Craps is one of the oldest and certainly one of the most exciting casino games around. Although it may seem like it’s hard to master if you’ve never played it before, craps is relatively easy to learn.
The gameplay aspect of craps is effortless and straightforward. The only thing to pay extra attention to is the various bets available on the craps table.
To help you learn how to win at craps more often, we’ve summed up the best strategies, tips, and craps bets to focus on to maximize your chances of winning big.
How to Play Craps
When you first walk up to the craps table, you might feel confused or overwhelmed with all of the numbers and betting lines available in front of you.
However, with just a little effort, you can learn the basics of craps in a couple of minutes. To help you out, we’ve summarized a short step-by-step guide on how to play craps:
- Each betting round in craps starts with a come-out roll. The player who throws the come-out roll is called the shooter. The shooter throws two dice.
- After the shooter has rolled a combination, there are three possible outcomes – natural, craps, and point. A natural means that the combined value of the two dice is either 7 or 11. Craps is when the shooter rolls a 2, 3, or 12. Lastly, a point is any dice combination that totals at 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10.
- Depending on which combination is rolled, the betting starts.
As you can see from the three reasonably short and simple steps above, there’s not much to keep track of regarding the action itself. This is easy to remember and is everything you need to know to participate in the game.
That said, if you want to make sure you win at craps more often, ideally, you need to understand all of the craps bets available to you. But, don’t worry, as we’ll later also cover the best and worst bets you can make when playing craps.
Craps Odds and Payouts
There are quite a few craps bets you can make during each individual session. Because of this, it’s essential to understand which ones offer you the best odds of winning and are worth focusing on if you’re in it for the long run to develop the best craps strategy.
The best way to go about this is to systematically learn payouts for each possible bet on the table. With that in mind, this simple table covers all of the craps odds and payouts for each bet:
|Types of Craps Bet
|Laying Odds on Don’t Pass/Don’t Come 6 and 8
||5 to 6
|Laying Odds on Don’t Pass/Don’t Come 5 and 9
||2 to 3
|Laying Odds on Don’t Pass/Don’t Come 4 and 10
||2 to 1
|Taking Odds on Pass/Come 6 or 8
||6 to 5
|Taking Odds on Pass/Come 5 or 9
||3 to 2
|Taking Odds on Pass/Come 4 or 10
||2 to 1
||1 to 1
||1 to 1
||1 to 1
||1 to 1
|Bet 6 or 8
||7 to 6
|Lay 4 and 10
||19 to 41
|Lay 5 and 9
||19 to 31
|Bet 5 or 9
||7 to 5
|Lay 6 and 8
||19 to 25
|Buy 6 and 8
||23 to 21
|Buy 5 and 9
||29 to 21
|Buy 4 and 10
||39 to 21
|Field 2 and 12
||2 to 1
|Field 3, 4, 6, 10 or 11
||1 to 1
|Bet 4 or 10
||9 to 5
|Big 6 and 8
||1 to 1
|Hardways 6 and 8
||10 to 1
|Hardways 4 and 10
||8 to 1
What’s the House Edge in Craps?
In line with the previous topic, the house edge in craps mainly depends on what type of bet you’re making.
On every roll, there are eleven different potential outcomes. However, as you can see from the various bets in the table above, there are 36 ways that you can accomplish these outcomes.
Considering all of the above, the house edge in craps can be virtually as high or as low as you choose it on each bet. It all boils down to your decision-making, unlike roulette and most other casino games.
If you make smart bets, you can even enjoy the game with a zero percent house edge, and these bets are at the heart of the optimal craps strategy.
Conversely, if you don’t know what you’re doing or are betting recklessly, you can face a house edge over ten percent. This brings up the next crucial point you need to watch for if you want to win at craps more often.
As you can see, there is really a variety of craps bets available to you. If you want to devise the optimal craps strategy, you need to know what the best and worst bets are and act accordingly.
Best Craps Bets
When playing casino games for real money, you always want to get the most out of your bets. And, just like in any other game, some bets are better than others. With that in mind, here are the five best craps bets:
1. The Pass Line
The simplest and most common bet you can make in craps, the pass line bet is also one of the best ones you can make whether you’re a beginner or skilled craps player.
When you make the pass line bet, you’re placing a bet on the shooter to roll a 7 or 11. If they do, you win on the spot. If they roll 2, 3, or 12, you lose. If the shooter rolls any other combination, they must roll again.
There are many reasons why the pass line bet is one of the best in the game. It’s simple to understand, has a very low house edge, and offers you the chance to win several times without having to bet on every roll. Most importantly, it’s an even-money bet.
2. The Don’t Pass Line
In terms of betting, the don’t pass line bet is the complete opposite of the pass line bet. Instead of betting on the shooter, you’re betting against them.
So, if they roll a 7 or 11, you’ll lose. If they roll a 2, 3, or 11, you win. Anything else, and they roll again and tries to hit the point.
While simple and rewarding, this bet isn’t for everyone. Since craps is a social game, going against the grain and betting against the shooter could antagonize the rest of the players.
Know that, if you decide for the don’t pass line bet, you should keep your celebrations to a minimum and maintain composure. It may be a solid craps strategy to win you some casino chips, but it won’t make you many friends at the table.
3. The Come Bet
After the shooter has rolled the come-out bet and established the point value, you can place the come bet.
When you do so, you’re basically betting on your own pass line separately from all other players.
If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11, you’ll win even money. If they roll a 2, 3, or 12, you’ll lose. Any other number than these five establishes a new point.
Placing the come bet means that you’re playing two games at once, which can make it a bit harder to keep track of everything.
4. Betting on a 6 or 8 Roll
After 7 as the most commonly-rolled number in craps, the two numbers that come after are 6 and 8.
You can bet on the shooter rolling 6 or 8, or bet on both and double your craps odds for the particular roll.
Placing a 6 or 8 bet gives you odds of a little less than 14% and pays 7 to 6. Moreover, the house edge for this bet is only around 1.5%, making it one of the best-valued craps bets.
5. Odds Bets
In simple terms, odds bets are extra bets you can place if you’ve made a pass line, don’t pass line, come bet, or don’t come bet.
The best way to look at this bet is that it adds to your original bet. Craps odds bets can be advantageous, as you can enjoy the zero-percent house edge when making these.
The odds bet is unique, and rules for it may vary from casino to casino, so make sure you understand them before you start playing. Do keep in mind, though, that is the best bet you’ll find at any casino game out there.
For example, some venues will only let you match your first bet, while other places will allow you to wager more than you’d placed initially.
Worst Craps Bets
The five types of craps bets we’ve talked about above will give you the best chances of winning in the game. Conversely, there are also some bets you should try to avoid at all times. Here are the five worst craps bets:
1. The Field Bet
Most craps players like playing the field bet because it promises a win if a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12 is rolled. That’s a lot of winning options, or at least it seems so.
The only problem with this is that the remaining 5, 6, 7, and 8 numbers come up in 20 of the total 36 winning combinations. And for a bet that pays 1:1 and 2:1 in some casinos, the field bet is not the best choice for your money.
2. Betting on a 5 or 9 Roll
Betting on a 5 or 9 roll is another bet that doesn’t make any sense when you just look at the numbers. The probability of a 5 or 9 roll is a little over 11%. When coupled with a payout of 7:5, this isn’t enough to make it a smart bet.
Moreover, the house edge for a 5 or 9 bet is 4%, almost three times as much as a 6 or 8 bet. From the point of view of craps odds, this is just not a good bet.
3. Betting on a 4 or 10 Roll
Many craps players consider the 4 or 10 bets to be the worst in the game. There’s definitely a reason to argue for this being the case. The house edge is 6.67%, and the odds of winning are just 2:1.
A winning 4 or 10 bet will pay at 9:5, which on its own isn’t that bad. But, coupled with the risk you’re taking, this potential return is not worth the trouble.
4. Betting on a 2 or 12 Roll
The 2 or 12 bets, also known as “snake eyes” and “boxcar,” are probably the most famous craps bets there are.
If you’ve ever seen a casino movie that features craps, you’ve probably heard of this bet. And, no matter how famous this bet is, you should always avoid it!
It promises a payout of 30:1, but you have to be a sucker to fall for it. This is because the winning probability is less than 3%, and the house edge is close to 14%. If you want to learn how to win at craps, the first tip to remember is: never bet on the “snake eyes.”
5. Betting on a 3 or 11 Roll
The 3 or 11 bet is a slightly better bet than the 2 or 12 one, but it still doesn’t make it a smart nor profitable one.
It promises a solid 15:1 payout, but the odds of a 3 or 11 combination landing are only 17:1. Plus, the house edge is over 11%, putting you at a significant disadvantage.
Best Craps Strategy
As you’ve probably figured out by now, craps, unlike poker, is mostly a luck-based game, and you can’t control the roll’s outcome in any way.
That said, you’re still the one deciding which bets you want to make. You should make the best out of this gameplay aspect by employing appropriate tactics on every roll. Here are the best craps strategy tips to keep in mind:
Bet Carefully (for beginners)
If you’re just starting and have a relatively small bankroll, it’s best to keep your craps strategy simple and easy to follow. In such cases, it’s just best to bet carefully on low-risk bets.
This includes making pass line bets or betting don’t pass/don’t come, as all of these bets have a house edge of 1.41% and are relatively safe if you don’t bet big money.
If you prefer frequent smaller wins over less frequent, bigger payouts, this is the best craps strategy for you. The Iron Cross, also known as the Field Bet strategy, involves covering all numbers except 7.
We’ve covered that 7 is the most frequent number in the game. However, with this strategy, you’re effectively covering all other numbers, setting yourself up for a win most of the time.
Opposite to the previous tactic, this is a more aggressive one, and it does demand you have a reasonably substantial bankroll to back it up.
The main logic behind the Three-Point Molly craps strategy is to place multiple large bets on numbers with low house edge and average craps odds. In other words, you’re always protecting the pass line bet.
Lastly, betting wild is the most exciting and fun strategy we’ll share with you. It’s certainly not for everyone, and you should only use it if you don’t mind blowing your bankroll in a short time.
When betting wild, the house edge will be high, but so will be the potential payouts. This craps strategy involves betting on 11 or betting on either a 2 or 12 being rolled. Both types of bets have a double-digit house edge and a double-digit payout rate.
Additional Tips that Will Help You Win at Craps
Besides the strategies we highlighted above, there are a few additional things to keep in mind if you want to learn how to win at craps. These will help you have more winning sessions:
- Set a Fixed Bankroll – You should always have a pre-set bankroll you’ll stick to no matter what. You need a realistic bankroll that you can have fun with without losing more than you can afford. Overspending is one of the most serious signs of gambling addiction, so take this tip very seriously.
- Always Have a Time Limit – Craps is a very fast-paced and exciting gambling game, and it’s easy to get carried away when playing. It’s crucial to have a set time limit to avoid spending too much time at the table.
- Keep Track of Your Results – When you step away from the craps table, make sure to take some time to assess and analyze your game. This will allow you to determine how you’ve done. You’ll be able to recognize any habits you might fall into when playing and things you can work on to improve your results.
- Understand the Game and Limits – Craps is a relatively simple game when you boil it down to the basics. That said, you should make sure you understand everything there is to the game. That way, you can apply the most suitable strategy based on your situation.
Combine these tips with the knowledge of craps odds, bets, and payouts, and you’ll have much more fun playing the game and will enjoy every session much more.
How to Win at Craps – Key Takeaways
For a beginner or casual player, betting carefully and on low-risk outcomes is always the best choice. If you’re a more advanced craps player, you can experiment with more options to increase your chances of winning.
Ultimately, there’s no clear answer to what the best craps strategy is. It depends on your skills, experience, and bankroll.
That said, the top strategies and tips we shared with you, along with the worst and best craps bets to watch out for, provide you with more than enough information to be successful at the craps table.
Remember to employ them the next time you play, make sure to bet responsibly, and you’ll definitely experience more winning sessions.
If you happen to prefer card games and are looking for more winning strategies, make sure to check out our Single Deck Blackjack strategy guide.