Mastering Craps with Ted Knuden
Mastering Craps with Ted Knuden

How to play craps
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   . Your First Bet

Craps Rules
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   . The Best Bets
   . The Rest of the Bets

Craps Strategies
   . Playing Smart
   . Your Bankroll
   . Press Your Luck
   . Craps System
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   . Dice Control

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Mastering Craps with Ted Knuden
Mastering Craps with Ted Knuden

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Craps Strategies

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Playing Smart

Good craps strategies don't read like systems. If you're looking around the Internet trying to find something that will tell you where and what to bet, (kind of like those basic blackjack strategies that come on cards) sadly, you wont find one. Craps is a little less structured than blackjack, and it's certainly more random. To follow basic craps strategies the same way you would blackjack would mean only betting on the best bet there is, the pass line bet with odds. But that can get quite boring.

Any craps strategies I cover here are based more around ways to control your bankroll, and control your game. It's a strange feature of craps, but after you've played for a while, you tend to start making bets you usually wouldn't make, calling out hardways, asking for C & E, all sorts of silly things. This is most likely a product of getting a little tired of playing the same bets. Pass line bets and place bets can just sit there waiting to be resolved for a while, so in the meantime you might get fidgety and want some more 'action' as they say. When this happens good strategies should suggest to have you start playing some come bets, which can have a nice low house edge, and you can back with free odds if you desire. This is a smarter boredom breaker than hitting the proposition bets where the house edge simply gets out of control.

Your Bankroll

Your overall bankroll expectations are also a very important variable to pay attention to. Many people go into a game with rather unrealistic expectations, and decide ahead of time that they will leave if they turn 100 dollars into 200 dollars. Experts agree you've done well for yourself if you can walk away 20% up, but it can be a hard decision to make. I fall somewhere in between these two styles. I often play with a hundred bucks, and if I lose half of it, I walk away. If I manage to make $50 extra, I pocket $75 of my original buy in and play out the $75 that's left. If I manage to do well with that $75 bankroll, I'll play out my luck and make as much as I can. If I'm doing poorly with that $75, the worst I can do is lose it all, and walk away down $25 from my original bankroll, but having enjoyed a lot of fun at the craps table.

This bit is important when I teach strategies. A lot of people walk into the casino single mindedly and when they think about their game they think about wins and losses, and doing well if they do better than breaking even. I actually enjoy myself a lot at the casino and always discount some of my bankroll as being well spent entertainment money. I've spent hours at a craps table before, and it's only cost me a few bucks after everything. That's some of the cheapest, not to mention most exciting entertainment you can find.

Press Your Luck

A smart strategy then, is to play with a reasonable bankroll and if you go up early, pocket the majority of your buy in so that you're playing with pure winnings. An extension of this general concept can be applied at a more fine level within the game. One of the best craps strategies I can suggest is a simple alteration while you're playing the smart bets on the table. If you like to place the 6 or 8 during the game try this:

Do your normal place bet and if it wins, take your winnings as you normally would. The place bet remains on the table unless you tell the dealer to 'take it down' for you.

If the place bet wins a second time, instead of taking the winnings tell the dealer to 'press it', which means they will take the winnings and stack it on top of the original bet. At this point you're playing with winnings only, so taking a little extra chance isn't such a bad idea. Everything you win after this point is pure gravy, it hasn't cost you a thing.

If the shooter keeps hitting sixes or eights, you may wish to press your bet one more time, but start taking the winnings in. You'll quickly find that even after pressing a 6-dollar place bet once or twice, when you start to collect the winnings from it, you're really raking it in. They'll just start pushing you more and more chips, and you're not even really wagering anything because you know the best craps strategies are the ones that only let you gamble with winnings.

The tip of all tips

One thing I can't help but mention, although it barely relates to gambling strategies in any formal sense, is tipping. In craps it is common courtesy, as it is in most table games at the casino, to tip the dealers. Tipping in craps can be a little different than elsewhere. Most people tip by placing a bet for the dealer. You will undoubtedly hear a few players throwing chips out into the proposition area yelling things like 'yo dealer' or 'hard eight for the dealers'. This means the player is placing a bet for the dealer, which if the dealer wins they can push into the collective tip for their co-workers. I won't expound anything about karma here, but rest assured, you're likely to have a much better time playing craps if you tip the dealers. They will be more responsive towards you, friendlier, and thankful. The game-play tips they give you throughout the session will likely recoup anything you've given up anyway!

These simple craps strategies all revolve around a basic but logical theme: in a game where the expectations are against you, you're most intelligent strategy is to play the best available bets, manage your money so that you extend your entertainment time and play with winnings, and take a couple of simple risks that could produce a good profit if you're lucky enough to snag a hot shooter on a roll.

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