Strategies for Playing Craps

By Johnny Kampis
Two sixes, craps, boxcars
dice image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com

The craps table features a dizzying number of betting options, but if you stick to just a few bets you stand a better chance of leaving the table a winner. In general, avoid bets in the middle of the table as these have high house odds. When playing, always present your player's club card so that the casino can track your play--potentially earning you comps if you wager enough.

Pass Line/Don't Pass

These are the most common bets on the table. When you bet the pass line you win immediately if a seven or 11 is rolled on the come-out roll and lose if a two, three or 12 comes up on the dice. If any other number is rolled, that number becomes the point number. You will now win if the point number comes up again before a seven and lose if it doesn't. The opposite is true for those who bet the don't pass line, except that either two or 12 will not be a winning bet during the come out roll (it varies by casino). The house edge for these bets is slightly less than 2 percent.

Taking Odds

You should take odds when playing the pass line. The casino will allow you to place an additional wager behind your initial bet once a point is established, and this wager will pay the true odds. If the point number is 10, the odds of this number hitting again before a seven is 2-to-1 and the casino will pay you $20 on a $10 wager. Taking odds helps to reduce the house edge at craps. Some casinos allow you to wager twice your pass line bet in odds while some offer as much as 100 times the odds.

Place Bets

You can also place a bet on any of the point numbers (four, five, six, eight, nine and 10) and you will win if the number comes up before a seven. You should only place the six and eight because the house edge is less than 2 percent. They pay 7-to-6 on a bet with 6-to-5 odds. You can remove "place" bets from the felt at any time by asking the dealers.

About the Author

A veteran of the newspaper industry, Johnny Kampis has worked as a freelance writer since 2005. His articles have appeared in various publications including "The New York Times," "Atlanta-Journal Constitution" and the "San Francisco Chronicle." He currently serves as an editor of poker-based "Rounder" magazine and writer for the Alabama football publication "Crimson" magazine.