Craps Strategies

Players can profit from every roll of the dice, if they know how to “work the table.” The trick is to ignore the attraction of long odds and play combinations of bets that increase the probability of a payout on each throw. This can be much easier than it might at first sound, because there are really only a handful of betting areas on the Craps table that merit attention.

Betting Progressions

Because many of the bets available at the Craps table pay even money—Pass Line, Don’t Pass, Come, and Don’t Come—it is possible to apply Roulette-type betting progressions to the game. For example, the system known as Martingale or “doubling up on a loss” works quite well on the Pass Line as long as there are no long streaks of losses (6+). A Pass Line win every four or five series of rolls will generate a small but steady profit and require a bankroll of no more than 33 units.

Other applicable progressions include Labouchere, d”Alembert, and Paroli, all of which were developed for use with even-money wagers. Another is the 1-3-2-6 Betting System, which works especially well when the table is hot. Here’s how it works:

One unit is bet on the Pass Line. If it loses, one unit is wagered repeatedly until a win is achieved. Following the winning roll, a bet of three units is made. Again, if it loses, the player returns to betting one unit. But if it wins, the next wager is two units. A subsequent loss returns the wager to one unit, while a third winner in a row requires the next bet to be six units. This is the final bet in the progression—1, 3, 2, 6.

As the table below shows, if the Pass Line fails early on, there is a small net loss. If it fails after winning two or three time, there is either a net gain or the progression breaks even. Four wins in a row produces a big profit, and then the progression begins again.

Outcome of the 1-3-2-6 Progression Pass Line Win/Loss (units)

Lose 1                                                                      -1

Win 1, Lose 3                                                          -2

Win 1, Win 3, Lose 2                                              +2

Win 1, Win 3, Win 2, Lose 6                                +/-0

Win 1, Win 3, Win 2, Win 6                                 +12

The only real problem with betting progressions is that they can take a long time to play out. Numerous intervening rolls may occur between wins and losses, as the shooter attempts to make the Point.

Keeping the Wins Coming

An ideal strategy is one that gives the player the potential to wager and win on every roll, with the maximum probability of success and the least risk of losing a bankroll. In this regard, the Come Bet is the perfect solution. Come Bets can be made on every roll until the Point is made or the series is ended by a Seven Out. In fact, the Seven Out is a winner on the current Come Bet, so all is not lost. If the Point is made, the next come out roll still applies to active Come Bets.

To maximize this strategy of betting on every roll, the player will want to take Free Odds on each bet, too. Taking Odds allows the bet to be increased and paid off at true odds, with no House edge. What’s more, if the Point is thrown and there are still active Come Bets on the table, waiting for a different point, the come out roll does not apply to their respective Free Odds bets. That means the Free Odds wagers on top of the Come Bets will be returned in the event of a 7.

So for constant action, the strategy is to place a new bet on either the Pass Line or Come for every roll, while taking the maximum Free Odds allowed.