Heavy’s $120 Short-Bankroll Play

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’ve had days, particularly in the midst of a prolonged losing streak, where the most I could muster up for a craps session was a couple of hundred bucks. When I step up and buy in for – say six twenty dollar bills the first thing that runs through my mind is all those times I’ve told others not to play with scared money. Meanwhile, there I am, getting by on a scraped-together buy-in. But there IS a benefit to playing with a short bankroll. It makes me a better player. I steer away from the hops and props and other bankroll drains and stick with the basics. Here are some thoughts on how to handle your action at this level.

First off, with the $120 Buy-In Craps strategy you should never have more than $12 “at risk” on any shooter. That will give you ten shots at making something happen.

Ultra-Conservative Play

This play is so simple a famous gaming author could do it. Bet $10 on the Don’t Pass and wait for the point to be established. If the seven or eleven show up on the Come Out you’ll lose your Don’t Pass wager and will be through for that shooter. If the two or three craps roll you will win $10. Lock it up and stay up on the Don’t Pass for another roll.

Once a point is established, regardless of what the point is, Place the six and eight for $6 each. If the six or eight either one are the point you still place the point as a simple hedge.

Now all you have to do is wait for a decision on your bets. If the six or eight roll the dealer will pay you $7. Lock up your win and tell the dealer “same bet.” Eventually the shooter will either seven out or make his point. If he makes his point do not make another Don’t Pass bet. If your Place Bets have turned a profit you can take them down or leave them up. If they still have not paid their rent then take them down and wait for the next shooter. If the shooter sevens out then you’ll start the whole series over again on the next shooter.

Conservative Play

Play $5 on the pass line and wait for a point to be established. If the seven or eleven roll lock up $5 and continue to play. If the two, three or twelve roll you are through for that shooter.

Once the point is established do not take odds on the bet. Instead play one $5 Come bet. If the seven rolls you will lose your line bet but win on the come for a push. If the eleven rolls you will win on your come bet with no impact on your line bet. As with a pass line natural, lock up $5 if the eleven shows and you win your Come bet. If any craps number rolls you will lose your come bet. If this happens you will stop betting until an box number (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10) rolls. Then you will place one more $5 Come bet. If it loses you are through wagering on this shooter. Just wait for a decision on the Pass Line bet.

Once your first Come bet is established continue to play in this manner until you have a total of three bets working – the Pass Line bet and two Come bets. However, you still do not take free odds. You must collect a win on two of your three bets before taking odds. Then you may take single odds on the Pass Line bet.

If either of your Come bets wins you will lock up the win and the wager, but place no further action. When the second Come bet wins take single odds on the Pass Line bet and play another $5 in the Come. Follow the above guidelines until you have three bets working once again, locking up two out of three hits while increasing the free odds bet on the Pass Line wager with alternate hits. Once you have reached 3, 4, or 5X odds on your Pass Line wager you can then begin taking odds on Come bets with every other hit – again locking up every other win.

This is a very conservative right-way grind that allows you to capitalize on any streaks that may develop while insulating your bankroll from more than a three unit loss on any hand.

Moderate Play

The opening move of this play is identical to the Conservative play. Play $5 on the Pass Line and wait for the point to be decided. Once again, you will not take free odds after the point is established. However, you will take advantage of the two best place bets on the layout, the six and the eight. Drop $12 on the table and tell the dealer you want to Place the six and eight for $6 each. This gives you a total of three units at risk. In order to moderate that risk somewhat, go ahead and play a $5 Come bet. The hedge effect of the Come bet reduces your exposure to the seven on the next toss.

If the eleven shows on the next toss lock up a $5 win. If any craps number shows you must turn your six and eight place bets off and not play anymore Come action until the shooter tosses an inside number. If the six or eight is tossed the come bet will travel to that number and you will be paid for your Place bet. Take the Place bet and win down and play another $5 Come bet, following the same rules outlined earlier. If any other box number rolls on this second toss the Come bet will travel to that number. You will now have four units at risk, the Line Bet, two Place Bets, and Come Bet. You must come down on one of the Place Bets at this point while adding another Come Bet. For the sake of consistency, I recommend taking down the Place Bet that is farthest from the point. For example, if the nine were the point and you had Placed the six and eight, go ahead and take down the six.

Continue to play in this fashion until you have converted all of your Place action to Come Bets. After the second hit on any number take single odds on the Pass Line Bet. Lock up every other hit, pressing the free odds on the Pass Line Bet up to 3, 4, or 5X odds before taking odds on the Come Bets. Then continue to follow the same rule on subsequent hits.

Played correctly this strategy will limit your exposure to three units on any given player. By adopting a pay-for-it first philosophy you limit downside risk. However, by adding the Place action and pressing on every other hit you will be positioned to capitalize quickly on any hot hands that develop.

Aggressive Play

By-pass the come out roll, then Place $6 each on the six and eight. On the first hit on either number the dealer will pay you $7. Tell the dealer “Same Bet.” On the second hit on either number the dealer will pay you an additional $7. Tell the dealer to Press It. He will increase the bet that just won by $6 and give you $1 change. Regardless of which of your bets win next, collect the winnings and lock them up. On the next hit, regardless of which of you bets win, tell the dealer “Up a unit.” At this point you will have a total of $24 action on the table. On the next hit collect your winnings, then tell the dealer to “Make my action look like $22 inside. At this point you continue to press and take, telling the dealer “up a unit” on every other hit until the seven shows.

Surviving the volatility of craps is a challenge on a short bankroll, but it can be done. The key is to always know how much you have on the table, how much you have gotten off the table, and what the correct move is to put yourself into a profit position on the next toss. With heads-up play you can do it.