Craps for the Low-Roller Beginner

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Craps – if you don’t know the odds, the bets, the terminology, which bets go where and which bets stay longer than one roll, it can be very intimidating- even if it always seems that the craps table is having the most fun.  What you need is two great guys and craps players to help you through it. You need “Craps for the Low-Roller Beginner.”

The Craps table can be a very confusing place to the beginner!
The Craps table can be a very confusing place to the beginner!

Thanks to Mark & Dr. Mike, from one my favorite podcasts, “You Can Bet On That,” I now can enjoy craps (low-roller craps, that is).  They were great teachers.  I strongly suggest their podcast “You Can Bet On That” – a podcast for the Recreational Gambler.  See my previous post about them here.

A little known e-book, a free PDF file by Todd Gades, is a great resource. He describes himself as “….not a professional gambler and does not claim to make a living from playing craps.”  He hopes to simplify the game as well as provide techniques for playing craps smartly so that anyone can play the game and have a good shot at coming out ahead.”  His e-book is called “HOW A MATH NERD PLAYS CRAPS” and is a great overview.

The Presentation

I will set it up as a 2-level strategy.  First, Level 1 is what to do and what happens on a one-roll game.  Next, Level 2 is what to do if the game continues after the “come-out roll.

Level 1:

Bet minimum bet (hopefully $5) on the pass line. You’re actually betting that the shooter will  win with a 7 or 11. The “come out” roll is the first roll by the shooter .

Craps Table
First bet is Pass Line.

Step 1A – If a 7 or 11 is rolled, you win at 1:1 (even money).  You bet $5, made an additional $5. The same shooter now starts a new game.  Repeat Step 1A

SEVEN On the first roll is good, you win. But any seven on the roll after that is bad.  It’s a seven-out, you Lose!

Step 1B – If 2,3, or 12 is rolled, it’s “Craps” – you lose your $5 bet, and we start another game with the next shooter. Again, repeat Step 1A

The Point
The “4” becomes The Point from the shooters first roll. Note the white “puck” sitting on the number 4.


Result 1C – If a 4,5,6,8,9,or 10 is rolled, things get interesting, or confusing, depending on the level of craps you play.  (But we’re still in the low-roller, beginning stage, so we’re hoping it goes from confusing, to interesting!)  The “point” is the next number rolled next if it’s a 4,5,6,8,9,10. The shooter’s goal is now to roll that same number again before he or she rolls a 7.

Result 1C continues as the shooter rolls.  New numbers can be established. The same shooter rolls until the point is rolled or a seven is rolled to start a new game. Now return to Step 1A.

True Odds
True Odds Bet goes behind your Pass line bet.

Level 2:

Your next bet actually includes two bets – odds on the point, and a come bet.

Step 2A – The Odds Bet. – This is the only bet in the entire casino which has 0.00% house edge – that’s right, no house edge!  So, you make this bet by putting more chips behind your pass line bet in the unmarked area of the felt. Just tell the dealer you want odds on the point, they’ll place it for you.

Here’s a neat rule for odds bets – if the point is an odd number, make the odds bet even.  The  casino sets the maximum odds that can be bet. It ranges from 2x to 10x your bet. If it’s an even number, make it and odd amount.  Odd is Even, Even is odd.  For example, if you’re betting a nickel ($5) on the point and the point is 5, or 9, bet $6 odds.  If it’s 4, 6, 8, or 10, bet another nickel ($5).

Another great thing about odds bets is you can also increase or decrease your odds at any time or even take them completely off the table.

Come Bets
Come Bets

Step 2B – Place a bet on the come.

Shooter rolls again.


Result 2A – If a 7 is rolled, you win that bet, but lose the point & the odds bet. Now go back to Step 1.  Time for a new game.

Result 2B – Whatever the point was (either 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10), if that number is rolled, you win the point. Here are the true odds for the POINT number:

You also win the ODDS bet, you know that additional bet behind the POINT?! The odds bet can be 2x, 3x, 10x – basically it’s up to the casino.

When the shooter throws a point or a seven-out, the whole process starts over again.


There, simple, right?

Well, at least it’s a little less confusing, and you can play without embarrassment. Just keep in mind that a “craps-friendly” buddy will enhance that initial experience.

If you’re lucky, you just might meet some new friends that will help.  Thanks Mark & Dr. Mike.