STARTING OUT AS A CRAPS PLAYER

Craps is not a difficult game to learn but it is something of a complex game. There are dozens of different bets, the pace of the game is very fast and in a live casino setting the players and dealers are all talking and announcing bets throughout. For this reason, it can be tough for a new player to get comfortable playing the game. This is one advantage of online play–it takes some of the ‘intimidation factor’ out of the game.

The tips below should apply to new players bot!h online and in a land based casino. None of this should be considered ‘advanced strategy’ but all are definitely good things to know if you’re new to the game of craps. We’ll talk about the difficulty in figuring a ‘house edge’, the basic bets, and the concept of ‘taking odds’. We’ll expand on all of these subjects in greater detail in future articles.

THE HOUSE EDGE IN CRAPS

It’s hard to quantify a precise ‘house advantage’ in craps for several reasons. First, there’s the usual variance from one casino to another. There’s also factors unique to the game of craps. The different bets all have a different ‘house edge’ meaning that you can’t generalize for the entire game like you can with blackjack or baccarat. Also unique to craps–some bets take a number of rolls to resolve and the player can ‘take down’ his wager at any point.

Craps experts quantify the house advantage in different ways:

  1.  1)Based on each bet made including pushes
  2.  2)Based on each bet resolved not including pushes
  3.  3)Per roll–house edge per bet resolved divided into an average number per roll.

We’ll examine ‘house edge’ in greater detail in future sections.

THE ‘PASS’ BET–THE MOST BASIC WAGER

The only bet you need to know to get started at craps is the ‘Pass’ bet. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to spend some time at the craps table just making this bet until you gain a greater understanding of the game. As you start to catch on to what is going on and what all of the various bets mean you can start adding different bets. For example, the ‘Don’t Pass’ bet is essentially the opposite of the ‘Pass’ bet and is a good ‘second bet’ to add to your arsenal.

To make a ‘Pass’ bet place a wager on the appropriate place on the layout on the ‘come out’ (opening) roll. The area where you place the past bet is called, not surprisingly, the ‘Pass Line’. You can make a ‘Pass’ bet on every roll and enjoy the action receiving very good odds. If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11 on his initial roll you’re a winner and are paid off at even money. If the shooter rolls a 2,3, or 12 you lose. If he rolls any other number (4,5,6,8,9 or 10) that number becomes his ‘point’ and he keeps rolling. He’ll keep rolling until one of two things happens:

1) He hits his ‘point’ again in which case you win even money

2) He rolls a 7 before he can roll a point in which case it’s a loss

ODDS BETS IN CRAPS

An ‘odds bet’ in craps is a secondary bet that a player can make after the point is set. It’s one of the best bets in the casino as it pays off at ‘true odds’ meaning the ‘house edge’ is zero. An ‘odds bet’ pays 2-1 on points of 4 or 10, 3-2 on 5 or 9 and 6-5 on 6 or 8. To make an odds bet just place the appropriate amount behind your original ‘Pass’ line bet.

How much you can wager on this type of ‘Odds Bets’ varies from one casino to another. Most properties allow 3X 4X 5X odds which means you can bet 3 times your point bet on 4 or 10, 4 times your point bet on 5 or 9 and 5 times your point bet on 6 or 8. Other properties allow more generous odds bets and often advertise those bets for promotional purposes. You’ll even see billboards on the highway advertising these odds amounts such as 5X, 10X, 20X or even 100X wagers on odds bets. Since there is no house edge on these bets you want to bet the max whenever you can. Worth noting that many casinos don’t count odds bets for ‘comps’ and other inducements as they theoretically don’t make a profit on these wagers.