Craps Hardway Betting
Any Point made up of a pair of the same numbers, such as 2-2 for a total of 4, is said to be made the Hard Way. Rolling such a combination is referred to as “hard” because there is only one way it can be achieved. By contrast, making a point of 4 with a 1-3 is considered “easy,” because there is more than one way for it to be accomplished (i.e., 3-1).
Hardway betting, therefore, is a wager that the total of the two dice will come up “doubles”—Hard 4 (2-2), Hard 6 (3-3), Hard 8 (4-4), or Hard 10 (5-5). Rolls of 1-1 or 6-6 are not referred to as “Hardways” because they yield crap numbers, not points, so there are just the four hard combinations on which to wager.
Making Hardway Bets is done in the proposition section of the Craps layout, right in the middle of the table. The Stickman is in charge of this area and all bets there must be requested, not placed directly by the player. The Hardway Bets are not one roll bets. They win only if they are rolled before a 7 comes up and before an “easy way” combination of the same value is thrown, in which case they lose.
Winning with Hardway Bets
The payouts for Hardway wagers are 9-to-1 for the Hard 6 and Hard 8 and 7-to-1 for the Hard 4 and Hard 10. The corresponding House edge is 9.09% for the Hard 6 and 8 and 11.11% on the Hard 4 or 10. Making such bets is much like offering the casino ten cents out of every dollar played.
Nevertheless, many players like to wager on these unique combinations, at least partly because the odds are so long. Hardway strategies vary from taking the hard version of any even Point to doing the opposite and taking all of the Hardways except the one corresponding to the Point. Since rolls of crap numbers (2, 3, or 12) or Yo (11) have no affect on Hardway Bets, some players like to wager on C&E or Any Craps in combination with their Hardway betting.
It may seem strange that the payout rates are different for the Hardways, even though each of them has the same likelihood of being rolled, namely 2.78%. The reason for this is the number of ways each bet can lose. The Hard 4 or Hard 10 can lose in eight ways—six combinations that make 7 and two Easy totals. In other words, the probability of winning is not 1 in 36 for these bets, it is 1 in 9, and thus the payout is 7-to-1.
For the Hard 6 and Hard 8, there are ten ways to lose—the same six combinations of 7 plus four Easy totals. The probability of winning on these bets is 1 in 11, and the payout is 9-to-1. Some casinos can be found, notably in England and Australia, that have “liberal payouts” for Hardways—9.5-to-1 on the Hard 6 or Hard 8, and 7.5-to-1 on the Hard 4 or Hard 10. This changes the odds considerably, actually cutting the House edge in half.
Both Hard and Easy
There is no corresponding wager on the Craps table for “Easy Way” betting. The closest opportunity is to make a Place Bet, which includes the Hardway as well as the Easy Way version of the total. As noted in the section on Place Bets, wagers on the 4 or 10 should be in multiples of five units and they pay out at 9-to-5. Place Bets on the 6 or 8 should be in multiples of six units, and the payout is 7-to-6.
With this in mind, a very common combined Hardway wager is to Place the 4, 6, 8, or 10 and follow up with one unit on the related hard total. In effect, this reduces the payout on a winning Easy Way combination by just one unit in return for a huge return if the Hardway comes up—namely, 16-to-6 for a Hard 4 or 10 and 16-to-7 for a Hard 6 or 8.