Casino gambling is largely defined by bettors taking a shot at games of pure chance like roulette and craps. Whether it’s a pair of tumbling dice, or a bouncing ball revolving around a spinning wheel, the premise remains the same: Random fortune alone will decide the player’s fate.
But despite these fundamental similarities, roulette and craps offer very different gameplay experiences, betting dynamics, and general atmosphere at the table.
Personally speaking, I favor roulette’s relaxed nature and relative simplicity to the hectic pace and complexity of craps. I’ve got seven good reasons why roulette is a better casino game than craps below.
1 – Rookie Gamblers Are More Comfortable With Roulette
If you have any non-gamblers in your family or circle of friends, take them with you on your next casino excursion and try a little experiment.
Equip them with $50 or $100 in chips and have them play real money roulette for the first time. Feel free to play yourself, running them through the ropes so they don’t feel like a fish out of water. Then, after they’ve played a decent amount of time, repeat the process over at the craps table— preferably a packed one.
When you’re finished, head to the buffet or bar to pick your pal’s brain by asking how they’d describe their experience at each table.
I’m willing to bet on the vast majority of conversations going a little something like this:
“Well, the roulette thing was really fun even though I’m down a few bucks. Super easy to learn, and I liked how I could switch between safer bets like black/red and the big money targets like my lucky number. And there was no pressure either, I could just slide my chips where I wanted them and watch the dealer do their thing.
But when I got to that craps table, I started feeling really nervous for whatever reason. The dealers kept having to correct my bets. I guess they have to be certain sizes in different situations? I’m not positive, but anyway, when that guy slid the dice over to me and everybody watched me roll them too short, I felt like a total jackass.
All in all, I’d probably go back to the roulette table first. It was way less intimidating.”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen casual gamblers tense up at the craps table in a scene similar to that. Simply put, the game just has way too many moving parts and minutiae for recreational players to grasp early on. Throw in rude regulars (more on this in a moment) who have no patience for another gambler’s practice time, and craps is built for experienced players first and foremost.
Roulette, meanwhile, almost seems designed to serve as the perfect entry point for curious casino newcomers. Even a child can recognize binary betting options like odd/even, and picking a few single or connected numbers is basically like buying a Powerball ticket.
If bringing new blood into the gambling community is the goal, I favor roulette over craps as the easiest, most relaxed method to make it happen.
2 – Dealing With Notoriously Cranky Craps Players
Now that I’ve touched on roulette’s connection with rookie gamblers, let’s take a look at the regulars who seem to show up every day to terrorize craps tables.
For whatever reason, craps seems to have created its own subculture within the wider casino community. The players who know every bet like the back of their hand, and all the insider lingo to describe the action, make a craps table feel like its own clubhouse of sorts. And just like any other private club, a bustling craps game can instantly make outsiders feel out of place.
For starters, anybody who says the word “seven” out loud while playing, or even just standing nearby, is immediately told to shut their trap. Naturally, new players who don’t know any better find themselves being berated after asking the cocktail server for a “seven and seven.”
And don’t even think about betting on the don’t pass line, also known as a “dark side” wager, if you aren’t a fan of smirks and dirty looks. Even though the don’t pass is a slightly better bet in terms of house edge, almost all craps players prefer to bet “with the shooter” by taking the pass line. So, when anybody—rookie or regular alike—puts money down on the don’t pass bet, they instantly become persona non grata going forward.
In my view, the craps players can take all of their ritualistic superstition and stuff it where the sun don’t shine. After all, it’s my money, so I’ll play it however I damned well please.
Fortunately, you won’t find any of that vitriol and exclusion at the roulette table. There, everybody just bets their style and hopes for a winner, without caring much at all about how fellow players proceed.
3 – Roulette Has Potential for a Topline Payout
This one’s pretty basic so we’ll knock it out quick and easy. If you’re looking for the maximum return on your money, roulette’s top payout of 35 to 1 on a single-number bet is the way to go.
Admittedly, single-number wagers are major long shots that only hit 2.63% of the time over the long run. But when you can turn $5 into $175 within a matter of seconds, the allure of that massive return makes splashing a few redbirds around well worth the risk.
At the craps table, the highest possible payout stands at 30 to 1 when you bet on either the 2 or 12. One roll will produce either a 2 or 12 on 3.33% of rolls, so it is slightly more likely than the single-number roulette hit.
With that said, because the true odds of 35 to 1 pale in comparison to 30 to 1 payout odds, the house edge on 2 or 12 in craps climbs to a whopping 13.89%. In Double-Zero Roulette, the true odds on a single number are 38 to 1 with closer payout odds of 35 to 1—good for a house edge of only 5.26%.
4 – Roulette Tends to Have a Better House Edge
Speaking of the all-important house edge, every single bet but one—the “first five” on 00-0-1-2-3 at 7.89%—offers the exact same rate of 5.26% on double-zero wheels.
That’s right, you can play it safe on red/black for even money payouts, or go for the gusto by betting “inside” on numbers, and you’ll always face the same statistical disadvantage.
In craps though, the multitude of betting options offers a wide range of rates ranging from 1.36% (don’t pass line) all the way up to 16.67% (“any 7”).
And when you factor in both the safer bets and the longshots, craps’ average house edge hovers near the 9% to 10% range. That’s twice as high as roulette! So, give me the beatable game every time.
5 – Roulette Won’t Wreck Your Bankroll in Mere Minutes
Let’s face facts. Between a 5.26% rate and that 9% to 10% average, both roulette and craps favor the house more than most table games.
Well, roulette players are in luck because their game averages 38 spins per hour in a typical Las Vegas casino. In craps, the pace increases to 48 rolls per hour, meaning you’ll be placing more bets in the same amount of time.
More bets and a higher average house edge make craps a very volatile “boom or bust” experience, while roulette is a more back-and-forth affair.
6 – Roulette Dealers Do All the Heavy Lifting
I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of a lazy dude. So, asking me to call out my bets, handle dice, and roll them over and over isn’t my cup of tea.
That’s why I love roulette dealers (or “croupiers”), because they let me bet in silence and they spin their own wheel. Less is more when it comes to effort, so roulette scores another win.
7 – Upping the Ante Cuts the House Edge in Half
Last but not least, when you’re willing to bet a bit bigger, you can still find single-zero wheels in Sin City.
They cost more to play, but the house edge is sliced down to 2.70% to compensate. Once again, less is more, so seek out Single-Zero Roulette whenever you can.
Humans have wagered on games of pure chance since time immemorial. The Ancient Romans fashioned dice out of bone and devised several predecessors to modern craps. And the French mathematician invented the first roulette wheel in the 17th century.
Accordingly, these table games have become staples on the casino floor in every corner of the globe. I enjoy both, to tell you the truth. But as the reasons above make crystal clear, roulette can never be topped by craps.
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