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Most people who play Craps understand that it’s a game of chance – dice control notwithstanding. The house edge is fixed; no betting system can help you win more over the long run. But there are things you can do to help you lose less in the short term. Some Craps players like to hedge their bets in certain situations at the table, letting the house edge get a little bit higher in exchange for lower exposure to risk.

Here’s a favorite: hedging the Pass Line bet with the Craps bet. The Pass Line bet (paid out at even money) is the standard bet made on the come-out roll, while the Craps bet (paid out at 7-to-1) acts as the hedge, protecting you when the come-out roll delivers the dreaded 2, 3 or 12 and kills your Pass Line wager on the spot. If you bet, say, $5 on Pass and $1 on Craps as a hedge, you’ll make $4 when the shooter rolls a 7 or 11, and you’ll make $2 if she rolls any Craps. Is this a good deal?

Craps Hedge Bets

Not in the long run. The price you pay for this hedge is the $1 you lose on your Craps bet every time the shooter rolls a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10. Once you do the math, you’ll find that instead of winning $5 for every nine come-out rolls, you’re only winning $4 when you make the hedge play. But that’s in the long run. Does ponying up this de facto $1 insurance payment every nine rolls make sense in the short term?

It could, if your bankroll is relatively small for the stakes you like to play. Giving up that $1 hedge will smooth out some of your variance by eliminating those times when you lose your $5 Pass Line bet on the come-out roll – which also works out to once every nine rolls. This protects you on a bad run. However, if your bankroll is small enough for you to need hedging in the first place, the stakes you’re playing are probably too high. Divide your pile into smaller units instead, drop down in stakes, and use plays like buying and laying odds to give yourself the lowest house edges the game of Craps has to offer.