If you are a regular Crapshooter, you might want to enter a craps tournament soon. Some of these contests are free to enter, some cost a few hundred dollars, and a few cost quite a bit more, dependingLarry Edell has been the editor of 'The Crapshooter Newsletter' since 1994. He has published nine books and over two hundred different articles in magazines such as 'Casino Player', 'Gaming Today', 'Mid West Players 'and 'Gambling Times'. Larry's website is www.thecrapshooter.com on the prize money. Several casinos also have weekly craps tournaments with no entry fee and a low $50 buy-in, just to bring people in the door.
Some contests require expensive entry fees ($500 or more) and high buy-ins ($1000). But for that $500 you usually will get a hotel room for two nights, all meals, a cocktail party, and a nice gift. And, depending on how many people enter, the grand prize could be as much as $50,000.00! In tournaments like this, the top two players from each round will advance to the next one, and there might be as many as ten prize winners at the end of the tournament.
When you’re playing in a tournament, you will make different bets than you would in a normal craps game. You are no longer playing against the house, but against all of your fellow contestants. Your goal is to have the most money at the end of a certain number of rolls (usually 100) or a certain amount of time (usually one hour). This means you need to keep an eagle eye on the chips in the racks of your fellow players, and be aware of their bets. If everyone happens to lose money, then the person with the least loss wins the tournament.
Sometimes, when a lot of people are competing, you’ll be playing in “rounds”, which are like mini-tourneys. If you win the first round, then you advance to the next one. Before you play, familiarize yourself with the rules, because they are different for every tournament and sometimes are different for each round. For example, some casinos will require you to have a pass or don’t-pass bet on every play, in addition to any other bets you might make. Others might not allow proposition bets over $25. And still others might mandate that your chips are in full view and not covered up, so everyone can see what you’ve won or lost.
Another important thing to understand is whether you can add money to your play. This (and other aspects of unusual rules) will be explained to you in an orientation meeting before the tournament, so pay attention. And, remember, each tournament is different! The smaller ones will let you play with your own money, the way you normally do. You simply purchase chips from the dealer. But once the prize money gets over $50, the field must be leveled so everyone must buy in beforehand (usually with $500), and you can not add more money to your play later. When you hit zero, you are through, and you must leave the table.
Although the basic rules of craps is the same, the strategy is different. You HAVE to look out for your fellow players and always pay attention to what they are doing! If, for example, if you have won $300 and your closest competitor has won $200, and he bets $90 on the six and eight, what will happen if a six or eight rolls? He’ll jump ahead by $5 (enough to win) so you might want to watch him and match his bets exactly to stay even. Or what if you’re in second place with $200 and the number one player has $300? You’ve placed the six and eight for $90 each, and he matched you. Maybe you might bet hard ways, or place the five and nine. You must do something different in order to overtake the front-runner.
Some people who are close to last place resort to bets not normally made - like betting the maximum on the two or twelve. In the last few rolls of the game, they realize it’s the only way they can win. When you begin play, you’ll see that there are conservative players, playing pass or come with maximum odds, and aggressive players who bet hard ways and proposition bets. If these aggressive players continue, they’ll usually (but not always) lose their money before the final round. If you’re in the group playing pass/come, you need some way of breaking out of the pack - like waiting for two consecutive points to be made and then jumping to the don’t. You have to start doing something the other players are not doing in order to win.
Let’s say the leader has $100 on the pass line and the point is 4. He takes $200 odds. You could then lay the 4 for $200. If a seven rolls, you’ve suddenly managed to put yourself $400 ahead, as he would have lost $300 and you won $100. You’ve got to try things, be inventive, and make bets that the other players wouldn’t think of making.
In the last few rolls of the game, you must become super aggressive, especially if you are not in first place. Sometimes this means betting all of your bankroll on one number. Say eight is the point and the leader is $300 ahead and has $100 on the pass line with double odds. You’re in third place, and all you have left is $300. You might place the whole $300 on the six, take it down after it hits once, and then pray that a seven rolls before the eight does!
Tournaments are not for everyone, but they’re fun to play, especially the inexpensive or free ones. Give them a try - you’re sure to learn a lot and maybe even make some friends - and some money as well!
ReadyBetGo! is an independent gambling news and information service. If you plan to play in casinos, ensure
that you are not breaking any local laws. It's up to you to know the legality of your actions when you gamble.