How to Win at Craps

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Gambling is all about odds—taking advantage of wagers most favourable to players and avoiding bets that give the House too much of an advantage. A solid Craps strategy is to play the Pass Line and Take Odds whenever possible in order to make the total wager as much of 50/50 proposition as possible.

The House edge on the Pass Line is just 1.41%. With Free Odds taken at 2X, the House advantage falls to just 0.60%. When 100X Odds are taken, the House margin virtually disappears to a mere 0.021%. Statistically, Taking Odds, should be the key to winning wagers, but how does it perform in real situations?

Think of what happens when a player makes a five-unit bet on the Pass Line and the shooter comes out with a six. In order to back the original bet at 2X Odds, ten more units are required, bringing the total at risk to 15 units. If a six appears before a seven, the player will win five units on the Pass Line and twelve units at 6-to-5 for the Free Odds, making a total win of 17 units. That’s much better than even money.

The biggest drawback, however, to wagering on the Pass Line and Free Odds is how long it often takes to receive a payout. Innumerable intervening rolls may occur before the Point is resolved as a win or a loss. In the meantime, opportunities are being lost, just waiting for the six to appear.

Some players will remedy this by making Come bets and backing them with Free Odds, too. The problem, of course, is that in a long sequence of rolls, the player can end up having a significant portion of his/her funds on the table at risk. A single seven can practically wipe out the bankroll.

A less risky approach is to make a Place Bet on the box number opposite the Point. In this case, the eight is opposite the six, and a six-unit wager is all that’s needed, and the House holds an advantage of just 1.52%. A winning Place Bet will pay seven units, so to assure a profit, only one roll of eight is required before a seven comes up. Once the eight appears, the player has the option to come down off the eight, take back the Free Odds wager, and let the original $5 Pass Line bet ride. A profit of two units is guaranteed.

If, however, the Point is made before an eight shows, the Place Bet on the eight continues working for the next come out roll. It will not lose on any number other than seven, and since the player will have the Pass Line covered with at least five units, no more than a single unit is at risk of being lost.

Those seeking a more aggressive approach can use this same combination of bets on the Come after the Point has been established. Bet the Come, Take Odds and make a Place Bet on the number opposite the Come Point. This provides numerous ways of winning (all Pass combinations, Come combinations and two box numbers), but just six ways of losing (rolling a seven) out of 36 possible results.

As Place Bets win, they can be pulled down, of course, but a potentially more lucrative approach is to “press” the bets by using the winnings to increase the amount wagered at no out of pocket cost. This gets the House money working for the player.

On the downside, whenever the shooter rolls craps on the initial Come bet, five more units must be staked, putting the player temporarily in the hole. Also, whenever a seven comes up, other than when the initial Come bet is made, all of the wagers on the table lose. Obviously, the objective of making combinations of wagers is to earn enough in short-term winnings to cover losses that are bound to occur in the long term.

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