Craps is perhaps the most communal of all casino games. The house hands the players some dice, and invites them to play. Players all take turns acting as shooters, trying to beat the casino literally with their own two hands. Unless a player is ‘betting on the dark side’, placing Don’t Pass and Don’t Come bets, all players stand to win and loose together. When a shooter is ‘hot’, everyone is happy and making money. When bad luck is in the air, it affects everyone. But there is more to craps than the classic Line bets.
Other than the popular Line bets, playing craps gives you the ability to bet on almost anything. The simplest bets are Single Roll bets, which are determined after one single roll of the dice. However, players also have the option to bet on Multi Roll bets. These bets may be settled after one single shot, or may take any number of additional shots to be determined. Below is a list of classic Multi Roll craps bets, along with their corresponding payouts, actual odds and house edge.
Hard Way: A Hard Way (Also known as ‘doubles’) is when both dice are showing the same value. For example, a Hard Way Eight would be dice showing 4, 4. You win this bet if a shooter throws a specific Hard Way (4, 6, 8 or 10) before he throws a 7 or the corresponding Easy Way. The Hard Way is a very common craps bets, and it even has many references in pop culture. The movie ‘Hard Eight’ got its title, as well as many inspiring scenes, from this bet.
Hard Way 4 / 10 – Payout: 7:1; Actual odds: 8:1; House edge: 11.11%
Hard Way 6 / 8 – Payout: 9:1; Actual odds: 10:1; House edge: 9.09%
Easy Way: This bet is the opposite of the Hard Way. If the shooter throws an Easy Way (4, 6, 8 or 10) before the 7 or the corresponding Hard Way, you win, otherwise you loose. An example of Easy Way 4 is 3, 1.
Big 6 / Big 8: With the Big 6 bet, you win if a 6 is rolled before the 7. The Big 8 is the same, except with an 8. These bets are considered ‘sucker bets’ by most veteran players, and should be avoided. They pay even money (1:1), but the actual odds are 6:5 in favor of the house, so the house edge is 9.09%. Though the same house edge (or worse) is found in many other craps bets, this is considered an exceptionally bad bet because you can make the same proposition with better payouts using a either a Place or a Buy bet (see below) on the 6 or 8. Some casinos have removed these bets from their craps tables.
Place Bets: You can bet on either on of the numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 to show before the 7. A Place bet must be placed by the dealer. You place the wager in the ‘come’ area and call out “place the 4”. The payout is worse than the actual odds, to maintain the house edge. Still, this choice is better than betting on the Big 6 or Big 8, as demonstrated below:
Place 4 / 10 – Payout: 9:5; Actual odds: 2:1; House edge: 6.67%
Place 5 / 9 – Payout: 7:5; Actual odds: 3:2; House edge: 4%
Place 6 / 8 – Payout: 7:6; Actual odds: 6:5; House edge: 1.52%
Buy Bets: Buy bets are the same as Place bets, with one small difference: Buy bets pay out true odds, but a 5% commission is charged to ‘buy’ the bet. The commission used to be charged regardless of the bet outcome, however in recent years most casinos have changed that policy and they now charge only for winning bets.
Buy 4 / 10 – Payout: 2:1 – 5% commission; Actual odds: 2:1; House edge: 5%
Buy 5 / 9 – Payout: 3:2 – 5% commission; Actual odds: 3:2; House edge: 5%
Buy 6 / 8 – Payout: 6:5 – 5% commission; Actual odds: 6:5; House edge: 5%
Lay Bets: This bet is the opposite of a Place/Buy bet. You win if the 7 comes out before the number you chose. The payouts for the Lay bet are true odds, but a 5% commission is charged.
Lay 4 / 10 – Payout: 1:2 – 5% commission; Actual odds: 1:2; House edge: 5%
Lay 5 / 9 – Payout: 2:3 – 5% commission; Actual odds: 2:3; House edge: 5%
Lay 6 / 8 – Payout: 5:6 – 5% commission; Actual odds: 5:6; House edge: 5%