Cracking the Craps CodeTo play craps optimally is easy. Just make these three bets: “pass,” “come” and “free-odds.” Others may call out a variety of fancy plays and spray chips all over the complex layout, but you should maintain restraint and simplicity.
When a new shooter is “coming out” the best way to play craps is to bet either on the pass-line (with the shooter), or on the don’t-pass line (against the shooter). Your expectation for a pass-line bet is -1.414 percent. So, for each $100 you wager on the pass-line, your long-term expected return is $98.59 (the house makes $1.41). Your expectation for a don’t-pass bet is -1.364 percent. When betting don’t-pass, expect a return of $98.64 over a lifetime of $100 plays. For the nickel difference, don’t-pass or “wrong bettors” often incur glares from pass-line players who comprise roughly 95 percent of us. In addition, because wrong-bettors must lay more money on free-odds (explained later), bad streaks can be very costly.
A come bet (or don’t-come bet) is almost the same as a pass (or don’t-pass) bet. The differences: the bet is made after the shooter has established a point (4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10) and we place the money in the come (or don’t come) spot on the layout.
You should take almost any free offering in the gambling domain, and that includes free-odds. After making a pass-line wager, and a point is established, players may make a bet behind the line, thereby increasing their initial pass-line wager. The return on the add-on bet is based on true mathematical expectation. For example, when the shooter’s point is 10, three of the 36 possible rolls of the dice will result in a total of 10 and six rolls will result in a total of seven. Thus, the odds of making a 10 before going “seven-out” are 2-to-1, and we get paid 2-to-1. In essence, although forced to increase our total amount wagered, we are reducing the $1.414-percent disadvantage since the negative percentage on the combined line and behind the line bets decreases. Making a $10 pass-line bet and taking free-odds for $10 yields a -0.85- percent player disadvantage. Here are the pass-line and free-odds payouts:
Shooter’s Point Pass LineBet Pays Free OddsBet Pays
4 1-to-1 2-to-1
5 1-to-1 3-to-2
6 1-to-1 6-to-5
8 1-to-1 6-to-5
9 1-to-1 3-to-2
10 1-to-1 2-to-1
Lee’s Simple System
I like to make a $10 pass line bet and back it up with free odds when a point is established. Then, as the shooter prepares to roll and make his point, I’ll make a $10 come bet. If the shooter establishes another point, I’ll play free odds on the come bet. I stop after making and backing up three bets. If a casino allows me to take free odds of more than my initial bet, I will play $20 behind the line.
Don’t Make These Bets
Remember, the house edge is your enemy when gambling. Here are some popular plays that may be fun, but can be costly in the long run:
· The field (2-3-4-9-10-11-12 – 2 and 12 pay double):-5.56 percent
· The field (same, except 12 pays triple: -2.78 percent
· Hard 4 (or hard 10): -11.11 percent
· Hard 6 (or hard 8): -9.09 percent
· Big 6 / Big 8: -9.09 percent
· Any craps: -11.11 percent
· Any seven: -16.67 percent
By Lee Munzer