Craps Vs Roulette – Comparison of Games

It’s entirely possible that as long as people have been throwing dice on chance they have also been spinning a wheel of chance, trying to make their fortunes. The history of craps takes it in elementary form back as far as ancient Egypt to about 1573 BC. Roulette has traces back at least to the Roman Empire, when soldiers would gamble with stones in overturned wagon or chariot wheels. Some enthusiasts suggest that roulette was an invention of Pascal, while he worked on theories of perpetual motion.

In either or both cases, various games of chance have fascinated humanity in multiple forms for millennia. As a standard rule, both craps and roulette are considered chance games, differentiated from skill games such as poker or blackjack. Skill games have more fully-developed decision making and strategic methods of play that a person employs to potentially affect the outcome in their favor. While some enthusiasts of both games, will say there are employable strategies for craps and roulette, that does not change the games’ categorization.

Commonalities Between Craps and Roulette

The largest common denominator that craps and roulette share is the reliance on mathematical probabilities to calculate a player’s odds of winning at the game. Though the odds are different for craps than for roulette, the underlying principles are the same. First, each roll of dice and each turn of the roulette wheel is entirely independent. There are not cumulative odds that make a second roll or spin more likely to win than the previous roll or spin. This is what makes the games true games of chance. Each chance has the exact same odds of winning as the previous chance.

The major difference for players is in how these odds are distributed by different positions on the board or wheel. Again, this is a similarity between the two games. In craps, odds bets after the Pass Line bet will be more likely to earn a player a gain because there are more point possibilities for the shooter to hit. A single number bet like the Big 6 or Big 8 carry percentages much more favorable toward the house, a 9% house edge, rather than the shooter or betting player.

Likewise, in roulette, betting on either black or red, odd or even, or high or low give the player the maximum opportunity possible to win with that spin. Though a player’s odds of hitting one of the eighteen numbers in that combination are still less than half (47 to 48% chance to win), the odds of winning with a single number bet decidedly favor the house. Players stand only a 1 in 37 (or 2.7%) chance to win that bet.

In this respect too, playing either game has some similarities. There are “smarter” ways to play to lose less money, or to increase the chance to win some. The payouts for these safer bets are lower, of course than the riskier bets. That’s one strategy casinos use to entice players. A higher payoff if you win seems much better than a lower payoff. Ironically, the wise players know that you’re far more likely to collect a significant chunk of winnings with the smart bets, even if they don’t quite total the elusive “jackpot” kind of bet.

Distinctions Between Craps and Roulette

Craps has the advantage to retaining the “human element” in the course of play. There is still a shooter somehow controlling the toss of dice for his and his fellows gain. There is far less human interaction among players than in poker, since craps players are only truly competing against the shooter and the house rather than each other directly. However, craps still allows players to retain some influence on the outcome of their game. Some small percentage of “destiny” remains with the players.

With roulette on the other hand, this human element is removed entirely. Physics and gravity take over the control of the ball and wheel. Though the roulette wheel controller must drop the ball, this is not the players’ choice either–in timing or point of contact.For many players this absolute lack of control or participation, save dropping down money for a bet, turns them off to the chance game of roulette, while craps remains appealing.

House Edge and Standard Odds in Craps and Roulette

For the required and most basic initial craps bet, a Pass Line bet, the standard house edge is 1.41%. From there, if players stick with the unexciting but mathematically consistent odds bets, multiplying their chances on the pass line bet, the house edge drops by more than half. At the highest multiple,100x, players get the closest to even money they can find in a casino, an only 0.02% house edge. Though there are bets in craps that can send the house edge as high as 9.1%, 11% and 13.9%, most players with any sense about the betting strategies of the game stay well clear of those bad bets.

American roulette offers fairly high house advantages compared to other games in the casino. European roulette’s house edge drops slightly, but still keeps it well above the standard house edge in craps. In U.S. casinos, or on American roulette wheels, the house edge is a whopping 5.26%.

The European version, with one less betting position on the wheel decreases the house edge to only 2.7%, but this is still well above the craps odds. Placing multiple bets on the roulette wheel is simply going to lose a player larger sums of money at once. It’s deceptively enticing because it shouldn’t be that difficult to have the ball land on one of your numbers or colors, yet the odds of players winning in roulette are bad enough that smarter players stay away from the “sucker bets” of a roulette wheel.

Players of craps and players of roulette have a number of similarities and differences. Each game has its unique attraction to the players who end up favoring one over the other. Both games of chance still draw thousands of players live and online each year as patrons try their luck against the odds at the craps table and roulette wheel.