Craps Strategy

"The best strategy for winning at Craps. Use the following information to increase your odds to win money playing craps at land-based and online casinos."

Basic Rules

The first roll of the dice is called the "come out" roll.

  • If you roll a 7 or 11, you win.
  • If you roll a 2, 3 or 12, then you have rolled craps and you lose.
  • If you roll any other number it becomes the "point".
  • The purpose of the "come out" roll is to determine the point, which can be either 4, 5,6,8,9 or 10. There will be a puck marked "on" above the point number printed on the table.
  • The goal of this game is to throw the point again before throwing a 7. Rolling a 7 after the point is established is an "out 7".
  • If you throw the point, you win and the round is over.
  • If you throw an "out 7", you lose.
  • If you throw something else, you keep throwing until you get the point or an "out 7".

"Pass" bets

  • This bet is placed on the "pass" line before the "come out" roll. This bet wins at even odds 1:1.
  • You win if you roll 7 or 11 on the "come out" roll, or if you later roll the point.
  • You lose if you roll 2, 3 or 12 on the "come out" roll, or an "Out" 7 on later rolls.

"Don't pass" bets

  • This is the opposite of a "pass" bet.
  • You win if the "come out" roll is craps (2,3 or 12), or if a later roll is an "out" 7.
  • You lose if the "Come out" roll shows 7 or 11, or if a later roll is the point.

"Come/Don't come" bets

  • These are like "pass/don't pass" bets, except that they are placed during a round. The same rules apply. You win if the next roll is 7 or 11 and you lose if it's craps.

"Come-out" roll "pass line/come" "don't pass/don't come"

  • 7 or 11 win (even money) lose
  • 2, 3 or 12 lose win (even money)
  • 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 point is established
  • Throw point before 7 win (even money) lose
  • Throw 7 before point lose win (even money)

"Proposition" Bet

  • You bet that the next roll will be a specific number. These include 2,3,7, 11 and 12 bets, the Any Craps bets, the Field, Hop and Horn bets.

"Odds Bets"

The best strategy is to get the best odds. The best odds in Craps are on the Pass/Don't Pass/Come/Don't Come bets, as the house has the smallest edge here (of about 1.40%). Other bets give the house odds that are too high, such as:

  • The Field 5.6%
  • Big 6/Big 8 9.1%
  • Horn 12.5%
  • Craps 2/Craps12 13.9%
  • Any 7: 16.7%

The way to improve these bets is by either "buying odds" or "laying odds". These bets are placed in addition to your first bet, after the Come Out Roll. They improve your first bet, because the house doesn't take any edge on Odds. You're just betting on the dice.

An Odds Bet is a "back up" of an original bet:

  • Most casinos only pay in $1 dollar increments. You will lose anything less than a dollar. If you "lay double odds" at $10 and get a 3-2 payout, or 6 - 5 in particular, you will lose everything less than $1, since you can't divide multiples of 10 by 3 or 6. On the 5/9 point you could lose $.67. This may not be a lot, but why give the house anything.
  • So, try a $6 bet instead of a $5 bet, making the Double Odds bet $12.

"Pass Line Odds" Bets

  • Bet placed after a Point is established (placed in "Pass Line" bar after a Pass Line Bet has been made).
  • Win: when the roll is 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10

"Don't Pass Line Odds" Bets

  • Bet placed after a Point is established (placed in "Don't Pass" bar after a Don't Pass Line Bet has been made).
  • Win: when the roll is 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10

Come Odds" Bets

Bet placed after a Come Point is established (placed in "4, 5, SIX, 8, NINE, or 10" bar)

Win: when the roll is 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10

"Don't Come Odds" Bets

  • Bet placed after a Don't Come Point is established (placed in "4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10" bar)
  • Win: when the roll is 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10

"Field" Bets

  • Win: when the roll is 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12
  • Lose: when the roll is 5, 6, 7, or 8

"Big 6" and "Big 8" Bets

  • A "Big 6" Bet is a bet that 6 will be rolled before 7; a "Big 8" Bet is a bet that 8 will be rolled before 7.
  • The bet is placed in either the "Big 6" or "Big 8" box located in the left corner of the craps table. This bet wins even money. Unresolved bets may be removed.

"Place Win" Bet

  • Win: when the roll is 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 before 7
  • Winning bets payout according to the following ratios: 7-to-6 on numbers 6 and 8, 7-to-5 on numbers 5 and 9, and 9-to-5 on numbers 4 and 10.
  • Place Win Bets are inactive during Come Out Rolls. The markers are removed after the Come Out Roll, since all Place Bets will be active. Unresolved Place Bets may be removed.

"Place Lose" Bet

  • Win: when the roll is 7 before 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10
  • Winning bets payout according to the following ratios: 4-to-5 on numbers 6 and 8, 5-to-8 on numbers 5 and 9, and 5-to-11 on numbers 4 and 10.

"Buy" Bets

  • Win when the roll is 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 before 7 (bet covered with a "BUY" marker). The bet is covered with a "BUY" marker to distinguish it from a Come Bet. A commission charged when placing a "Buy" Bet and the winnings are paid at true odds: 6-to-5 on numbers 6 and 8, 3-to-2 on numbers 5 and 9, and 2-to-1 on numbers 4 and 10. If a "Buy" Bet is lost or removed, the commission is returned.
  • Buy Bets are inactive during Come Out Rolls, an "OFF" marker will cover your Buy Bet to indicate that is inactive. The markers are removed after the Come Out Roll, since all Buy Bets will be active. Unresolved Place Bets may be removed.

"Lay" Bets

  • Win: when the roll is 7 before 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 (bet covered with a "LAY" marker)
  • The bet is covered with a "LAY" marker to distinguish it from a "Don't Come" Bet. A commission is charged when placing the "Lay" Bet and the winnings are paid at true odds: 5-to-6 on numbers 6 and 8, 2-to-3 on numbers 5 and 9, and 1-to-2 on numbers 4 and 10. Lay Bets are active even during the Come Out Roll. Unresolved Lay Bets may be removed.

"Any 7" Bets

  • Win when the roll is 7
  • If 7 is rolled, you win 4 times your bet.

"Any 11" Bets

  • Win: when the roll is 11
  • If 11 is rolled, you win 15 times your bet.

"Any Craps" Bets

  • Win: when the roll 2, 3, or 12
  • If 2, 3, or 12 is rolled, you win 7 times your bet.

"Horn" Bets

  • Win: when the roll 2, 3, 11, or 12
  • A Winning Horn Bet pays 15-to-1 on numbers 3 and 11, and 30-to-1 on numbers 2 and 12.
  • Placing a Horn Bet divides your wager by four. A quarter of the bet is placed on each number. When you win, the amount won is a quarter of your total bet times the given odds.

"Hardway" Bets

  • Win 4 (2+2), 6 (3+3), 8 (4+4), or 10 (5+5) rolled before 7
  • Rolling a number by doubles is said to be rolling the number "the hard way." For example, a roll of 4+4 is a called a "hard 8," while a roll of 5+3 or 6+2 is called an "easy 8." A winning bet pays 7-to-1 on numbers 4 and 10, and 9-to-1 on numbers 6 and 8.
  • Unresolved Hardway Bets may be removed; they are inactive during Come Out Rolls.

Basic Tips while Learning to Play Craps

  • The only way to get a mathematical edge at craps. When you bet "don't", once you are up on the numbers, you are doing great because you are rooting for the seven, which has six chances of appearing in 36 possible combinations of two six sided dice. (see the chart above) The six and eight can each be made five ways. So when you are up on the "don't" six, you have six ways to win (on the number seven) and five ways to lose. When the bet is $10 you would win $60, lose $50, and be ahead by $10.
  • The odds bet. Many players make "pass" line bets and can't afford to take odds or full odds behind the bet once the ponts are set. The casino has no edge on the odds and in the long run your expectation is to break even. That could be a lot of casino fun with no expected cost!
  • "Don't pass" or don't "come" with odds. Put the least amount on the "don't pass" or "don't come" and the most on odds afterwards. The house has a 1.40 percent edge on the "don't pass" and "don't come" bets, but no edge on the odds bets.
  • "Pass" or "come" with odds. The house has a 1.41 percent edge on "pass" and "come", but, again, no edge on the odds.
  • Place six or eight to win. When you place 6 or 8 to win in multiples of $6, the casino has only a 1.52 percent edge. You'll get $7 for your $6.
  • Place six or eight to "lose". You place $5 "lose". If the seven shows, you win $4. The house edge is 1.82 percent.
  • "Lay" against four or ten. The house edge is 2.44 percent.
  • Place five or nine to "lose. If the seven shows you win. The house edge is 2.50 percent.
  • When you "lay" odds, bet "don't pass" in multiples of $6, and bet ll on double odds to get a multiple of $12.
  • When you bet "pass", wager a multiple of $5 so your double odds are in multiples of $10.
  • In the come-out roll odds are in favor of the shooter. S/he has a better chance of throwing a 7 or 11 than a 2, 3 or 12.
  • If the come-out roll results in a point being made, the odds of winning go down. The shooter is now more likely to throw a 7 than the point number.
  • The odds of throwing a 7 are constant at 6 in 36 or 16.7%
  • The odds of throwing a 4 or 10 are 3 in 36 or 8.3%
  • The odds of throwing a 5 or 9 are 4 in 36 or 11.1%
  • The odds of throwing a 6 or 8 are 5 in 36 or 13.9%
  • Know the odds payoffs of the bets you intend to make.
  • Make bets where the house advantage is the lowest. Do not make "proposition" bets.
  • "Take" or "lay" the maximum allowed odds. If the wagers are too high for you, make small flat bets.
  • If you really have to place bets on 4 or 10, or 5 or 9, "buy" them.
  • As a rule, after the points are fixed, don't add to "pass" or "come" bets.
  • After the points are fixed, don't remove your "don't pass" or "don't come" bets.
  • Set a goal and quit while you're ahead.
  • Set a loss limit and don't lose more than you can afford to.
  • Increase your bets when winning, decrease them when losing.

How to Play Craps