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Introductory Craps - Part 3  
BY:  By Mike in Hawaii

You saw how you could increase your bet, the amount of money at risk, by making a few Passline Odds bets when a table seems particularly favorable, when it is Hot. Sometimes a shooter may seem to really be in the groove. There is a very simple strategy to try to cash in a little bit on his hot streak.  
 
Chasing Naturals - Another Type of Trend  
 
If you start to really feel positive about a particular shooter AND that shooter hits a Natural Win, that is throws a 7 or 11 on the Comeout Roll, you will win $5 with your Nickel Passline Bet. Since you think this shooter is likely to hit another Natural, you can just leave both chips on the Passline. Stack them up and bet $10 on the Passline. Doubling up your bets has to be done with great care. There are more sophisticated ways to do this, but for now just leaving both chips on the Passline will do fine.  
 
At this point one of three things will happen. The shooter will drop the ball, throw Craps (2, 3, or 12) and the nice dealer will collect both your Reds off the Passline. Or he might throw another Natural Win! In which case the dealer will give you two more $5 chips. If that happens you take back $15 and go back to just your standard $5 Passline Bet. You never try this double up trick twice in a row!. When you both decrease the size of your previous bet, and take profits, that is called "regressing your bet" or a regression. Regressions are FANTASTIC! They move lots of chips to safety in your rail.  
 
The third thing that can happen is the shooter will set a point. In that case, even if the point is Six or Eight, do not take Odds. You already have $10 at risk on the Passline and for now that is your limit for one Passline Bet. According to statistics, even with an average shooter, you should win your double-up bet when he or she shoots a Natural Win about 22% of the time. You will immediately lose about 11% of the time when the shooter Craps. About 2/3rds of the time the shooter will set a point and start chasing it. So it is important to remember the $10 maximum Passline Bet + Passline Odds rule.  
 
This is a primitive example of "Chasing Naturals". You will not be at a Craps table too long before you watch someone hit a string of Natural Wins. After a while, if a table is being generally Hot, when you see a shooter throw a 7 or an 11 on the Comeout Roll, you can't help but wonder if they are going to do that again. Strategies for chasing Naturals can get rather long and involved. This one step strategy is quite workable for now.  
 
Dealer Assisted Bets - The Hardways  
 
OK, you may notice that the Hardways was not on my list of good bets at the Craps table. Hardways are the decadent chocolate truffles of Craps. You know they are not good for you, but they are hard to resist. You have to at least try to use some moderation with bets like these. They are high house advantage bets, which is never good. But frequently they can be made for just $1.  
 
There are two basic kinds of bets at a Craps table. One roll bets are decided on the very next roll. Multi-roll bets are decided when a certain set of conditions are met, which may take one roll, two rolls, or even dozens of rolls. The Hardway Bets are examples of multi-roll bets.  
 
A Hardway is a bet that a specific combination will appear on the dice. Not just Six, but a HARD Six. There are five ways to roll a sum of Six on a pair of dice. Four of those are a "Soft" Six. Just one, the 3 plus the 3, is the Hard Six. A bet on the Hard Six is a bet that this single combination of 3 + 3 will appear before either the Seven, or a Soft Six. The odds are really stacked against the poor Hard Six. But the payoff is pretty tasty also, 9 to 1. The Hard Eight is just like the Hard Six, but the combination you are looking for is the 4 + 4.  
 
The other two, the Hard Four and the Hard Ten have even worse house advantages, just horrible, and different odds. The Hardway Six and the Hardway Eight are more than decadent enough, so we will restrict ourselves to those.  
 
If a table is Hot and you have been doing well, you can consider one more little expansion of your betting. After you win some of your Passline Odds Bets, you will have several of the $1 chips in your rail. If the shooter sets a point which is not a Six or an Eight, you can bet the Hard 6 and the Hard 8 for $1 each.  
 
To place this bet you will need help from a dealer or the stickman. If you watch closely you will see that the dealers are very orderly people. They tend to go around the table one player at a time, looking at them in turn to see if they want to make any new bets between each roll of the dice. When you have your dealer's attention, you can drop $2 towards the center of the table and say "Hard 6 and Hard 8 Please". Your chips will be picked up and moved to the center of the layout in front of the stickman and arranged in boxes usually marked with pictures of dice showing the 3 + 3 and the 4 + 4.  
 
There they will sit until either a Hard 6 or Hard 8 is rolled (in which case the dealer will pay you $9), or until a Seven or Soft Six or Soft 8 is rolled (in which case you lose your $1 bet on that particular Hardway). Typically the dealer does not give you back your initial bet when you win. It stays on the layout where it can win again. If you are lucky it can sit there and win over and over.  
 
If you get a bad feeling about how things are shaping up, you can get your Hardway bet back. When you have the attention of the dealer just say "Down on the Hardways Please" and he will remove your surviving chips and give them to you to put back into your rail. Like some of the other bets on the Craps table, the Hardways are usually not "working" on the Comeout Rolls.  
 
That is they are "OFF" and will not be paid if they win on that roll, or collected if they lose on that roll. They are just sitting out the Comeout Roll. Remember the puck? Well that is what the "OFF" on it actually means, that certain bets are not working on the next roll, because that roll is going to be a Comeout Roll.  
 
If you look carefully at the illustration you will see that the Hard Six is marked as paying 10 for 1 which is just another way of saying 9 to 1. If you just get paid your winnings, you will get $9 back. If you get paid your winnings and take back your original bet (called "down and back") then you will get your original $1 plus the $9 winnings for a total of $10.  
 
This is typical of multi-roll bets. The Place 6 and the Place 8 bets work in a very similar fashion. These are much better bets. They win if any version of the Six or Eight shows before the Seven, not just the Hardway version. Also the Place 6 and the Place 8 bets have much better (lower) house advantage. However, to Place the Six, you need to bet a minimum of $6. Same with the Place 8 bet. So if you Place both the Six and Eight, that is a total of $12 additional, a bit steep. Add that to your Passline Bet and you would have $17 at risk on the layout at once.  
 
You would have moved up enough in your average bet size that you would need to buy in for more than just $100. All of these decisions about betting strategy, buyin amounts and loss and win limits etc. interact. When you design a betting strategy, a collection of bets you plan on making and the circumstances under which you will make each of them, the average bet becomes important.  
 
How much you buy in for needs to be selected based on the average bet and some other considerations. This is another excellent reason for having all this worked out in advance and not let someone try to redesign your betting strategy for you at the table, on the fly.  
 
It is better to stay within your budget and make the occasional Hard Six and Hard Eight bets for just $1 each for now. After you get more familiar with the details of the game, there is a lot to learn about the intricacies of Craps bets and how they can be assembled into flexible betting strategies. But we have yet to talk about something a lot more important.  
 
How to Quit = Di$cipline  
 
It is easy to start betting. The problem is knowing when to stop. You need to have put some serious thought into that also. If things are not going well for you and your rail is starting to empty out, you should become more conservative in your betting. Drop all the fancy stuff and only make the simple Passline Bet. If things still do not turn around, and you discover that all but $20 of your money is gone, you should probably stop. Take your last few chips to the cashier and cash them in. If a session at the Craps table has gone that sour on you, it is silly to throw away your last $20.  
 
Another excellent rule is to keep track of how many times in a row you have lost. If you lose your Passline Bet four times in a row, you should take it as a sign that this table has gone cold. Even if you are ahead, that is you have more than your original $100 in the rail, you should still quit and be happy with whatever profit there still is.  
 
Wait until the puck is OFF and they are preparing for another Comeout Roll, then place all your chips on the layout near the passline, but not on it. When you have the dealer's attention, say "Color Please". He will take your big stack of chips and have them exchanged for higher denomination chips that are easier to carry. He will give you back a MUCH smaller stack of chips (but worth the same amount of cash) which you should pick up at once. This way you will not have to juggle a double fist full of chips on your way to the cashier's cage.  
 
If you do get well ahead, if you have a nice profit, then you should start looking for an excuse to quit. Don't stand there and give all that money back to the Casino like most people do. If you are more than $20 ahead, you should keep betting as long as you keep winning, but at the first sign of a reversal of fortunes, you should shut down. Quit betting. Color up and leave with your profit! People can be really silly about how much they expect to win at a game like Craps. Many Craps players have some strange idea that they can start playing with $100 and leave with $1,000.  
 
It is far more likely that Pigs will Fly. In fact, Pigs do fly rather well if thrown hard enough from a high enough place. The reality associated with their landing is not very pretty.  
 
To sensibly expect to win $1,000 at a single Craps session, you would need to start with closer to $10,000 as a buyin and be betting with $100 chips. If you can withstand lofty altitudes like that without Oxygen, you should have spent a lot of time mastering all the intricacies of Craps.  
 
They were not good Boy Scouts nor Girls Scouts. They were not prepared!  
 
An amazing number of people win at a Casino! They get significantly ahead with a nice profit at some point. Then they keep right on betting until their fortunes turn against them. They give all that profit back to the Casino and then follow it with all of their buy in. Pretty senseless when you consider that they were winning nicely. But they had no plan for how to quit while they were ahead. They were not prepared.  
 
How to have a Craps Table all to Yourself!  
(for a while at least)  
 
It is a matter of timing, but you may find a Craps table with a full staff just standing around waiting for customers. You can have a real "high roller" experience! If you spot a Craps table with all four staff members in position, walk up and ask them "are you open?" If you check about an hour before lunch or just after lunch, you may well find a table that has just been set up for the day and just opened. Your own "private" table for your first Craps experience.  
 
Before the Casino crowds start to gather in the late afternoon, you may also find a second table that has opened but just has one or two shooters at it. Plenty of room to slide in and get started. Sometimes it seems experienced Craps players are a bit like circling vultures just out of sight. If something favorable about a Craps table catches their analytical eye, they seem to appear out of nowhere and roost. A table can fill up very fast. The action may well join you!  
 
Final Review  
 
1. Chasing Naturals is another example of trying to cash in on a developing trend with a Hot shooter.  
2. If a table is Hot, it is OK to increase your bets, within limits which have been decided and set in advance.  
3. Hardway bets are fun, but have a high house advantage. They should be made in moderation and for low amounts.  
4. You must have thought about how to quit gambling before you even start!  
5. It is always OK to keep playing as long as you keep winning.  
6. If Lady Luck clearly deserts you, then you MUST be prepared to quit.  
7. Most people win at a Casino at some point during a session.  
8. Most gamblers stupidly keep gambling until they give all those winnings back, plus what they walked in with.  
9. Most gamblers are not prepared. That is the Number ONE reason why they lose all the time.  
 
 
Final Betting Strategyn On each Comeout Roll, make a $5 Passline Bet, unless the table is hopelessly Cold.n If the Point is 6 or 8 and the table is Hot, add a $5 Passline Odds bet after the point is set.n If you have won some $1 chips and the table is Hot, you may bet the Hard 6 and Hard 8 for $1 each when the point is not 6 or 8.n If the shooter appears on a Hot streak, and he throws a Natural Win, you may double up your Passline Bet on the next roll only.n You will never bet more than $10 on the Passline and Passline Odds combined.n If you lose four Passline Bets in a row, you will quit that session at that Craps table.n If you get ahead with a nice profit (more than $20), you will look for a reason to quit.n If you get down to your last $20, you will quit and try again later.  
 
Creeping Disaster  
 
When we began with our betting strategy, the first thing we learned was how to make a simple Passline bet for $5 and then see what happens. Our average bet was $5, in other words the average amount we had on the layout at risk at any given moment was Five Dollars. When we bought in for $100, we were buying in for twenty times our average bet. Then we heard about the best bet in the entire Casino, the odds bet on the Passline. But we were sensible. We decided we were only going to make that bet when the point was Six or Eight. However, two thirds of the time a shooter will set a point, and the most common points the shooter can set are Six and Eight. The result was a small, but significant, increase in our average bet.  
 
It is a bit like creeping featurization, a standard technique of every salesman. First they get you committed to the idea of buying the product, then they start talking about all the great extras, add ons, service plans etc. Features. A bit here, a bit there, until you are stunned when the cash register finally cranks its little white tape adding up the damage and the smiling salesman reaches for your credit card.  
 
This is why you need to design your betting strategy in advance. Later we decided to have some fun with the Hardway Six and the Hardway Eight bets, but only under certain circumstances that limited how often we could put that extra $2 at risk. First we had to have some $1 chips accumulated by being lucky with our Passline odds bets. Then the point had to be something besides Six or Eight when we would not also be making an additional Passline odds bet. This limited how many times we would make these high house advantage bets. So overall we ended up with a strategy that added on some features, but in such a way we could still afford the average bet size on our original $100 buyin.  
 
It is important to keep everything in perspective in Craps or any other gambling activity. When you start changing your behavior, such as modifying your betting strategy, you need to make other adjustments. If you were to give up the Hardway bets and start using Place Six and Place Eight instead, you would make a BIG change in your average money at risk. You would be changing to a much better bet, with a much lower house advantage. But you would be betting a lot more money. You would have to buy in for more money initially to compensate or run the risk of being zeroed out so quickly you would never have a chance to ride out an initial dip and get a lucky turn around back into positive territory.  
 
The way to avoid disaster is to learn more before you bet more. The more money you put at risk, the more you need to know about what you are doing. The purpose of this initial betting strategy was to provide something conservative and sensible enough to get you through your initial experiences at the table with a good chance of having more fun for your money than many other Casino games like Let it Ride or the Penny Slots. Luck is always involved, and Lady Luck is well known to be fickle. I close with a simple truth:  
 
Luck Favors the Prepared Mind  

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