Craps myths and misconceptions
If you are a fan of casino dice games, you have probably already given craps a try, and if you haven’t, then maybe you should. It is a relatively simple game of chance and a big favorite with many casino goers. What’s more, compared to many other casino games, the house edge is fairly low, so your chances of winning (at least some of the time) are pretty good.
The rules are fairly simple. The players place their wagers, and the ‘shooter’ throws the dice onto the craps table. Players can make various bets as to how the dice will land, and if they’re right, they win.
There are, however, a few common craps myths and misconceptions. Some of them are quite harmless, but there are others that might actually impact your ability to win. Let’s take a look at those myths now and see what we can do to dispel them.
Myth #1: The right craps strategy will ensure a win
It really doesn’t matter which casino game you are playing. There will always be plenty of people willing to give you advice on what strategy to adopt. However, as we’ve already mentioned, craps really is a game of luck, so there is no failsafe winning strategy as such. You have no way of controlling or predicting the way the dice will fall, so any strategy you employ, just as in any other game of chance, is going to focus on betting strategies rather than playing strategies.
Employing good betting strategies can help you control your bankroll and keep within your budget, and can also help you to limit losses, and even increase your chance of coming out on top over time. But there is no way to influence the roll of the dice itself, so if anyone tells you they have a guaranteed craps strategy that will help you win, they are probably not being entirely honest.
Myth #2: Craps is very simple to play
It is easy to assume that there is no skill involved in craps because the outcome literally depends on the roll of a dice. But the skill here, as in many similar games, comes from understanding the different types of bets, how much they pay out, and what the odds of winning are. This will help you place the right bet for you. Betting in craps isn’t overly complicated, but there is certainly more to it than simply picking the number you think the dice will land on.
Placing a Pass Line bet on the first throw of the dice (often referred to as the Come Out Roll) is the most straightforward way to bet in a game of craps. If this roll results in a seven or an 11, that is a win. If it results in two, three, or 12 that is a loss. If any other number is rolled, that number becomes the ‘point’ and the dice is rolled again. If the point value comes up again before a seven is rolled, that is also a win for those who placed a Pass Line bet. The house edge is low with this type of bet (at around 1.41%) and this is always an even money bet.
A less common but still quite simple bet to make is the Don’t Pass bet, which is basically the opposite of a Pass Line bet. The player who places this bet wins if the shooter throws a two or three. However, a seven or 11 will be a loss. Any other number sets a point, as described above, and players can then place a Don’t Come bet which only wins if a seven is rolled before the point number is rolled for a second time. If the dice happens to land on a 12, the Don’t Pass wager ends in a push, which means that those players are refunded their initial wager. This type of wager has a slightly lower house edge than a Pass Line bet (at around 1.36%) and the odds are also slightly lower.
There are other betting options in craps, and they tend to get progressively more complicated. In short, while it doesn’t take much skill or knowledge to actually play craps, it is important to know a little about the game, the bet types, and the odds involved so you know which bet you want to place and why.
Myth #3: You’ll always lose big at craps in the long-term
The house always wins, the experts will tell you, and technically they’re right. It is always wise to remember that long-term the casino needs to stay in profit — and cover its costs — so yes, of course, there is always a house edge built into every casino game. That doesn’t mean you will never come out on top though, and, you don’t necessarily have to lose big when you play craps.
If fact, craps has a fairly low house edge, depending of course on the bets you place, and certainly lower than some other games you could pick to play in the casino. When you bet the Pass Line you have almost a 50/50 chance of winning, although it is of course an evens bet so you won’t win much.
There are even bets that carry a 0% house advantage in craps, such as a Laying the Odds bet. This is a side bet usually placed after the Come Out Roll, which has true odds. Remember that these safe bets are not going to earn you big money, and there is often a vig for these types of bets so it is still possible to lose money overall when placing them.
To have a chance of winning big, you will need to consider other bet types, such as a craps bet (with a house edge of 11.11%) or any seven (with a house edge of 16.67%). And therein lies the problem, not specifically with craps, but with all casino games and many other things in life. You will have to take a risk to try and land a big win, and this means you could also, of course, make a big loss.
So yes, it is certainly possible to lose big at craps, but it doesn’t have to be the case. Because of the low house edge on the safer bets, craps is a game that many experienced players find they can play for a while without losing a ton of money. But as always, it will depend on your betting decisions, how willing you are to play safe, and whether you feel the need to take a risk.
Myth #4: There are lucky numbers in craps
Many players believe a seven is a lucky number, and so perhaps is an 11. There is a reason why players may think this, but in fact, the whole idea of lucky numbers is a bit of a myth in dice games. The numbers that will be lucky for you are the ones you bet on, if, of course, they come up. So why do some numbers have that reputation?
A seven is perhaps considered lucky because there are more ways to roll a seven than most other numbers. If you never really play dice games you may not really have considered this, but there is, for example, only one way to roll a two (a pair of ones) or a three (you’ll need a one and a two). You can roll a seven however with a one and a six, a two and a five, or a three and a four.
The thing is, these odds tend to be built into casino games that use a pair of dice, so seven is not necessarily a particularly lucky number, just one that is statistically more likely to come up (and the odds account for this).
Another reason seven and 11 may generally be considered lucky numbers in craps is simply that they both win a Pass Line bet (one of the more common bets) on a Come Out Roll, but again, that is only relevant if that is the bet you are placing. There are lots of other options to consider.
Myth #5: There are lucky shooters in craps
As with any game, there are superstitions around the game, and in particular, who is doing the shooting. Some players may believe a particular shooter is lucky for them just because they happen to win a couple of rolls with him or her. Others believe a new or ‘virgin’ shooter will bring them good luck. Needless to say, there is no evidence, or common-sense reason, why any of this should be true.
There is no skill required to throw the dice, so the shooter is largely irrelevant. Sure, if someone is over enthusiastic the dice can literally bounce off the table, which is also, incidentally, considered a bad luck sign by many players. Mostly though, the shooter rolls, and the dice fall where they will.
There are reasons that some shooters may be considered luckier than others, though. Players tend to remember their bigger wins, so they tend to notice if a couple happen when a particular player is shooting, or when a new shooter has just taken up the dice. Much like blowing on the craps dice ‘for luck,’ believing in lucky shooters is simply a superstition.
Myth #6: The dealers are against you
This is a common misconception when playing craps and other casino games, but it is just not the case. As players, we sometimes confuse the dealers with the casino itself. The casino wants you to lose overall. That house edge is what keeps them in profit. The dealers’ motivations tend to be different.
Yes, they work for the casino and rely on the house edge for their job. However, they also rely on tips from players at their table, and players who do nothing but lose do not tend to give out big tips. Dealers want you to win, at least enough that you’ll feel like tipping them.
Dealers are also there to help, especially in casinos where there are lots of inexperienced or hobby players. It is only wise — and respectful to other players — to research the games you are playing so you know a little about them, but you can ask a dealer a question if you’re unsure about something. They are usually happy to help. But read the room as well. Some dealers are very helpful and chatty. Some less so. Take their lead and be mindful of other players.
We hope our guide to craps myths and misconceptions has been helpful. Next time you find yourself at the craps table, you will at least have a better idea of what those myths are and why you shouldn’t worry too much about any of them.