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Casino Craps

Casino Craps - An Introduction

Craps is perhaps one of the most exciting of casino games simply because everything happens so fast. You can win (or lose) fortunes within just a few minutes, and although it is traditionally a game for high-rollers and joy-riding millionaires, it is a game which is also played regularly by small gamblers. Many players have gone to a craps table with £50 and returned home a short while later with £5,000 in their pockets. Sadly, the reverse is also true. In this lesson we aim to teach you the basics of craps and give you specific strategies which will enable you to become a profitable player.

The game itself is played on a high table (about the size of a large billiards table) with two dice. Before beginning play, you will need to buy some chips, and to do this all that is required is for you to place an amount of' money in front of one of the dealers. When you get your chips, place them in the rail provided at the edge of the table. Leave them on the table itself and the dealer will assume that you are making a bet.

Now that you have the necessary chips, all you need to do is play the game. Here is how the game is played: The shooter (the person throwing the dice) rolls for a first time. If the dice total 2, 3 or 12 then the shooter has "craps" and he loses.

If the first roll totals 7 or 11 then the shooter wins immediately.
If the first roll totals 4,5, 6, 8,9 or 10 then that total is taken to be the shooters point. The shooter then has to roll again until he repeats that point, in which case he wins. If (on the other hand) he rolls a 7 before rolling his point then the shooter is said to have crapped out and loses.

Every person around the table is given an opportunity to become the shooter. If you wish to do so then you will be offered a bowl of dice, from which you should take two. If you would rather bet without being the shooter, simply shake your head and refuse the dice.

Although being the shooter can be quite a lot of fun, there is no betting advantage in personally rolling the dice. As a non-shooter you can still bet on the outcome of the dice, and in fact this is to be preferred because it allows you to concentrate more fully on your betting strategy.

All of this may sound rather complicated at first, but the rules are quite straightforward once you get used to them. We recommend that you watch several craps games to ensure that you fully understand how it is played in practise before you place a bet.

Having introduced you to the game of craps, it is time to learn about the mathematics of the game...

Knowing that any die has six sides, and thus six possible outcomes, any throw of a pair of dice can have 36 possible outcomes (6x6). The outcome which has the best chance of appearing in 36 consecutive rolls is 7, and the least likely outcome is 2 and 12. Consider the following breakdown, which details the number of ways in which a total can appear from a throw of two dice, together with the explanation and percentage conversion:

TOTAL      	  WAYS         EXPLANATION                  %
2                1         l-l(Snake-eyes)              2.75
1                1         6-6 (Box Cars)               2.75
3                2         1-2,2-1                      5.50   
11               2         5-6,6-5                      5.50  
4                3         1-3,3-1,2-2                  8.33       
10               3         4-6,6-4,5-5                  8.33 
5                4         1-4,4-1,2-3,3-2              11.00 
9                4         4-5,5-4,6-3,3-6              11.00
6                5         3-3,2-4,4-2,1-5,5-1          14.00 
8                5         4-4,2-6,6-2,3-5,5-3          14.00
7                6         1-6,6-1,2-5,5-2,3-4,4-3      16.67

Thus the total of 7 will appear more often (16.67 per cent of the time) than any other total if the dice are true and the sequence complies with the law of averages.

Like all casino games, the chances of your success can be increased by concentrating on bets which give the house the least edge. The simplest form of bet (with a house edge of no more than 1.41%) is the Pass Line bet (also called the Win Line or Front Line) and it is this strategy which we suggest you learn and use:

The Pass Line Betting Strategy
A Pass Line bet is simply a bet that the shooter will win, or throw a pass. Because the person placing this bet is taking the same 'side' as the shooter, it is known as a right bet.
Place your bet before the shooters first roll. If he throws a 7 or 11 you win immediately and will be paid even money. If he throws 2,3 or 12 then you lose.

If the shooter throws a 4,5,6,8,9 or 10 then that number becomes the shooters point (as described a few moments ago). If the shooter goes on to roll his point, then you win even money. If he rolls a 7 before rolling his point then you lose, and a new shooter is selected.

Taking Odds On A Pass Line Bet
After the shooter has rolled a 4,5, 6, 8,9 or 10 and thus established his point, any bettor who has placed a Pass Line bet is free to make a further bet that the point will be rolled before a 7. In doing this the bettor reduces the house edge of 1.41 per cent to just 0.85 per cent.

The odds paid on the above bet are usually as follows:

	4 or 10        	2/1
	5 or 9         	3/2
	6 or 8         	6/5

These odds reflect the actual probability of the point occurring, which is why taking odds on a pass line bet is recommended to anyone who wishes to play craps (and succeed!) on a regular basis.

Some casinos offer even greater odds than those above. In the USA, where casinos will do almost anything to beat the competition, 4/1 has been offered instead of 2/1. In Europe you will be hard pressed to find such a 'generous' casino, but do let us know if you find such an establishment!

In conclusion, craps is an exciting game which - although relying solely on the roll of a pair of dice - offers the knowledgeable bettor a very real chance of making a decent profit. In a future lesson we will discuss the game in even greater detail, and offer more complex betting strategies, but for now, happy shooting!