Online Craps Strategy
- Online Craps (previously known as crabs) is a casino dice card game and is a simplification of the Old English game hazard. Its origins are complex and may date to the Crusades, later being influenced by French gamblers. What was to become the modern American version of the game was brought to New Orleans by Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville, scion of wealthy Louisiana landowners and a gambler and politician. The game, first known as crapaud reportedly owes its modern popularity from its being spread through the African-American community.
In craps, players wager money against the casino on the outcome of one roll, or of a series of rolls of two dice. Craps can also be played in less formal settings and is said to be popular among soldiers. In such situations side bets are more frequent, with one or several participants covering or “fading” bets against the dice.
- Types of bets
Fire Bet: Before the shooter begins, some casinos will allow a bet known as a fire bet to be placed. A fire bet is a bet for between 1-5 dollars in the hopes that the next shooter will have a hot streak of setting and getting many points of different values. As points are made by the shooter they will be marked on the craps layout with a fire symbol. The first three points will not pay out on the fire bet, but the fourth, fifth and sixth will pay out at increasing odds.
The fourth point pays at 25-1 (a maximum of $125), the fifth point pays at 250-1 (a maximum of $1250) and the 6th point pays at 1000-1 (a maximum of $5000). Note that the points must all be different numbers for them to count towards the fire bet. A shooter who successfully hits a point of 10 twice will only garner credit for the first one on the fire bet.
Online Craps Line bets::
The shooter is required to make either a Pass Line bet or a Don’t Pass bet if he wants to shoot. Line bets are based around points.
Pass line: The fundamental bet in craps is the pass line bet, also called the win line in some countries. A pass line bet is won if the come-out roll is a 7 or 11. If the come-out roll is 2, 3 or 12, the bet loses. If instead the come-out roll establishes a point, and that point is rolled again, the bet wins. If a point is established and a 7 is rolled before the point is re-rolled, the bet loses.
Don’t pass: The opposite of the pass line bet is the don’t pass bet. The don’t pass bet is opposite in that it loses if the come-out roll is 7 or 11 and wins if the come-out roll is 2 or 3. 12 will draw, (this depends on the casino), either way a player cannot lose if 12 is rolled. A draw (the word “BAR”, printed on the Craps layout, means “Standoff”), on 12 is done to ensure the casino maintains a house edge regardless of if players are betting pass or don’t pass. If a point is established and that point is rolled again, the don’t pass bet loses. If a 7 is rolled instead of the point being re-rolled, the don’t pass bet wins. Many online craps players consider don’t pass bets to be in poor taste, or even taboo, because they are betting opposite to how the game is conventionally considered to play.
Pass odds: If a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 is thrown on the come-out roll (i.e., if a point is set), most casinos allow pass line bettors to take odds by placing from one to five times (and at some casinos, up to 100 times) the pass line bet behind the pass line. This additional bet wins if the point is rolled again before a 7 is rolled (the point is made) and pays at the true odds of 2-to-1 if 4 or 10 is the point, 3-to-2 if 5 or 9 is the point, and 6-to-5 if 6 or 8 is the point.
Don’t pass odds: If a player is playing don’t pass instead of pass, they may also take odds by placing chips behind the don’t pass line. If a 7 comes instead of the point coming, the odds pay at true odds of 1-to-2 if 4 or 10 is the point, 2-to-3 if 5 or 9 is the point, 5-to-6 if 6 or 8 is the point. For most players the perceived disadvantage of putting up the long side of the bet makes the don’t pass odds less desirable, however putting up the long side reduces variance.
Come bet: The rules for the come wagers are the same as for the pass line except that they can only be made after the come-out roll. If the roll the come bet is made on is a 7 or 11 it wins, if it is a 2, 3 or 12 it loses, just like a pass bet. If instead the roll is 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10 then the come bet will be moved by the base dealer onto a box representing that number. If the number is rolled again before a seven, the bet wins. If the seven comes before the number (the come-bet), the bet loses. Odds can also be placed on a come-bet just like a normal pass point; in this case the dealer (not the player) places the odds bet on top of the bet in the box, because of limited space, slightly offset to signify that it is an odds bet and not part of the original come bet.
Because of the come bet, if the shooter makes their point, a player can find themselves in the situation where they have a come bet (possibly with odds on it) and the next roll is a come-out roll. In this situation odds bets on the come wagers are presumed to be not working for the come-out roll. That means that if the shooter rolls a 7 on the come-out roll, any players with active come bets waiting for a come-point lose their initial wager but will have their odds money returned to them, if the come-point is rolled the odds do not win but the come bet does and the odds are returned.
The player can tell the dealer that they want their odds working, such that if the shooter rolls a number that matches the come point, the odds bet will win along with the come bet, and if a seven is rolled both lose.
Don’t come: There is also a don’t come box which is the opposite of a come bet in that the player is betting that craps will come on the next roll instead of 7 or 11, or that if a come point is made, that value won’t be rolled again before a 7. It pays just as don’t pass and also has odds in the same way.
- Craps Single roll bets
Single Roll bets have a result in a single shooter roll. They include:
Yo: Wins if the shooter rolls 11.
3 (ace-deuce): Wins if the shooter rolls a 3.
2 (snake eyes): Wins if shooter rolls a 2.
12 (box cars): Wins if shooter rolls a 12.
2 or 12 (hi-lo): Wins if shooter rolls a 2 or 12. The stickman places this bet on the line dividing the 2 and 12 bets.
Craps: Wins if the shooter rolls 2, 3 or 12.
C & E: A combined bet, a player is betting half their bet on craps and the other half on yo (11). One of the two bets will always lose, the other may win.
Any seven: Wins if the shooter rolls a 7. This bet is also nicknamed Big Red, since the 7 on its betting space on the layout is usually large and red.
Field: This bet is a wager that one of the numbers 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12 will appear on the next roll of the dice. This bet typically pays more 2:1 or 3:1 if 2 or 12 is rolled, and 1:1 if 3, 4, 9, 10 or 11 is rolled. Unlike the other proposition bets which are handled by the dealers or stickman, the field bet is placed directly by the player.
The Horn: This is a bet that involves betting on 1 unit each for 2, 3, 11 and 12 at the same time for the next roll. The bet is actually four separate bets, and pays off depending on which number is actually rolled, minus three units for the other three losing bets. Most players do a "Horn High" bet which involves betting an additional $1 on one of the 4 choices, with the most frequent being a $5 "horn high yo" bet (which means $2 on the 11, $1 each on 2, 3 & 12).
Whirl or World: bet is a five-unit bet that is a combination of a horn and any-seven bet, with the idea that if a seven is rolled the bet is a push, because the money won on the seven is lost on the horn portions of the bet.
- Multi roll bets
These are bets that may not be settled on the first roll and may need any number of subsequent rolls before an outcome is determined.
Hard way: You may bet that the shooter will throw a specific hard way (either 4, 6, 8 or 10), before he throws a seven or the corresponding easy way. A hard way is when both dice show identical values, so 2 2 is hard way 4.
Easy way: Opposite of hard way is a bet that the shooter will throw a specific easy way (either 4, 6, 8 or 10), before he throws a seven. An easy way is a value that does not have two dice identical, so 3 1 is easy way 4.
Big 6 and Big 8:These wagers are considered by online craps players as sucker bets because they pay even money while a player can bet on the same proposition (that the number will be rolled before a 7) by making place/buy bets on the 6 or the 8, which pay more money. Veteran craps players avoid these bets, and some casinos do not even offer them. The bets are located in the corners behind the pass line, and bets are placed directly by players.
Place and buy: Players can buy or place certain individual numbers (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10) by placing their wager in the come area and telling the dealer, "place the 6" or "buy the 8". Both place and buy bets are bets that the number bet on will be rolled before a 7 is rolled. Place bets are paid at odds worse than the true odds, while buy bets are paid at true odds, but a 5% commission is charged. Traditionally, the buy bet commission is paid no matter what, but in recent years a number of casinos have changed their policy to charge the commission only when the buy bet wins. Most casinos usually charge only $1 for a $25 green-chip bet (4% commission), or $2 for $50 (two green chips), reducing the house advantage a bit more. Where commission is charged only on wins, the commission is sometimes deducted from the winning payoff — a winning $25 buy bet on the 10 would pay $49, for instance.
Lay: A lay bet is the opposite of a buy/place bet, where a player bets on a 7 to roll before the number that is laid. The lay bets pay true odds, but a 5% commission is charged. In some casinos the commission is only charged if the bet wins. Like the buy bet the commission is adjusted to suit the betting unit such that fraction of a dollar payouts are not needed.
- Craps Bet odds
Note: Individual casinos may pay some of these craps bets at different odds than those listed below. The payoff craps odds listed are the most common throughout North American casinos.
Bet Odds Paid House Edge Pass / Come 1:1 1.41% Don’t Pass / Don’t Come 1:1 1.36% Pass Odds / Come Odds 2:1 on 4 or 10
3:2 on 5 or 9
6:5 on 6 or 8
0% Don’t Pass Odds / Don’t Come Odds 1:2 against 4 or 10
2:3 against 5 or 9
5:6 against 6 or 8
0% Yo (11) 15:1 11.11% 3 15:1 11.11% 2 30:1 13.89% 12 30:1 13.89% Hi-Lo 15:1 11.11% Craps 7:1 11.11% C & E 3:1 on craps
7:1 on 11
11.11% Any 7 4:1 16.67% Field 1:1 on 3,4,9,10 or 11
2:1 on 2 and 12
5.56% Field 1:1 on 3,4,9,10 or 11
2:1 on 2, 3:1 on 12
2.78% The Horn 27:4 on 2 or 12
3:1 on 3 or 11
12.5% Whirl/World 26:5 on 2 or 12
11:5 on 3 or 11
0:1 (push) on 7
13.33% Hard way 4 / Hard way 10 7:1 11.11% Hard way 6 / Hard way 8 9:1 9.09% Big 6 1:1 9.09% Big 8 1:1 9.09% Place 4 / Place 10 9:5 6.67% Place 5 / Place 9 7:5 4% Place 6 / Place 8 7:6 1.52% Buy 4 / Buy 10 2:1 + 5% commission 5% Buy 5 / Buy 9 3:2 + 5% commission 5% Buy 6 / Buy 8 6:5 + 5% commission 5% Lay 4 / Lay 10 1:2 + 5% commission 5% Lay 5 / Lay 9 2:3 + 5% commission 5% Lay 6 / Lay 8 5:6 + 5% commission 5%
The expected value of all craps bets is negative, such that the average player will always lose money. This is because the house always sets the paid odds to below the actual odds. All craps bets have a negative expectation except for the “odds” bet that the player is allowed to make after a point is established on a pass/come don’t pass/don’t come bet (the odds portion of the bet has a long-term expected value of 0). However, the “free odds” bet cannot be made independently, so the expected value of the entire bet, including odds, is still negative. Since there is no correlation between die rolls, there is no possible long-term winning strategy in craps.
Maximizing the size of your odds bet in relation to your line bet will reduce, but never eliminate the house edge, and will increase variance. Many casinos have a limit on how large the odds bet can be in relation to the flat bet, with single, double, and five times odds common. Some casinos offer 3-4-5 odds, referring to the maximum multiple of the line bet a player can place in odds for the points of 4 and 10, 5 and 9, and 6 and 8, respectively. During promotional periods, a casino may even offer 100x odds bets, which renders the house edge to almost nothing, but dramatically increases variance, as the player will be betting in large betting units.
- Craps Optimal betting
Since all craps bets have a house advantage (and a negative expected value) the optimal strategy is not to bet. Players can, however, reduce their average hourly losses by only placing bets with the smallest house advantage.
The pass/don’t line, come/don’t line, place 6, place 8, buy 4 and buy 10 (only under the unusual casino rules where commission is charged only on wins) are the bets with the lowest house edge, and all other bets will on average lose money between three and twelve times faster because of the difference in house edges.
An important alternative metric is house advantage per roll (rather than per bet), which may be expressed in loss per hour. The typical pace of rolls varies depending on the number of players, but 102 rolls per hour is a cited rate for a nearly full table. This number then permits calculation of rate of loss per hour, and per the 4 day/5 hour per day online gambling trip:
$10 Pass line bets .42% per roll, $4.28 per hour, $86 per trip
$10 Place 6,8 bets 1.46% per roll, $14.89 per hour, $298 per trip
$10 Place 5,9 bets 1.32% per roll, $13.46 per hour, $269 per trip
$10 Place 4,10 bets 1.19% per roll, $12.14 per hour, $243 per trip
$1 Single Hardways 2.78% per roll, $2.84 per hour, $56.71 per trip
$1 All hardways 2.78% per roll, $11.34 per hour, $227 per trip
$5 All hardways 2.78% per roll, $56.71 per hour, $1134 per trip
$1 Craps only on come out 3.29% per roll, $3.35 per hour, $67.09 per trip
$1 Eleven only on come out 3.29% per roll, $3.35 per hour, $67.09 per trip
This runs counter to the notion that hardways and C/E on come-out roll are necessarily bad bets, since, although their house percentages are poor, they have lower minimum bets and happen less frequently. Therefore, they do not lose money as quickly as the pass line bet.
Also, by this metric, other craps betting patterns are shown to be costly, for example placing $10 on all point numbers, which has a much higher loss of $40.49 per hour or $810 per trip.