Craps Tournaments Guide
There are tournaments for craps available at both online and offline casinos. These are great for players who have a good understanding of the game and have knowledge of the rules and odds. A craps tournament is actually free to enter, although sometimes there is a small entry fee. This is much like any other gambling tourney where many players pay a buy-in to gain entry into the tournament. Craps players win more money from the pot as they progress further into the game. Many entry fees are between tens or a few hundred dollars to enter and they are excellent ways to make money if you know the game inside and out.
Where to Play Craps Tourneys
Some casinos have periodic freeroll tournaments with no buy-in requirements. Many people can just join and win a little bit of money. They can afford to give money away for free like this because it attracts people into the casino and improves their chances that people will stay at the casino later and play games. Then the casino can recoup their losses and everyone has a great time. Players should take advantage of any promotional freeroll like this because there is nothing to lose. Any tourneys that require a big buy-in will usually offer some awesome comps and a huge prize pool. Some of the comps can include free hotel and resort stay, extra playing cash, free meals and gift bags. The prize pool itself can sometimes grow to a hundred thousand dollars with the winner taking half. Not only would the winner get the money, but also a whole list of runner-ups taking in some cash as well.
Craps Tournament Rules
The rules of the game are the same as basic craps anywhere else. The end goal is different though and you have to use an alternate strategy because of the twist in the game. The most important rule in the tournament is to watch what the other players are doing. It's a lot like a game of chess and there is some strategy involved in your decisions. The main objective is to have the most money won at the end of the tournament.
So in order to win the most money, you need to watch other players to see if they are catching up to you or if you need to tweak your bet management. It's a lot like a race at the same time. For example, if you have $1000 and your competitor has $800 and he makes a small bet on the pass line, he could take the lead. For another example, imagine that a player is very close to having the same score as you. You may want to make bets similar to his in order to stay ahead. Many times the leader will make the same bet as you in order to always stay ahead. Therefore you may want to do anything that could put you in the lead, even if you had to make a riskier bet that the other player wouldn't take.
Things get very interesting towards the end of the tournament though. The announcer may say there is only a few more rolls left and player will start going wild with the bets. Someone who is way behind may go all-in and bet everything on snake eyes or box cars (2 or 12) and trying winning the huge odds, which could easily beat the challengers. At the same time, the leaders may start getting nervous that the underdog might actually win, so they may start becoming liberal in their betting techniques. The person in the lead may actually lose their own bets and accidentally make themselves lose the lead due to paranoia. This is what makes craps tournaments so exciting but complicated.
Craps Tournament Betting Strategy
The betting system is different now because this is tournament craps. The goal is to make the most money in the shortest amount of time and there is a huge luck factor. You are no longer playing against the house and you are playing against all of your competitors. So you have a bunch of players who are all "experts" at craps and they are all going for the grand prize.
The strategy is dependent on a time limit or fixed number of rolls. Usually the standard is about 100 rolls of the dice or a one hour tournament time limit. It is advised that during this time, you should be vigilant and carefully keep track of other player's chips and their score. If you are playing this in a loud casino, this could actually be much harder than you may think due to the distractions and noise level. That's why experienced craps players usually win big tournaments because it takes a good level of discipline. Whoever has the best betting strategy will win the game basically and it does take a little bit of luck. If you know you aren't going to win the grand prize or you don't have enough experience, then the strategy is to at least get "into the money". This means make it far enough so that you can win some of the runner-up prizes that could return your buy-in fee and maybe a little more. Either try to stay in as long as possible or have to least amount of losses.
Qualifier Rounds and Prize Pools
Much like world championship games, the initial pool of competition could be very large and the tournament may need to be played in periods. These rounds are almost like individual craps tournaments themselves and may last an hour each. Sometimes the casino may have weekly qualifier rounds, semi-finals and final championship rounds on different days. So all you need to do is get into a winner's bracket and advance to the next rounds. Each tournament or qualifier round may have different rules. There may be requirement rules such as craps bets that may need to be wagered.
For example, the rules may require players to make a type of ante bet such as a "pass line" or "don't pass" bet on all plays. This would be on top of your normal bets. Other restrictions may include table limits or betting limits on certain types of bets such as the proposition bets. During the qualifying rounds, you can keep track of how much money your competitors have. The chips must be displayed in the racks so that all the players at the table can see them. This only seems fair and it's not really a complicated method of keeping track of the score and what position everyone is in.
Some rules may permit players to buy back into a tournament after they lose. This would be a craps "turbo tournament" in a sense. That's why it is necessary to read the rules before entering because players may be able to buy a limited amount of chips in the middle of a tournament and the money used to buy these chips would then be added to the prize pool. If you don't need any more chips, then kudos to you! Then you have a larger prize pool and you are in a good position. Normally a player can re-buy chips when they are very low or about to lose, so it's not much of an advantage over the players who are winning since these losing players still have to catch up.
When you buy chips, you can get them from the dealer in the small tournaments. The field must be "leveled" when the pot reaches some value of money though. This means that players have to hurry up and pay the entry fee before the game starts to play. Once the game starts, then you can only play with the chips that you purchased and you can no longer add more chips. Again, this all depends on the details of the tournament rules.
Kinds of Craps Tournament Players
There are a few types of players who use different strategies in their game. Some players like to use the free odds bet which provides the best odds, but with low rewards. Other players like to go nuts and make high risk bets. The conservative player likes to make safe moves like the pass or don't pass bets in conjunction with the maximum free odds bet, which technically gives them the best odds in the house. The drawback is these odds are good for the long term and in a craps tournament, you are set with a time limit. Other conservative bets are the "come" and "don't come" bets with free odds.
The aggressive players go for proposition bets with high payout odds and bets such as the big six and big eights. They may win really big every now and then, but mathematics show that eventually they have to lose big. There is a huge luck factor involved if you are an aggressive craps player. It just depends on how you are feeling in the game. The best player style is a balance between the two and it's all relative to what position you are in the tournament. If you are losing and it is near the end of the game, the only strategy is to be aggressive and do whatever you can to at least win some money, or even win the whole thing. If you are way in the lead, it may be best to stay conservative and not risk blowing your lead.
Personally, I tend to play with a conservative style, which is much safer and keeps me in the game longer. That way I can let the aggressive players go bust at the beginning of the tournament and then I have better chances of getting into the prize pool money. As long as I get my buy-in money back, then I'm happy. The goal first should be at least get into the lower end of the prize pool using safe and conservative style so that you get your buy-in money back. Then you can become more aggressive or "loose". Once you have this first goal secure, then go after the main prize without the stress of losing your buy-in and winning nothing. Another strategy is just to remain conservative and slowly crawl up the prize pool ladder. The higher up you get, the more money you usually win. Either way, craps tournaments are very fun experiences and they can be played online or at land based casinos.