Play It Smart- Craps Strategies
By Nelson Paul
At some point even a casual craps player will take some time to try a figure out the mathematical aspects of the game. But before you get your calculator out understand this; no matter how you play the house has an overall edge. There is no betting strategy, no hedging strategy that will change the mathematic reality of the house edge. However craps strategies can be applied to minimize that edge. There are really dumb bets in craps and there are bets that can narrow the house advantage to a razor thin margin. The best bet on the craps table is the pass line or don’t pass odds bet.
Two dice and six spots, those dice can only produce 36 combinations of 2 through 12. The most frequent number 7 can be made 6 different ways. Get some dice out at home from a board game and look at them. Put one die on the desk in front of you with any side up. Now look at that number, let’s say it’s a 2. Now take the second die and make a total of seven using the 5 dot side. Understand that whatever you do with the first die, you can always make a seven using the second. Try making some other numbers like 4. If the first die is a 4 or higher no matter what side you use on the second die you can’t make a 4. In fact there are only 3 dice combinations that will produce a 4. (1-3, 2-2, and 3-1)
Frequency of the Point
The mathematics of craps centers around the frequency of the “point” numbers compared to making a 7. Understanding these relationships is the key to understanding how your odds bets will pay, and why the odds bet is the only even money bet in the casino.
Once a “point” is established on a roll (4-5-6-8-9-10) it is mathematically unlikely the shooter will make the “point” roll before they roll a 7. You will loose your pass line bet once a point is established more times than you will win. Your best strategy to narrow the house edge is to place the highest odds bet possible, an overall equal bet with the house. Odds bets pay out proportionately on any “points” relationship to 7. This can be simplified by understanding there are only 3 ratios compared to making a 7 for the 6 possible “points” (2-1, 3-2, 6-5).
If the point is a 10 or a 4 and the shooter rolls the point before the 7 the odds bet pays 2 for 1. Your $100 winning odds bet pays $200. If a 7 is rolled your loss is $100. Since a 7 will roll twice as many times as a 4 or 10 the payout is 2-1. In an infinite number of odds bet sequences involving a 4 or 10, for every 2 losses there is a win that pays double; that’s an outcome equal to the house. The same relationship exists for the other point combinations of 5 and 9 (paying out 3-2), or 6 and 8 (paying out 6-5).
Play it Smart and use the even money odds bet to cut the overall house advantage.