Craps Betting Systems

Betting systems of any kind are exercises in futility. No manipulation of your betting amounts can change the fact that all casino games have an insurmountable edge over the house. This includes craps betting systems.

The big error that most betting systems make is assuming that the odds of something happening change because of what happened previously. This is true (to an extent) in a game like blackjack, but that’s because the deck has a memory—once a specific card has been played, it can’t be played again until the deck has been re-shuffled.

In other games, like roulette and craps, each outcome is an independent event. Just because someone has been rolling hot all night doesn’t mean she’s statistically likely to continue rolling hot. It also doesn’t mean that she’s due for a loss. The odds of each outcome of each roll remain the same regardless of what happened on the previous one, two, three, or even thirty rolls.

The rest of this page explores and examines some craps betting systems.

Hedge Bets

Some of the worst systems you’ll come across involve what’s called “hedge betting”. These bets are supposed to reduce your risk. For example, you might try to hedge your bet on a pass line bet by also placing a bet on any craps. This seems like a can’t lose system, but once you examine the math, the system falls apart.

Suppose you make a pass line bet of $20. You have 8 ways to win, 4 ways to lose, and 24 results which are essentially “no result”.  After 36 rolls, on average, you’ll have won $20 eight times, lost $20 four times, and seen a “no effect” the rest of the time, for an average win of $80.

Now suppose you make a pass line bet of $20 and a $5 bet on “any craps”. You now have 12 ways to win and 24 ways to lose. You’ll only win an average of $60 over 36 rolls with this system.

You’re better off just sticking with the pass line bet, obviously, right?

The Rothstein System

Another craps betting system that might be familiar to some players is called “the Rothstein system”. It’s just a variation on a popular betting system called the Martingale System, and it’s equally worthless.

The way this system works is that you begin by placing a single betting unit on the pass line. If you lose, you bet again, but this time you bet three units. If you lose again, you bet seven units. In other words, any time you lose, you double your last bet and add one unit.

If you win after your first bet, you’re up by one unit. If you win after your second bet, you’re up by two units. And so on.

Each time you win, you go back and start over again with one unit.

The Watcher System

We’ve also seen this one called “the Patience System”. Your goal is to win $10 a day with this system. You need a bankroll of $500 minimum for this system.

This time, instead of betting the pass line, you’re betting don’t pass. To use this system, you watch the game until there have been four successful pass line bets in a row. Then you bet $10 on don’t pass, because surely by now the dice are bound to lose, right?

This system is flawed because it doesn’t take into account the fact that each roll of the dice is an independent event. The probability on the upcoming roll doesn’t change just because of the four rolls prior.

People who like this system like to point out that the odds of the dice winning five successive passes are 31 to 1. So the idea is that you’ll win $10 31 out of 32 times. The advice this system promotes is also to quit playing for the day once you’ve won.

What if you do lose, though? The system has a plan for that, too. You double your bet on don’t pass. The odds of six successive passes are 63 to 1, and if you win this time, you win your money back and then some. And if you lose again, you double your bet again, because the odds of seven successive passes are 127 to 1.

Every progressive betting system faces the same problem. Eventually you’ll wind up with a long enough losing streak that you won’t be able to make your next bet in the progression because it’s over the house maximum bet.

Also, you’re not betting that five (or six, or seven) successive passes will be made. You’re only betting on the next pass. The odds of winning are slightly less than 50%, regardless of what happened on the previous rolls.

Hot and Cold Betting Systems

The idea behind these kinds of systems is to bet the pass line when the shooter is hot, and to bet the pass line when the shooter is cold. One common way to approach this system is to bet the pass line.

If the shooter wins, you continue to bet the pass line. As soon as the shooter loses, you switch to betting on the don’t pass line. You switch back as soon as the shooter wins again. The goal is to eventually catch someone on a winning streak (or a losing streak) and win lots of money during that streak.

This would work great if the house didn’t have a total on the don’t come bets that don’t win or lose. The percentage of those will eventually eat up any edge you might have gained using this system.

The Best System Is No System at All

Going with the best odds is the best craps system you can use. That’s easy enough to do. Just bet the pass line (or the don’t pass line), and whenever you’re able to take or lay odds, take or lay the maximum you can. This reduces the house edge dramatically. It doesn’t eliminate it, but your entertainment dollar will stretch a lot farther.