How to Win at Craps: The Ultimate Craps Strategy Guide (2021)

If you’re looking for the best online craps guide then look no further. 

Our experts at CoolCat have put together this extensive guide on the ultimate craps strategy and how to get the most bang for your buck. 

Craps is a thrilling, yet easy to learn table game with an exciting atmosphere and favorable odds. Whether you’re playing real money craps online or hitting the Vegas Strip, you can apply these strategies to your game to minimize the house edge, and maximize your chances of winning — and your bankroll!

To get the most out of your craps experience, you first need to understand the dynamics of gameplay, the rules, and the odds. There are multiple bets that can be made at the craps table, and right now we’re giving you professional advice on the best and worst bets to place, as well tips, tricks, and common mistakes that players make.

 

Worst Craps Bets

There are 120 different bets that can be placed at a craps table. Obviously, some of those are smarter bets than others — so we first want to start off with what NOT to do when placing your first craps bet.

 

Field Bets

A field bet is when you place a bet on the shooter rolling a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12. 

Field bets often seem appealing because they are easy. It’s a one-roll bet, so it’s over quickly without having to do any math. There are also 16 ways to win on a field bet, which seems like a lot; however, these numbers actually have the lowest probability of being rolled. 

Typically, you will be playing at a table with a field bet that pays double (2:1) when one of those seven numbers are rolled. With this configuration, the house advantage is 5.5%. 

While it may seem like a no-brainer to go for the field because seven numbers are winners and only four (5, 6, 7, and 8) are losers, this bet illustrates one of the most important things to keep in mind about craps — some numbers are more common than others, and you need to understand the number of ways each number can be made. Check out our dice probability table, below, to understand these odds.

We suggest skipping this one-roll bet to avoid looking like a rookie at the tables.

 

Betting on 4 or 10

Betting on 4 or 10 is one of the absolute worst bets to place at the craps table, especially if you’re betting on one of these numbers individually. The payout on a 4 or 10 is 9:5, but these numbers are the least likely to be rolled, and betting on them gives the house an edge of 6.7%. Not only is this one of the tougher bets to win at a craps table, but also in the entire casino.

 

Big 6 and Big 8 Bets

Don’t be fooled by the keyword “big,” because that’s not the case with these bets. You could say it’s more like “losing big and leaving the table frustrated.” 

When you bet on Big 6 or Big 8, you are betting that a 6 or 8 will be rolled before a 7 is. Beginners might be intrigued by this bet because of the seemingly high probability that they will win, but this bet gives the house a whopping 9% advantage.  

Big 6 Big 8 bets are such bad bets that Atlantic City does not even offer them in their casinos, in accordance with the gaming commission. Obviously, this is not a risk you should want to take.

 

Best Bets

Enough with the negativity; let’s get to the good stuff! The following bets are the reliable choices that separate novices from craps pros. With great bankroll management, implementing these options, and a little luck, you’ll be cashing in before you know it.

 

Pass Line Bet

The Pass Line bet is the most basic bet you can place at the craps table. With this bet, you will be backing the shooter. The majority of people at the table will be placing this bet. The Pass Line bet establishes a sense of camaraderie at the table — when the table wins, you win. 

If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11, everyone who placed a Pass Line bet wins. If the shooter rolls a 2, 3, or 12, you lose. The payout odds are 1:1, which further simplifies this bet and makes it perfect for beginners and casual punters.

The house edge for the Pass Line bet is one of the lowest at the table, sitting at 1.4%. 

Alternatively, you can place a Don’t Pass Line bet, which is exactly the opposite of the Pass Line. If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11, you lose; if the shooter rolls a 2, 3, or 12, you win. 

Placing a Don’t Pass Line bet is considered taboo, as you are betting against the shooter and basically taking on a villain role. 

We suggest sticking to the Pass Line bet and enjoying the camaraderie at the table — the house edge is nearly the same for both bets.

 

The Odds Bet

This is a unique bet in craps that features no house edge. Crazy, right? 

But before you get too excited, keep in mind that this bet is tied to your flat bet (pass, don’t pass, come or don’t come). Think of it like doubling down at the blackjack table. It’s a side bet — while you’ll pay an edge on your original bet, the Odds bet is completely free. 

Placing an Odds bet is easy: after a point number has been set, just slide a stack of chips behind your Pass Line bet. You’re essentially placing money on your number being rolled before the shooter sevens out. 

The payout is different for each number: 

  • 3:2 for getting points of 5 or 9, 
  • 2:1 for points 4 or 10,
  • 6:5 for points 6 or 8.

 

Place Bet on 6 or 8

First things first: don’t get this confused with Big 6 and Big 8 bets. 

As you get more familiar with the dynamics of craps, you’ll notice you and the rest of the table eager to see certain numbers being rolled as point numbers — specifically 6 and 8, as these two numbers have the highest probability of being rolled (besides 7).

Understanding the dice probability is a key factor in your success at the craps table. Study the chart below to understand why betting on 6 or 8 is a smart bet.

 

Dice Total Possible Combinations Total Combinations
2 1,1 1
3 1,2 2,1 2
4 1,3 3/1 2,2 3
5 1,4 4,1 3,2 2,3 4
6 1,5 5,1 4,2 2,4 3,3 5
7 1,6 6,1 2,5 5,2 3,4 4,3 6
8 2,6 6,2 3,5 5,3 4,4 5
9 3,6 6,3 4,5 5,4 4
10 4,6 6,4 5,5 3
11 5,6 6,5 2

 

If you bet on 6 or 8, any time that number is rolled before a 7, you win.

This bet has a house edge of 1.50%.

 

Come and Don’t Come Bets

Come and Don’t Come bets are very similar to Pass Line bets, except the bet is placed after the point number has been set. 

Come bet: If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11, you win. You lose if a 2, 3, or 12 is rolled. 

Don’t Come bet: If the shooter rolls a 2, 3, or 12, you win. If a 7 or 11 is rolled, you lose. 

Keep in mind that the Don’t Come bet carries the same etiquette as the Don’t Pass bet. You are betting against the shooter, and against the entire table. If you prefer to be part of the high-fiving and cheering along with the rest of the players, stick to the Come bet. 

The house edge for the Come and Don’t Come bets are 1.41% and 1.36%, respectively; and the payout is 1:1.

 

Common Mistakes

We understand the complexity and intimidation factor that comes along with taking your seat at a craps table for the first time — this is why we’re sharing the most common mistakes that people make. CoolCat Casino always wants you to have a great online gaming experience and get the most bang for your buck.

 

Not Managing Your Bankroll

With some casino games, the betting is structured in a way that is slower and allows players time to think before taking action. This is not the case with craps. 

There are many betting options and the action is almost continuous and typically hectic. This is not the ideal situation for anyone who has difficulty managing their bankroll.

Honestly, even experienced gamblers have difficulty with craps in this regard. The fact is, a craps table can quickly become a frenzy of activity, and players can get sucked in by the odds and temptation to make large plays. If you are not careful, you can go through your bankroll a lot faster than you would in structured games such as three-card poker or blackjack.

The key is to always set a limit before the game starts. Determine how much you are willing to lose, and take a break from the game when that limit is reached. 

We always encourage our players to bet responsibly — this is the key to a successful and fun real money craps experience.

 

Making Too Many Bets

As discussed earlier, the craps table has many betting options. Many new players can get carried away or overwhelmed by the sheer volume of options. This thins out your percentage chance of winning, as each subsequent bet further dilutes your wagers. 

The problem with spreading yourself too thin is that many of the wagers are mutually exclusive, but many of the newer players will chance long odds with huge payouts. 

Unfortunately, the odds are long for a reason, and more often than not, chasing them will prove to be fool’s gold.

 

Using the “Double up After a Loss” Strategy

Employing a negative progression strategy is popular with games such as blackjack or sports betting. In this strategy, you simply keep doubling up your wagers until you win your desired result. The thinking is that the law of averages will eventually take over and you will not lose forever. 

The problem with using this craps strategy is that it requires a rather large bankroll if you happen to catch a cold streak. Always remember that craps aren’t binary, and each roll is completely independent of the previous roll. 

Craps has plenty of betting options and part of the charm, like roulette, is the odds. The issue is that many of the tables have limits, and you can quickly run up against your wagering ceiling if you lose a handful of bets in a row. 

There are plenty of other games to play this way; craps just simply isn’t the best game to employ this type of strategy, which is more of a blind ladder approach. 

Overall, like most casino games, discipline is the key. Managing your bankroll can get you through the eventual highs and lows that you will encounter over your playing time.

 

Final Thoughts

Now that you have taken the time to get to know the game and its betting options better, our final piece of advice is this: don’t rush in. (Only fools do that, right, Elvis?)

Stepping up to the craps table and walking away a winner is a definite possibility if you stick with the right bets and play responsibly. While there’s always a house edge to keep the casino in the black, craps features some innovative wagers that keep this advantage to a minimum.

With that said, you will certainly hear and read about many strategies that will “ensure you win every time,” but understand that there is no way to trick the game and guarantee a winning streak or profitable session at the craps table.

Craps is a game of both knowledge and luck. 

Study up on the game dynamics before playing for real money and risking your bankroll. You can always play craps for free right here at CoolCat to get a better grasp on how the game works. 

Once you’re feeling comfortable and ready to feel the thrill of playing craps for real money, step up to the table and try to remember everything we’ve taught you. If ever you feel the need to brush up on some craps knowledge, be sure to check out our various guides that can help take your online casino experience to the next level. 

Good luck! We look forward to hearing your CoolCat success stories!

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Larry Cooper

Larry Cooper is a freelance writer and editor. An avid sports and gaming enthusiast, Larry has a love of all things esoteric, strange and seemingly random that influence how luck unfolds.