place a £10 bet on the pass line before a come out roll. The shooter rolls a 5, establishing the point. The casino allows players to place an odds bet up to two times their pass line bet, so you make a £20 odds bet.
The shooter rolls the dice a few times, but neither a 5 (the point) nor a 7 are rolled so nothing happens to your bets. Then the shooter rolls a 5. You win! The dealer pays you £10 for your pass line bet and £30 for your odds bet. Why £30 for the odds bet? Because when the point is 5 the odds bet pays 3 to 2, or £3 for every £2 bet.
Although all of this may still seem confusing if you are new to the world of craps, it will make much more sense once you try it out in a casino. Pick a low limit table, either in a bricks and mortar casino or your favourite online casino, and just stick to pass line and odds bets.
Most dealers will help a new craps player out, so do not hesitate to ask if you need help. Once you master the pass line and odds bets you will be ready to move on to some of the other bets on a craps table.
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Best of luck at the craps table!