Planning your Casino Craps Game

Regardless of your level of experience, planning your approach to a session of craps (or any casino game for that matter) can greatly improve your enjoyment of the game and your results. While employing a basic craps strategy is important, it's only part of the larger picture includes financial and time constraints as well as psychological factors. Let's review the first of these concepts using actual results from our craps strategy simulator.

Part 1: Bringing Enough Bank

While our simulator is designed to compare the effectiveness of various craps strategies, you might find that at times it gives less useful results. This often occurs when users select too small a starting bankroll and bets that are too large to properly implement their strategy. Perhaps it's easiest to demonstrate this with some examples.

Example 1:
A very basic pass line strategy: $10 bets on the pass with 3x Odds and $200.00 cash to start. We're going to walk away after 4 hours or, if by some miracle, our balance hits $1000. Sounds like a pretty reasonable approach, right? Let's take a look.

In this example from our simulator, the first round of play emptied the player's pockets in 25 minutes. After 100 runs, the average playing time was about 2 hours and while there were a few lucky rounds, the graph below shows that the player ended up broke most of the time. View the results of this simulation here.

Ending balance after 100 Craps games, starting with $200
Example 1: Ending balance after 100 Craps games, starting with $200

While the player broke the $1000 point in several cases, most of the time they ended up broke.

Example 2:
Now let's look at the very same strategy ($10 pass, 3x odds, 4 hours), but with $500 to start.

In this example we end up with $511 after 4 hours (our max). Not a huge win, but we played all evening and ended up slightly ahead. This round was a little luckier than most, but if you look at the average and median ending cash after 100 sessions, you nearly always walked away with most of your money and in a number of cases walked away with the max of $1000. View the full results of this simulation here.

Ending balance after 100 Craps games, starting with $200
Example 2: Ending balance after 100 Craps games, starting with $500

In this example the player walked away with most of their money, most of the time and generally lost less then when starting with the lower initial balance.

While these simulations don't predict the future they help to demonstrate the effectiveness of this basic strategy. They also tell us that, all other things being equal, starting with $500 is better than starting with $200 and generally results in less money lost. Why? The problem is that with 3x odds, each point loss costs the player $40 ($10 +$30 Odds). Only a few bad rolls can kill your bankroll. Many a player has approached a craps table with the idea that a few hundred bucks and a "low house edge" pass line strategy will buy them an evening of fun, but house edge is a theoretical value based on the probability of certain numbers being rolled. A short session increases the likelihood that the rolls will be outside the realm of probabilities: This is how we end up with "hot streaks" or "cold tables". Over the long term the numbers rolled approach the predicted probability. Essentially, the larger starting cash balance gives the player enough rolls to start seeing a more normalized distribution of results and take better advantage of the low house edge.

Of course, there are numerous other ways you can run a simulation like this. We might have started with less time, or set the walk away limit lower or higher depending on the starting balance. There are also many, many more betting strategies and bet types to try. You are welcome to try these options out for yourself by running your own trials on our free craps simulator. You can also re-run the two examples above by clicking "run this simulation again" on the results page. The single session results can be vastly different form one craps game to the next, but the 100 session stats will be closer to our examples.

Also read Planning your Craps Game Part 2: Beyond the Pass Line.

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