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Last Updated: June 18, 2017

Craps (version 2) – Part 1 of 5

Mike: Hi, my name is Mike Shackleford, otherwise known as “The Wizard of Odds.” You may have seen some of my other gambling videos and this one is going to be all about Craps. I'm honored to have with me Angela Wyman, my favorite dealer in Las Vegas. You may also recognize her from my old craps videos made four years ago. I'm also happy to say, we have Dan Lubin, our dealer. So the whole crew is back, four years later. My hair is a little grayer. I am enthusiastic to try to improve on what I did before.

This time I'm going to try to keep it a little bit shorter and to the point.

Question 1 - [00:46]

Angela: All right. So I've decided I want to play. How do I actually approach the table and buy chips?

Mike: That's a good question. First, find a place at the table, where there's space for you. And then, get your money ready. So I'll give you some of mine for now.

Angela: No pockets.

[laughter]

Mike: Okay. Now what you want to do is wait, until you see that black chip over there that says OFF on it, to be on the off side, in that position there on the Don't Come Bar. That means that the dice are not in play at the moment and it's safe to buy chips and to make bets.

Angela: Okay.

Mike: I see, it's in the right place. So let's buy in.

All right. So once the dealer pushes your chips towards you, you put them up on to the rack here.

Angela: All right.

Mike: And then let me say a little bit about the table itself. The only thing that should be up on the top here are chips and money. You don't want any ashtrays or drinks or purses or anything like that. It's just about money.

There's a little shelf down here, where you can put drinks and your other stuff like that. So I have been rebuked by dealers many times [Angela laughs] for placing drinks up here. And this is a mistake I still make, but yes, they're very strict about that rule.

Angela: So basically you’re telling me to keep my rack clear?

Mike: [laughs] Yes. Keep your rack clear. Okay.

So we're ready to talk about the game itself, the bets. Okay. So by the way, everything I say is on my website, so if anything that I say is unclear, feel free to go to my website, wizardofodds.com and I explain all of this.

So, the most fundamental bet in craps is called the Pass Line, which you can see right here. That is something that probably 90% of the players are going to bet. And the reason I think craps is so much fun is that the whole table is winning and losing as a team. When the Pass Line bet wins, usually everybody wins. So it creates that common euphoria which feeds on itself, it's like a contact high. So I think that's why some players love craps.

So how does the Pass Line work, you might ask.

Angela: That was my next question. [laughs]

Mike: Okay. It's a little hard to explain, but it's not too bad. The way it works is on the first roll, call the Come Out Roll, if you roll a seven or an 11, you win, even money. If you roll a two, three or 12, you lose, immediately. Everything else, the four, five, six, eight, nine, ten, if one of those numbers called the points are rolled first, then that becomes what is known as the point. So for example, if your very first roll is a ten, then the dealer will put that marker on the number ten on the table, to show everyone what the point is and then the object will be to keep throwing the dice, until you roll either a ten or a seven. If the ten is rolled first, you win. If the seven is rolled first, you lose.

So I know it sounds little confusing, so let's play a few times as an example, okay?

Angela: Okay, that sounds good. [chuckles]

Mike: All right. So when it's a come out roll, as indicated again by the puck there in the off position, it's safe to make a pass line bet. So place a bet right there on the pass line. Okay.

So what's going to happen is the stick man will push five dice towards you and you might wonder, why five dice? Right, when craps only uses two dice, it's to cater to the superstitions of players that you may feel the two of these dice are lucky and you can pick any two of the five that you wish, which you should do at this point.

Question 2 - [05:19]

Angela: Can I touch them all or I just have to reach down and grab it?

Mike: You can touch them.

Angela: All right, got two.

Mike: And then the stick man will pull the other three away. And now you're ready to go. So and a little worried about throwing dice themselves, you may wonder, should I throw them up in the air or skit them down the table, you can do either one that you like. Personally, I like to lob them up in the air, I think it looks a little better and there is a small chance of knocking over stacks of chips, but it's up to you.

Angela: Okay. All right.

Mike: So just make sure that they hit the other side.

Angela: Okay. Sorry. [laughs] Not much for lob.

Mike: All right, you've got an 11, you win.

Dan: All right.

Mike: Okay. So Angela, because you won the last time, you get to shoot again, until you lose.

Angela: I like this game. [chuckles]

Dan: Eight easy eight.

Mike: The stick man was saying, Eight Easy Eight, meaning the point is now an eight. So the object now is to roll an eight again and not roll the seven, and you're just going to keep rolling until one of those two events occurs.

Angela: Okay.

Mike: Okay.

Angela: All right. I got to practice.

Dan: Nine, centerfield nine.

Mike: Okay. So you roll the nine, that doesn't make any difference. So roll again.

Angela: All right.

Dan: Eight, winner eight.

[Mike: Winner, winner.

Angela: Yay, all right.

Mike: Okay. So, a winning pass line bet, pays even money. So, pick up your winnings. So that's about all there is to say about the pass line bet.

Angela: Okay.

Mike: Let's move on next to what's called the Odds Bet. This is another bet that almost everyone at the table is going to make and it's a great bet, it's the only bet you can make at a table game in a casino, with no house advantage. So you should be trying in any casino game to get the odds in your favor as much as you can. And you can't do any better in a table game than to get a fair bet with no house advantage.

So the way the odds work, is it's a supplemental bet made after the pass line bet, after a point is rolled that the point is going to be rolled before a seven. So at that point, it will win and lose the same as with your pass line bet.

Angela: Okay.

[Mike: However, once a point is rolled because the seven is the most frequently rolled number, you're likely to lose the pass line bet. So, to make up for that the odds always pays statistically fair odds. In particular, if the point is a four or ten, it will pay two to one, five or a nine will pay three to two, and six or an eight, will pay six to five. Those are all statistically fair odds. No house advantage.

So let's try again, but this time we're going to back up our pass line bet with the odds.

Angela: Okay.

Mike: Okay. So you're still the shooter.

Angela: All right.

Mike: So we start with our pass line bet. And we always start with a come out roll. So your turn.

Angela: All right. [rolls the dice]

Dan: Nine. Points nine, mark it up.

Mike: Okay. The point is a nine. So you may wonder how much am I allowed to bet on the odds, I want to bet a lot because there's no house advantage. Okay. There's limits to how much you can bet. And at most casinos they follow what's called “The Three, Four, Five Times Rule,” that means you can bet three times your pass line bet on a point of four, ten, four times on a five or nine and five times on a six or eight. And they will have a little sign at the edge of the table there that usually states this. But if you're not sure, feel free to ask the dealers, they will be happy to tell you.

So let's pretend- well, this particular table says 20 times odds.

Angela: Oh, yes.

Mike: But let's pretend that it's your typical strip casino that's three, four, five times odds. So on a point of nine that means you can bet four times your pass line bet, we each bet $10, so we can bet $40 on the pass line. And the way you put it, is right behind the pass line bet, just outside of the line. Okay. That's all there is to it. And the dice are up to you.

Angela: All right. Yes.

Dan: Six.

Mike: So nothing happens there.

Angela: Okay. Nothing for good? [chuckles]

Mike: Yes, it just gives you more entertainment time at no expense.

Angela: I like this. [chuckles] More time to order free drinks.

Mike: Exactly.

Angela: Tip your waitress. [laughs]

Mike: Yes, you should. [laughs]

[dice rolls]

Dan: Seven out.

Mike: Okay.

Angela: Seven.

Mike: We lost.

Dan: 09.

Mike: Right. After the come out roll, a seven is bad but let's try again.

Angela: Okay.

Mike: Okay.

Dan: [unintelligible 10:15] this world it ties us and lows, get them in now, while the dice are in the center.

Angela: [giggles]

Mike: Okay. And because you had a seven out, the dice pass to the next shooter, going to your left, so that would be me. So this time, it's my turn. [rolls the dice]

Dan: Six, came a hard way.

Mike: Okay. The point six. So with the point of six at most casinos, you can bet five times your pass line bet. We each bet $5, so five times five is 25. So, put a $25 bet there.

Angela: All right.

Mike: And. [rolls the dice]

Dan: Six, winner six.

Angela: Woo.

Mike: All right.

Dan: Right in the line.

Mike: So our $25 odds bet pays six to five odds. So six- so 1.2 times, 25 is 30. So we won $30 here. The pass line bet pays even money. So at this point, it's in the come out roll, pick up your winnings and make a new bet.

Question 3 - [11:23]

Angela: So, I think I understand that basic idea. But let's say, I've already got that bet down and now I want to bet more while we're waiting for those numbers to hit, then what do I do?

Mike: Yes.

Question 4 - [11:33]

Angela: So, what can I bet there?

Mike: There is a whole host of things you can bet on, but I'm going to tell you the best thing to bet on, okay?

Angela: All right.

Mike: So it all starts with the come out roll. So let's do that. And you will be the next shooter.

Angela: Woo, right. I'm going to keep practicing. [chuckles]

Mike: So by the way, what a lot of players do is they like to take two dice that add up to seven, because you want a seven on the come out roll, it's just a superstition. But if you want to look like a craps pro at the table, then pick two dice that look like that add up to seven.

Angela: All right. Done. [laughs]

Mike: There you go. Okay. Shooter, your turn.

Angela: All right.

Dan: Ace deuce, come away, line away.

Mike: Okay. Let's make another pass line bet, you lost there.

Angela: Aw. I'm going to try again. [rolls dice]

Dan: Eight easy eight. Point is eight, mark it.

Mike: Okay, the point is eight again. So as always you always want to back up your pass line bets with the odds, unless you're uncomfortable betting that much money, but we're not.

Angela: Not at all.

Mike: So put your $25 dollars out there, again because you can bet five times on a six or an eight and five times five is 25. Now it's an eighth row and you want to make a new bet. So I'm going to tell you about the come bet.

So this works just like the pass line bet. Except, it's not made on a come out roll, it's made on any roll that's not a come out roll, like right now.

Angela: Okay.

Mike: So, let's put one here and I will explain as we go. So it's your turn shooter.

Angela: All right. [laughs] [rolls the dice]

Dan: Six, easy six. [unintelligible 13:30]

Mike: Okay. So for the purposes of those come bets, that point is six. You can back up come bets with odds but let's not do that now for the sake of simplicity.

Angela: Okay.

Mike: So at this point, an eight will cause our pass line and odds bets to win, a six will cause that come bet to win and so we want a six or an eight and we can keep on going. Let's make another come bet.

Angela: Oh, okay.

Mike: Okay. Your turn, shooter.

Angela: Okay.

Dan: Eight, winners.

Mike: All right.

Angela: Yay. All right. [laughs]

Dan: You are still the lucky shooter there.

Mike: Yes. Okay. So let's pick up our winnings. So our pass line and odds bets one, it's a new come out roll, but those old come bets on the six still have not been resolved yet, so those are still on the table. The come bet that we made on our last roll, now becomes a new come bet. So an eight will cause those to win and a seven will cause those to lose. So it's still your turn.

Angela: All right.

Dan: Eight, easy eight.

Angela: Eight.

Mike: Eight. So, we just won those come bets on the eight. And let's make an odds bet on a pass like that.

Angela: And again.

Dan: What a lucky shooter.

Mike: Absolutely.

Dan: Aces. On a white double.

Mike: Okay. So when it's not a come out roll, twos don't do anything, so nothing happened there. But let's keep our come bets going.

Angela: Oh, yes.

Mike: Let's make new ones. So here we want to get a six or an eight. The eight will cause the pass line bet to win, a six will cause the come bet to win.

Angela: Okay.

Dan: Five, no feel.

Mike: Okay. So now the point for those last come bets become a five, so now we've got basically like for our purposes, we've got three points going on, the five, six and eight, and let's keep it going, let's make new come bets.

Angela: [laughs] Getting lot of money on the table, I like this.

Dan: Nine, centerfield nine.

Mike: Okay.

Angela: [laughs]

Mike: And now we've got a fourth point covered and let's make new come bets. So now Angela, we will win on a five, six, eight or nine.

Angela: Fantastic.

Mike: So your odds are getting better and better to win money.

Angela: Oh, thank you. [rolls dice]

Dan: Eight, winner- [crosstalk]

Mike: Okay. You hit another pass line bet.

Dan: What a lucky shooter.

Mike: Absolutely.

Angela: [giggles]

Mike: Okay.

Angela: All right.

Mike: New come out roll.

Dan: Easy eight.

Mike: Okay. So what happens here, is the point is eight, but we had an old come bet, based on an eight. So we're going to win that, so we're each going to get $10 back, our original bet plus the $5 in winnings.

Angela: Okay. Great.

Mike: Okay. So now let's make our odds bet. Again $25, because it's an eight. And you're still shooting.

Angela: Oh. [laughs]

Dan: Nine, centerfield nine.

Mike: Okay. So we had an old come bet on the nine. So we're going to get back to our original bet and the winning. So $10 each and let's make a new come bet. Let's keep it going.

Angela: All right.

Dan: Aces come way, tunnel, the lucky field.

Mike: Okay. So that means you rolled the two. So nothing happens there.

Angela: Okay. I'm getting lots of free cocktails at this point. [chuckles]

Dan: Seven up seven.

Angela: Seven.

Mike: Oh, it had to end eventually.

Angela: Aw.

Mike: So, that's the thing about craps is, a seven causes everything to lose, if it's not a come out roll. But we had a great roll there, you did great, you would be quite popular in a real casino right now after that.

Question 5 - [17:52]

Angela: Okay. So, I think I've got that part down, but can you also- you mentioned something about odds on the come bet?

Mike: Right. Just like I showed you about the odds on pass line bets, you can make odds bets on come bets in exactly the same way, they pay exactly the same way. And I love doing this. Let me show you how I personally like to play. Okay?

Angela: Okay. Yes.

Mike: So let's start with the pass line bet. Okay. And I'm the shooter.

Angela: Yes.

Dan: Point is five, mark it up.

Mike: Okay. Always make an odds bet, so on the five, it's four times or a $20 and then we're going to be making come bets, every single time it's not a pass line bet.

Dan: Four.

Mike: So now we're going to make an odds bet on the come, and the way you do this, is you can see, he put the bets way over there. That's the dealer's territory. You can't reach over. So you tell the dealer what you want to do. So odds on the come bet, please.

Angela: Odds on the come bet.

Dan: One too many.

Mike: Right, so because it's a four, it's three times the pass line bet, which is five. So five times three is 15.

Dan: Nine, centerfield nine.

Mike: Okay. So we back that up with a $20 odds bet. So odds on the nine please.

Dan: Right $25, $5 change.

Angela: Same thing, odds on the nine, please.

Dan: Okay.

Angela: Thank you.

Mike: And let's make new come bets.

Angela: All right.

Mike: Every single time.

Dan: All right, dice are up. [dice rolls] Nine. Centerfield nine, you got that one.

Mike:All right. So we just hit that nine. So that's going to cause that come bet on the nine to win. So we had a $20 odds bet, that's going to pay 1.5 times the bet amount, so 20, 130 and the come bet itself pays even money.

So this gives me an opportunity to explain another rule in craps.

On a come out roll, even though we have all these come bets and odds up there, we're covering for different numbers right now. On a come out roll, seven is supposed to be good, so what automatically happens, is they turn off all these odds bets, meaning that they're not going to win or lose on the come out roll no matter what it is, the come bets themselves will stay active but the odds are as they call turned off.

Angela: Okay. All right.

Mike: Okay. I know it's kind of confusing- [laughs]

Angela: That's okay.

Mike: But those are the rules in craps. So here we go.

Dan: Nine, centerfield nine.

Mike: Okay. So what's going to happen here, is we had an old come bet on nine, that's going to win and he's going to refund our odds bets. Because again, those were turned off. So pick those up.

Angela: Thank you.

Mike: Make a new come bet.

Angela: And you just keep rolling, right? All right.

Mike: And keep rolling until seven out.

Dan: Seven out seven.

Mike: Oh.

Angela: Oh. You said- superstition. [crosstalk] [laughs]

Mike: See, if in live casino, everyone would blame me for that seven because I just said seven. So craps is a very superstitious game. I don't believe any of these superstitions. Nevertheless, I respect everyone else's- shall we say experience and I don't want to ruin it for them. So I always keep my mouth shut at the table, especially with numbers and I just stand there and play quietly.

Okay. Yes. So again that is how I play, a pass line bet on the come out roll, a come bet any other time and back up everything with the odds. If you do that, you're going to cut down the house advantage to about 0.3% which is as good as it gets in the casino. If you play that way you're going to have, the only other game where you might have better odds in blackjack and that's only under the most liberal rooms that you might find in the high limit room. For the ordinary Joe, in table games, craps is as good as it gets.

Question 6 - [22:31]

Angela: Okay. Thank you. I think I get most of that. It'll sink in. [chuckles] and I understand the pass line bet and the come bet and the odds on that. But I've also heard people mention about betting numbers or making plays bets, getting a seven, five. Can you explain what that is, I'm still confused?

Mike: I would be happy to. This is a good place to end this video, which covered the pass line, the come bets and the odds. And my next video, I will explain all about betting the numbers.

Angela: Okay.

Mike: And again, for everything you could possibly want to know about craps, it's all on my website wizardofodds.com.