How to Win at Craps: Hedging Your Craps Bets
“Hedging” is when you make a craps bet to "protect" another. You'll often see players make a $5 Pass Line bet and then
hedge it with a $1 or $2 Any Craps bet. If you roll anything but a craps on the come-out roll, the Any Craps bet loses (but
it's only $1. If you roll a craps on the come-out, the $5 Pass Line loses, but the $1 Any Craps wins (except for the "bar"
number, in which case it's a tie). The casino odds for the Any Craps bet are 7:1, so you win $7 for the $1 bet. When
hedging, you believe that the $1 Any Craps bet "protects" the $5 Pass Line bet from losing on the come-out roll.
Another hedge bet is to use a $1 Hard 6 or 8 to protect your Don't Pass with Odds bet. For example, suppose you make a
$5 Don't Pass bet, the point is 8, and you then lay $12 in Odds against the point (i.e., with the $5 Don't Pass and $12 Odds,
your total bet is $17). You then make a $2 Hard 8 bet to take away one of the ways you to lose the Don't Pass bet. If you
make your point by rolling 8 the Hardway, then your Don't Pass with Odds lose. But, in this example, you made your point
number by rolling 8 the Hardway, so your $2 Hard 8 bet wins. Casino odds for the Hard 8 are 9:1, so you win $18. So, your
$17 Don't Pass and Odds bets lose but you are "protected" because your Hard 8 bet wins $18. The bad thing about this
hedge bet is, if you make your point of 8 the easy way (i.e., 6-2, 2-6, 5-3, or 3-5), then you lose both your Don't Pass with
Odds and Hard 8 bets.
Hedging sounds fairly smart, doesn't it? In the short-term, maybe. In the long-term, no. If you hit an hour stretch of time
where the distribution goes weird and every other roll shows a 2, 3, or 12, then perhaps a $1 Any Craps can be considered
a good hedge bet to protect your Pass Line bet. If it works and you win a few Any Craps bets, then the people at the table
will think you're a genius. But in the long-term, you'll definitely lose. The weird variance in the distribution that produces a
2, 3, or 12 every other roll won't last long. So, if you consistently hedge your bets, you'll lose over time.
For the player, casino craps was designed to be a negative-expectation game. Everything on the table (except the true
odds bet) is a negative for you. No possible combination of negative-expectation bets exists that will result a positive
expectation. What that means is, you can't mix two or more negative-expectation bets into something that will result in
your favor. You just can't. Accept it. That's an important concept to understand. Using a bad bet to hedge a good bet only
makes the good bet worse.
If you can't control the urge to use hedges when you play craps, then do it carefully and for very limited amounts of time.
You ask, "What difference does it make? It's only a dollar. A measly dollar is worth it to protect my $5 Pass Line." Thinking
like that will send you straight to the poor house. Those measly $1 chips quickly add up over a few hours of play. Before
you know it, you've tossed away $50 on hedge bets and you're scratching your head wondering where your money went.