Craps can be simple with the most basic strategy

Feb 19, 2013 3:09 AM

Sometimes patience is the best strategy. Unfortunately I’m not patient.

When I’m at the casino I’m always looking for more action. That’s why I often play the penny slots. The loud noises and bright lights are fun for someone with a short attention span like me. That said, I like to play smart as often as I can. I like my money.

I try to keep the house edge as low as possible and thankfully my favorite game, coincidentally, is craps, which offers some of the smallest edge to the casino.

Craps is the most fun table game you can find in the casino because there are so many betting options. People are the loud noises at the craps table. While craps looks like a complicated game you can keep it simple with the smartest and most basic strategy.

At its craziest there are way too many craps bets happening at once. This is simply because there are so many people playing the game. Depending on the size of your craps table you can be playing with up to 13 other people. Thankfully the table is usually split into two with enough dealers to keep the game moving.

Between hard ways, come bets, place bets and pass line bets there is a lot of action. Then there’s the opposite of those bets available with the don’t pass and don’t come bets. The smart gambler knows not to get caught up in the chaos.

Optimal craps strategy is actually very simple. Your best bet is to avoid all the funny bets available on the craps table and play the pass line and back it up with the maximum odds available. The pass line essentially gets you in the game. When the point is set by the roller all you need is for him to get that number again.

If you feel like playing against the table you’ll want to play the don’t pass line. If just playing the pass line isn’t enough to satisfy your need for action you can make a come (or don’t come) bet and, again, back it with the maximum odds available.

Odds are technically a free bet since they pay back the actual odds of the event (roll) happening. Maximum odds are key because this is what gives you the ability to decrease the house advantage.

For example, Wizard of Odds says that with 3-4-5 times odds the combined house edge on the pass line is less than 1% (0.374%), while the don’t pass is .273%. In Las Vegas you’ll find mostly 3-4-5 times odds at the casinos but you will find a handful casinos with 10 and 20 times odds, which almost take away all of the house edge.

There are a lot of fun bets to be made at the craps table but the smart gambler keeps it simple and patiently waits for his winning pass line or numbers to come. The best part is you can still enjoy the chaos of the craps table with your new best friends because craps players are friends for life.

Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gambling and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Follow Marc on twitter @eastcoastgamblr. Check out his blog at www.AC2LV.com Contact Marc at [email protected].

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