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Doing Dice the Easy Way

Author: Mark Pilarski

Dear Mark: I would like to learn how to play craps. What is the best way to do that?
Dave K.

To learn to play craps with confidence, Dave, start by reading a decent book on the game. For the dice novice, Henry Tamburin’s - Craps: Take the Money and Run or Beat the Craps Out of the Casino by Frank Scobete are two favorites I would suggest for the beginning player. Either one will explain the various bets, correct odds, payoffs, sucker bets, and playing strategies for the game of craps.

Next, I would definitely recommend that you watch any of the excellent videos about craps by Michael Shackleford on YouTube. Begin with Craps Part One – Approaching the Table.

No matter whether you read a book, or watch YouTube videos, I would suggest you focus only on the wagers that have a house edge under 1.5%, like Pass line bets and placing the Six or Eight. Both wagers are on my Top 10 list of the best bets the casino offers. Besides, making these two outstanding craps wagers, and nothing else, will shorten your schooling to less than two minutes.

Allow me to break these bets down for you, Dave.

The main wager on a Craps table is the Pass Line bet. If the come-out roll (the roll of the dice that starts a round) is 7 or 11, your bet wins. When the come-out roll is a 2, 3 or 12, you lose, or, as they say, you "crap out.” And, if the roll is any other value (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10), that value becomes "the point." With the point established, if that point comes up again before a 7 is rolled, your bet wins. But, if the 7 is rolled before the point, you "seven out," and your bet loses. A Pass Line bet pays even money.

If you make a Place bet on the 6 or 8 you are betting that the 6 or the 8 will be rolled before the 7. When making a Place bet on the 6 or 8, you should always wager in increments of $6 ($12, $18, $24, etc.), because the 6 and 8 pay off at 7 to 6, they pay you $7 for every $6 bet. The standard casino practice is for the dealer to round down any payouts to the nearest dollar. This means that you would be shortchanged on any win where the bet was not a multiple of $6. Typically, Dave, Place bets are NOT working on the come-out roll , but they can be "turned on" by the player.

One other thing I strongly recommend is to stay away from all of those proposition bets in the center of the layout that the stickman is loudly inviting you to play. That dealer, tempting you with these bets is doing nothing more than inducing you to bet on wagers that are all “house bets,” aka sucker bets. Some of those wagers carry a casino advantage as high as 16%.

So, that’s it, Dave. craps is just that simple. You are no longer greener than the felt on the table, and you can now exploit the very best bet(s) the game of Craps has to offer. You have now officially joined the less than 1% of players who truly understand the game of Craps.

Now Dave, it's off to YouTube for you, to watch Michael Shackleford visually illustrate the above- mentioned wagers.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “I started shooting craps like they was goin' to close up the place . . . and I lost all the money I had on me. But what the hell, it was a lot of fun.” – William "Si" Redd, King of the Slots