If you stop to think about it, you’ll realize that the only way to roll a 2 (“snake eyes”) is by rolling two 1s; no other combination will do it. Similarly the only way to roll a 12 (“boxcars”) is to roll two 6s; there is no other combination of dice that will arrive at that number. There is also only one way to make 11: by rolling a 6 and a 5. But you can get a 4 by rolling a 3 and a 1 or a 2 and another 2; 5 can be reached with a 4 and a 1 or a 3 and a 2; and there are three ways to make 6: with a 5 and 1 or 4 and 2 or 3 and 3. Similarly there are three ways to make 7, three ways to make 8, but only two ways to make 9 and two ways to make 10. So right away you can see that statistically you are likelier to make some points than others. And speaking of statistics, 7 is the number that comes up the most frequently… though of course it wins for you only if you get it on your come-out roll. After 7, the most common numbers to come up are 5, 6, and 8.

Rolling a 7 or 11 on your come-out roll is an instant win; 2, 3, or 12 is an instant loss. Any other number is the point you have to make again before rolling a 7 (called “sevening out”). If you seven out, you lose. But if you make your point- roll another 5, or 8, or whatever your point is- you win.

You can also play without rolling the dice… by betting against the shooter. (That makes you a “fader.”)

When you first start playing, bet small. Yes, it’s true that if you don’t bet big you can’t win big, but till you learn what you’re doing and get comfortable with the betting and the odds, it’s best to bet small so that, if you blunder, your error will cost you a minimal amount of money.

When you’re a little more familiar with and comfortable with the game, you can bet progressively. How? By increasing your bet just a bit each time you win. Not doubling your bet. If you’re betting $5 the first time and win, bet two times $5, or $10, the next time, and if you win, then go to three times $5, or $15, and then $20 and so on. You are not doubling your bet. You are not betting it all. And when you lose… which assuredly will happen at some point… you will still have some winnings left. After the loss, bet your basic $5 again, and keep stepping up the amount of your bet in the same fashion as before. This method maximizes your wins and minimizes your losses.

But if you stick around and play all evening, there’s a good chance you’ll come out a loser. The smart move is to obey the old axiom and “quit while you’re ahead.” Have you doubled the amount of money you started with? Did you log on to the casino with $100 to play with, and do you now have $200? Then it’s a smart time to quit for the night… or perhaps try your hand at some other game. But “walk away” (click away) from the craps table while you’re a winner.