I’m well aware of the tangible financial benefits afforded by skill-based casino games like blackjack and video poker. Over the long run of my own lifetime, I’ve surely won more playing games where strategic insight plays a definitive role rather than luck-based games.
With that said, I’ve definitely spent more time at the craps and roulette tables during my years of living in Las Vegas. I just dig games of chance and the entertainment value that they provide, and of course, there’s also the sense of uncertainty knowing my fate is left to fortune’s whims.
My time has come to defend craps as the rightful king of the casino. Check out the reasons why craps is better than roulette below.
1. Nothing in the Casino Can Match the Exhilaration of an Extended Craps Roll
I’ll never forget the first time I cradled those shiny white dice in hand and let them fly.
That’s because I immediately rolled a 12 and meekly surrendered the dice after losing my virgin pass line wager. Thankfully, things picked up a bit on my subsequent sessions as the shooter, but that disastrous maiden voyage remains seared in memory—and so does the first time I sizzled the felt as a hot shooter who couldn’t miss…
After setting the point number at six and taking the full odds, I proceeded to nail two more sixes in quick succession. The devilish implications of that run aside, I managed to keep Lady Luck in my corner by dodging the dreaded seven for another dozen rolls. I hit my point a couple times over that span, and scored a little on some place eights, but I didn’t get too out of line with long shots.
The other folks playing weren’t so shy though, shouting out “Yo’s” and “Hardways” like we were in a Brooklyn back alley. After every successful roll, the crowd whooped and hollered while urging me to keep up the momentum. Their chip stacks quickly grew higher, capped by new high-denomination replacements. And suddenly, I was the star of the show.
All good things must come to an end, so my hot run concluded on roll #16 when the 4-3 reared its ugly head.
I couldn’t even count my winnings in the immediate wake of such a thrilling ride. But let’s just say that drinks and steaks were on me that night.
And after looking it up, I discovered that my 16-roll run before sevening out doubled the average of 7.53 rolls, so I felt even more special.
Little did I know that a first-time player named Patricia Demauro rolled an astounding 154 consecutive times without sevening out back in 2009.
If you’ve never gone on a hot craps run as the shooter, do yourself a favor and play until it happens. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be hooked for life.
2. Even if You’re not the Shooter, Hot Rolls Make the Table Feel Like a Private Party
Remember those long shot bettors who benefited every time I swerved the seven? Well, a few of them managed to parlay my hot run into a pile of high-denomination chips while I rolled and rolled.
The fact that the table almost always wins together, as a unified group, is one of the special hooks craps can boast which seldom exists in other casino games. Assuming everyone bets the pass line to begin with—“dark side” or “wrong way” bettors who back the don’t pass line are shunned in the craps community—a shooter repeatedly nailing their point generates profit for the whole team.
And even if the shooter is missing the point, exotic bets like the “Hi/Lo” (2 or 12) and “Hard 8” (8 using 4-4 only) pay out handsomely at 15 to 1 and 9 to 1, respectively.
Thus, so long as the shooter isn’t sevening out often, even average length rolls quickly become boisterous affairs. With all of those wagering options available, somebody will be winning something when the seven stays in hiding.
3. A Sensible Strategy Offers a Very Low House Edge
In a piece positioning roulette ahead of craps, a writer pointed out that the average house edge in the classic dice game comes to between 9% and 10%. In their eyes, that makes Double-Zero Roulette and its baseline 5.26% house edge twice as palatable from the player’s point of view.
But that average figure is quite deceiving when you realize just how wide the craps wagering spectrum spans. Sure, bets like the Hi/Lo (11.11%) and Hard 8 (9.09%) dangle big payouts in exchange for really high house edge rates.
Here’s the thing though—you don’t ever have to bet a Hi/Lo, Hardway, or any exotic craps long shot in your life if that floats your boat.
The game was designed to cater to conservative players and long shot chasers alike.
By sticking to the pass line (1.41%), following up by taking the full odds bet (0.00%), and capping your action with a place bet (1.52%) on the six and/or eight, craps can be played with a very low average house edge of under 1%.
Indeed, this cautious but prudent strategy makes playing craps even better than Single-Zero Roulette and its 2.70% hill to climb.
4. The Odds Bet Is the Only Gambling Option with No House Edge
No, I didn’t make a typo up above when I said the odds bet offers a 0.00% house edge.
By “taking the odds” after establishing a point number, you’ll be paid at true odds whenever that point number is rolled again before a seven. In other words, there’s no difference between the true odds of hitting your number and the payout odds you’ll get back on a winner.
So, with a point of four or 10, you’ll have 2:1 against hitting and get 2:1 back. A point of five or nine is 3:2 against with a 3:2 return, while a point of six or eight uses a 6:5 ratio.
You might be wondering why casinos would ever offer such a juicy bet which gives the house exactly zero upside. Well, there’s a small catch (isn’t there always though?) in that you can’t place an odds bet unless you’ve bet on the pass line or don’t pass first.
Essentially, you have to “ante up” with one of those wagers to pay for the privilege of betting on a zero house edge option.
Even with that small technicality, making the table’s maximum allowable odds bet is optimal strategy in craps. Casinos used to gamble on themselves by allowing huge odds bets of up to 100x on your initial ante. But today, most use an escalating 3x/4x/5x scale.
In dollars and cents, imagine making a $10 bet on the pass line and setting a point of eight. You then take the maximum 5x odds for $50 more. If you roll another eight before sevening out, you’ll get paid $60 at 6:5. And because your bet keeps rolling over, you collect $60 more whenever you nail another eight.
It’s a pretty sweet deal if you ask me, and it’s one that you just won’t find in roulette games.
5. Action Junkies Have an Abundance of High-Risk, High-Reward Long Shots to Chase
I’ve already mentioned many of the exotic craps wagers out there, so we’ll keep this entry brief and to the point.
If you like the volatility that comes with gambling on high-leverage long shots, craps is the top ticket in town. Payouts of 9 to 1 (Hard 6 or 8), 15 to 1 (Yo-11 or 3), and even 30 to 1 (2 or 12) are regularly claimed at the craps table by bettors bold enough to test their luck.
6. A Faster Pace of Play Means You’re Not Stuck Waiting Around for Slow Dealers
Craps has 38 spins per hour on average compared to 48 rolls. That leisurely pace helps players preserve their bankroll a little longer.
Personally, I’ll take the faster game and take my chances. Watching a distracted or inexperienced roulette croupier slowly try to decipher who bet what, which bets won, and how much to pay winners can easily take a minute or two.
That’s 60 to 120 seconds you’ll spend twiddling your thumbs.
I come to the casino to play, so craps’ quicker pace suits me just fine…
7. Craps Slang Just Sounds Cool
This one’s not all that important, but I just like the way a craps game sounds.
The back-and-forth banter in between rolls, bettors shouting their bets to the dealers using specialized slang, and the constant splashing and stacking of chips creates the perfect Sin City soundtrack. It’s fun, energetic, and solidifies the community-based appeal of the game.
Roulette is clearly a great game for recreational gamblers who don’t get out to the casino all that often. It’s easy to learn, even easier to play, and players can feel relaxed while they figure things out. But for serious casino enthusiasts, craps is the more sophisticated and challenging game without a doubt.
Maybe I’d change my mind if they let players shoot the ball and spin the wheel ourselves. Until that happens, getting to take my turn tossing the dice and serving as the table’s captain is what makes craps such a special game.