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Strategy in Playing Craps

A word of advice about craps strategy: There isn't much skill involved in rolling the dice, of course. And no matter what you see anyone doing, blowing, kissing, whispering, or shouting at the dice, won't make a bit of difference in how they roll.

There is nothing that you can do physically or mentally to influence the roll of the dice except cheat - which we have already warned against.

There are many kinds of dishonest dice, of course, but even a professional sharpie rarely has the nerve to bring a pair of fixed dice into a casino. Too many experienced eyes are watching for anyone to get away with dice-switching for very long.

Fixed dice are much more likely to appear (or not appear) in private craps games - yet another reason why the newcomer must be very careful and very watchful when he or she rolls dice with strategy.

The only legitimate skill that can be exercised in the craps game is at betting, and following the action.

To the novice, it will soon appear that this is no small matter. Craps can grow dizzyingly complex and much too fast and furious for the untrained eye to make any sense of.

To avoid losing your way in the maze of bets and table talk, do this: When you first approach a craps table, resolve that you will be only on the Pass Line. Stand around awhile and watch the action of other Pass bettors.

After you're sure you understand the procedure for Pass-Line betting - ignore wagering on the odds at this point - try one or two yourself.

Don't begin by betting on every roll of the dice, just the come-out bet. That gives you plenty of time to watch all the other action, plus keeping your eye on the shooter.

When you think you understand pass betting, you might want to add a bet on the odds. These are the best bets in the house, except for bets on a really expert player at blackjack. Most casinos allow you to bet only on your own hand, however, except in England.

You need never move on to the "Don't-Pass-Line" bets, much less the "Come" and "Don't-Come" bets, unless they intrigue you.

But remember, the odds on all these bets are approximately the same, and all are improved when you wager on the odds, as well.

The chief mathematical fact to keep in mind during a craps game - aside from the overriding one that the house has a big advantage over you on all the sucker bets - is that there are more ways to roll a 7 than any other number and therefore, statistically, 7 will come up more often than any other number.

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