There are so many options available to craps players, it should be no surprise that some options are hazardous to your bankroll.
The worst bets fall under the category, “things you should never do at a craps table,” regardless of whether you’re playing in an online casino or at a live table.
At live tables, there also are etiquette matters and procedures that belong in never land. Let’s take a closer look at craps options that are a must to avoid.
1 – Never Bet on Big 6 or Big 8
In the corners of most craps tables, you’ll find boxes marked with a big numeral 6 and a big numeral 8.
These are for wagers that work the same way as place bets on 6 or 8, but which pay less. Big 6 and Big 8 pay winners even money, but placing 6 or 8 pays 7-6 odds.
If you bet on Big 6 or place 6, you win if the shooter rolls a 6 without rolling a 7. If a 7 comes before a 6, you lose.
To take advantage of the odds when placing 6 or 8, you need to bet in multiples of $6. On Big 6 or Big 8, you can make bets in multiples of $5 if you like. Some players choose the lower wager amount as a reason to bet the Bigs.
But imagine you make 11 $5 bets on Big 6 and I make 11 $6 bets to place 6. You put $55 at risk and I risk $66.
The average outcome per 11 decisions is that 7 turns up 6 times while 6 rolls five times. We both lose on the 7s. On the 5s, you get your $5 bets back and get $5 in winnings. That’s $10 each for five wins, or $50. Since you’ve wagered $55, your average loss for the sequence is $5.
On each of my five wins, I keep my $6 bet and get $7 in winnings. That’s $13 times five, or $65.
I’ve wagered $66, $11 more than you, but my average loss is $1, or $4 less than your average loss. The house edge on my place bets is 1.52%, while with your Big bets it’s 9.09%.
It’s worth betting the extra $1 to make the place bets. Skip the Big 6 and Big 8 entirely.
2 – Never Bet on Hardways
Hardways are combinations where both dice show the same number. You can make hardway bets on 4, 6, 8 or 10.
You win if the shooter rolls your number the hard way before rolling either a 7 or your number the easy way. For example, you win on hard 6 if the shooter rolls 3-3, but lose on any 7, 4-2 or 5-1.
Some players like it because payoffs are bigger than on the pass line or on place bets. Hard 6 or 8 pay 9-1 and hard 4 or 10 pay 7-1.
Problem is, those bigger payoffs come with huge house edges. The house has a 9.09% advantage on 6 or 8 and an 11.11% edge on 4 or 10. Compare those to the 1.41% edge on the pass line or the 1.52% edge on placing 6 or 8, and the hardways come across mainly as faster ways to lose your money. Avoid them.
3 – Never Make One-Roll Bets
One-roll bets are easy. Choose a number or a number combination. You win if your number or numbers match the next roll and lose if they don’t. Most one-roll bets have high payoffs, as much as 30-1 on 12 or 2.
But those payoffs fall well short of true odds. The true odds against rolling 12 are 35-1. Same with 2. Those 30-1 payoffs pale in comparison. The result is very high house edges. Those edges are:
- 13.89% on 2, 12 and all hard hop bets
- 11.11% on 3, 11 or all easy hop bets
- 11.11% on any craps (where one bet wins on 2, 3 or 12)
- 16.67% on any 7
Why make those bets when you can get 1.41% on pass even without worrying about free odds, or 1.52% when placing 6 or 8.
It gets worse. It takes an average of 3.38 rolls to decide a pass bet, so the house edge per roll is 0.42%. One -roll bets are decided on every roll. If you want a one-roll bet every time the shooter lets go, you continually have to replenish bets.
The best one-roll bet is the field. The field gives you seven numbers. If the shooter rolls 3, 4, 9, 10 or 11, you win even money. If the roll is 2 or 12, you win at least 2-1. Many casinos pay 3-1 on 12 and 2-1 on 2, while fewer pay 2-1 on 12 but 3-1 on 12.
You lose on 5, 6, 7 or 8. As it happens, 7, 6 and 8 are the most frequently rolled numbers and 5 is tied with 9 for the next most frequent, so the house wins more often even though you have more numbers.
House edges are 5.56% if both 2 and 12 pay 2-1, and 2.78% if one or the other pays 3-1.
A 2.78% edge might not sound so bad, but remember, the field is decided on every roll. To stay in action, you must make more bets on the field than you would on multi-roll bets such as pass, come, don’t pass, don’t come, or the place numbers.
That quickens your betting pace, and speed is not in your favor.
4 – Never Make Place Bets Other Than 6 or 8
House edges on other place numbers are higher than the 1.52% on 6 or 8. Edges are 4% on 5 or 9 and 6.67% on 4 or 10.
You have the option of buying the number instead by paying a 5% commission on top of your bet. In exchange, winners are paid at true odds. That doesn’t help on 6, 8, 5 or 9. It does lower the edge on 4 or 12 to 4.76%, but even that is out of prime range.
An opportunity comes when the dealer takes the commission only on winning bets. Then edges drop to 2% on 5 or 9 and 1.67% on 4 or 10. They’re not the best bets, but under those conditions they’re in playable range.
5 – Never Chase Losses
Past results do not affect future outcomes. The dice don’t know what’s gone before. There’s nothing in a losing streak that would make a winning streak any more likely.
Increasing bets during losing times on the theory that a winning streak is just around the corner doesn’t hold up.
The house is the favorite on every betting sequence. Sticking to the best bets keeps things close and increases the likelihood of winning streaks. But no matter what’s gone before, you’re more likely to lose than win.
If a cold streak continues, making bigger bets can mean turning a bad session into a disaster.
6 – Never Hand Money Directly to the Dealers
This is one for live games. Casinos want money in plain sight. They do not want it exchanged by hand where security can’t see what’s going on.
Put your money on the table and tell the dealer what you want. They’ll then give you chips before taking your money.
7 – Never Impede Play
Another for live games that doesn’t come into play online. Once the shooter has the dice, your hands should never be over the table.
You can’t put additional bets down, nor should your hands be where the dice might collide and lead to a no-roll. Have respect for other players and the crew. Don’t be a roadblock.
8 – Never Say ‘Seven’
If you’re playing on a computer or mobile device with no other players in earshot, then fine, scream “seven!” as much as you want.
But in a live casino, that’s taboo. Superstitious players will be offended and be wary of you bringing bad luck. Non-superstitious players will just think you’re kind of a jerk for ignoring one of the basic traditions of craps play.
Some players on the “don’t” side who are helped by 7s take delight in shouting “Come on, seven!” They don’t care if they ruffle feathers or that they’ll take some heat from other players.
If you can’t take the heat, think about calling for “El Diablo” or “Big Red” or some other 7 euphemism instead.