If you asked a hundred casino employees what the most popular games in their house tend to be, it’s likely that more than fifty would mention Craps as the top pick amongst players. Although the game can seem complicated and has a steep learning curve, the Craps table is always among the noisiest and most good-natured in any casino. Once you’ve played a few games, the reasons behind its popularity become apparent; Craps is a fast and furious game with plenty of ways to win – although, of course, that means there are a fair few ways to lose, too.
When you’re familiar with what’s going on at the Craps table, you’ll want to start upping your game in the hopes of finding a way to win more often than not. Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done: this is, after all, a game that’s literally about rolling dice, so there’s not much you can do to control direct outcomes. Furthermore, brick and mortar casino have a rule that the dice must hit the side wall of a table to ensure that the “shooter” can’t fix the outcome – so much of Craps is left in the hands of fate.
So, given that a large element of the game is beyond your control, does this mean there’s no way of potentially turning the odds in your favour? Not quite; you just have to make sure you’re paying attention to the things you can control. Typically, this means focusing on how you bet, and what you bet on.
The following tips are some advanced Craps betting strategies that can help you get the best results when at the tables – whether you’re in a real live casino, or playing online, these are the strategies that are likely to produce the best bets in craps in i.e best results for you.
Strategy #1: The Iron Cross
Playing the Iron Cross system is not too difficult, once you’ve got used to it, but it takes a bit of explaining. We’d advise trying it out on free games before you try putting it into practice with actual money on the line. The system takes advantage of the Field bet that’s available at all Craps tables. This covers the numbers 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 and 12. To this, you add place bets on the 5, 6, and 8 squares on the table.
For the sake of simplicity, we’ll say you’re playing a £10 game, so your minimum stake on each bet is £10. You will also place £10 on the 5, and £12 each on the 6 and 8 squares. This means that you will score a win of some sort unless a 7 is rolled. A 7 would mean that you’d lose £44, but there is only a 1 in 6 chance of this happening, so the odds are in your favour. If the field bet wins, you’ll get at least £10 – £20 if a 2 is rolled and £30 if it’s a 12. You can take your payoff and leave the bets exactly where they are.
If a 5, 6 or 8 are rolled, you will win £14. This then means that the field bet will be lost and your £10 removed. If this were to happen, take £4 and reinvest the £10 in a new field bet. Only when a 7 is rolled will your Field and other placed bets be removed, forcing you to start from scratch, but on a good day, you should land a few wins before that point.
You can enhance the Iron Cross with a variation known as Three and Done, which is applied when you’re ready to stop playing. For this, you wait until there have been three consecutive wins in the Field. At this point, you’d then pull your Field bet, leaving the 5, 6 and 8 bets intact, collecting on them until such time as a 7 is rolled. Once that happens, you leave the table – and with any luck, you’ll be taking decent winnings with you.
Strategy #2: Prop Bets and Horn Bets
Prop bets – short for “proposition” bets – are a fun way of making the game a little more interesting, and are often discouraged by more “serious” players as a waste of money. The fact of the matter is that while prop bets are unlikely to come off, they do tend to pay off in a big way if they are successful. Often, you can get a prop bet for a stake of £1; these tend to be offered by the “stickman” at a brick and mortar casino, or can flash up during an online game. Given the small stakes, it might be worth giving them a try every once in a while.
The prop bet will be offered casually as the dice are about to be rolled – commonly, in offline casinos, there will be a shout of “Anybody on eleven?” or similar. If you hear this call, pass the stickman a chip and hope that an 11 is rolled. If they come off, bets like these tend to be paid off at odds of 15/1 – ensuring a tidy profit for a single roll, and only losing a very small amount if you’re cautious. A good rule of thumb is to take the prop bet a couple of times in an hour’s play. There’s no harm done if it doesn’t come off, as long as you’re not over-committing to the bet.
Horn bets are a similar concept but cover more numbers. When you place this kind of bet, the stake will be split four ways and placed on 2, 3, 11 and 12. If the roll then lands on 3 or 11, you will be paid at odds of 3/1 (so if you’ve placed £4, you’ll win £12). If it lands on 2 or 12 – the hardest numbers to score in a Craps game – your payoff will be at 6.75/1.
You can, alternatively, place “Horn High” bets, with stakes that rise in increments of £5. For every £5 you bet, three of the Horn numbers will get a £1 stake and one (of your choice) will be backed at £2. To place this kind of bet, choose the number you want to have the heavier stake, and then call “Horn High [your chosen number]”. If the dice land on the number that you have called, you will receive a higher payout to reflect the stake placed on that number.
The key to using Horn and Prop bets is to place them when you’re already doing well at the table – they’re a useful way to further enhance your winnings. However, do keep in mind the fact that horn and prop bets are more of a side bet bonus because, as we’ve covered, they aren’t especially likely to come off. It’s therefore not a great idea to rely on them to get you back on your feet if your previous betting hasn’t been successful.
With sparing use of Horn and Prop bets and an understanding of the Iron Cross method, you should be able to increase your levels of success while playing Craps. These tips won’t guarantee winnings – because nothing ever can – but they will certainly give you a greater chance of victory while increasing your enjoyment of your time at the table.
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