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Quatloos! > Quatloosia! > Quatloosian Guide to Gambling > Craps > Craps Strategies

Craps: Strategies

This page considers several Craps strategies which will keep the House Advantage down to less than 1%. If you haven't read the introductory page to Craps yet, please go there now by Clicking Here or else what you read below probably will not make much sense.

Note that these systems will only get you close to a statistical zero House Advantage. It will not guarantee you success, or even that you can stay at the table for a long period of time. As we have discussed elsewhere, statistics only give the House an advantage because it rolls the dice tens-of-thousands of times per day and can statistically expect certain results. As a bettor who may only roll the dice a hundred times or so, you will be subject to much wilder short-term swings of luck, good AND bad.

So, no system or "statistical dead heat" will guarantee you anything. If you are unlucky, you will still get clobbered no matter what system you will use.

What we can do is get you close enough to "even odds" that the House Advantage will not wear you down. In other words, you will win or lose depending on whether you are lucky or not, and not a foreordained result such as long-term betting with a poor-odds game like Roulette.

In other words, we can't tell you that you will win, or even that you will not lose. What we can tell you is that the following systems mathematically make the most sense, and are utilized by the most sensible and experienced craps players.

The Basic Strategy

The Basic Strategy for craps is thus very simple: You make a bet on Pass, Come, Don't Pass or Don't Come, and you place as much in odds on that bet as you can afford commensurate with your money management strategy. Simple as that.

Example: Let's say you are playing at a table with 3x Odds. Your strategy is to make a $10 Pass bet, and then once the point is established you make a $30 Odds bet on the point. On the first roll (a/k/a the "Come Out Roll"), your Pass bet will win on a 7 or 11 but lose on a 2, 3 or 12. Once the number is made, if your number is rolled again you will win only 1:1 although the true odds are 2:1, 3:2 or 6:5 depending on what the number is. This creates a House Advantage of 1.41% on your Pass Bet, which you then "dilute" to 0.35% by placing the 3x Odds.

The Parity Line Bet System (a/k/a "The Doey-Don't")

The Parity Line Bet System is popularly called the "Doey-Don't" after the label given to it in Frank Scoblete's classic book: Beat the Craps Out of the Casinos and Play Craps and Win, p. 39 (Bonus Books, 1991). To understand the Parity Line Bet System, you must first have a solid understanding of the Line Bets and of placing Free Odds. If you don't understand those bets thoroughly, what we're about to discuss will probably just give you a big headache.

You will recall that the Odds bets are great bets, and would be perfect bets except that you also have to make a Pass, Come, Don't Pass, or Don't Come bet before you can take advantage of the Odds. The Parity Line Bet System is a simple twist on the basic strategy which seeks to minimize the Pass, Come, Don't Pass, or Don't Come bet, by the simple expedient of betting equal, offsetting amounts on both the Pass and Don't Pass lines, or the Come and Don't Come bets. The idea here is that you essentially "wash out" the Pass or Don't Pass bet, by making it's counterpart. Then, by placing as much Odds as is possible, you essentially water down the House's Advantage even further.

Example: Same table with 3x Odds. Instead of making a single $10 Pass, you make a $10 Pass bet AND a $10 Don't Pass bet. If a 7 or 11 is rolled, your Pass bet wins but your Don't Pass bet loses, so that is a wash. if you roll 3 or a 12 (or a 2 in some casinos) then your Don't Pass bet wins and your Pass bet losses, so that washes out. If you roll a 2 (or a 12 in some casinos), then ONLY your Pass bet loses (your Don't Pass bet doesn't win). If "numbers" (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10) are rolled, you then place $30 Odds on either Pass or Don't Pass (whichever you choose). With the Parity Line Bet System, you odds of losing your Pass Bet are 1 in 36, which gives the House a 2.8% advantage. Note that this is HIGHER than the House Advantage for either the Pass/Come or Don't Pass/Don't Come Bets. The important difference is that those bets become bad bets on a little more than half the rolls, whereas with the Parity Line Bet System, it is only a bad bet the 1 in 36 times that a 12 shows up on the dice.

Keep in Mind: Even with the Parity Line Bet System, the dice are either bouncing your way or they are not. If the dice are bouncing your way, you would be better off betting the Pass/Come or Don't Pass/Don't Come bets to maximize your income. If the dice aren't bouncing your way, you won't lose as much, but you will still be losing. The Parity Line Bet System very slightly helps your chances over the basic game, but it doesn't automatically make you a winner, or even switch the advantage to your favor.

Analysis: One way to think of this is as a "tax" which you pay every 36 rolls to allow you to play the casino with no advantage. But another way to look it this as a 36 roll "Risk Cycle", i.e., every 36 rolls the Casino will be up on you one bet. Then, compare it to the Risk Cycles for the Pass/Don't Pass and Come/Don't Come Bets -- those Risk Cycles are nearly twice as long at approximately 70 rolls before the House can expect an advantage! So, you are really half as well off with the Parity Line Bet System as you are with the Basic Strategy (so there is no point in pursuing this strategy).

The Parity Hedge System

This is the legendary craps "system" which was utilized by a Japanese businessman in the mid-1970s to clean several Las Vegas casinos out of more than a hundred million dollars -- which infuriated the casino bosses so much that only a couple of days later he was found dead in the desert! After that, the few people who knew and understood the system quit using it and moved on to other games, or at best used it sparingly.

The Parity Hedge System is so complicated that it is beyond the description of this website. Suffice it to say that it is a sophisticated variant of the Parity Line Bet System (with a unique twist!), and has probably ever been known only by a handful of the very best craps players. It is so little known and complicated that we seriously doubt that any of today's so-called craps "experts" or even any of today's pit bosses, could spot the strategy if it were being used.

Since we first published our pages on craps, we have been literally inundated with requests for an article explaining the Parity Hedge System. So, we will probably try to do an article on this by early 2001 -- watch our (free) newsletter for more details! Keep in mind that the Parity Hedge System gives about the same edge to the craps player as does counting cards at Blackjack, meaning that even it will not overcome bad luck. But with a good player -- and competent dealers -- the system does create a slight mathematical edge over the House. (And, no, we will not "sell" or auction this system to anybody though we've had many e-mail requests to do this -- when we write about it, we will do so for free and post it on this site so that everybody can scrutinize it).

Offsetting Bet Systems

Over the years, lots of people have attempted to come up with "offsetting" bet systems, where they bet a few chips here, and then a few more chips to protect those chips against bad rolls, and so forth and so on. Indeed, it is an attraction of craps to attempt to work out the "perfect" system whereby you never lose and the House never wins (sort of like those people who cover all the squares in Roulette).

Well, give it up folks. Mathematically, you cannot make a good bet out of two or more bad ones. Several doctoral thesis have conclusively proven this fact. Yet, much of the allure of craps to neophytes is the idea that they can place several bets and somehow shift the odds into their favor -- and this is encouraged by the Center Field Sucker Bets (the "Crazy Crapper Bets"), which give you the opportunity to "hedge" against the seven on particular rolls -- though at a steep cost.

[Ironically, the "Parity Hedge System" is an offsetting bet system, though it takes into account a unique twist which recognizes that on certain bets the odds change (something never covered in any of the doctoral thesis).]

Additional Pages on Craps

  • Introduction to Craps -- What Craps is, how it is played, the mathematical odds, and more

  • Craps Crap -- Some helpful hints, and myths and superstitions about craps de-bunked.

  • The Parity Hedge System -- Short history of the Craps system that took the gambling world by storm in the early 1970s -- until the system's most prolific gambler was found dead in the desert!

Books on Craps

For additional reading on Craps, vist our Gamblers' Reading Room Did you find this page useful or entertaining? Our coverage of gambling is new and we are very interested in your feedback. Please send us your thoughts by e-mail to quatloos@quatloos.com

 

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