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Best of Mark Pilarski

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Deal Me In: Doing dice the easy way

5 June 2015

Dear Mark: I would like to learn how to play dice. What is the best way? Dave K.

Craps with confidence, Dave, commences by reading a decent book on the game. For the dice apprentice, Henry Tamburin’s Craps: Take the Money and Run or Beat the Craps Out of the Casino by Frank Scoblete are two of my favorites for the beginner player. Either one, Dave, will explain the various bets, correct odds, payoffs, sucker bets and playing strategies for the game of craps.

Next, I would highly recommend that go to YouTube and watch any of the excellent videos on craps by Michael Shackleford. Begin with Craps Part One – Approaching the Table.

No matter whether it’s a book or watching YouTube videos on your laptop, I would suggest that you focus only on the wagers that offer a house edge under 1.5 percent, like a Pass Line bet and placing the Six or Eight. Both wagers easily make my Top 10 list of the best bets the casino offers. Besides, making these two outstanding craps wagers, and nothing more, shortens your schooling to less than two minutes.

Allow me, Dave, to break these bets down for you.

The central wager in craps is the Pass Line bet. If the come-out roll (the role of the dice that begins a game) is 7 or 11, the bet wins. If the come-out roll is 2, 3 or 12, you lose, or, as they say, you "crapped out.” If the roll is any other value (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10), the value rolled becomes the point. With a point established, if that point is rolled again before a 7, the bet wins. If the 7 is rolled before the point, you, "seven out," and the bet loses. A pass line bet pays even money.

A Place bet on the 6 or 8 is a wager that the 6 or 8 will be rolled before the 7. When making a Place bet on the 6 or 8, you should always wager in increments of $6 ($12, $18, $24, etc.), because the 6 and 8 pay off at 7 to 6, or $7 for every $6 bet. The casino standard is for the dealer to round down payouts to the nearest dollar. Because of this, you will be shortchanged on any win where the bet was not a multiple of $6. Typically, Dave, Place bets are NOT working on the come-out roll, but can be "turned on" by the player.

My one other recommendation is to stay clear of all those proposition bets in the center of the layout that the stickman is barking for. The dealer who is tempting you with their performance is doing nothing more than inducing play on wagers that are all “house bets,” aka sucker bets, with some carrying a casino advantage as high as 16 percent.

That’s it, Dave. Craps is that simple. You are no longer greener than the felt on the table, plus, you can now exploit the best bet(s) the game of Craps has to offer. You have now officially joined the less than one percent of players out there who truly understand Craps.

Now off to YouTube you go, Dave, and watch Michael Shackleford visually illustrate the above-mentioned wagers for you.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “I started shooting craps like they was goin' to close up the place . . . and I lost all the money I had on me. But what the hell, it was a lot of fun.” – William "Si" Redd, King of the Slots
Recent Articles
Best of Mark Pilarski
Mark Pilarski

As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.
Mark Pilarski
As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.