Craps Hedge Bets: A Good Betting Strategy?

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Craps table in casino dices

The game of craps is not difficult at all, but the diversity of possible bets might seem a bit confusing, especially for beginners. What kind of wager is better at this particular moment of the game, and why? The reasons behind betting this or that way can be different, sometimes even controversial, and it can be somewhat difficult to work out your best craps betting strategy.

You should also add the emotional aspect of “feeling lucky” and going for unnecessarily risky wagers at certain moments of the game. Indeed, craps is a very emotionally charged game: go to any casino and see how excited people get around craps tables. And we know that when there is a lot of excitement in gambling, there is more tilt, more risk-taking and more losses. That is why when you play craps you should remain cool and calm and keep on reasonably weighing your betting options.

What Are Hedge Bets?

The idea of making a hedge bet is to protect a wager you make with another bet. It looks like buying bonds in the stock market where you hedge your risks and protect your investment. Yes, in many respects, business-processes in the modern economy and markets are getting more and more gambling-like. But still, the game of craps is not played at the Stock Exchange, and the logic of “protecting” some of your bets with hedging is a bit controversial.

The Idea of Making Hedge Bets

Casino Game Strategy Betting

Players know that they can make several bets at once and that not all of these bets are equally promising. Some bets are quite weak, and the idea of combining your wagers in order to somehow cover up your risks is vital. However, you should realize that hedge bets do not really lower the house edge.

Hedging the Don’t Pass Bet with a Hard Bet

Some players like the Don’t Pass bet in craps. It is a wager placed against the shooter  – the person who rolls the dice. The player wins when the dice roll 2, 3 and 12 (“craps numbers”). This wager is sometimes called “wrong,” as the player wins when everybody loses and loses when everybody wins. The exact odds of winning are quite high: 976 to 946.

Suppose a player makes a $5 Don’t Pass bet and the shooter rolls 6 as the point. Now the player makes the $12 Odds bet, wagering $17 in total against the shooter’s point. And he wants to protect his $17 bet with the hedge bet of $2 Hard 6 bet – Hard 6 means that the dice roll 3 and 3. He knows that the casino’s payout for the Hard 6 bet is 9:1 (in the US, while in Australia it is 19:2). If the shooter rolls out Hard 6, the player wins 9 x $2 = $18. Even taking into account that the player loses his $17 bet against the shooter’s point, which is 6 in this case, he would still win $1 as a difference between $17 to lose and $18 to win.

This $2 Hard bet would only work if the shooter rolls his or her point (6) the “hard way” – with 3 and 3 on the dice. However, if the point is rolled the “soft way” – like 5 and 1, or 4 and 2 – the player who has wagered $17 (Don’t Pass and Odds bets) against the shooter’s point, and also made the additional $2 Hard 6 bet, loses everything: $17 + $2 = $19. If the shooter does not hit the point, then the player loses only the $2 hedge bet, but his other one still win, which means that this particular hedge bet can either work or not – depending on how lucky the player is at the moment.

Hedging Pass Line Bet with Any Craps Bet

Craps table betting The Pass Line is one of the most popular wagers in craps. The player bets for the shooter to hit the point. If 11 and 7 roll out, the player wins; if the dice roll 2, 3 or 12, the player loses. Now imagine a player makes $10 Pass Line bet and wants to protect it with a hedge bet. He chooses $1 Any Craps bet, also known as Three Ways bet, or Craps Check, wagering $1 that the shooter will roll 2, 3 or 12. The Any Craps bet is another rewarding wager; the payouts are 7:1. If the player wagers $3, the win is going to be 7 x $3 = $21.

But as the Any Craps bet is quite risky, let us assume the player wagers only $1. In case the shooter rolls out 2, 3 or 12, the player loses the $10 wager, but wins 7 x $1 = $7, decreasing the overall loss to only $3. If the $10 wager wins, then only the $1 hedge bet is lost.

Are Hedge Bets a Good Betting Strategy?

The examples above show the simple logic of hedging your bets with other bets, much smaller, but with good payouts (if these hedge bets win). The only problem of hedging your bets is that you never know whether it is going to work or not.

Besides, such hedge bets are poor bets, with a high level of the house edge. With the Any Craps bet, the house edge is 11.10%! But the Pass Line bet has only 1.41% house edge. So, the players who think they are very smart and skilful, and like to make hedge bets, should really think twice: is it a good idea to protect a good bet with a poor one? In the short run, it might pay off, but in the long run, making many poor wagers is not a good idea.

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