How to Be Lucky at Craps

The scene at a typical craps table has become an iconic image within the world of casino gambling.

A dozen players are standing shoulder to shoulder around an expansive, ornately-designed table. Each of them cranes their neck to catch the result of the latest roll, then bursts into a spontaneous round of raucous cheering and applause. Strangers hug and high five one another before returning to the task at hand and splashing chips across the table to do it all over again.

Even from the casino's perspective, a craps game is a lively affair. It takes not one, not two, but three dealers and floor staff to supervise the proceedings. Between all those players, thousands of dollars can be wagered on a single roll, whether it's recreational players or pros taking the dice in hand. And every time those dice tumble, the house engages in a massive exchange of chips, paying out winners and collecting on losers.

All in all, the craps table is usually where casual gamblers envision themselves when they imagine their next visit to Las Vegas. Thanks to Hollywood films that perfectly recreate the excitement described above, even folks who have never played before have a general familiarity with the game.

But before you head out to your favorite casino to try your hand at craps, it's important to know what you're getting into.

Those depictions on the silver screen invariably rely on the same tropes, with a suave shooter asking a beautiful woman to blow on the dice for "good luck." The shooter might look to the heavens before rolling, asking for the right number because "momma needs a new pair of shoes." Or maybe they call out an extremely unlikely result - something like the Hard Eight (two 4s on the same roll) - before casually nailing the long shot.

In each case, these representations leave one with the impression that craps is a game of luck. Put more accurately, craps is a pure game of chance - meaning players have no ability to control the eventual outcome. This isn't blackjack or video poker, so you can't apply your skill or knowledge to reduce the house's edge in the game, hence the "game of chance" label.

But there's quite a bit of difference between luck and chance, and unfortunately, many craps rookies enter their first table mistakenly believing that they can get lucky in one way or another.

Perhaps they tilt the dice to a certain angle before tossing them, or whisper a secret set of words to themselves as they tumble across the table. Maybe they never roll at all, passing up their option to serve as shooter out of superstition. They might be clutching a talisman of some kind, a trinket they believe brings them the requisite luck all winners rely on.

Whatever the case, far too many craps players enter the game thinking they can lure Lady Luck to their side.

Unfortunately, that's just not how things work.

Of course, none of the tricks and techniques mentioned above can hurt your chances of winning - but they surely won't help, either. When players believe lucky charms unlock the secret to success in a game of chance like craps, this reliance on a factor that simply isn't real can severely diminish their ability to play correctly.

Players who believe in luck tend to chase losses with higher bets, or wager on the exotic long shots with low odds, because they believe in their heart that their luck must turn eventually. This is a recipe for disaster when it comes to craps, though, due to the game's frenetic pace and abundance of wagering opportunities.

If you're relying on luck while playing craps, things can get out of hand in a hurry.

Conversely, by taking a common-sense approach to this classic game of chance, you'll stand a far better chance of surviving the swings - and more importantly, of enjoying your time at the table.

The following guide is intended to show you the only real ways to be "lucky" while playing craps, because as a wise man once said, you must make your own luck.

Steer Clear of Systems and Strategies

I'll keep this entry short and sweet - systems and strategies for craps success simply don't work.

A quick Google search for craps strategy will bring up a mixed bag of resources. Many self-proclaimed experts are out there peddling their surefire systems to cracking the code of winning craps play.

These folks might direct you to alternate your wagers according to an arbitrary pattern, or to back certain exotic wagers when certain conditions arise. Others advise tracking the results of previous rolls to help predict how the dice will fall next. Or maybe you should just hold the dice a certain way to help "control" the next number.

Craps systems and strategies are a dime a dozen nowadays, but no matter which one you stumble across, remember that they all have one thing in common - they're nonsense.

I mentioned common sense earlier, and I'll bring it up again, because it's so crucial to understanding why craps strategies like these won't help you win.

Take a moment and think things through while asking yourself a few critical questions.

Why would a previous roll have any influence on the next one?

How can your wager sizing possibly affect the odds on any given wager?

If people could really control the dice, wouldn't casinos close the game down altogether?

And finally, if someone out there truly did crack the code to sustained success at craps, why in the world would they publish that information for $9.99?

Once you've figured out the answers to these questions, common sense should tell you that pure games of chance simply aren't beholden to strategies in the same way that skill-based gambling games like blackjack and video poker are.

And that's the rub when you really boil things down.

These craps "experts" are hoping to confuse hopeful players who don't know any better. After all, if you can buy an effective basic strategy card for blackjack right there at the casino gift shop, or learn about video poker strategy in a book - why can't you do the same for craps?

When beginners enter the world of casino gambling, they want to win, and they'll usually do whatever it takes to get over the hump. Strategy salespeople know this too, so they prey on your hope to sell snake oil like the systems described earlier in this section.

Now that you know what won't work, let's move on to the tried-and-true methods used to understand how the game of craps really works.

Know the Best Bets and Stick to Them

The craps table layout was designed by the house with one purpose in mind: confusion.

Casinos rely on players making ill-advised wagers, chasing long odds, and hoping to hit. To this end, the craps table is outfitted with dozens of different betting options - most of which carry enormous odds against winning.

We'll get into the "sucker" bets in the next section, but for now, I want to focus your attention on seven of the best bets in craps. The seven wagers listed below each offer extremely reasonable house edge rates, providing the player with a high expected return over the long run:


Pass Line

The most important bet in all of craps is the Pass Line, which is the first bet you'll make ahead of every come-out roll.

Think of the Pass Line bet as an ante, or the minimum bet required to get the game started. This isn't exactly true, as you don't have to bet the Pass Line to begin a session, but true optimal strategy for craps always begins with this bet - so I like to consider it an ante of sorts.

When you bet on the Pass Line, you're betting the "right way" according to craps parlance. This is because your money is now backing the shooter, along with everybody else who has wagered on the Pass Line - so when you win, they win too.

After placing a Pass Line bet, you'll be hoping to see the shooter's come-out roll land on a 7 or 11 to secure an instant winner. These winners are paid out at even money, and seeing as how 7 is the most likely number to come up, it's a decent bet to back.

On the other hand, when the shooter rolls a 2, 3, or 12 on the come-out roll, your Pass Line bet will be lost to the house. Fortunately, those are three of the most difficult numbers to attain using a two-dice roll, so you'll generally be in the clear on that front.

But craps is so much more than the simple binary betting described above, and when the shooter rolls any number aside from 2, 3, 7, 11, or 12, the game really begins.

When the come-out roll lands on 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, this number becomes the "point," and from there, the action heats up. With a point number now set, your Pass Line bet remains in place on subsequent rolls. And every time the shooter rolls that same point number again, the dealer will slide you an even-money payout on that Pass Line wager.

This is where the fun and excitement of craps really kicks off. A few consecutive rolls coming up on the point number can turn the table into a frenzy, as all Pass Line bettors are raking in chips.

And don't worry about the shooter missing the point number, because that simply results in a "push" for Pass Line bets, with nothing won or lost as a result. In fact, with a point number established, the only way you can lose your Pass Line bet is when the shooter rolls a 7.

Most people think the 7 coming up is called "craps" to give the game its name, but as you'll learn through experience, this unfortunate result is actually known as "sevening out."

In any event, a roll can continue for as long as it takes for the shooter to finally seven out. Sometimes that will happen quickly, but those scenes I described above with a full table cheering and carrying on occur when the shooter strings together a long streak of no sevens.

Every point number they hit brings back an even-money payout for Pass Line bettors, along with the other payouts based on their supplementary wagers (more on these to come).

In terms of the house edge you'll be up against, the Pass Line bet carries a 1.41 percent edge for the house - which is one the lowest you'll find on a game of chance. The skill-based games can bring your house edge a bit lower, but in the world of chance-based games, 1.41 percent is a windfall to say the least.

Just think, betting on American-style double-zero roulette carries a house edge of 5.26 percent, and even playing blackjack by gut instinct offers a 1.50 percent rate.

In addition to this very favorable house edge number, the Pass Line bet offers another distinct advantage for players learning the game - camaraderie.

In craps, betting on the Pass Line is known as "right way" wagering, because you're betting along with the shooter and most other players. When they win, you win, and vice versa.

I say most other players, however, because you can also bet the "wrong way" by backing the Don't Pass Line - which is covered in the next entry.

And even better, once you've put a Pass Line bet in play and the shooter has established the point number, you can get money down on the Odds bet (explained in detail later in the page). The Odds bet is one of the rarest finds on the casino floor, as it carries no house edge whatsoever, offering players a true even-money wager. But the only way to get in on the Odds bet action is by placing a Pass Line bet (or Don't Pass Line, if you like going against the grain).

House Edge = 1.41 percent


Don't Pass Line

If betting on the Pass Line is the right way, taking the Don't Pass Line is, of course, the "wrong way."

You'll also hear craps regulars refer to the Don't Pass Line bet as the "dark side," and for good reason. This base wager simply reverses the terms of the Pass Line bet described above.

In other words, after putting a chip on the Don't Pass Line, you'll be hoping to see a 2, 3, or 12 arrive on the come-out roll to win even money. And when the come-out roll lands on a 7 or 11, you'll lose the bet to the house.

As you can see, this puts you squarely against any Pass Line bettors at the table. While they're cheering a nice 7 or 11 hit on the come-out roll, you'll be the loser. But when they're bemoaning an unlucky 2, 3, or 12 hitting the table, you'll rake in an even-money payout.

This reversed dynamic also carries over when a point number has been established. All of the Pass Line bettors will be hoping to see the point number land again to bring back a payout - but folks backing the Don't Pass Line want to see a 7 show up.

This is a key factor in the Don't Pass Line wager, because 7 is the most likely number to occur. In other words, when you can dodge the odds and get to a point number on the Don't Pass Line, you'll have the best chance of success during all subsequent rolls.

As a result, Don't Pass Line bets carry a slightly lower house edge of 1.36 percent, which actually makes it the optimal play according to logic alone. A savings of 0.05 percent on your house edge may not seem all that important, but over the course of your lifetime, backing the dark side in craps can amount to significant savings.

This comes with a crucial caveat, however, and one which tends to push most new players away from the Don't Pass Line. By embracing the dark side and betting the wrong way, you'll be celebrating winners while the rest of the table just lost money.

For the grizzled gambling vets out there, this isn't a bother at all, so you'll invariably see a Don't Pass Line bettor silently collecting their chips while the rest of the table bemoans the recent loss.

But for most of us, the dirty looks and lack of conversation that come with betting the Don't Pass Line just aren't worth that 0.05 percent savings.

I'll leave that up to your own personal preference, and indeed, I recommend trying the Don't Pass Line approach at least once, just to see what it's all about. If the negative vibes and hard stares aren't for you, just flip the script and bet the Pass Line on the next roll, while feigning ignorance - there won't be any hard feelings after that.

Betting on the Don't Pass Line does offer a distinct, albeit slight, advantage in terms of your overall odds. Once a point number has been set, every roll after that leaves the 7 as the most likely result - and you'll be the winner when that seven-out occurs. Of course, you won't be able to get in on the fun when a few point numbers in a row are hit, and for most craps rookies, fun is what the game is all about.

If you choose to take the dark side approach and back the Don't Pass Line, I advise doing so as quietly and inconspicuously as possible. Don't cheer and celebrate when you win, just collect the chips without a word and move on.

I can't stress this part enough...most players despise Don't Pass Line bettors. This animosity isn't really warranted, as you're not exactly causing them to lose, but don't try arguing that fact with a drunk player losing their pants.

If you can stand the heat, a Don't Pass Line approach to craps is actually the most mathematically effective way to play the game.

House Edge = 1.36 percent


Odds Bet

So far we've discussed a pair of even-money wagers, but all that excitement and buzz you hear about the craps table can't be generated by such a flat payout.

No, the true allure of craps comes from the Odds bet, a second wager which can be made after the point number is set. With an Odds bet in place, a fortunate roll with several point numbers landed before sevening out can produce a healthy return on a relatively small investment.

When you hear a friend talk about their miraculous run at the craps table, where they turned $50 into $500 in just a few minutes, they're inevitably talking about an Odds bet gone right.

Here's how it works:

After the come-out roll has established a point number - let's say 6 in this case - the dealer will look your way, silently asking if you'd like to put up an Odds bet. It doesn't matter if you backed the Pass Line or Don't Pass Line, you'll always have an opportunity to "take the odds" with a point number in place.

I'm using the 6 as our point number, so let's say you started with $5 on the Pass Line before putting $20 down on the Odds bet. Now the fun really begins.

If the shooter rolls any combination of 6 on their next roll, you'll immediately bring back a juiced-up payout on the Odds bet. In fact, that's where the bet gets its name, because those payouts are based on the odds against landing that particular point number.

Check out the table below to get a better grasp of Odds bet payouts:

Odds Bet Pay Table on Pass Line Bets

4 and 10 2 to 1
5 and 9 3 to 2
6 and 8 6 to 5

Returning to our example, let's imagine the shooter rolls a 6 on the very first roll. Here, you'd collect $5 at even money for your $5 Pass Line bet, before sizing up the Odds bet. You have $20 on the Odds, and using the 6 to 5 payout described in the table above, you'd collect $24 on that $20 wager.

The best part about the Odds bet is that it carries over to the next roll. Once the dealer has slid you that stack of $24, the original $20 bet stays in place. And if the shooter rolls another 6, you get another $24 for a successful Odds bet.

In this fashion, a simple combination of Pass Line (or Don't Pass Line) bet with the follow up Odds bet can pay huge dividends on a fortunate roll. When you see people high-fiving and letting loose at the craps table, chances are good it's because everyone is nailing their odds bets over and over again.

This ability to turn a few chips and just two basic wagers into a mountain of money is what makes craps such a special game. You don't need to place additional wagers, as that first Odds bet stays in place throughout the roll. When the shooter goes on a hot streak and starts nailing the point number in succession, you can quickly turn that basic $25 ($5 on Pass Line + $20 on the Odds bet) into hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

And as I mentioned in the preceding section, the Odds bet almost seems too good to be true, as it carries no house edge at all. With a 0.00 percent house edge, the Odds bet is precisely calibrated to pay out exactly what the true odds of success happen to be. The odds of landing a 6 or 8 on any given roll stand at 6 to 5, so you win 6 to 5 on your money for a successful Odds bet on a 6- or 8-point number.

It really is that easy.

To get your Odds bet down, just place a stack of chips directly behind your original Pass Line or Don't Pass Line wager. This signifies to the dealer that you're taking the odds, and from that point forward (until the shooter sevens out, of course), you'll bring back a big payout when the point number is hit.

At this point, savvy readers are invariably asking one question: why not bet the farm on the Odds bet if it carries no house edge at all?

Well, the casinos know quite well that the Odds bet favors the player - or at the very least, doesn't favor the house at all - so they've imposed limits on how much you can put down on any single Odds bet.

Many casinos limit the Odds bet to the amount bet on the Pass Line or Don't Pass Line. In other houses, the rules allow for larger Odds bets, usually of 3x, 4x, or 5x the original bet. This works to shield the casino from massive losses on a single wager, while still giving players a chance to score sizable winners.

In the example above, I've gone with a 4x multiple on the Odds bet, as I've backed up a $5 Pass Line wager with $20 on the odds. When it comes to Odds bets, the more the merrier really does apply, which is why craps experts always hunt for the largest possible Odds bets.

Casinos compete with one another by offering increasingly generous Odds bet terms, so if you're in Las Vegas, try exploring the "Off Strip" areas to score terms of 10x or even higher.

At this point, you may be wondering why in the world any casino would offer a neutral expectation bet like this. That's a good question, and the answer all comes down to that original Pass Line or Don't Pass Line bet.

You can't get a chip down on the Odds bet without first risking money on the Pass Line or Don't Pass Line - which is why I like to think of those as ante bets. And because those carry house edge rates of 1.41 percent and 1.36 percent, respectively, you're always assuming a slight degree of house edge before you can ever place an Odds bet.

For this reason, the optimal strategy for craps involves betting the table minimum on the Pass Line or Don't Pass Line, before betting the maximum on the Odds.

As for you dark side bettors, if you've backed the Don't Pass Line, your Odds bets work in reverse as well. That is to say you'll be looking for the shooter to roll a 7 in order to cash in your Odds bet. For this reason, Don't Pass Line backers say they're "laying the odds," while Pass Line bettors are "taking the odds."

The same payout scheme based on true odds is in place, so you'll earn a payout based on the true odds of the point number that has been set. The table below highlights payouts for Odds bets when you have backed the Don't Pass Line:

Odds Bet Pay Table on Don't Pass Line Bets

4 and 10 1 to 2
5 and 9 2 to 3
6 and 8 5 to 6

As you can see, these payouts are reversed when compared to Pass Line betting, so Don't Pass Line backers don't enjoy the same "rags to riches" experience. This is another reason why most recreational players, and even veterans of the game, tend to stick with the Pass Line.

After all, why chase $5 for $10 payouts when you can win $10 on $5?

In any case, the Odds bet is the hidden jewel of the craps table, and of casino gambling as a whole. You'll be hard pressed to find another neutral expectation wager anywhere on the floor, and even with the ante factor added in, your combined house edge on a Pass Line + Odds bet combination beats practically every other game.

House Edge = 0.00 percent*


Place Bet on 6 or 8

During the course of your craps education, you'll wind up seeing certain trends and patterns.

This is why those snake oil salesmen pushing systems and strategies based on patterns have so much success. That's all malarkey, of course, but the numbers will tend to crop up in patterns based on the laws of probability.

If 7 is the most likely combination to occur when you roll a pair of dice, 6 and 8 are the next most likely, followed by 5 and 9, then 4 and 10, and so on.

Take a look at the table below to see exactly how dice combinations, and their probability of showing up, shake out:

Combinations and Probabilities of Landing Any Total in Craps

2 1 (1 +1) 2.78%
3 2 (1+2; 2+1) 5.56%
4 3 (1+3; 2+2; 3+1) 8.33 percent
5 4 (1+4; 2+3; 3+2; 4+1) 11.11 percent
6 5 (1+5; 2+4; 3+3; 4+2; 5+1) 13.89 percent
7 6 (1+6; 2+5; 3+4; 4+3; 5+2; 6+1) 16.67 percent
8 5 (2+6; 3+5, 4+4; 5+3; 6+2) 13.89 percent
9 4 (3+6; 4+5; 5+4; 6+3) 11.11 percent
10 3 (4+6; 5+5; 6+4) 8.33 percent
11 2 (5+6; 6+5) 5.56 percent
12 1 (6+6) 2.78 percent

As you can see by the pyramid-like structure of that table, the 7 shows up more often than any other number, arriving on 16.67 percent of rolls. This is why the house has claimed the seven as its winner (remember, Pass Line bettors lose when the shooter sevens out), because the house always grabs the best odds on the board.

Next up are the 6 and 8, which occur on 13.89 percent of rolls.

For this reason, craps players who have a Pass Line bet and Odds bet working love nothing more than to see the point number set at 6 or 8. When it is, they'll have the best possible chance of landing the point number - and collecting on both bets.

But this is a gambling game at heart, so those favorable 6- and 8-point numbers won't always show up when you want them to. When the point number comes a 4 or 10, for example, your odds of hitting it again drop all the way down to 8.33 percent - making it that much harder to collect a payout on your lucrative Odds bet.

If only you could ensure that the point number was a 6 or 8 at all times...

Well, you can by using the Place bet, which is one of the most invaluable tools in a craps player's arsenal.

When you make a Place bet, you're simply creating a point number on demand, and one of your own choosing. Let's say the point number has been set at 4, giving you that 8.33 percent chance of seeing it come again on subsequent rolls. In this case, you should try making a Place bet on the 6 and/or 8 to give yourself a better chance of success.

After the shooter lands on an unfavorable point number, you'll see players tossing chips towards the dealer while asking for certain numbers: "Give me eighteen on the six" or "Twenty-four on the eight, please" are commonly-heard commands.

In this case, you're simply creating a second (or third, or fourth) point number that works just for you. Thus, if you've taken a Place bet on the 6 and the 8 in our running example, on the next roll you'd have the original 4-point number working, along with the 6 and the 8.

You don't have to take them in pairs, either, so if you just want the 6, or the 8, feel free to go with a single Place bet.

However you proceed with your Place bets, the wagers work just like a point number ordinarily would. In other words, on the next roll, you'll turn a winner if the shooter rolls that number - and you'll be paid out just like a standard odds bet.

The table below showcases the payouts, and corresponding house edge rates, for the various Place bet options:

Place Bets by Payout Rate and House Edge

4 or 10 9 to 5 ($5 bet is paid $9) 6.70 percent
5 or 9 7 to 5 ($5 bet is paid $7) 4.00 percent
6 or 8 7 to 6 ($6 bet is paid $7) 1.50 percent

One thing to keep in mind about Place bets is the increments, which are always based on the payout odds. For example, when you want to back the 6 or 8 with a place bet, the payout odds are 7 to 6 on your money. So to make things easier, you'll size these Place bets in increments of $6, so you can put $6 on the 6, $12 on the 6, and so on up the ladder.

If you're backing the 5 and 9 or 4 and 10 with a Place bet, the payout odds are expressed as 7 to 5 and 9 to 5, respectively, so using $5 increments is acceptable in this case.

And don't fret if that seems complicated at first glance. Craps dealers know most newbies aren't familiar with the game's minutiae, so if they see you looking confused when it's time to get a Place bet down, they'll ask you if you want to take a number. And if you're going with the most favorable 6 and 8 Place bets, they'll direct you to size your bets in increments of $6 rather than $5. Before long, you'll have that aspect of craps betting down pat.

When making Place bets, I advise sticking to the 6 and 8 above all others, simply based on the probability of success.

As an example, let's say you've started with a $5 bet on the Pass Line, before the shooter establishes the 4 as the point number. You go ahead and take the Odds bet for $20, and now you want to get some action down on those favorable 6 and 8 spots.

At this point, you'd grab a stack of chips sized in $6 increments (we'll go with $24) and ask the dealer to give you "twenty-four on the six" and "twenty-four on the eight."

Now you have three point numbers working in your favor - the 4, the 6, and the 8.

On the next roll, you'll be hoping to see any of those numbers land to score a sizable payout. Let's say you get lucky and land the 6 right off the bat. Using the payout odds on Place bets from the table above, you'd get 7 to 6 on your $24 wager - good for a $28 payout.

As you can probably tell, a fortuitous roll where the shooter is hitting 6s and 8s often can produce significant returns. A $24 uptick here and a $24 boost there can work wonders for your bankroll, especially during extended rolls.

These 6 and 8 Place bets carry a very low house edge of 1.50 percent, far and away the best you'll find on the Place bet spectrum. Chasing the 5/9 and 4/10 groupings for Place bets isn't really advisable, as these carry higher house edge rates of 4.00 and 6.70 percent, respectively.

House Edge = 1.50 percent


Come Bet

Now that you've got a firm grasp on the Pass Line > Odds bet > Place bet structure that offers the best probability of success, let's move on to an advanced lesson.

The beauty of craps is its customizable nature, as players aren't beholden to what the dice dictate. You can use the Place bet to generate an on-demand point number, and with the Come bet, you can create your own personal Pass Line ahead of every roll.

Once the shooter has established the point number (and any point number will do), you have the option to place a Come bet. Doing so "resets" the game for you and you alone, creating a new Pass Line bet that operates separately from the rest of the table.

Let's say the point number has been set at 4, and you decide to place a Come bet. On the next roll, a 7 would end the festivities by sevening out - but if you remember, on the come-out roll, 7s are actually even-money winners.

Come bets work by recreating the come-out roll, so with a Come bet in play, that 7 to end the roll provides the same payout it would on a true come-out roll. You'll also win on a Come bet when the dice read 11, giving you two ways to win.

Conversely, any 2, 3, or 12 that shows up will kill your Come bet and send it straight to the house.

And finally, if the next roll after you've made a Come bet is a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, that establishes a new point number that works exclusively for your personal Come bet.

If that all sounds a bit complicated, you're spot on. It is quite complex to read on the page, but when you're at the table, it will quickly start to make sense.

Just think of a Come bet as starting up a "game within the game," a second round of craps operating separately from the main game. You have your own personal Pass Line to start, and your personal point number after that. While other players are winning and losing based on the main game's point number, you'll be doing the same, while also playing the second game based on your Come bet's new point number.

When using the Come bet, you're adding another dimension to the base gameplay - and that's what craps is all about.

Even better, a Come bet operates just like a standard Pass Line bet once your new point number has been established. That means you can back it up with an Odds bet as per usual, giving yourself additional chances to bring back bigger payouts.

Accordingly, the Come bet holds the exact same house edge rate of 1.41 percent as found on the Pass Line bet.

One thing to remember about the Come bet is how complicated it can be with a crowded table. You'll have your original Pass Line and Odds bets working, and then the Come bet adds a second point number to the equation. Unless you have a bit of practice under your belt, it can be difficult to keep track of everything happening at once.

Thankfully, the dealers are usually highly trained and know exactly what's going on - even with multiple Come bets in play by different players. So when in doubt, look their direction with a quizzical look, and they'll be happy to help you navigate the betting board.

Just be sure tip them for their troubles when you need an assist...

House Edge = 1.41 percent


Don't Come Bet

In craps, every wager has a mirror image, so the Don't Come bet acts as the reverse of the Don't Pass Line bet.

When you place a Don't Come bet, you're effectively creating a personal Don't Pass Line that works just for you after any come-out roll.

Betting on the Don't Come turns you into a dark side bettor for the ongoing roll. In other words, you'll win when the dice show 2 or 3 - while a 12 results in a push - on the new come-out roll created by your Don't Come bet.

Conversely, when a 7 is landed, you'll lose your Don't Come bet to the house.

And once that new come-out roll establishes a new "don't come point" number, everything works as it would on a standard Don't Pass Line wager. Here, you'll want to see a 7 show up before the new don't come point number is landed.

As you might expect, the Don't Come bet carries a house edge rate of 1.36 percent - exactly the same as on a Don't Pass Line bet. Of course, you'll still be backing the dark side with this one, so be mindful not to celebrate too vocally, as the rest of the table has likely lost, courtesy of your winner.

House Edge = 1.36 percent


Field Bet (With 2 to 1 Payout on 2 and 3 to 1 Payout on 12)

If you ask any craps veteran about the Field bet, you'll probably hear vastly different opinions on its merits.

When making a Field bet, you're placing a one-off wager in hopes that the next roll hits "the field" - or any number within the 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12 grouping.

For a craps rookie, staring down at the flashy "Field" bet area on the felt can be enticing, what with seven distinct winning numbers at your disposal.

But take a second look at the table in section 4 - Combinations and Probabilities of Landing Any Total in Craps - to see why the Field bet isn't necessarily as favorable as it first appears.

As you can see, the 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12 grouping represents the worst odds on the board.

To land a 2 or a 12, you'll only have a 2.78 chance, while hitting a 3 or 11 offers only a 5.56 percent likelihood of success. Scoring a 4 or 10 requires beating 8.33 percent odds, while landing a 9 comes in on just 11.11 percent of rolls.

Average all those odds together, and you'll get a 5.56 percent house edge on the Field bet - when it pays out at even money, that is.

But many casinos like to juice things up by offering a premium payout of 2 to 1 when you hit the Field bet by landing a 2. Under these house rules, you'll also enjoy a premium payout of 3 to 1 when you hit the 12 to cash in a Field bet.

If you can get yourself in a craps game which uses this 2x and 3x system for the 2 and 12 on Field bets, the house edge on the entire wager plummets to 2.78 percent.

Those aren't the best odds on the table, but they're still well within the realm of respectability - and Field bets are often a fun way to liven up the proceedings. In effect, you'll have seven numbers to work with, in addition to your point number, which helps to lend an air of excitement to every roll.

The old-timers might shoot you a look of derision for making the Field bet, as it usually falls within the sucker bet category, but don't worry about them. Those 2x and 3x premiums for landing the 2 and 12 more than make up for the standard Field bet's deficiencies, so just have fun with it and do your thing.

One thing to keep in mind though - the Field bet is a one-time deal. In other words, it won't continue on through the duration of the roll. You get one chance to hit it, and if not, the house collects your chip(s).

House Edge = 2.78 percent

Avoid the Exotic Long Shots (Read: Sucker Bets)

Now that you know all about the best bets on the craps table, there's only one thing to know about all those other wagers being offered: avoid them at all costs.

I'll admit, watching somebody winning on Hard Eights and Yo Bets can be intoxicating, as these players are cashing in on long-shot odds to collect large payouts. But if you pay close attention, you'll notice that these players celebrate loudly when they win - while staying quiet when they lose.

And they'll stay quiet much more often than they'll shout out with joy, simply due to those long-shot odds.

Take a look below for a full listing of the exotic long shot wagers on the craps table:

Exotic Craps Bets and Associated Odds + House Edge Rates

Yo (11) 17:1 15:1 11.11 percent Single 11 Any other number
3 17:1 15:1 11.11 percent Single 3 Any other number
2 35:1 30:1 13.89 percent Single 2 Any other number
12 35:1 30:1 13.89 percent Single 12 Any other number
Hi Lo (2 or 12) 17:1 15:1 11.11 percent Single 2 or 12 Any other number
Craps (2, 3, or 12) 8:1 7:1 11.11 percent Single 2, 3, 12 Any other number
C &Amp; E (the combined bet) 5:1 3:1 on 2, 3, 12; 7:1 on 11 11.11 percent Single 2, 3, 11, 12 Any other number
Any 7 5:1 4:1 16.67 percent Single 7 Any other number
Field 5:4 1:1 on 3, 4, 9, 10, 11; 2:1 on 2, 12 5.56 percent (2.78 percent if 12 pays 3:1) Single 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 12 Any other number
Horn (the combined bet) 5:1 27:4 on 2, 12; 3:1 on 3, 11 12.5 percent Single 2, 3, 11, 12 Any other number
Whirl / World (the combined bet) 2:1 26:5 on 2, 12; 11:5 on 3, 11; 0:1 (push) on 7 13.33 percent Single 2, 3, 7, 11, 12 Any other number
Hard 4 / Hard 10 8:1 7:1 11.11 percent Multi 4 / 10 as a pair (2 - 2 / 5 - 5) 7, 4 / 10 as a non-pair (1 - 3 / 4 - 6)
Hard 6 / Hard 8 10:1 9:1 9.09 percent Multi 6 / 8 as a pair (3 -3 / 4 - 4) 7, 6 / 8 as a non-pair (1 - 5,2 - 4 / 2 - 6,3 - 5)
Big 6 / Big 8 6:5 1:1 9.09 percent Multi 6 / 8 7
Place 4 / Place 10 2:1 9:5 6.67 percent Multi 4 / 10 7
Place 5 / Place 9 3:2 7:5 4 percent Multi 5 / 9 7

As you can tell, these long-shot bets live up to their name, offering enormous odds against that are more akin to roulette betting than craps. Indeed, betting on a 2 or 12 to arrive on the next roll carries 35 to 1 odds against, which are precisely in line with backing a single number in roulette.

But unlike roulette, which guarantees a house edge of 5.26 percent on those single-number bets, backing the 2 or 12 on a single roll incurs a massive house edge of 13.89 percent.

That's simply too steep of a hill to climb when it comes to gambling on a game of chance, which is why long-shot bettors don't last long in the rough-and-tumble world of craps.

If you have the discipline, simply avoid betting on these exotics at all costs. Sure, they can be fun when you get lucky and turn a winner, but those will come few and far between. On all the other rolls, you'll just turn a player-friendly game like craps into a bonanza for the house.


Don't be a sucker, and stick with the basic Pass Line > Odds > Place bet pattern established in the second section to derive maximum value from your next craps session.

And when you do, you'll wind up getting lucky far more often, simply because you understand the odds and back the best bets at all times.