First, let's state the obvious. The only way to beat the house is to own the casino.
Certain strategies and approaches can make your casino experience more exciting and help you preserve your cash for a few hours longer, but ultimately the odds are not in your favor. If you've tried our craps simulator you know that it's certainly possible to win big, but over the long run you ultimately lose.
Still, we think craps is great fun! Live craps is an exciting and social game second to none as a casino experience. We enjoy fiddling with the math and comparing various strategies and systems - which is why this site was created. We encourage you to test and a tinker with the simulator to your hearts content, but please remember that it's just a game!
A lot of seasoned gamblers talk about the "house edge" of various games and betting styles. The house edge is the true mathematic advantage that the casino has when you place a particular bet. It is the difference between the true odds of winning a bet and the odds that are paid by the house when you win. House edge is how a casino makes it's money.
Example of house edge:
In roulette, a bet placed on a single number pays 35:1, but the true odds of that number winning is actually 38:1 since there are numbers 1-36 on the table plus the 0 and 00.
In a casino, slot machines generally provide the highest house edge and are therefore most profitable to the casino. Roulette tables have a house edge of just over 5%. In black jack, skilled players can reduce the house edge to less than 1%. The nice thing about craps is that no skill is required to play with a house edge of around 1.4%.
Of course, house edge is a theoretical value and in short sessions of play you might not see that edge express itself. You can read more about planning your craps game to take better advantage of house edge.
The simplest craps strategy is a pass line bet (see our learn to play craps article) which pays 1:1 and has a house edge of 1.41%. You can also play the Don't Pass with a house edge of 1.36%, but you might get the stink-eye from your fellow players for betting against the table.
When a point is set, always play pass line odds: These bets have a house edge of 0.00% and pay true odds on a win. Placing odds doesn't increase your chances of winning, but when you win - you win more. Depending on the odds bets allowed by the casino and the odds you plan to play, a significant bankroll may be required in order to ride out losing streaks. Our simulator can help players plan the bankroll and bet sizes required to take advantage of a particular craps strategy.
Playing this strategy can require a lot of patience and discipline since you will spend a lot of time waiting during point rolls. It's tempting to throw a few bucks on single roll bets or hard ways that pay more, but have a higher house edge.
Once you get comfortable, with a pass line strategy you might also try playing the Come/Don't Come bars when the point is set. They have the exact same house edge as pass line bets and you may also place odds on these bets.
We've built a few strategies into our simulator for you to try and compare. Of course, you can always try your own system or even combine your own approach with some of these.
Also called "anything but 7": This strategy requires that specific bets (or multiples of those bets) be placed on the table resulting in a win if any number is rolled except 7. You must bet $5 on the field, place $5 on 5, and place $6 on 6 and 8 for a total of $22.
This system (and variations) involve try to get a "free" Don't Come bet. This strategy requires both a pass and don't pass bet which cancel each other out and wait for a point. When a point is rolled, a Don't Come bet is placed. A Don't Pass Odds bet is placed as a hedge until after the new come point is set and is removed once it is set.
While more conservative strategies will certainly allow you to last longer at the craps table, it isn't always the most exciting way to play. Looking to go out in a blaze of glory? Try these strategies on our simulator and see what happens.
Each time you lose your bet is doubled. If you win, you start again with your original bet. Bets can rise exponentially and eventually exceed your cash or the casino's table limit, but the strategy can help bettors dig out of short losing streaks.
Each time you win your bet is doubled. If you lose, you start again with your original bet. Unlike roulette where you can "let it ride", craps players need to place each bet on the table. Eventually this one will bite you, but a nice winning streak can pay off handsomely.
Try our Free Craps Forward Simulator with these or your favorite (or random) strategies and see how things play out. Have fun!