Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How Craps Works

Strategies the Winners Use

Most players' strategies center around knowing which bets to place and which bets to avoid. (See The Odds: Bets.) Most avoid all bets except for the Pass Line and Come bets and certain Place bets, leaving the Field, Proposition, Big 6 and Big 8 bets to those pulled in by the stickperson.

Free Odds

The most often noted strategy of craps experts is to always place free odds on line bets. The casino has no edge in the free odds you place, so its edge in your overall bet drops. For example, the house edge in a Pass Line bet is 1.41 percent. When you place free odds on that bet, the house edge drops to .8 percent. If you can place double odds (a free odds bet that is twice your original bet), then the house edge drops to .6 percent. The more you can add to your odds bet, the lower the house edge.

Free odds are added by placing chips behind your original bet on the line. The odds bet can be placed any time after the come out roll and can be removed at any time (unlike your Pass Line bet). The amount you can add for free odds depends on the casino: The casino may allow anything from twice to 100 times your original bet.

Rhythmic or Controlled Shooting

Shooters can sometimes learn to throw in such a way that they lessen the chances of rolling the 7 when they don't want it and increase their chances of rolling the 7 when they do want it. This involves holding the dice in their hand with the numbers they want facing up, and then moving their hand so that the dice bump into each other and rattle but stay in position. The roll itself is also a practiced movement that takes a lot of time to develop. This takes some of the randomness out of the roll, increasing the chances of the shooter getting the numbers he want. More information on the method for rhythmic or controlled shooting can be found in Craps is Math, Mind and Muscle by Frank Scoblete.

Now, the thing to remember is that you can't only bet on your own rolls (the casino will get suspicious and probably won't allow you to play). But you can lessen the effect of bad shooters on your winnings by not betting on every shooter. Try to identify the good rollers and bet when they're shooting. Frank Scoblete details this method in his book, Forever Craps: The Five Step Advantage Player Method.

Spotting Streaks and Trends and Riding Them

If you're ever at a table and someone starts rolling winning numbers, stick with that shooter. For whatever reason, mathematically accurate or not, many craps experts agree that streaks do exist, and if you can spot them you can increase your winnings considerably. Most streaks are probably due to controlled shooting (described above), and as such will depend on how long the shooter can keep it going. The point is to learn to recognize "streaks" both at your own table and other craps tables. (Usually, the ecstatic cheers coming from another table will clue you in.)

Tipping the Dealers

It doesn't hurt to remember your dealers. By tipping (known as toking) the dealers, you can sometimes place higher odds than the table usually allows. Being able to place higher odds means the house has a lower edge. Tipping also makes the dealers happy and the game more fun.