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Craps - FAQ

I made the mistake of making a pass line bet in craps after a point was established. The next roll was a seven and I thought I won but the dealer said I lost. Can the player make a pass line bet after a point is rolled? What should have happened?

Larry from Detroit

Yes, you can make a pass line bet at any time. However, you give up the come out roll, which twice the chance of winning as losing. Making a late pass or come bet is called a "put" bet.

Is there a casino that teaches how to play craps?

Marty from Houston, USA

There are lots of them. Many casinos give free gambling lessons in the mornings when things are slow.

After reviewing your section on house edge in craps, I am very confused about two different calculations. The discrepancy lies with the Place 5 or 9 and Buy 5 or 9. I cannot understand how the house edge could be greater on the Buy 5 or 9 when it pays more than the Place 5 or 9. For example, $100 Place 5 or 9 pays $140. $100 Buy 5 or 9 pays $150 - $5 commission for a total of $145. The house edge on a Place 5 or 9 is 4.00% and a Buy 5 or 9 is 4.76%. How could the Buy 5 or 9 house edge be greater than the Place 5 or 9 when it pays more money and both bets have the same behavior? Thank you for your time.

Mark from Watertown, U.S.

You seem to be forgetting that the 5% commission is taken off the top and the player doesn’t get it back if he wins (except some casinos give it back on a buy 4 or 10 bet). A $100 place bet on 5 will get back $100+$100*(7/5) =$240 if it wins. If you bet $100 on the buy 5 the 5% commission will reduce the bet to $95.24. If the bet wins the player will get back $95.24+$95.24*(3/2) = $238.10. The place 5 bet returns an extra $1.90.

How is the house advantage at craps calculated? If you PLACE 6 for $6 36 times you "should" win 5*$7 =$35 and lose 6*-$6 for a lose of $1. Or a per roll lose expectation of ~$.03 which on a $6 bet is only .5% Everything I read gives the house advantage as ~1.8% on this bet. Where is my thinking faulty?

Marshall Fay from St. Louis, USA

Good question. When the house edge is quoted as 1.52% on place 6 bet, for example, it is per bet resolved. In other words it is assumed the player leaves it up there until a 6 or 7 is rolled. However if the player’s intent were to leave it up for one roll only the house edge would be 0.46%.

I’m getting ready to go to Vegas and it has been a few years since I have been there, I know Binion’s used to be the best place to play craps, however I understand since the Harrah’s takeover that it no longer holds true. Could you please tell me the best places to play craps are?

Anonymous

I don’t think the takeover had any effect on the craps at Binion’s Horseshoe in Vegas. Although they used to offer 100x odds they ended that long before the federal marshals shut them down earlier this year. The best odds in Vegas can now be found at the Casino Royale (between the Venetian and Harrah’s), which offers 100x odds.

I’m walking through a casino and see a craps table with a shooter winning lots of money. I feel lucky and want to place a bet. What can/should I do? Do I have to first make a pass line bet? Can I make a come bet? Can I make either bet with odds? Or, do I wait until the next round of play?

Todd from Chicago

First, it doesn’t make any difference that the shooter is making lots of money. Your odds are the same on an ice-cold table. The past does not matter. However if you are going to play then wait patiently for a come out roll. Never make a pass bet after a point has been established.

In craps, after a point is established for a come bet, where should you place the chips on the table to signify you want to bet the odds?

Gary from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

There is no particular place. You have to give the chips to the dealer and tell him to put them on the odds. For example assume you make a come bet and the next roll is a nine. The way I do it is I wait until I get the dealer’s attention, put the bet anywhere he can easily reach it, and say "odds on the nine."

Normal Craps are not allowed in California. Here many casinos are using cards to act as dice, using A,2,3,4,5,6 to act as the 6 sides of the dice. I would assume by using multiple decks it would alter the odds. (i.e 4 decks = 16 aces, 16 2’s, ect.) Does this favor the house as in blackjack... or does this favor the player? The player could bet at higher or lower numbers based on the half of the cards out of the shoe before a shuffle(assuming a mid shoe shuffle).

Joe from Eureka, CA

You’re correct, dice alone can not determine the outcome in craps. There are various ways of using cards in place of dice and still have the odds exactly the same. One way is to use two separate decks, thus there is no effect of removal. Another way is to have a 7-card deck, featuring the numbers 1 to 6, plus a seventh "double" card. The first card drawn can never be the double card. If it is then it is put back in and the process repeats from the beginning. If the double card is drawn second then it counts as whatever the first number drawn was. Regardless of how the casino does it I have never seen hard evidence of a case where the odds were different than if two dice were used. So I think you are omitting something from the rules.

Which casinos in Las Vegas gives the best odds on Craps.

Wayne from Honolulu

The Casino Royale, which offers 100x odds. For complete playing conditions in Vegas please see my new Vegas craps directory.

I recently witnessed a situation at the local tribal casino involving protocol at the craps table that puzzled me, and I'm wondering if you clarify it for me. On his come out roll, Player ’A’ threw a number and established a point. For the next roll, the player next to ’A’ (Player ’B’) picked up the dice and shot. It’s not clear why he did this, or if he even knew ’A’. One of the other players objected, pointing out that ’B’ was not the original shooter. After much discussion and head scratching by the dealers and the boxman, the dice were passed to the next player (Player ’C’) who finished the hand (he eventually sevened out).

Was this the correct protocol for this situation, and if so, what is the logic behind it? If Player ’A’ for some reason simply didn't want to shoot any more, why shouldn’t he be allowed to relinquish the dice? If Player ’B’ picked up the dice because he didn't understand the game, or if the stickman mistakenly put them in front of him, shouldn't the dice go back to ’A’ to finish the hand?

David from Bainbridge Island, WA

I asked the Bone Man at nextshooter.com this one. Here is what he said.

If a player other than the correct shooter picks up the dice and rolls them, it should be a no-call, no-roll and the dice should be returned to the correct shooter. Though this is indeed the proper ruling, the boxman in some instances may allow for the roll if the result is to the favor of all or most of the players. In some instances, the result of the roll may not effect any of the player(s) wagers. Also... Any player can request that the dice be sent to the next shooter to finish a hand. In such cases the same dice may be sent out or the new shooter can request new dice. Upon the completion of the roll, the SAME shooter can then shoot HIS/HER OWN HAND, thereby having more than one hand.

Hi - Great website! I’ve read lots of info here about tipping, but I’m still confused about how to tip for craps in particular. I’ve never played craps (in fact, have rarely played any table games at all) and am trying to get the rules down before my first attempt.

How exactly do I tip at a craps table? There are several people working the table. Do I put down a bet and they all share any winnings? How do I let them know the bet is for them? When, how often, and where should I place this bet? You said something on one of the pages I read about putting out chips "for the dealers" -- do you just randomly toss out some chips and say "for the dealers"? Do you pass them to a specific person? How much do you tip? What if I happen to think that one person at the table has been particularly helpful, while another has been scowling at my inexperience? Can (or should) you tip one more than another? Thanks for any help and for a great website!

Becky from San Antonio

You’re welcome. Thanks for the kind words. In my experience, most players make proposition bets for the dealers. For example, a "two way yo" bet is split 50/50 between the player and dealers. To make this bet, a player will hand or toss the bet to one of the dealers and say "two way yo." However, all the proposition bets are sucker bets, which will cut down the value of the tip by up to 16.7%. As you said, I prefer to give the dealer the tip directly, as opposed to betting it. Before a come out roll I will try to get a dealer’s attention and then put the tip in front of him, saying "for the dealers." I don’t like making pass line tips for the dealers, because I’ve been goaded into tipping extra on the odds, which was more than I intended to offer. If you must make a bet for the dealers, I would put it on the field, saying loudly "dealers in the field."

To answer your second question, dealers are only obligated to share cash tips. Anything else they may keep for themselves. I asked about this at the Venetian and the floorman said dealers may accept personal gifts up to $100 in value. Acceptable gifts can be things with a close to cash value, including gift certificates and unresolved sports tickets. It was quietly added that if a player gave a dealer an envelope, nobody other than the player and dealer would ever have to know what was in it. Should you decide to give a specific dealer a tip I would suggest being discreet about it, putting it in an envelope, and away from the table.

I am going on vacation to England and the Rendezvous Casino in Brighton offers different payouts in craps than U.S. Casinos. Could you please tell me the house edge on the various bets that differ?

Place 4,10 - 9 1/2 to 5
Place 5,9 -7 to 5
Place 6,8 - 7 to 6
Any Craps - 7 1/2 to 1
Hardways 4,10 - 7 1/2 to 1
Hardways 6,8 - 9 1/2 to 1
Aces/Midnight - 33 to 1
Ace,Deuce/Eleven - 16 to 1

Ron L. from Brunswick, GA

I just added a section to my craps section on the Rendezvous Rules.

Many Oklahoma casinos are now offering a version of card craps similar to the California game (like CA, OK has some very silly gambling laws). The version I’ve played uses a 54-card deck, with nine each of ace to six, where the "thrower" calls 1 to 3 burn cards between throws. Suits don’t matter. The cards are not returned to the deck, so the odds of the game are not equivalent to a true craps dice game. Obviously, if a 5&4 is the come out roll, this hurts the odds in hitting it again since the same 5 and 4 are not returned to the deck. So, it might make even more sense to play "don’t pass" at these tables. In addition, it does allow the player to partially count cards (e.g., laying additional odds on the 4 if very few small cards have been seen). How does not returning the cards to the deck change the odds of playing the pass or the don’t pass line?

Kristin from Norman, OK

This sounds very promising! If this is true, there would be lots of opportunities to count cards. I don’t know if they even allow them, but I think the best opportunities would be on the proposition bets. For example, the “yo” bet, which pays 15 to 1 on an 11, would have a 9.43% house advantage off the top of the deck. However, if no 5 or 6 appears in the first two rolls, the odds swing to a player edge of 5.80%. This same principle would apply to any two-number hop bet.

Recently, I was in a casino in Oklahoma, playing craps. There are a few rule changes to the "normal" craps rules. Instead of dice, the casino uses a deck of 54 cards (Aces through 6). The stickman will ask you for a number between 1-3. He’ll then burn that number of cards and then put the next two face up. That becomes the dice roll. After approximately half to 3/4 of the deck has been used, a new deck is brought in and the old deck is shuffled.

Also, if you want to make a bet on the table, you’ll have to pay a dollar ante to the casino. You pay only $1 per come out roll. Once the point is established you can bet as much/little as you’d like without another payment of ante. The table limits are from 5 dollars to 300 dollars.

If the dealer went through 39 cards (out of 54) before re-shuffling the deck, you can count/see 26 of those cards. Previously, you’ve said that if there are a lot of 5s and 6s left in the deck, you would bet the "yo 11" bet. Can you develop a more effective strategy and way for betting in this casino? I truly feel that this game is beatable. Would a count of high/low, like counting cards in blackjack, work? Thanks.

Chuck from New York

I still say hop bets, like the yo-11, are the way to go. Using chips, you could keep track of how many cards of each face are left in the decks.

With 26 unseen cards, if any one face had 6 left in the deck, you would have a 43.1% advantage on a hard hop bet (two of the same face), assuming it paid 30 to 1. With only 5 left, the house would have a 4.6% advantage.

The easy hops are even more exploitable. If the two dice sides in majority have at least 10 left combined, both with a minimum of 3 left, out of 26 unseen cards, then make an easy hop bet on those two numbers. If two numbers have 5 left, you will have a 23.1% advantage. If one has 4 and one has 6, you will have an 18.2% advantage. If one has 3 and one has 7, you will have a 3.4% advantage. All this assumes easy hop bets pay 15 to 1.

None of the above takes into consideration the $1 fee. As long as you are making large bets, it won’t make much difference.

The Choctaw Casino in Durant Oklahoma has recently introduced a craps table using cards. They use 48 cards, ace to six, from eight decks. The shooter calls a number between one and six. Then the dealer counts off that number and the next two cards are used to establish the roll. The cards are shuffled after each "roll." How do these rules affect the odds?

mrdumper

The odds change a little bit compared to craps played with dice, due to the effect of card removal. Regardless what the first card is, there is less than a 1/6 chance that the next card will be the same value. As an example of the effect, the house edge on the pass bet is 1.41% with dice, but 1.34% in this game. I indicate the house edge for all the bets in a new table at the end of my page on Card Craps, for various numbers of decks, including eight.

In craps, what is the general formula for the combined house edge of a put bet on a point of p, and an odds bet of o?

SONBP2

For points of 4 to 6: ((7-p)/(5+p))*(1/(1+o))

For points of 8 to 10: ((p-7)/(19-p))*(1/(1+o))

This question was raised and discussed in the forum of my companion site Wizard of Vegas.