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Learning Craps

Craps is the most exciting game in the casino. Can you name one other casino game that features a group of players shouting and clapping -- sometimes seemingly nonstop? When there's a good Craps game going on in the house, you'll know. The cheers from the players at the table echo through the casino like someone yelling into the Grand Canyon.

While online Craps lacks the table atmosphere, it can be just as fun. In fact, many prefer online play, because they can go at their own pace. Craps is a game full of wonderful betting opportunities with each roll of the dice. I would argue that the informed Craps player would have trouble playing other common table games because of their lack of decisions.

Think about that for a moment. You could wander off to play Slots and sit there for hours hitting a button. Perhaps you venture over to the Baccarat table. Your two main decisions in life will be whether to bet Banker or Player each hand and what to order from the cocktail waitress when she comes back around. Sure, these other games can be fun in their own environment, but nothing tops Craps for the gambler looking for options.

I don't want to scare you away. You don't need to be an Einstein to play Craps. In fact, you can play Craps all night long by making just one simple wager. There's no rule that says you must explore and enjoy all the bets the game offers. Many people, especially beginners, will simply make a pass line wager and leave it at that. There are definitely wagers to stay away from on the dice table.

One of the worst wagers -- value wise -- is the field bet. Sure, it looks so tantalizing out there. It's big and sprawls practically the whole layout. Just look at all those winning numbers in the field -- 2,3,4,9,10,11 and 12. The only numbers not in the field are the 5,6,7 and 8. Time to put your money down, right? Not so fast. There's a catch.

Every time the dice rolls down the table and settles, there's one of 36 possible combinations that will show up. It's more important to look at possible outcomes than actual numbers in the game. The numbers in the field, while containing most of the numbers in the game, only account for 16 of the 36 possible combinations. The four numbers left out of the field -- 5,6,7 and 8 -- account for the other 20 combinations.

That's why the field is considered a sucker's bet. It pays even money, yet you have only a 44.4% probability of winning each wager. Unlike some other bets in Craps the field bet is a one-roll wager. You either win or lose on the next roll of the dice. Most casinos pay double -- sometimes triple -- for a 2 and 12. While this may look attractive, these two numbers account only for one combination each. The probability of winning either one is only 5.5%. The next time you feel the lure of the field calling you, remember these facts.


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