With over 50 bets on the layout, craps are the fastest and one of the most exciting casino games. The following explains the most common craps bets and which ones are your best bets.

## Pass Line

This is by far the most common craps bet. It is also referred to as a “line bet.” Craps players betting on the pass line hope the shooter wins when the dice pass to a new shooter. This happens if the shooter:

Rolls a 7 or 11 on the first roll (the come-out roll).

Establishes a point by rolling a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 on the come-out roll, then rolls the point number again before a seven.

Pass-line bets lose when the shooter:

On the come-out roll, roll a 2, 3, or 12 (craps numbers).

Rolls a seven before rolling the point number after establishing a point number on the come-out roll. (The latter is referred to as “sevening out.”)

What determines whether a craps bet is good or bad is determined by:

house edge

average cost per hour

The house edge is a percentage of each bet the casino anticipates winning. The house edge for the pass line bet is 1.41 per cent. The latter occurs because a pass-line bet is expected to win 49.3 percent of the time and lose 50.7 percent of the time. In other words, the rules favour the casino in winning more bets than the player, creating an advantage for the casino.

The cost per hour is another way to assess the “worth” of a craps bet. The dice will roll approximately 100 times per hour on a well-managed craps table. The average number of decisions made on the pass line per hour is 30. If a player wagers $5 on the pass line, the cost per hour is $5 wagered multiplied by 1.41 percent multiplied by 30 = $2. (rounded).

## Come Bet

A come bet is similar to a pass-line bet in that it is placed after the shooter establishes a point number on the come-out roll. The come bet has the same win/loss rules as the pass line, which means it wins if the shooter rolls a 7 or 11 on the first roll after the come bet is placed and loses if the shooter rolls a 2, 3, or 12.

If the shooter throws 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, it wins if the number is rolled again before a seven appears and loses if the number is rolled again before a seven appears.

A come bet has the same house edge as a pass line: 1.41 percent. The hourly rate is also the same: $2 (rounded) for a $5 come bet.

## Odds Bet

The odds bet is the best bet in the casino, but it is not labelled anywhere on the craps layout. The good news is that the payout odds for a winning odds bet are equal to the bet’s winning probability; thus, the house edge is zero. The bad news is that you cannot bet solely on odds; it must be combined with a pass line or come bet.

Smart craps players will back up their pass line bet with an odds bet after a point number is established on the come-out roll. Assume you bet $10 on the pass line, and the shooter throws a 4 as the point number on the come-out roll.

After that, you can place another $10 in chips directly behind your $10 pass line bet (representing the odds bet). The shooter will keep rolling the dice until one of two things happens.

If a 4 is rolled before a 7, the pass line and odds bets win. The first $10 bet is paid out at 1 to 1 (you win $10), but the second $10 bet is paid out at the true odds of making the point number. (In the case of a 4, the odds are 2 to 1; thus, you win $20 for your initial $10 odds wager.)

If a seven is rolled before a four, the pass line and odds bets are forfeited.

The payoff for the odds bet is the same as the true odds for the corresponding odds bet for each point number.

Point Number

True Odds

4 or 10

2 to 1

5 or 9

3 to 2

6 or 8

6 to 5

The odds bet reduces the total house edge on the pass line and odds wagers. Every casino offers single odds, but some also offer double, triple, ten, and even 100-times odds. As the odds increase, the house edge on the combined pass line plus odds wagers decreases. (Please see the table below.)

Bet

House Edge

Pass Line

1.41%

Pass Line + Single Odds

0.85%

Pass Line + Double Odds

0.61%

Pass Line + Triple Odds

0.47%

Pass Line + Ten-Times Odds

0.10%

Pass Line + 100-times Odds

0.02%

Tip: To take advantage of the odds bet, lower the amount of your pass-line wager before placing an odds bet. Assume you place a $50 wager on the pass line.

Your expenses are:

$50 times the 1.41 per cent house edge = 70 cents.

If you instead reduce the pass-line wager to $25 and then place $25 on the odds, the house edge on the total $50 wagered is:

$50 times 0.85 percent = 42 cents.

You are taking the same risk ($50) but at a lower cost (42 cents vs. 70 cents). As a result, you should always take the amount you would have bet on the pass line and put a percentage of it on the pass line and the rest on odds. If you want to increase the size of your next bet, add more chips to the odds wager rather than the pass line, which is the wise way to profit from the bet.

## Place Bets

A place bet is a wager that you will roll one of the point numbers before the shooter rolls a seven. You can bet on the 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10.

Some of the later numbers are more difficult to roll than others. As a result, the payoffs on place bets vary depending on the number – and so does the house edge.

The table below summarizes the house edge for each number and the cost per hour, assuming a $5 place bet (except $6 on 6 and 8 to facilitate an even dollar payoff) and 100 rolls per hour. (Note: The number of decisions per hour will also differ slightly: 30 for the 6 and 8; 28 for the 5 and 9; and 25 for the 4 and 10).

Point Number

True Odds

Payoff Odds

House Edge

Cost Per Hour

4 or 10

2 to 1

9 to 5

6.67%

$8.30

5 or 9

3 to 2

7 to 5

4.00%

$5.60

6 or 8

6 to 5

7 to 6

1.52%

$2.70

A place bet’s house edge varies depending on the number. Making a place bet on 6 and 8 gives you the lowest house edge (1.52 per cent) and the lowest cost per hour.

Tip: Place bets should only be placed on the 6 and 8.

## Field Bet

The field bet is popular due to its ease of use: it is a one-roll wager that either wins or loses. After you place a field bet, you can either:

Wins if the next roll is any of the numbers 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12.

Loses if these four numbers are rolled: 5, 6, 7, or 8.

On the surface, the bet appears to be good because you win if seven numbers are rolled and lose if only four numbers are rolled. But here’s the rest of the story. The four numbers that aren’t covered by the bet just happen to be the ones you’re most likely to roll.

If a field number is rolled, you will win even money, but most casinos will pay double (2 to 1) on either the 2 or 12. This results in a 5.5 per cent house edge. Some casinos pay double on the 2 or the 12 and triple on the other. The house edge is reduced to 2.8 per cent as a result.

A $1 Field bet costs $2.80 per hour (assuming 100 decisions per hour and a 12 paying 3 to 1). If the 12 pays 2 to 1, the hourly cost rises to $5.50. The low cost per hour of the field bet is due to the ability to bet small amounts (e.g., $1), which is not possible when betting on the pass line and come. If you bet more on the field, say $5, your hourly cost would be five times higher.

Tip: If you want to bet on the field, bet $1 in a casino that pays 3 to 1 on either the 2 or the 12.