Hardways Craps Bet Guide: Can You Roll a Pair?

Beginner
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Hardways craps bets are quite popular, offering high payouts if you want to take a risk. They're made on specific combinations of numbers, and can be an exciting way to spice up your craps game.

In this guide, we'll take a closer look at the hardways bets are and how they work

Here’s what you’ll learn:

Whether you're new to craps or an experienced player, this guide will help you understand and master the art of hardways betting.

Let’s dive right in!

My Opinion on Hardways

Personally, my own craps spreadsheet shows me that I do not have any bet-worthy advantage on any hardway bets, so I skip making any of them. 

I'd instead save that money to bet on other bets, where I know I've got a true player's advantage on winning that bet.    

In our ongoing effort to make the concept of Hardways Bet in Craps easier for beginners and more accessible to everyone, we have included a video tutorial below:

What are Hardways Bets?

Hardways in Craps refers to a combination of two identical numbers that add up to a specific value. 

For example, 4-4 would be a hard 8, while any other numbers on top of the dice that add up to 8 would be a losing easy 8.

hardways craps bets explained

A hardway bet loses to a 7 rolling, or the number bet rolling the easy way

Explanation of hard way vs. easy way

Hardway bettors are betting that the shooter will toss a hard way number that they bet on before the shooter tosses that number an easy way that loses or tosses a losing 7.

A hardway bet is won when both numbers on top of both dice are identical and add up to the number being bet. 

Many players will parlay their hardways bets when they win, going for a big payday when the bet is won two or three times in a row, with each bet becoming higher using the winnings to increase the amount bet.

How to Make a Hardway Bet

You can make hardway bets on the even-numbered point numbers of 4, 6, 8 and/or 10. Such a bet is made by tossing your chips that you are betting into the area just short of prop bets area in the middle of the table when it is your turn to bet. 

You then tell the stickman, "$10 hardways on…" He will move your chips to the proper bet area, making your hardway bet(s) for you. 

Remember

Be sure not to toss your chips too far, as they might go into the prop bet part of the table because that can mix up other peoples' bets already made there.

Hardways Bet vs Other Proposition Bets

The Hardways bets stay up until won, lost, or taken down. If a hardway bet is lost, you'll have to replace it if you want another shot at winning that bet. 

Most other prop bets in the middle of the table are one-roll-only bets.

The 2 and 12 prop bets are hardway bets, but they are one-roll prop bets and pay 30-to-1 when won. Both bets lose when anything other than that number rolls on the next roll, as they are one-roll bets.

The House Edge and Payouts of Hardways

It’s always important to know the house edge and payouts of craps bets

Hardways bets offer higher payouts than other craps bets, but they also have a higher house edge, making them a riskier choice.

True Odds of Winning a Hardways Bet

There are two ways to roll a bet-losing easy 4 or 10: 1-3 and 3-1 on 4's and 4-6 and 6-4 on 10's

There are 4 ways to roll a bet-losing easy 6 or 8: 

  • 1-5, 5-1, 2-4 and 4-2 on 6;
  • 2-6, 6-2, 3-5 and 5-3 on 8.

In addition, there are six ways to roll a bet-losing 7. 

There is only one winning hardway dice toss result that wins. 2-2 for hard 4 bets, 3-3 for hard 6 bet, 4-4 for hard 8 bets and 5-5 for hard 10 bets.

Payout for a Hardways Bet

When I first started playing craps, I had a dealer explain why the hard 4 and 10 pay 7-to-1 when won; the hard 6 and 8 pay 9-to-1 when won. 

He said, "The hard 6 and hard 8 pay more because they lose to more different dice roll combinations than the hard 4 and hard 10 do. 

The hard 6 and hard 8 bets will lose more often than the hard 4 or hard 10 bets do, so they both pay more when won."

Calculating the House Edge for Each Hardways Bet

When you add the four easy-number ways to lose the hard 6 and hard 8 bets to the six ways to lose those bets, we get 10 ways to lose a hard 6 or hard 8 bet vs only one way to win those hardway bets. 

Those bets pay 9-to-1 when won, with the house edge on hardway 6 and 8 being 9.09%.

When you add the two easy-number ways to lose the hard 4 and hard 10 bets to the six ways to lose those bets, we get 8 ways to lose a hard 6 or hard 8 bet vs only one way to win those hardway bets. 

Those bets pay 7-to-1 when won, with the house edge on hardway 4 and 10 being 11.11%.

Craps Hardways Strategy

Some players seem to have the natural ability to roll many hardway numbers; therefore, they like making those high-vig and higher-paying hardway bets. 

When you see a shooter rolling hardway numbers over and over, it might be time to put down a hardway bet or two, based on what you see now.

There is one dice set axis that dice influencers use to better hit hardway numbers and win those bets. It's called the hardway axis

It has the 1-6 horizontal axis through the left die (1 on outside of the left die and 6 on inside of the left die) and 1-6 axis through the right die (1 on inside of the right die and 6 on the outside of the right die), with 4's on top of both dice and 5's facing back towards the shooter on both dice. 

hardway set

You'll have hardway numbers showing on all four sides around the dice. The top shows 4-4, the front shows 2-2, the bottom shows 3-3, and the back shows 5-5. 

You can also put the 2-2, 3-3 or 5-5 showing on top of the dice and still have the same axis, with hard numbers on all four sides.

Then it's just a matter of keeping your dice rotating around that 1-6/1-6 axis at the same speed and increasing your chances of hitting a hard way number. 

Remember

Dice influencing with a repeatable toss isn't perfected overnight. It takes lots of practice and dedication to develop a good, highly repeatable toss that helps you successfully toss your target numbers more frequently than expected for random while also tossing the losing 7 much less frequently than expected random.

The Most Popular Strategy using Hardways 

One craps strategy I've seen used is when the hardway craps bet is used to hedge a lay hedge bet by some players who use a Lay 4 or Lay 10 bet to hedge place bets on other numbers. 

The higher-paying hardway bet cuts down on the number of ways the player can lose their big lay bet, so only the easy way of rolling the lay bet number hurts them in the pocketbook. 

But I've tried it and discovered how often the losing easy way number can roll. Ouch!

Expert Advice: Should You Make a Hardway Bet?

expert advice on hardways craps

Here are some Hardways insights I have gathered throughout my craps experience:

Risks and rewards of making a Hardways Bet

Hardway bets can be profitable if you can repeatedly roll them more often than expected. They have a reasonably high payoff when won and stay up until they are won or lost. 

If you get nervous about hardway bets that haven't hit, you can remove them or reduce them at any time before the dice go to the shooter for his next roll.

Comparison with Other Bets

Being located in the high-vig prop bets part of the craps table should let you know that they are high-risk bets that probably won't win you as much over the long haul as the bets with lower vigs outside of the prop bet area, like place bets, lay bets, buy bets, line bets and free odds. 

How Hardways Bets Suit Different Types of Players

Hardway bets add more excitement to your craps game when they hit, especially when they are being parlayed. 

If you play for the emotional high that some players get from making riskier bets, you might like making hardway bets.

If you are a more conservative player, you probably want to avoid constantly making hardway bets. 

Of course, an occasional hardway bet or two is always a choice you can make if you see hardway numbers being rolled by a shooter.

Conclusion

Hardway bets are higher-vig bets that can add more excitement to your game if that's what you seek. But, higher-vig bets are more challenging to win than most other bets, as only one roll result wins for each. 

So, it's all up to you. 

Do you want more excitement by betting on higher-vig bets, or do you want to have your best chance of winning regularly? 

Please note

This guide is part of my Craps Academy series that aims to help you become a more informed player at the table. 

In craps, the better educated you are, the more likely you'll make smart moves with your betting, increasing your chance of winning at the casino's craps tables.

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Bill Collins
Bill Collins Professional Craps Player
Back in 2003, Bill Collins started winning big from craps using dice influencing. Right now, he writes craps guides professionally, sharing his story and advice with beginners that want to win more.
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