If you have ever played craps, you probably noticed the don’t pass betting area that wraps around the table right beside the pass line. Chances are that no one had a bet on it either. This does not mean that it is a bad bet. In fact, the don’t pass is the best bet on the craps table.
Mathematically, with a don’t pass bet the casino only has a 1.36 % advantage over you. Once a point is established, and you can lay odds against the point number, the house advantage begins to drop dramatically. If you lay double odds, the advantage for the casino is 0.45%.
So why is it that you so rarely see players betting the don’t pass? First of all, it is poorly promoted by casinos as an option. When you walk up to the table and ask how to play, the dealer will tell you to make a pass line bet. It’s not unheard of for a dealer to suggest the don’t pass, but it is done infrequently.
Secondly, people often are not interested in playing the don’t pass. They feel that they are betting against the shooter and that this is rude and will bring them bad luck. To be honest, a don’t pass bet is betting against the shooter. The person throwing the dice is trying to roll the point number before rolling a seven. However, the don’t pass bet will win if the seven DOES roll before the point number is repeated.
Although business and social forces discourage don’t pass betting, it remains an option on the game and there is no reason not to play it. The seven is the most common number that the dice are going to roll and this means it is more likely that the don’t pass will win when there is a point number.
The toughest part about winning on the don’t pass is during the come out roll. At this stage of the game the don’t pass will lose when a seven or eleven roll. But if your bet can survive the threat posed by the seven during the come out roll, then you have an excellent chance of winning.
Sometimes don’t pass players are so concerned about surviving the come out roll that they place proposition bets on any seven, eleven, and/or twelve. Their strategy is to recoup the loss on the don’t pass with a win from the proposition bet, but DO NOT do this. Hedging your bets is only a good idea with political contributions and should not be done in a casino. All proposition bets are a waste of money and should only be played purely for fun. If you are going to play the don’t pass, stick with it and do not be distracted by other bets on the table.
Playing the don’t pass often requires patience. You make your don’t pass bet, lay your odds bet, and then have to wait for the seven to roll before the point number. It might actually take a while for the don’t pass to win because many rolls of numbers inconsequential to your bet might be rolled before you win. With this patience factor in don’t pass betting, it can be too tedious for some people to enjoy.
Even if don’t pass betting lacks the glamour of pass line bets, it is the best bet on the table according to the mathematics of probability. Playing the don’t pass is not meant for those rare times when a craps table is full of screaming players who are winning fantastically. This is a hot table in which the shooter is actually rolling the point numbers, and you definitely should not be on the don’t pass when this happens. Fortunately, it is easy to switch to the pass line if you want to do so because you can pick up your don’t pass bet whenever you want. You are not required to leave it there like a pass line bet.
Many a craps player having lost a bunch of money pursuing the dream of a big win on the pass line has won back money by grinding away at the don’t pass on a cold table. Some craps players are devoted don’t pass players and they never bother with trying to win at a hot table. To successfully play the don’t pass you will likely need patience and the discipline to avoid making other bets counterproductive to your goal of winning.
Tracy Falbe is the author of Get Dicey: Play Craps and Have Fun published under the pen name Tracy Michigan. Falbe worked as a craps dealer in Las Vegas in the mid 1990s and based her how to play craps book on thousands of hours of live game experience. Get Dicey is available from Falbe Publishing and other booksellers. An excerpt from Get Dicey can also be read online .