4 Craps Strategies That Let You Play the Right Way

by Enrico
Updated Craps Strategy Guides

When it comes to winning casino games, craps offers you the best chance at taking home a prize, and it can often be something quite hefty in size. Craps players do have to take a lot of information when it comes to building betting strategies though, as the game can easily throw you a curveball. The house edge in a craps game can influence bets, especially pass plus or don’t pass plus odds. Betting the odds is how a lot of craps players may place their wagers, but even if that’s not your style, there are few casino games that can live up to the impressively favorable house edge of craps.

There you have it, the house edge in craps generally beats most other table games out there, but only if you play the right way. A strategy is paramount to success, so we’ve detailed a selection of different ways to play – four to be precise. We’ll run through the basics in a second, but we’ll say this right off the bat, we aren’t addressing any super aggressive strategies here. You have probably heard them whispered about at craps tables around the world, and even online, stories about players screaming the house down with terms like “Horn”, “Whirl”, and “Any Craps” – you won’t hear us mention those terms today. It’s safe to say that the more aggressive approach to playing craps should and will be a whole other article in its own right.

With the introductions out of the way, let’s get down to it, starting with a look at the basics of craps.

Understanding the Basics of Craps and Online Craps

The best strategies take advantage of the low house edge in online craps if that wasn’t already obvious. Bets to ignore include any 7 at 16.67% house edge, any craps at 11.11%, multi-roll hard way bets that range from 9.09% to 11.11%, and place bets with a range of 4% to 6.67%. These are just the basic numbers behind the game.

Quashing a myth right out of the gate, placing combination bets aren’t going to be any help in craps, so you’ll want to avoid Iron Cross bets, hedge bets, and anything that generally ramps up the risk. Combination bets see a house edge that consists of an average of every bet being combined, which ultimately just raises the difficulty of walking away with a payday.

Another thing to know when playing craps is that there are a few elements to take into account when it comes to choosing a wagering system. The first consideration is your temperament – if you don’t enjoy the game unless you’re being congratulated and cheered for, then you’re going to want to avoid the “don’t” bets like don’t pass or don’t come, even though they have a low house edge. Start taking these bets up and while there is nothing stopping you from winning, but you won’t exactly be Mr. or Mrs. Popular at the table if you know what we mean.

In addition, you’ll want to give your bankroll some thought. If you’re playing with a smaller budget, avoiding systems with multiple odds wagers is your best course of action. With those systems, it’s easy to lose a large amount on one roll, which could mean that your bankroll goes kaput in no time. Craps might be a casino betting strategist’s dream, but like with any other online casino game, it isn’t risk-free. This game can bite any player in the rear-end if they bet wildly or simply don’t know what they are doing when they are at the table.

Side Note: Learn the Craps Dice Combinations

One final thing before we dive into the strategies, and it’s something pretty important. If you really want to get the best out of playing craps you need to learn about the possible dice combinations. There will always be two dice being rolled in any game, which means that while random, some outcomes are more likely than others, the reason being that some numbers have more possible combinations than others.

craps dice combinations

For example, there is only one way to land a two, which is two ones, yet a six can be with a one plus five, three plus three, and so on. It’s important that you know the outcome chances before the dice land on the table. There are plenty of charts around that can help with this, so take the time, do your research, and understand what exactly the dice can throw up when playing craps.

Now let’s get down to it, are some strategies we’ve pulled together that will give you the best chance of winning, all taking advantage of what land-based craps online craps has to offer.

Craps Strategy No. 1 – Don’t Come, Don’t Pass, Lay the Odds

We’ll be honest – this strategy doesn’t win many popularity points, but craps isn’t always about what’s popular, it’s about what’s effective and what gets the job done. The reason for this supposed lack of popularity is because the majority of players enjoy the social aspect of craps, especially when it comes to betting along with the shooter. That said, don’t pass and don’t come bets that are played with laying the odds offers the lowest house edge in the entire game. At the end of the day, driving down the house edge is what we’re here for, so playing an anti-social wager or two certainly shouldn’t be out of your mindset.

When placing a lay odd, there is no house edge on that part of the bet – meaning they’re paid at “true odds.” Don’t pass and don’t come bets with lay odds has a house edge that averages between 1.4% (don’t bet odds) and 0% (lay odds). Throwing in a 3x or 4x or even 5x odds can bring that house edge down to as low as 0.2%. Yes, you can really get the house edge that low when you play online craps.

The key to this strategy is to place minimum bets with don’t pass or don’t come. Then, what’s left of your wager goes into the lay odds instead. This way, the very least amount of money is exposed to the house edge on the don’t come or don’t pass bets, while the big majority of your wager has no house-edge at all. As you can see, it’s all about maintaining the perfect balance between wagers to make the most of your time at the table.

In addition, craps players typically want to work more than only one number. With this particular system, these players are going to want to follow up the don’t pass bets with a don’t come. Then, you’ll want to back them. So, you start with a don’t pass. The shooter sets a point, and then you lay the odds and make a don’t come wager. The shooter will then set a point for the don’t come bet that you just made, so you lay odds on that. Then you make a third don’t come bet and lay the odds. This is the chain of events that you’ll want to try to control.

What this does is give you three numbers to work at one time, all with minimum wagers on don’t bets backed by lay odds. Should the shooter in the game sevens out, all of the bets placed on the don’ts win. If the shooter does make any of the points of your bets, you will lose the specific wager. Then you follow up with another don’t, and keep working three numbers.

Should you be short on bankroll to back your game, you can also stop at the first time you lay the odds after a don’t pass. The amount of numbers that you play in craps has no bearing on the house edge. Working multiple numbers can make for a more exciting game, but overworking your bankroll is never a good idea.

We’ve said this many, many times, but working multiple numbers in the game of online craps is crucial if you want to make money when you hit the tables.

Craps Strategy No. 2 – Pass, Come, Plus Odds

This method is a favorite by a great many players, as it features a low house edge as well as betting along with the shooter. One draw to craps is the sense of camaraderie people feel when they play with the shooter and win together. This craps strategy is similar to the don’t pass/don’t come strategy we already introduced, but this time it allows for the player to be “part of the team.” You know that social element we mentioned earlier? It’s in full effect when you bet this way.

First, players place a pass bet, at the minimum wager. The shooter then sets the point, and the player backs the bet with free odds. Then, the player follows up with a come bet. A point is established for this bet too, so the player backs that bet with odds. Then you’ll make another come bet (for three bets total, two of which are come bets), and back with odds. It sounds simple, and that’s because it is.

So, the methodology is similar to the previous betting strategy we mentioned above – three working numbers, every bet backed with odds. The house edge for this method sits at 0.37% with the 3x, 4x, or 5x odds. For players that are working with a smaller budget, taking odds as low as 1x is perfectly fine. The point is just to match your beginning wager with no-edge odds. 1x odds see a house edge of 0.85%, while 2x odds see 0.61%. Odds like 3x see 0.47%, and as the odds climb the house edge lowers. At 100x, players can see a house edge of only 0.02%.

Just as before, players using this method will want to keep the come and pass wagers low, while putting the rest of your total bet into the free odds. As an example, here’s a comparison. If you were to bet $25 on a pass or come without the addition of no-edge odds, the risk that you take total in 100 decisions is $2,500, while you can expect to lose an average of $35.25. If you drop your bet to $5 on pass or come, and put $20 (to total $25) into the odds, the risk also drops to $500 per 100 decisions made. The loss drops as well, to an average of $7.05. The expectation of the odds in these games is to allow you to break even, while the lower average loss means that winning streaks can net a similar winning amount as games played with larger come and pass bets.

Running with the crowd at a craps table and backing the shooter always add a little extra buzz to the experience if you ask us. It probably explains why this particular strategy is so popular, as it avoids taking the role of spoiler and allows you to tap into the (hopefully) winning atmosphere at the table.

Craps Strategy No. 3 – Pass, Place Bets on 8 and 6

This method does see a higher house edge of 1.52%, meaning that it’s not as good as the others in that regard. In addition, fewer rolls are needed to decide the outcome, which can also throw a bit more a spanner into the works when it comes to determining odds. You simply make a wager, and if your number is rolled before a 7, you’re a winner. After a 7? You’ve lost.

The bets used in this method are place bets on 6 and 8 join pass, the don’t bets, come, and the craps odds. Place 6 and 8 bets are popular because of how often 6 and 8 are rolled, the most common numbers after 7. Placing bets on other numbers has a lesser chance of seeing them rolled. The possible rolls in craps totals at 36 – 6 and 8 both have five ways they can be made, while 5 and 9 have four ways, and 4 and 10 only have three.

To use this method, start out by placing a pass line bet. A point will be established by the shooter, and you can then decide if you want to back that bet with odds. Whether you do or don’t, you then make the place wagers. If the point established earlier is 6, then make a place 8. If the point is 8, place 6. If the point is neither 6 or 8, then place a booth bet.

The real trick here is to make your place bets in multiples of $6, because dealers won’t make a change, scratch this if you are playing online though – sorry to the virtual players out there. So, place bets have a payout of 7-6 odds, meaning that if you place a $5 bet, you get $5 in return. Placing a $6 bet gets you a $7 payout, rounded up in your favor. This is the best system for those with bankrolls that are on the modest side, as the initial wager is less. A $5 bet on pass, with $6 on both place bets of 6 and 8, gives players a wager that totals at $17. $5 on each pass in addition to two come bets that work in an extra amount of somewhere between $15 and $25 per the wagers of the common 3x, 4x, or 5x odds can net you a return of at least $65 and at most $85.

With a house edge at 1.41% on pass bets, added with 1.52% on the place bets, it’s true that the house edges aren’t as low as the ones on the pass, come, and odds at 0.37% in the other methods. However, this method does involve less money to start and can be very beneficial to lower-bankroll players. Saying that we do stand by our earlier comment, this particular strategy is more of benefit to the high rollers out there or those that have a slightly bigger than average bankroll.

Craps Strategy No. 4 – Pass, Come or Don’t Pass, Don’t Come Without Odds

Trust us, we know that not every player is rocking up the craps table with huge stacks of cash. Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten you. For low-rollers looking to still get a very exciting and action-packed game at the craps table, this simple system right here may be up your alley. Though they don’t match the same energy as the first two very low house-edge methods at the top of this guide, you can have a lot of fun with this one should be able to play it right. It’s important to note that this system involved you playing without the odds, meaning that the house edge can’t be brought any lower than the 1.4% that is standard with don’t pass, pass, don’t come, or come bets.

The trick, if we can call it that, to this method is to just keep all your bets at the craps table at the very minimum. Should you feel tempted to raise your bet, put it into the odds instead, reducing your house edge. This method isn’t going to be the first choice for high-rollers or high-risk players but instead works very well for those who are looking for a strategy that is both low-cost and low-edge.

Of all the strategies mentioned here this is by far the most conservative. We know what you are thinking, where is the fun in that? If you want our advice, not every player should play online craps with a no holds barred attitude, we’ve seen it undo many a player. While not particular adrenaline pumping like other strategies, players that want a taste of the game, but at the same time tone down the risk, this strategy is perfect. We would certainly recommend this strategy to players new to craps as well, as it will allow them to air on the side of caution and mitigate any large risks during a game.

It Can be a Cash-Loaded Game… If You Play it Right!

The main takeaway from this guide is that your best strategies in craps involve lowering the house edge or your initial bet. This advice seems obvious, but you would be surprised at how many players ignore it, simply rushing the craps table in the hope of gaining fast riches.

Other strategies can be very risky to the bankroll, which is fine for those who have a large amount to play with, but devastating for low-cost or even moderate players. There is no way to remove the house edge completely in craps, but playing the odds can reduce it to very low amounts.

When you step up to the table, keep these methods in mind, and give them a try. We wish you the best of luck with your bets and certainly hope that you have what it takes to bring home a big win!

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