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Poker Blog established in 2003 as the first stop for poker news, poker stories, and bad poker advice.

March 11, 2005

How To Win at Craps

by Luckbox

Whenever I get to the Coushatta for a little NL action, I have a little time to kill while the waiting list either whittles down or gets big enough to open a new table. Unfortunately, that makes it easy for me to give in to my gambling urges.

Slots do nothing for me. I know Grubby loves one-armed bandits, but I just can't seem to get much excitement out of them. The blackjack tables are okay, but I lose too much there, despite what the book says. Roulette is a money pit (as much as I'd like to play it!). And Pai Gow poker is fine at 3am when I don't have to think, but that's about it.

That means it's on to the craps table. And I think I've developed a system that keeps my head above water no matter how long I play. Sure, you won't get rich, but you'll walk away ahead!

It all starts with the table. First I'll tell you what to ignore. Ignore all of those boxes to the left (Hardaways, One Roll Bets, Horn Bet, etc.). Those are sucker bets. Those little C-E circles don't mean a whole lot either. And you're better off pretending the "Field" and "Big 6-8" areas don't exist either.

So what does that leave? Well, you've got the Pass Line and Don't Pass Bar and you've got the Come and the Don't Come Bar. You also have those numbers up top, but I'd stay away from the place bets.

When I play, I play "wrong." That means I'm betting against the shooter. If you're going to play this way, you need to do so quietly. Loudly rooting against everyone else is a quick way to get a right cross to your temple. Here's how it works:

Place a bet on the Don't Pass Bar. I play either the $5 or $10 tables. So let's say I put $5 on the Don't Pass Bar. The shooter throws the dice and one of four things happens; you win, you lose, you push or the point is set.

You win $5 when a 2 or a 3 or is rolled. You lose your $5 bet when a 7 or 11 is rolled. You push when a 12 is rolled. And any other number sets the point (that's those numbers up at the top, the black "Off" disk will flip over and become the white "On" disk and get placed on a number).

So let's say the shooter rolls a 9. You've bet "Don't Pass" so that means you win if $5 if the shooter rolls a 7 before again rolling a 9. None of the other numbers affect you at all. If a 9 comes first, you lose your $5 bet.

However, the real money comes when you lay odds. You see, you're at a great advantage to win your $5 bet because a 7 is much more common than a 9. That means you want to maximize your winnings. When you lay odds on a 9, you get paid $2 for every $3 you bet (same thing for the 5). For example, bet $15 and win $10 or bet $30 and win $20. That's a bet that you'll make after the point is set that's in addition to your "Don't Pass" bet (put the money behind your initial bet).

If you want to press your luck, you can also bet the "Don't Come Bar." It acts exactly like the "Don't Pass Bar" on subsequent rolls. If the 9 is the point, you bet the "Don't Come," and the next roll is a 4, your "Don't Come" bet will be moved to the square with the 4. You can again lay odds, and once again, you win if a 7 is rolled before a 4.

With the 4, however, you have to bet $2 to win $1 when you lay odds. So if you bet $20 you win $10 and if you bet $30 you win $15. Again, it's the same payoff for the 10.

When it's the 6 or the 8, you have to lay $6 to win $5. So for a $30 bet, you can win $25.

See how simple it is?

Generally, I'll bet the "Don't Pass." If a 10 or a 4 is the point, I'll take heavy odds, maybe laying as much as $60. If a 5 or a 9 is the point, I'll take solid odds, maybe laying $45 or $30. If a 6 or an 8 is the point, I won't take odds. Occasionally, I'll also bet the "Don't Come," but only if I'm on a good run. If a hot shooter steps up (hitting 2 points), I won't play until the dice move.

Again, you won't get rich playing this way, but I've figured out it's a pretty solid system for making money while having a little fun at the craps table!

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