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Basic Craps is Common Sense9 March 2006
Let's go back to the beginning. Many of you have heard that craps is a great game (it is) because the house does not have a large edge at it. While some of the bets at craps are the best in the casino, most others range from awful to "awfuller" - and even worse than that.
Most craps players are not only long-term losers; they are long-term big-time losers because they make bets with house edges ranging from 5 percent to almost 17 percent. Yes, these bets are just as bad as the bets at the slot machines in terms of the house edge. Yet craps players make them all the time.
Most craps players have a vague understanding of the math of the game; but many have no understanding of the math at all. They just throw their money down and play as if what they are betting isn't money at all but just chips.
A craps game will have about 100-120 rolls of the dice every hour. Some of the bets at the game are not decided on every roll and some of the bets are decided on each and every roll - the "one-roll" bets, or Crazy Crapper bets as the Captain of Craps calls them, are the absolutely worst bets in the game. You have the low end, the Field, coming in with a 5.26 percent house edge, going all the way up to the Any 7 or Big Red, which tips the edge scales at 16.67 percent. Some of the other non-one-roll bets, such as the Hardways, and the Placing of the 4 and 10, 5 and 9, come in with house edges starting at about 4 percent and going to almost 12 percent.
If you play the game of craps for any significant length of time, betting into such high house edges will ultimately cripple your bankroll and might even prevent you from playing craps as often as you'd like. Lack of money can do that to you.
One of the reasons that craps players tend to get into such bad betting habits can be traced to the adrenaline-soaked thrill of the game. At a craps table, especially during a hot roll, the players exhibit a kind of primitive consciousness - which translates into little thought, a lot of feelings. As number after number is hit, the tendency is to start betting every which way to try to cover all the possible ways numbers can be made.
Unfortunately, most of the bets you make at the craps tables are so bad that even during a hot roll; the player tends to win less than he really should. Even if the player does actually hit the odd large payoff, betting stupidly tends to carry over during other shooters' rolls - shooters who are not having long rolls.
Bad betting habits are hard to break but these habits can really break the player. Bankrolls don't lie and many a bankroll has been savaged by the poor betting techniques of that bankroll's owner.
So what are the good bets to make at craps? Well, there aren't many. The very best bets are the Pass Line for a minimum amount, with as much as you can afford to place in odds when the point is established. In a double odds game, the house will have about a half percent edge over the player. In other craps games, the house will have even smaller edges. The Come bet, with odds, the Don't Pass bet, with odds, and the Don't Come bet, with odds, are the other three top bets at the game.
My overall philosophy is to keep the house edge at 1.5 percent or lower, so the Placing of the 6 and 8 are also good bets as the house has a 1.5 percent edge on such placements.
If you can afford to make bets at the $25/$30 level, you might consider buying the 4 and/or 10, if the commission on the buy bet is only paid off on a winning wager. The house edge in such a case will be around 1.3 percent. In some states such as Mississippi you can also find casinos where you will be able to buy the 5 and 9 at $30 and only pay the $1 commission on a winning wager. This reduces the house edge from 6.67 percent on these numbers to a mere 1 percent. Yes, that about it for the really good bets at craps.
Now, some players might think that limiting oneself to such a few bets is a foolish thing to do, that it takes away the thrill of the game. That reasoning is, of course, nonsense - as you have a much better chance of going home a winner when you bet conservatively than when you bet outlandishly. It is much more fun to play a game where the house only has a little edge than it is to play a game where the house has a big edge over you. Obviously, the closer the game, the better the chance that you have of winning tonight.
Craps can be a nip and tuck, razor-sharp contest between player and casino, or the player can simply decide to put his head within the guillotine and allow the casino to chop it off. The fact of the matter is that the player is really in control of his destiny at a craps game. He decides whether the house has a small edge, a medium edge or a monstrous edge. His losses are a direct result of his choices.
I always recommend craps as a great game to play, if the player does so astutely. Making low house edge bets is the way to go. Your bankroll will thank you, too!
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at email@example.com.
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