Cruise Ship Craps

One of the first things you’ll discover when playing on most cruise ships is that the table limits are generally low and the game’s odds (pardon my French) suck.  That’s IF they have a craps table at all.  But let’s assume they do and go from there.  What can you expect to find when it comes to these matters?

Let’s take a look at one of the most popular cruise lines serving American ports, Royal Caribbean.  Casino Royale on most Royal Caribbean ships features just one 12 foot craps table.  On the larger Oasis class ships they have two.  These tables typically feature $5 – $10 minimum Single Odds games with a Max Bet of $300.  If you are a green chip bettor playing $25 on the Pass Line they will graciously allow you to take Double Odds, and they may increase your Max Bet limit to $500 as a courtesy, but that’s up to the casino manager.  And for most of the players I know, those low limits make it extremely difficult to win.  Why?  Let’s talk about that.

The Free Odds bet is one of the most powerful weapons in the player’s arsenal.  In a casino with 10X odds, for example, if you find yourself down $100 and your point is four or ten – $50 odds behind a $5 line bet and a solid on-axis primary hit with the V-2 set will bring you back and put you $5 in the black.  In a Single Odds game the “Get Back” bet becomes more complex.  To achieve the same thing I just described you’d have a $5 Pass Line bet, $5 Free odds, then you’d have to Buy the four or ten for $50 and score a hit to get back in the black.  And therein lies the first secret of playing to win on cruise ships with low limit Free Odds.  In addition to the Pass Line and Odds – if you are the shooter and feel confident in making your point then go ahead and Place the Point.

On most cruise ships, when you’re not the shooter there’s really no point in making a Pass Line bet.  However, from time to time Royal Caribbean will decide to enforce that “rule” that says you had to have a Pass Line bet on the previous shooter if you want to shoot the dice.  So keep that in mind when the dice are coming your way.  Otherwise, you may find that Place betting is all you need to do.

The next obstacle you run up against is the $300 table limit (per number).  Let’s take that same four or ten and start out by Buying them each for $25, then apply a simple “double up” strategy.  Your press moves look like this:  25 – 50 – 100 – 200 – oops.  On the fourth hit you’re up against table max.  You can press to $300 and lock up and extra $100.  Then you’re stuck at $300 for the duration.  Suppose the shooter tosses six more tens and you’re maxed out?  At that point I’m going to violate one of those casino rules (no partner play) and look for someone to Buy the Ten for $300 on partners with me.  This is one of the few times when having a spouse or significant other at the table with you might actually work to your advantage (Sorry ladies – I know he’s a good man but he’s really better at playing slots).

Another obstacle you’ll run into is the preponderance of players who don’t know casino craps etiquette or the basic rules of the game.  They’re tourists with $20 – $100 to gamble with and they want to experience the thrill of casino craps.  In a word?  Patience. Bet the Don’ts.  Wait them out.  They’ll be gone before you know it – then another one will come along.

Last of all, if you are playing for comps on a cruise ship you can pretty much forget about earning any at craps.  Unless you’re buying in for $2500 – $5000 a session and spreading $640 plus across then you will likely be very disappointed in your rating – and even at those levels direct comps are difficult to earn.  Your play is much better leveraged through a third party casino host company like our partners at

So how should you play on your next cruise?  It depends on your bankroll, risk tolerance, and ability to influence the dice.  Unless your cruising on the Axis Power Craps/URComped Craps Cruise Events where the table is packed with qualified shooters, the best play for casual players is probably something like the One Hit – Can’t Miss.  Bet $25 on the Don’t Pass followed by Place Bets of $24 each on the Six and Eight.  After one hit on the six or eight you’re guaranteed a minimum of a $3 win on the hand.  After that – just let the bets ride and hope you see an hour long roll with dozens of sixes and eights before the shooter sevens out and you win your Don’t Pass bet.   Just remember the old Heavy mantra after that shooter has that hot hand.  Get in – get up – get gone.