There are elements of craps that will fire up any player’s imagination in a casino.

  • You can bet on any possible combination.
  • Some bets take more than one roll to settle. You can make more than one bet at a time.
  • The possibilities inspire players to wonder, “Are there bets I can use to cover up the weaknesses in others?”

That’s what hedge bets were intended to do. They don’t really reduce the house edge, but you can see the logic. If pass line bets lose on the comeout when 2, 3 or 12 are rolled, why not also make a small wager on any craps?

Here’s how a couple of basic hedge bets work:

HEDGE THE PASS LINE WITH ANY CRAPS

In the lingo of the game, 2, 3 and 12 are the numbers called “craps.” “Any craps” is a one-roll bet that the shooter will roll a 2, 3 or 12, and it pays at 7-1 odds.

Pass is a multi-roll bet. On the comeout roll, it wins if the shooter rolls a 7 or 11 and loses if the shooter rolls 2, 3 or 12. Any other number becomes the point, and to win, the shooter must roll it again before a 7.

Hedging with any craps is typically done on the comeout. Let’s say that on the comeout, you bet $5 on pass and $1 on any craps

If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11, you win $5 on pass and lose $1 on any craps, for a $4 profit. If the shooter rolls 2, 3 or 12, you win $7 on any craps and lose $5 on pass for a $2 profit.

Sound good? Well, there’s a problem. When the roll is 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10, your any craps bet loses but your pass bet doesn’t win. It just stays on the table for a later decision.

We can see how that works out in this chart:

 

Roll Net win/loss per roll Ways to make roll Total win or loss
2 $2 win 1 $2 win
3 $2 win 2 $4 win
4 $1 loss 3 $3 loss
5 $1 loss 4 $4 loss
6 $1 loss 5 $5 loss
7 $4 win 6 $24 win
8 $1 loss 5 $5 loss
9 $1 loss 4 $4 loss
10 $1 loss 3 $3 loss
11 $4 win 2 $8 win
12 $2 win 1 $2 win


If you add all the numbers in the last column, you’ll see that hedging a $5 pass bet with a $1 any craps bet gives you an average win of $16 per 36 comeouts.

But what if you don’t make the hedge bet? Then you have a $5 profit eight times (six ways to make 6; two ways to make 11) $5 loss four times (one way each to make 2 or 12; two was to make 3); and no decision on the other rolls.

That adds up to an average win of $20 per 36 comeouts. You make more money on the comeouts without hedging.

Any craps is a poor bet with an 11.1 percent house edge. Pass is a great bet with a 1.41 percent house edge, and players actually have an advantage on the comeout. The house makes its money after a point is established.

Trying to cover the weakness in a great bet by making a poor bet is a big mistake in craps.

 

HEDGE PLACE BETS WITH ANY 7

Some players also use any 7 as a hedge after a point is established on pass, but for now, let’s use place bets as the example.

Any 7 is a one-roll bet that pays 4-1. Place bets are multi-roll bets that win if the shooter rolls your number, lose if the shooter rolls 7, and stay in action if the shooter rolls any other number.

Place bets pay 7-6 if you bet on 6 or 8, 7-5 on 5 or 9 or 9-5 on 4 or 10.

Let’s say you place 6 for $6 and bet $2 on any 7. Then if the shooter rolls 6, you win $7 on the place bet and lose $2 on the hedge for a $5 profit. If he rolls 7, you win $8 on any 7 and lose $6 on the place bet for a $2 profit.

But there are 25 rolls that are losers on any 7 without being winners on 6. On the first roll after $7 place and $2 any 7 bets are made, an average 36 rolls will bring net wins of $5 when the place bet wins five times, $2 when any 7 wins six times, and a $2 loss on the other numbers 25 times. That’s an overall loss of $13 per 36 rolls.

What if you never made the hedge? Then you’d show a profit of $7 for the five place winners five times or a total of $35 and a loss of $6 on rolls of 7 six times for $36. On the other numbers, no money changes hands. That comes to an average loss of just $1 per 36 rolls.

And that’s just on the first roll. Place bets are multi-roll bets. If the first roll is neither 6 nor 7 and you lose your first hedge bet, do you hedge a second time? A third? A fourth? Continuous hedging can get very expensive, so you'll have to be in control of your bankroll in order to decide what to do.

Any craps is one of the worst bets around with a house edge of 16.67 percent. Place bets on 6 or 8 are among the best at 1.52 percent. You’re far better off to make the good bet and not try to cover its weakness with a bet that has far greater weaknesses of its own.

About the Author
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For nearly 25 years, John Grochowski has been one of the most prolific gaming writers in the United States. He’s been ranked ninth by GamblingSites among the top 11 gambling experts at Gambling Sites and his Video Poker Answer Book was ranked eighth among the best gambling books of all time.