In the casino game of craps two dice are rolled and the players wager on the outcome. The outcome is the total of the numbers on the upper face of the dice. The players wager against the house and not against each other. The layout of the craps table indicates the different areas where the different types of bets are placed.
The player who is currently rolling the dice is known as the shooter. Before the dice are rolled the players place their wagers. The first roll of each round is the come-out roll. If in the come-out roll the outcome is 2, 3, 7, 11 or 12 the round ends, but the same player remains as the shooter. If the outcome is any other number in the come-out roll then that number is established as the point. The shooter continues rolling the dice till the outcome is 7 or the point. If the outcome is 7 then the round ends and player to the left becomes the shooter. If the outcome is the point then also the round ends but the same player continues as shooter.
The new shooter rolls a new pair of dice. The craps game operator known as the stickman gives the new shooter five dice from which two are chosen. During the roll the shooter bounces the dice off the opposite wall. In this process if a die falls off the table it is discarded. The shooter chooses another dice from the three left with the stickman.
Craps offers a large number of bets. Some bets are decided in one roll. Other bets are decided after a number of rolls. If the predicted outcome materializes then the player is paid out as per the payout table otherwise he forfeits his wager. The simplest series of bets are those that predict the outcome of each roll. Some of these bets have special names. ‘Yo’ wagers on the outcome being 11 and ‘ace deuce’ wagers on the outcome being 3 (a 1 on one die and a 2 on the other). ‘Craps’ wagers on the outcome being 2, 3 or 12.
Other bets could be decided over many rolls. The ‘pass line’ and ‘don’t pass’ bets are examples. In the come-out roll if the outcome is 7 or 11 then the ‘pass line’ bets win and the ‘don’t pass bets’ lose. However if the outcome is 2, 3 or 12 then the ‘don’t pass’ bets win and the ‘pass line’ bets lose. If a point is established in the come-out roll then both these bets are carried forward. The shooter keeps on rolling till the outcome is 7 or the point. If the point is rolled first then the ‘pass line’ bets win and if 7 is rolled first then the ‘don’t pass’ bets win.
After each roll the bets that lose are removed from the table and bets that win are paid out as per the payout table. The bets that are not yet decided are carried forward along with the fresh bets placed.
There are many bets in craps. Unlike in games like roulette in which all bets have the same house edge, the house edges for craps bets vary from 1.4% to 15%. Hence it is good craps strategy to know which bets have low house edges and which have high house edges. This is not so easy because different casinos offer different payouts for the same bet. Expert players can calculate the house edges from the payouts and take a call but it would be better strategy for novice players to simply learn which bets to play and which bets to avoid. The ‘pass line’ and ‘don’t pass’ bets have the lowest house edges and hence should be the staple bets. Though these bets payout only even money they have a house edge of only 1.4%.
Craps attracts players to the bets with higher house edges by offering higher payouts. However good craps players are not lured because these payouts, though high, are not as high as they should be. Take for example the bet ‘craps’, which has given the game its name. This bet wins on an outcome of 2,3 or 12 and pays out at 7 to 1. The house edge for this bet is 11%. Other bets that should be avoided are ‘horn’, ‘hops’, ‘hardways’ and ‘craps eleven’.
The use of the ‘press it’ option is good strategy. It works as follows. The first time the player wins an even money bet he collects his winnings but lets the bet ride. If he wins again then he asks the dealer to press it. The dealer then adds the winnings to the bet. Since the player has recovered his original wager he can splurge with the winnings.
In craps there have been some strategies that have been advocated but that really do not work. The craps player should know what these strategies are and also why they do not work. One such strategy is dice setting. Some players believe that the dice held in a particular way will increase the chances of getting a desired outcome. Nothing could be further from the truth. The dice hitting the wall assures randomness of the throw. Once that happens all preset arrangements become immaterial. If the dice do not hit the wall as desired the throw is fouled. Another misgiving is that id a number has not been rolled for a long time then the probability of it being rolled increases. Hence many craps players record the outcomes and tend to bet on the totals that have not come for a long time. The fact is that each roll of the dice is independent and what has happened or not happened in the past has no influence on the current roll. A third pitfall to avoid is to shun betting systems like the Martingale system. This entails the player to double his wager on even money bets every time he loses. Such a system does not increase the chances of winning, but can lead to heavy losses.
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