There are many different ways to play craps and while some players stick to safer, more conservative betting, others prefer to play the game more aggressively and have a chance at winning big. Before developing their individual betting style, however, novices could benefit from creating a betting pattern that is suitable to their skill level and bankroll, and then, from and using it consistently.
Betting patterns could be described as a combination of two or more bets placed simultaneously to provide more coverage of the betting layout. They may be useful to players, depending on a number of factors, including the size of the player’s bankroll and their tolerance for risk. These patterns can sometimes cost a lot more than initially expected, so a good money management plan would certainly be helpful to those who are just entering the world of craps.
If used aggressively, on the other hand, these strategies could lead to quickly losing a lot of money. Players should be aware that in many cases, covering one bet with a second bet (the so-called hedge betting) does not insure them against loss. On the contrary, while they may be winning one of the bets, they could be losing much more money from the second bet. This article explains different betting patterns in craps, along with the potential benefits from them and the risks they can pose if used hastily and without care.
Basic Craps Strategy for Beginners
1You Cannot Change the Odds
Craps is a fun game but it is incredibly fast, especially when played in a brick-and-mortar casino. Beginner-level players would often bet the same way as the rest of the people on the table, which is not necessarily the best approach because many casino patrons tend to make the sucker bets, thinking they would eventually win and compensate for all the losses. But this is not an effective strategy – not in a game, where you cannot change the odds and influence the outcome in some way.
2Make Bets With The Lowest House Edge
Since craps is a chance-based game, it is impossible to increase one’s chances to win against the house, which always has the advantage. The optimal strategy, then, is to keep making the bets with the lowest house edge possible and hope for the best scenario rather than trying to “insure” yourself against losing every single bet. These wagers include the classic Pass Line and Don’t Pass bets, as well as the Come and Don’t Come bets, which are almost the same. Adding Odds on them decreases the house edge, which is why it is always best to put fewer chips on the Pass Line and then take maximum Odds.
3Explore Other Wagers
Once players learn how to make these fundamental bets, they can try exploring other wagers with a relatively low house edge. The choice of bets, however, constitutes only half of the basic craps strategy all players should be aware of. It is also important for gamblers to organize their style of play – to put a time limit to their gaming sessions and to know when to quit the craps table. Once the time is up – it may be an hour, 4 hours, etc., players should just leave the table without trying to recuperate their losses.
4Set up Win or Loss Limits
It is also a good tactic to set up win or loss limits – this way, they make sure they end up the gaming session with a decent profit or at least, they can minimize their losses. Players should know that the longer they play craps, the closer they get to the expected return of the game. As we know well, craps has a house edge ranging from 1.36% to 16.80%, depending on the bets we make. This means that despite the winnings we may generate within a short period of time, we are expected to lose eventually.
Pass Line Betting Patterns
Many players apply Pass Line betting patterns on the craps table. These systems are simple, relatively easy to track, and less risky than making proposition bets, for instance. Based around the Pass Line bet, these patterns can be used by both novices and experienced players, depending on the level of difficulty, of course.
Pass Line Bet Plus 1 Come Bet
This betting pattern should be easier to make for everyone who has a good understanding of the fundamental bets in craps, the Pass Line and the Come bet. Players who decide to use this tactic should first wager 1 betting unit on the Pass Line and take double Odds on it once a point is established. Betting units are typically used in game theory to simplify things – this could be $1, $5, $10 or $100, depending on the player’s bankroll.
After the shooter established the point, players make a 1-unit Come bet and support it with x2 odds, too, when the point for the Come is established. This way, they bet a total of 6 units and have two numbers working for them. Whenever the shooter makes any of the two points and the Pass or the Come wins, the player collects his winnings and places the same bet with Odds again. When the shooter rolls any other number, the two bets will be left “riding” without being resolved. If the shooter rolls a 7, however, both bets lose.
As you can see, with this pattern, players can lose 6 units. Whenever one of the bets wins, the profit will be 3.4 to 5 units, depending on the point. Of course, both bets are expected to win and lose, but most of the time, they will be riding, which means that players will be betting small amounts of money that will last them longer.
3 Point Molly: Pass Line Bet Plus 2 Come Bets
This pattern is more aggressive and riskier since players make 3 wagers and bet up to 9 units. They place 1-unit bets on the Pass Line and the Come field and each of these will be backed by double odds. Of course, these wagers are placed after different rolls of the dice, which means that a certain bet can always win or lose before the pattern is complete. In this case, players continue making bets.
Once again, these bets may win or lose but most of the time, they are expected to be riding. The purpose of this betting pattern is to help players keep the house edge to the minimum while still having not one but three numbers working for them. In addition, there will be plenty of come-out rolls that could be won, as well. This pattern is also known as the 3 Point Molly, a name that refers to the fact that players can win with three different points.
The best thing is that whenever the Pass Line wins and another come-out roll is about to occur, the Odds on the Come bets are not active and cannot be lost if the shooter rolls a 7, for instance. The original Come bet, however, will be lost.
Pass Line, 2 Come Bets and Place 6/8 Bets
This pattern is associated with an even higher risk and compared to most conservative betting styles, it is certainly not cost-effective. With it, players make 5 different bets and add Odds, covering two of the inside numbers at all times. The Place bets on 6 and 8 have a house edge of 1.52%, which is slightly higher than the house edge of the Pass and Come wagers. Still, the 1.52% advantage is way lower than the house edge of the majority of bets in this game.
Once again, the pattern starts with a 1-unit bet on the Pass Line, followed by double Odds on it and a 1-unit Come bet in the second phase. If the shooter rolls another point number, players make a second Come bet, covering both Come wagers with x2 Odds. If by that time, neither 6 nor 8 has been covered with chips, players make two 3-unit Place bets on 6 and 8.
The maximum bet amount for this pattern is 15 betting units and in the worst-case scenario, players can lose it all if the shooter rolls a 7 later in the game when all chips for the pattern are already on the table. At the same time, 7 is the number that is most likely to appear in the game since it can be rolled in 6 possible ways – more than the possible dice probabilities for every other number. This is why this betting pattern is not suitable for novices and players with smaller bankrolls.
Don’t Pass Betting Patterns
There are several betting patterns based on the Don’t Pass bet and they are very similar to the ones using the Pass Line. These systems, however, are betting against the shooter, which is why they are usually avoided by players in land-based casinos. That being said, wrong players typically face lower house edge – the Don’t Pass and Don’t Come bets, which are the opposite of the Pass and Come bets, offer a house edge of only 1.36%.
Don’t Pass Bet Plus Don’t Come Bet
This betting pattern uses the simplest wagers in wrong betting – the Don’t Pass and the Don’t Come bets, which win when the Pass Line and Come bets lose. This combination is easy to make and does not require a lot of experience with the game. On the contrary, once players get a good knowledge of the basics of craps, they should be able to employ this combination.
The pattern starts when the player places a 1-unit bet on the Don’t Pass field. The bet will win with 2 or 3 and lose with 7 or 11, while the 12 is a tie. If any other number is rolled, it becomes the point and the second phase of the game begins. To make the most of winning situations, wrong bettors are advised to take double Odds on this bet. Then, they make a Don’t Come bet that is equal to the Don’t Pass wager – if the shooter makes a second point, the player covers the Don’t Come bet with x2 or more Odds, too.
In this phase of the game, the Don’t Pass bet has a house edge of only 0.43% (thanks to the x2 Odds) and wins if the shooter rolls a 7 and loses if the point number appears. If this is the come-out roll of the Come bet, this wager wins with 2 or 3 and loses with a 7. If the second point has been established, however, the Come bet wins with a 7 and loses with when its point was established.
The maximum bet here is 6 units (if players limit the amount of the Odds bet to x2). Note that unlike the “right” betting patterns, which are incredibly vulnerable to the 7, this pattern comes with a risk that is twice as low. After the points for the two bets have been established, the two wagers do not lose if a 7 is rolled – they lose if their respective point number appears. Since the Don’t Pass and the Don’t Come bets, however, always have different point numbers, they can never lose at the same time.
Don’t Pass and 2 Don’t Come Bets
This pattern is a little more complex as it combines the Don’t Pass bet with two Don’t Come bets. Once again, players back all bets with double Odds and hope that the shooter will seven out after all points have already been established. To play with this pattern, players start with the Don’t Pass bet and if the shooter establishes a point, the Don’t Pass is covered with x2 odds. Also, a Don’t Come bet is made and if none of these is resolved, players make a second Don’t Come wager. In addition, double Odds are taken on the two Don’t Come bets.
At some point, one of the bets could lose but as explained above, it is impossible for all wagers in the pattern to lose at the same time. If players are lucky enough, the dice will roll a 7 and all bets will win together, bringing quite exciting payouts. Of course, this pattern is also quite risky and players may lose multiple times before they finally win big. Obviously, such strategies are suitable only for experienced players with considerable bankrolls that would last until a few winning strikes occur – if they occur in the first place.
Don’t Pass Bet, 2 Don’t Come Bets, a Field Bet, and Lay 4/10 Bets
This is a highly risky combination of bets since it requires players to put a lot of money on the line. Let’s see how it works – the pattern starts with a 1-unit bet on the Don’t Pass plus a 1-unit bet on the Field box. The Field bet includes seven numbers, namely 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, and 12, so while the Don’t Pass wins with 2 and 3, the Field bet wins if any of these seven numbers appear in the come-out roll.
The Field wager pays evenly, except for the payouts for 2 and 12 – usually, casinos pay 2:1 for an overall house edge of 5.56% for this bet. However, if the casino pays 3:1 for the number 12, the house edge falls to 2.78%. Another thing to remember is that the Field bet is settled within a single roll – it either wins or loses. This is why the best strategy is to make this bet only on the come-out roll.
After a point has been established, players continue with making two Don’t Come bets with maximum odds on them. Also, two Lay bets are made – on 4 and 10. Lay bets are multi-roll bets and they are active until they win on a roll of 7 or they lose after the shooter tosses 4 or 10. As you can see, all bets in the pattern win if 7 is rolled – in this case, they win at the same time, bringing considerable winnings to bettors.
This strategy is suitable only for players with larger bankrolls but, more importantly, for players who are willing to lose several times before generating some profits.
The 5 Count Method
1One of the Most Popular Craps System
There are dozens of different systems and strategies for playing craps and one of the most popular ones is the 5 Count Method. It was presented by Frank Scoblete, a best-selling author who has written multiple books on craps, blackjack, and casino gambling as a whole. Unlike other systems that claim to change the odds of the game, this method states that it aims at giving players the advantage by doing three different things:
- It eliminates half of the shooters on the table who would make the player lose money.
- It helps players bet money when lucky shooters are having good rolls or when a “rhythmic roller” takes the dice.
- It helps players earn more comps than usual and, therefore, gain an advantage over the casino.
2The Concept of the 5 Count Method
The concept of the 5 Count Method is very simple – with it, players wait for the shooter to roll 5 point numbers before they make a bet. Then, they stick to the Pass Line and Come bets (alternatively, to the Don’t Pass and Don’t Come bets) and support them with maximum Odds. According to the author, players should bet on up to three numbers, i.e. they should make one Pass Line bet and continue with two Come bets. However, bettors could have as many numbers working for them as they want – 2, 3, or 4.
It is also possible to make Place bets on 6 or 8, or both. The particular choice of wagers would depend on the size of the player’s bankroll. Those with a large enough bankroll could also bet on all point numbers that have not been covered by the Pass and Come bets, as well. As you can see, this is not a strict system for betting but it is still considered controversial among the gambling community due to the practically non-provable idea that you can identify “lucky” shooters. Moreover, the system has received even more criticism over the concept of “rhythmic rollers” – craps players who are said to be skilled at dice control.
3Is it Effective?
Although researchers are highly skeptical of the effectiveness of this system, they all agree on one thing – that the 5 Count Method is completely harmless in comparison with the vast majority of craps systems and strategies developed in the past few decades. Indeed, this method is very safe, especially if players bet the table minimum and opt for double or triple rather than maximum Odds. It is, in fact, a great alternative to the complex betting patterns used by skilled gamblers.
By counting to the fifth point to make a bet, less experienced players can learn how to control their betting. Often, novices start placing chips chaotically on the table or try applying some advanced strategy that requires tracking several multi-roll bets at a time. In almost all cases, this ends in losing their entire bankroll within an hour. The 5 Count Method prevents this from happening and helps players last longer on the craps table even if they have smaller bankrolls. It does not, however, change the odds of the game at all.
Combining Bets with Low House Edge
Some craps players use the so-called hedge betting, believing that they can protect one bet with another. Others believe that the more chips the larger portion of the betting layout they cover with bets, the higher their chances of winning. Many experienced players use the complex patterns and systems based on the Pass Line and the Don’t Pass bets. None of these strategies, however, can guarantee long-term profits on the craps table.
In reality, this is a game based on chance and most of the time, players are expected to lose since the house has an overall advantage over them. Although the house edge is a purely theoretical concept, it has very real consequences – it shows the average loss players can incur over time and how likely they are to win or lose when making certain bets. This is why the most effective approach would be sticking to the types of wagers that offer the tiniest house edge.
Moreover, some experienced craps players rely on different combinations of bets to keep the game interesting, while maintaining the risk of losing very low. However, some strategies are more effective than others and certain combinations of bets only seem to be working in favor of the player.
Pass Line and Don’t Pass Bets
A common mistake among novices is to make the Pass Line and the Don’t Pass bets at the same time, believing that since these two are opposites, they cancel each other. This is a relatively popular betting pattern, in which players make the two wagers and take full Odds on the Pass Line. The idea is that the two opposing bets will eliminate each other, leaving the Odds bet, which has a 0% house edge. As a result, players are said to be winning consistently.
The concept, however, is completely wrong and this could be shown in several different ways. The reality behind this pattern could be explained very easily when looking at the possible ways to win and lose in the come-out roll when making each of these bets.
- The Pass Line wins with 8 combinations (7 and 11), and it loses with 4 combinations (2, 3, and 12).
- The Don’t Pass bet wins with 3 dice combinations (2 and 3) and loses with 8 combinations (7 and 11). When 12 is rolled, the bet is pushed.
Since both wagers pay the same (1:1), we can calculate how many times we will win or lose on average when both bets are active – we win in 11 possible scenarios versus 12 scenarios when we lose. It is clear that the two bets are not identical and to receive the house edge for the two, we should just add the respective percentages for the Pass Line and the Don’t Pass bets – 1.41%+1.36%. This means that players who decide to make both bets simultaneously will face a combined house edge of 2.77%.
Adding Odds on either bet would reduce this advantage but not eliminate it – the house edge of the Pass Line and the Don’t Pass along with full double Odds is calculated at 0.528%. The only way bettors could play against no casino advantage is if the roll of 12 was a win for the Don’t Pass bet. Since it is pushed, players receive it back and lose the Pass Line for a total loss of 1 unit. Overall, this particular betting pattern is not only ineffective but also much more likely to result in a net loss than if placing just of the two bets.
Don’t Pass Bet with Odds and Place Bets on 6/8
Rather than trying various hedge betting techniques such as making the Pass and the Don’t Pass bets at the same time, players should try combining different wagers. One of the most conservative strategies is to play the Don’t Pass and combine it with Place bets on 6 and 8. Of course, many players would prefer to avoid the wrong bets and would certainly not mix them with “right” bets as are the Place wagers.
This betting pattern starts with players betting a single unit on the Don’t Pass – they will immediately win if the shooter rolls a 2 or 3 and instantly lose on 7 and 11. If 12 rolls, the bet is considered a push and is returned to bettors. If any other number rolls, it becomes the point and players are now allowed to take Odds on their Don’t Pass bet. They should opt for at least double Odds and along with this side bet, they should make Place wagers on 6 and 8.
With Place bets, craps players bet that the particular number they have chosen will appear before 7. These are multi-roll bets and they cannot be settled before they either win or lose. When the Don’t Pass bet is resolved and a new come-out roll is about to occur, the Place wagers are turned off. Once another point is established, they will be activated once again.
When players use this pattern – a Don’t Pass bet (1 unit) with x6 Odds (6 units) and Place bets on 6 and 8 (2 betting units in total), there are several possible outcomes. For this example, let’s say the point is 10 and the total wager is 9 betting units:
- The shooter rolls a 7 – The Don’t Pass pay evenly (1 unit) and the Odds on it pay 1:2 (3 units), while the two Place bets lose. The net profit is 4 units.
- The shooter rolls 10 (the point) – The Don’t Pass and the Odds bet lose 3 betting units, the Place bets are off. Players end up with a net loss of 3 units.
- The shooter rolls 6/8 – The Don’t Pass bet neither wins, nor loses, and keeps working for the next roll. One of the Place bets is also on for the following roll, while the other wins, paying at odds of 7:6, for a net profit of 1.66 units.
As evident from the example above, this strategy covers three inside numbers, namely 6, 7, and 8. These are the numbers that are most likely to appear – there are 6 possible ways to roll a 7, 5 ways to roll a 6, and another 5 possible ways to toss an 8. Note that if 6 or 8 become the point number, players will receive additional payouts if they win. Compared to most craps systems, this method of betting is much safer – even if the shooter keeps rolling unfavorable numbers, players will lose money at a very slow rate. Of course, the potential profits will also be generated rather slowly, yet more consistently.
Aggressive Betting Styles
1Attracted to the High Payouts
Most craps players tend to start their game with the classic Pass Line bet, then take Odds on it and place a couple of Come bets on top. Some players like to add a few Place or Buy bets, while others would occasionally make some proposition bets to try their luck and keep the game exciting. There are also players who bet extremely conservatively and always stay away from wagers with a house edge of over 2%. Of course, most craps bets have a house edge higher than 2%, which means that these conservative bettors are not even considering the entertainment aspect of the game.
There is a third group of players, however, who are easy to identify on the craps table. They may start with a few Pass Line or Come bets but soon, they are making riskier proposition bets and losing their chips very quickly. Such gamblers are attracted to the high payouts of bets that rarely win and often, they leave the craps table with zero chips in their pockets. Such high-paying bets with a high house edge include the Hop bets, the hard totals, the straight craps and 7 or 11 numbers, the Whirl and the Horn bets, etc.
2Not a Long-term Successful Strategy
This is why beginner players should avoid single-roll proposition bets and all wagers with a high house edge in general. Relying on these so-called sucker bets to bring huge profits is not a long-term successful strategy – it exposes players’ bankrolls to huge risks and even if bettors are on a winning strike, their tactic is not sustainable. Often, they may win $1,000 with a single bet but lose twice as much throughout their gaming session.