Craps Strategy and Odds – How to Win at Craps More Often
Last Updated: October 4, 2023
Checked by: Zvonimir Potocki
While craps rules are fairly straightforward, it can look intimidating to novice players. With so many different bets on a craps table, it can appear as if making a smart bet can be almost impossible.
Yet, only a handful of craps bets make any real sense!
Since this is the game I really love and have played multiple times, I decided to look for the best craps strategy out there and talk about how to win in this game.
I will mention strategies and explain the odds behind craps, which every player should know.
Before considering any of the options, please keep in mind that the odds in this and all other casino games are very much real, and no amount of experience or knowledge will change them. Unlike poker, most casino games can’t be beaten by skill alone.
This is why it is very important to know what the best craps bets are and which of them give the house the lowest edge. Let's start by covering craps odds for different bets before moving into detailed strategies.
Craps Odds Explained
Before you can get anywhere close to winning while playing craps online or in your local casino, you need to understand that different bets have different odds and house edges in this game.
Technically speaking, craps is one of the best games you can play in a casino, but this is only true if you pick the right bets in the first place.
The main bets in the game of craps are:
- pass bet
- come bet
- don’t pass
- don’t come
These bets have the lowest house edge of them all, so you should be picking in for the most part when playing.
The pass bet's house edge is just 1.41%, while the don't come bet offers an even lower house edge of 1.36%.
These bets come close enough to a break-even point that making them won’t break your bankroll too easily. What's even more, you can further improve these bets by taking free odds, which I will discuss as one of the best craps strategy options.
The only other somewhat acceptable bet in terms of craps odds is the place bet on 6 or 8, which allows you to bet on these numbers instead of the current point.
With a house edge of 1.52% and a payout of 7/6, this place bet also comes relatively close to break-even.
As you explore through the other multi-roll bets, you will notice that the craps odds and payouts of these are simply less favorable. The same goes for single-roll bets, which are simply a losing proposition.
The Best Craps Strategy: Avoid Single-Roll Bets
If you want to know how to win at craps, one of the first things you must learn is to stay away from single-roll bets.
Single-roll bets include:
- The field bet – the roller must roll a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12 for you to win, and this bet can have from 2.78% to 5.56% house edge depending on the game.
- Any craps bet – a player is paid 7 to 1 if the roller rolls 2, 3, or 12, which gives a house edge of 11.11%
- Any 7 – as the name suggests, is it just guessing that the total amount of points on both nices will be exactly a seven, which gives the house an edge of 16.67%
The single-roll bets can have the house edge of over 10%.
This means that playing single-roll bets in craps is less favorable than playing roulette, table poker, video slots, or any other games you can find on a casino floor, for the most part.
These bets can be exceptionally fun and thrilling to chase after, but they are not made for players looking to build a reasonable craps strategy.
One common example of a single-roll bet that many people make is any 7, which pays only if a 7 is rolled on that roll.
The true odds of this bet are 5/1, while the payout in the game stands at 4/1, which gives the house a massive 16.9% edge, making it a big money drain.
A bet that can seem even more appealing is 12 craps or 2 craps.
These bets offer a payout of 30/1, which seems absolutely insane. However, the true odds of the bets are 35/1, which leaves the house with a huge 13.89% edge over the player.
The final thing to take away here is that single-roll bets are simply not a good idea. They don't win players any money, and it takes insane luck to stay ahead while making them.
How To Win At Craps: Use Free Odds to Your Advantage
I’ve already emphasized that using the pass and come bets is the best craps strategy out there, but this does not end at that initial bet you make.
Once the shooter rolls their comeout roll, a point is set unless he rolls an instant win or loss. In this case, players who bet on the pass or come have a brand new betting option. If this sounds too complicated, you might want to check how to play craps and then come back to this article.
The free craps odds option is what gives you a chance to reduce the house edge to nearly non-existent.
The reason is that the casino pays these bets at true odds, meaning it leaves no edge for itself.
Now you may be thinking that the casino caps these bets relatively low in comparison to the original pass bet, but that’s not the case.
In fact, in many casinos, you can make a bet that's up to 100x bigger than your pass bet on free odds. This kind of betting diminishes the house edge greatly.
If you simply match your initial pass bet, the house edge will go down to 0.8%. Double that, and the edge goes down to 0.6%.
If you do end up taking a 100x free odds bet, the house edge will diminish to a mere 0.02%, which makes it basically a break-even game.
This, however, requires a fairly substantial bankroll.
In either case, playing craps with the free odds bet active as often as possible is by far the best craps strategy as it is the only one that truly diminishes the house edge by a significant margin.
What’s even better, free odds can be used on the other side of the spectrum as well. If you start out by betting on the don’t pass and don’t come bets, you get to lay odds.
This is the exact opposite of taking odds in the pass example. You can diminish the house edge even further, all the way down to 0.01% with a 100x bet on the lay odds.
For this strategy to work well, you should be betting the table minimum on the initial pass bet and then make as large a bet on the free odds as possible.
This way, you get to risk the minimum on your initial bet and only increase the bet when a point is set, and you can play at very reasonable odds and with some great payouts.
Craps Strategy: Hedging Your Bets
The betting system I described earlier is by far the best, as it offers the lowest house edge and the biggest chance to win against the casino.
However, some players are more risk-averse and prefer to reduce their variance somewhat.
If you have a limited bankroll designated for gambling, it’s completely fine to hedge even the best craps bets with some reasonable single or multi-roll bets.
The best way of hedging your pass and free odds bets in craps is by using place 6 and place 8 bets alongside them.
The way this is done is by placing bets on these options once the point is set.
- If the point is 6, you will place 8.
- If the point is 8, you will place 6.
- If any other point is rolled, you will place both 6 and 8.
The house edge on the place 6 and 8 bets is not too high, which means you will not lose too much on these bets. What's even more, you are using free odds to back your pass bet. Thus, you can rest easy in terms of the house edge for that bet.
Hedging your bet this way will reduce your overall odds and payouts but will make payouts more frequent.
With just a bit of luck, you can come out a big winner with this strategy.
There is yet another hedge bet that players often make alongside their pass and come bets, and this is “any 7” bet. Any 7 is a single-roll bet that wins if the shooter rolls a 7 on that particular roll.
Keep in mind that the house edge on any 7 bets is quite high. While it may be annoying when the shooter rolls a 7 and your bets lose, this kind of hedging can become quite expensive.
Often, the shooter will roll a number that will have them repeating the roll. In this scenario, you will be left there repeating your 7 bet many times, without a real reason to do so.
Craps Strategy Alternatives – Going for the Glory
I have described the best craps strategy in terms of craps odds and how you can hedge your bets to make this strategy less risky and lower its variance.
However, I also understand that craps is a game of thrills and adrenaline, and it’s the main reason to play it for many people.
If you fall into this category and don’t want to make the same mundane bets all the time, this is completely reasonable.
While it’s not the best way how to win at craps, it can be the most entertaining.
This kind of strategy includes many single-roll bets with 30/1 and 15/1 payouts and a lot of variance.
If you will play for the glory and try to spin up a massive win fast, I suggest doing it with a limited bankroll. Don’t bring more money for this kind of play than you are willing to lose in a session.
Gambling can be tricky, and things quickly get out of hand. So, if you apply a high-variance approach, you better have absolute control over your bankroll.
Another thing to note if you are going to be making some long-shot bets is that you should know when to quit. If you catch a few wins at super long odds, the best idea is to step away from the table and play a different game. Moving on to some low-stakes video slots should do the trick and help you come off the winning high.
Craps Strategy FAQs
To wrap this craps strategy guide, here's a quick overview of some frequently asked questions, which should help out if there is still something you're unclear about.
What are the best craps bets in terms of odds?
The best craps bet in terms of odds is the don’t pass/don’t come bet, which gives the house an edge of just 1.36%. To make things even better, you can use the “free odds” option once the point is set and reduce the house edge to as low as 0.01%.
Can I win in the craps game?
Absolutely! Like any other gambling game, craps leaves plenty of room for wins. In fact, craps is one of the most favorable games on the casino floor. Smart betting will give you a chance to make the house edge very low and increase your chances of winning significantly.
What are the most profitable craps bets?
The most profitable bets in craps are the free odds bets, which are paid out at true odds. To make these bets, you must first make a pass or don’t pass bet, which comes with a slight house edge. Overall, this combination will improve your odds to the absolute maximum.
What is the best craps strategy?
The best craps strategy is starting every roll with a pass or don't pass bet, at the table minimum. Once a point is set, follow that bet up with a free odds bet, as large as you can afford for your bankroll. This will give you the best chance to win and the biggest payout if you do.
How craps odds compare to other casino games?
Compared to most other games, craps offers great odds. If played in a smart way, craps can be a near break-even game in the long run. However, keep in mind that this only works if you play the best craps strategy. Other types of betting can lead to a significant disadvantage.
When can I shoot craps?
You can play the game of craps in a casino at any time when a table is open. However, you will have to wait your turn to actually become the shooter, as all players at the table will get their chance. Simply line up and wait while making bets in the meantime.
Is craps skill or luck?
Craps is a gambling game, and the final outcomes are down to luck. However, there is a skill in knowing how to bet to increase your odds. Many players play craps the wrong way and, in doing so, completely reduce their winning chances while increasing the house edge significantly.