Tips for Playing Craps in a Snowstorm

Bet the Pass Line at a hot craps table, and you’ll have some of the finest fun you can have at a casino, as any gambler will tell you. Taking the shooter in a Pass Line bet. Nearly all players at a lively craps table wager on the Pass Line. It’s the most “standard” bet you can make in craps.

Nothing is more disheartening than watching your Pass Line wagers turn into losses at the craps table. The Don’t Pass bettor in a game with a sudden hot shooter has the same problem.

If you’re playing craps at a table where everyone is betting the same way, a losing streak might be devastating. How, therefore, should a craps player handle the elements at the table?

Craps Win and Loss Streaks

If you knew that “hot and cold streaks” in craps were all made up, would it change your mind? Craps tables that “go cold” just go through a natural sequence of outcomes that don’t fit the typical betting pattern.


Remember that neither “hot” nor “cold” can be used without qualification. Betting the Don’t Pass Line (betting “against the shooter”) would turn that losing run around. A chilly table, in my opinion, is one where the number of 7-outs is far higher than what the players are anticipating.


In reality, streaks like these are just statistical outliers, which are very possible given the game’s arithmetic.


It’s important to remember that the same random factors that cause cold tables may also cause winning streaks. The ideal outcome for Pass Line bettors is for there to be fewer 7-outs than expected due to a variance.


Some Reflections on the Fail Mark

Many craps players, in my experience, refuse to wager on the “Don’t Pass” line. This makes sense, as Don’t Pass bettors are considered “wrong-way bettors” in craps, with the expectation that they will experience a loss when the majority of players do.


Don’t Pass betting has its own unique appeal that I enjoy. Having two or three consecutive 7-out shooters is appealing. I enjoy the feeling of triumph when the majority fails. My inner hermit appreciates it.


There are several allures to betting Don’t Pass, but none greater than the fact that it is a superior wager to the Pass Line. There isn’t much of a disparity between the odds on the Pass Line and the odds on the Don’t Pass Line, with the house having an edge of 1.41% on the Pass Line and an edge of 1.36% on the Don’t Pass Line, respectively.


The Proper Response to a “Cold Craps Table”

Before I give you any advice on how to weather a chilly table, I want you to keep in mind that what you’re seeing is a fully typical distribution variance that just so happens to be working against your betting strategy. You need to be able to distinguish between the two types of variation and develop strategies for dealing with them when they arise, rather than sitting on your hands and losing money.


If you’re on a losing streak, you have three primary alternatives depending on whether you’re betting with or against the shooter:


Maintain your stance and wager as usual until the volatility ends. In general, “right-way bettors” who can’t bring themselves to wager on the Don’t Pass Line take this tack. They keep betting on the Pass Line even though the outcomes have been trending against them, hoping that the streak will eventually come to an end. Since their emotions are preventing them from switching sides or leaving the table, this is a modest type of betting on tilt.

Alter how you normally gamble. You should switch to the Don’t Pass Line if you’ve been betting against the 7 and have started experiencing variance against your bets and the shooter. Bets on the 7-out that aren’t arriving should be changed to Pass Line wagers. Keep in mind that variance works both ways, and so switching sides might not be the most strategic choice. The choice is still open.

Relax for a while. Leaving a dead craps table is the best solution I’ve come up with so far. Taking pauses from gambling can help you maintain your edge. It gives you time to collect your thoughts, assess your financial situation, refuel, reorganize, and reengage with renewed vigor. After a string of losing hands at the table, a break is warranted.

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