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Craps Strategy for beginners: the pass bet


Craps is the casino’s glamorous game; glorified in iconic Hollywood films such as James Bond classics, it’s the game that everyone wants to play. But if you’re a beginner, that first visit to a real live craps game can be extremely intimidating; there’s calamitous noise, a wide range of bets, people adding and removing chips and then there’s the wild player reactions. So it’s not surprising that many new and inquisitive players turn on their heel and walk away. Even when it comes to internet craps, it’s rare that a beginner feels well-enough equipped to play a game. But with some basic craps strategy help, you can begin to play like a pro – and with very little knowledge required. Like with anything else, learning the ropes takes times and effort; but with knowledge of just one bet (the Pass bet) you can get started. Then it’s just a matter of learning the rest of the bets and some simple rules to start getting a real feel for the game.

When it comes to craps bets, some of these bets will resolve in one roll, while others may take several rolls of the dice before the outcome of the bet is decided. Some of the bets can even be removed from the board, if the player wishes. As you can imagine, trying to approach a craps game from a mathematical angle, using a basic craps strategy, is almost impossible because of the multiple roll bets; it’s difficult to determine the house edge and so the expected outcomes are inconsistent. Therefore, as a beginner, the best route you can take if you want to apply some craps strategy to improve your edge, you need to simply memorize the different craps bets and some of the basic rules attached to each. To help you, we have summarized some of the basics below.

The Come Out Roll

The type of roll about to be rolled determines which bets can be placed. If there is a black laminated marker on the table that says "off" then the next roll is a come out roll. This is important to know because you can only make certain bets during this initial roll – and it is the only time you should make a Pass bet.

The Pass Bet

The Pass is the most important bet in any craps game and it is the perfect starting point for a beginner. Once you know the Pass bet, you can start playing straight away. To make a Pass bet, place your chip on the pass line on a come out roll. If the come out roll lands a 7 or 11, then you win, at even money. If the come out roll shows a 2, 3, or 12, then you lose. If any other total number is rolled (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10) that total is called "the point." When a point is achieved, the dealer flips the laminated marker to "on" and places it on the area of the table that shows that number (to act as a reminder for players). The shooter will then continue to roll the dice until either that same point or a seven is rolled. If a seven comes before the point, then you lose your pass bet. If the point is rolled first, then you win even money on your pass bet. Although this may seem complicated, if you study this bet, then you will understand the central element to the game. The additional craps strategy rules you learn can come over time. Note: do not make a Pass bet after a come out roll even though it is allowed; this is because it offers less value to you as a player.