Craps Bets Ranked According to House Edge
This is the 5th post in a detailed series of posts about playing and winning at craps in the casino. In my last post, I talked about the best and the worst bets on the table.
Part 5 of 6
- 1 The Craps Dealers and Other Staff at the Dice Table: Who’s Who
- 2 How the Craps Table Layout Works and How the Dice Work
- 3 How to Play a Craps Game in a Casino
- 4 The Best and Worst Craps Bets You Can Make
- 6 How (and Why) to Act Like a Craps Player
But I didn’t spend a lot of time on “the worst bets.”
I just listed the 5 best bets and explained in detail how to make them and how the house edge worked for them. Then I flippantly pointed out that all the other bets at the table are worse, but the worst of all are the proposition bets in the middle of the table.
I stand by that, but I think you deserve more information about these other bets anyway.
And that’s the purpose of this post—to explain the other bets on the table. I thought the best way to organize this post would be to rank these other bets by house edge.
You can bet on certain numbers to place. Those numbers are:
If you’ve been paying attention to the other posts in this series, you’ll notice immediately that those are the same numbers that become points if rolled on the come out roll.
As with all the bets at the craps table besides the odds bet, a place bet pays off at less than the odds of winning. Here are the payout odds for each of the place bets:
- Place 4 and Place 10 pay off at 9 to 5 odds.
- Place 5 and Place 9 pay off at 7 to 5 odds.
- Place 6 and Place 8 pay off at 7 to 6 odds.
Of course, the probabilities on each of those are different. For the Place 4 or Place 10 bet, the odds are 2 to 1.
Let’s say you place 3 bets on Place 4, and you lose twice and win once, which is the statistical prediction. We’ll also assume you’re betting $100 each time. On the 2 losses, you lose $200. On the single win, you get paid off at 9 to 5 odds, which means you win $180. That’s a net less of $20 on those 3 bets, which makes the house edge for that bet 6.67%.
The odds of winning Place 5 or Place 9 are 3 to 2, but the payoff is 7 to 5. The house edge on that bet is 4%.
The best of the place bets is Place 6 or Place 8. The house edge on either of those bets is only 1.52%, making that bet almost as good as the pass line or don’t pass bet.
To make a place bet, you must wait until after the come out roll. These bets aren’t “working” on the come out roll. After that, though, you can make these place bets. Also, these place bets lose if the shooter rolls a 7 before rolling the place number.
At any rate, from best to worst, here are the place bets along with the house edge for each:
- Place 6 or Place 8 – 1.52%
- Place 5 or Place 9 – 4%
- Place 4 or Place 10 – 6.67%
You can remove place bets at any time. You can also increase the amounts you have bet on them. Or you can decrease the amount. But you can only do this before a roll of the dice.
Buying 4 and/or Buying 10
The biggest edge of the Place bets is when you bet on Place 4 or Place 10, but you can reduce this edge in a simple way at most casinos. You do this by buying the 4 or the 10.
When you do this, you pay an immediate 5% commission on the bet, and if it wins, it pays off at 2 to 1 instead of at 9 to 5.
You want to bet $100 on Place 4 or Place 10. You tell the dealer you want to buy the 4, and you place the $100 wager with an additional $5 to “buy” it. The dealer will put a “buy” button next to your bet so he’ll know to pay you off at 2 to 1 instead of 9 to 5 if you win.
Most casinos don’t use coins anymore, so the minimum bet you can buy a 4 or 10 with is $20. The commission on that is $1.
The house edge when you buy 4 or buy 10 is still 4.76%, but that’s a huge improvement over 6.67%, It’s a 2% difference.
Like other place bets, you can add to, subtract from, or remove money from your buy 4 and buy 10 bets any time.
You might have noticed by now that most craps bets have opposites, and place bets are no exception. The opposite of making a place bet is to lay a bet. This means to bet against a specific number coming up. The big difference between lay bets and place bets is that you must pay a 5% commission on a lay bet.
The house edge for lay bets is actually better than the house edge for place bets, although most people don’t make lay bets. Here are the actual percentages:
- Lay 4 or Lay 10 is 2.44%.
- Lay 5 or Lay 9 is 3.23%.
- Lay 6 or Lay 8 is 4%.
Another interesting thing about laying bets is that the house edge for the 4 or 10 is the lowest of these bets, which is the opposite of place bets, where those numbers have the highest house edge.
You can add to, subtract from, and remove lay bets anytime, too—just like with place bets. The dealers use a “buy” and a “lay” button to distinguish between the 2 kinds of bets.
The Field Bets
One of the biggest areas on the craps table is the area for the field bet. You’ll see 2 kinds of gamblers making field bets:
- System players
Beginners like the field bet because it looks like a good deal. After all, you win if any of the following numbers, you’ve won:
Also, the field bet pays off immediately after every roll. New gamblers like that, too, because they’re often impatient.
The field bet is similar to an even money bet at the roulette table, only with better odds for the player.
The betting systems are dull when you’re making the other even money bets at the craps table—the pass/don’t pass and the come/don’t come bets.
To place a field bet, you put your money on the table in the area labeled “Field.” If ANY of the numbers listed above come up on the next roll, the bet pays off at even money.
But often the 2 and the 12 are circled, which means the field bet pays off double if that’s the total.
You can even find some casinos that pay 3 to 1 on a 2 or 12. Obviously, the house edge is lower on a game where one of these results pays off triple.
Also, the field bet is different from most of the other bets I’ve discussed because it’s a one roll bet. It’s resolved, win or lose, on the next roll of the dice. Most of the other bets I’ve discussed stay on the table until they’re resolved, which often takes multiple rolls.
The house edge on the field bet is 5.55% if both the 2 and 12 pay off at 2 to 1. If either the 2 or the 12 pays off at 3 to 1, the house edge drops to 2.77%.
I still think the house edge is too high on the field bet for it ever to be worthwhile to place this wager. I think you should stick with bets where the house edge is under 2%.
Big 6 and Big 8
The Big 6 and the Big 8 bets are the last of the bets you can place for yourself at either end of the table. All the rest of the craps bets I’ll discuss are proposition bets from the center of the table.
These are terrible bets, and usually anyone who knows anything about craps avoid both of them.
A bet on Big 6 or Big 8 is a bet that the shooter will roll a 6 or 8 before rolling a 7. There are 5 ways to make a 6 (or an 8), and there are 6 ways to make a 7. So the odds are 6 to 5.
But since the Big 6 (or Big 8) bet pays off at even money, the house has a huge edge—9.09%.
This makes the Big 6 and the Big 8 bets the worst bets at the ends of the table.
But here’s what really makes the Big 6 or the Big 8 a lame bet.
You can place a Place 6 or a Place 8 bet and get a better pay off—for the exact same outcome.
If the house edge on the Big 6 or Big 8 is 9.09%, and the house edge on the Place 6 or Place 8 bet is 1.52%, why on earth would you ever place the Big 6 or Big 8?
Bets like this are sucker bets. Casinos shouldn’t offer them. I think they’re predatory.
But at the same time, it’s your job to educate yourself about what’s available and what the probabilities mean.
The Rest of the Bets Are the Proposition Bets in the Middle of the Table
In the 1st post in this series, the one about the staff working the craps table, I point out that the stickman manages all the bets in the center of the table. To place any of these proposition bets, you give your chips to the dealer, who in turn gives them to the stickman to place on your behalf.
You basically have 2 types of proposition bets you can place:
- One roll bets
One roll bets’ outcomes are determined (win or lose) by the next roll of the dice.
Hardways might take multiple rolls to determine an outcome.
All of these bets have a house edge far beyond what you should be willing to accept from a casino game. The stickman, if he’s good at his job, really “sells” these bets, though. Please—don’t fall for it.
When I describe the bets, their payoffs, and the house edge for each, you’ll understand why.
I’ll start with the one roll bets.
The Any Craps Bet – 11.1%
This is a bet that the next roll of the dice will result in a total of 2, 3, or 12.
The any craps bet pays off at 7 to 1.
The probability of winning, though, is 8 to 1.
You know how to do the math already, but the house edge is 11.1%. That’s twice the house edge of American roulette, which is another game you should skip.
Some gamblers bet “any craps” to hedge their bet. This is bad logic on the part of the craps player,
The 3 or 11 Bet – 11.1%
You have 2 ways to make a 3, and 2 ways to make an 11. This makes the probability of getting a 3 17 to 1. The same is true for a total of 11.
More generous casinos offer a 15 to 1 payoff for this bet, which makes the house edge 11.1%.
Some casinos have offered a 14 to 1 payoff for a bet on 3 (or a bet on 11), which has an even higher house eedge—16.67%.
The 2 or the 12 Bet – 13.89%
You can bet that the next roll will result in a 2. Or you can bet that the next roll will result in a 12. Either of these bets has a house edge of 13.89%.
The probability of getting a 2 is 35 to 1. There’s only one way to get that total, and 35 ways to get any other total. The same is true of getting a 12.
But the bet only pays off at 30 to 1.
As with all the bets in this section, you shouldn’t make either of these bets. The house edge is too high.
The Any Seven Bet – 16.67%
This is a one roll bet that the next roll of the dice will result in a total of 7. You have 5 to 1 odds of rolling a 7, but the bet only pays off at 4 to 1.
Again, doing the math is illustrative:
You place 6 any seven bets, and you win 1 while losing the other 5. And you’re betting $100 each time.
You’ve lost $500 on the 5 bets you’ve lost, and you’ve won $400 on the one bet you won. Your net loss is $100.
That’s an average loss of $16.67 per bet, which is 16.67% of $100.
It’s one of the biggest sucker bets on the table. Skip it.
The Horn Bet – 11.1% to 16.67%
The horn bet is like a bigger, better any craps bet. It includes the 2, 3, and the 12, but it also throws in the 11 for good measure, so you have 4 totals which can make you a winner.
But the horn bet isn’t really one bet—it’s 4 bets. You’re actually placing an individual bet on each of those 4 totals. The payoff is lousy, of course, and depending on which total comes up, the house edge is between 11.1% and 16.67%.
It’s also a tricky way for the casino to get you to make 4 lousy bets instead of just one.
Now let’s talk about the hardway bets!
The hardway bets are multi-roll bets. Like the pass or don’t pass bet, or many other bets, it can take several rolls of the dice before a hardway bet is decided.
A hardway bet is a bet that a total will come up “the hard way” before the shooter rolls a 7, or before the total comes up “the easy way.”
What’s that mean?
A hard total is a total of 4, 6, 8, or 10 that comes up as doubles. For example, a hard total of 4 is one where both dice show a 2. (If the dice show a 1 and a 3, that’s not a hard way.)
The Hard 4 and Hard 10 Bets – 11.1%
There’s only one way to make a hard 4. You need a 2 on each of the dice.
But there are 6 ways to roll a 7.
And there are 2 ways to roll an easy 4.
So you have 8 ways to lose and one way to win, for odds of 8 to 1.
The bet only pays off at 7 to 1, though.
This makes for a house edge of 11.1%.
The Hard 6 and Hard 8 Bets – 9.09%
Normally, a total of 6 or a total of 8 is easier to roll.
But there’s still only one way to roll a hard total of 6 or a hard total of 8.
So the number of ways you could possibly lose increase, making this bet more of a longshot than a hard 4 or a hard 10.
You have 6 ways to roll a 7. And you can roll an easy 6 in 4 ways, which means you have 10 ways to lose and 1 way to win.
That gives you 10 to 1 odds.
As you probably guessed, the casino only pays 9 to 1 on this bet.
Let’s do the math on this one just for fun. You bet $100 on 11 rolls, and you lose 10 of them for a loss of $1000. You win 9 to 1 once, for a win of $900, giving you a $100 net loss.
Over 11 rolls, that’s an average loss per roll of $9.09, and the house edge is indeed 9.09%
What about Hop Bets? (16.67%)
A hop bet is a one roll bet on a hardway. This is a bet that the next roll of the dice will come up 4, 6, 8, or 10. (Choose one.)
The odds against any of these individual totals coming up the hard way are always 35 to 1. There’s only one way to get any specific pair when rolling 2 dice.
The bet pays off at 29 to 1. The house edge is 16.67% on this bet.
Some Final Thoughts about Proposition Bets
Many craps players make proposition bets as a way to protect their other bets from losing. For example, if you make a pass-line bet, you might also make an any craps bet.
Let’s say you try this. You bet $100 on the pass line, and you bet $20 on any craps.
- If the shooter rolls a 7 or an 11, you win $100 on the pass line and lose $20 on the any craps bet, for a net win of $80.
- If the shooter rolls a 2, 3, or 12, you lose $100 on the pass line, but you win $140 on the any craps bet, for a net win of $40.
This sounds like a can’t miss system initially, but it doesn’t take into account that 2/3 of the time, the shooter is going to set a point.
The casino loves to encourage these proposition bets, too. They’re very profitable, and part of the stickman’s job is to make money for the casino. The stickman will say things like “get down on that craps!”
Of course, after a point is set, the stickman starts encouraging players to make hardway bets. He’ll especially try to get people to bet on the point the hardway. If the point is 8, the stickman will call out, “Bet the hard 8!”
He also tries to encourage the dice to come out winners, but let’s face it.
The dice aren’t listening.
That’s a psychological ploy to make you think that the stickman is on your side.
The only bets you should make at the craps table are the ones with a house edge of less than 2%. This limits you to the following bets:
- Don’t pass
- Don’t come
- Free odds
- Place 6
- Place 8
ALL of the other bets at the table are sucker bets, ESPECIALLY the proposition bets in the center of the table.
If you stick with nothing but the bets I’ve listed, you’ll already be light years ahead of most novice craps players—especially if you take the maximum amount of action on the free odds bet.