When you talk about strategies in a game of chance what you’re really talking about is the best way to maximize your odds. Like most casino games, craps is a game of probability, so the best craps strategy will give the highest probability of return on your bets. In craps, the best odds on the table are Pass, Don’t Pass, Come, and Don’t Come. These bets minimize the casinos edge. Don’t think the casino still won’t have the upper hand though. The fact is the casino will always have an advantage in craps.
According to the numbers, a Pass bet gives the house a 1.41% edge and a Don’t Pass gives the house a 1.40% edge. The Come and Don’t Come bets follow the same logic and percentages as the Pass bets. In comparison: the Field give the house 5.6%, Horn give the house 12.5%, Any 7 gives the house 16.7%, etc. This is why the optimum craps strategy sticks to the Pass, Don’t Pass, Come and Don’t Come bets. If you need a review on how to place these bets see Craps 101: How to Play Craps.
All right, so we know where to put our money down. Is this the best we can do? Nope. You can further improve your odds by Buying Odds on Pass/Come or Laying Odds on Don’t Pass/Don’t Come. You can place Odds on your original bet after the Come Out roll. How do Odds help improve your return? The house edge on Odds is a big fat zero.
You may have noticed that there’s no section on a craps table for the Odds bets. Casinos take the position that’s not their responsibility to inform players of all their betting options. Anything this hidden has to be a decent bet.
Pass/Don’t Pass Odds are made by supplementing an additional amount to your original bet after the Come Out roll. This bet is placed beside your initial bet on the Pass/Don’t Pass line. Most casinos limit your odds bet to Single Odds, meaning you can match your Come Out bet with an equal amount. With Single Odds the house edge will be about cut in half, very good for you.
To further supplement your Pass/Come bet you can Buy Odds. When Buying Odds your winnings are based on the Point number, or Come bet number. These numbers have different payout odds; 4 and 10 pays 2-1, 5 and 9 pays 3-2, 6 and 8 pays 6-5. If you made a Don’t Pass/Don’t Come bet then you’ll be Laying Odds.
Most casinos only pay in denominations as small as one dollar. Because of this you can lose fractions of dollars along the way. Why? Say you lay odds of $5 on a Come line bet for the number 9. If you win this bet you’ll be paid at 3-2, which is $7.5. But you won’t get $7.5; instead you’ll get $7. You just lost $0.50 to the casino! Makes sure you pay attention to the payouts so the fractions don’t cheat you out of money.
What about all those other flashy bets? High payoffs and tricky combinations are good indicators of bad bets. For consistent return with minimal lose, stick to the bets with the best odds.