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Simple strategy for the “don’t” side of craps

By Frank Scoblete


darksideOnly the astronauts have seen the dark side of the moon; which is the side that always faces away from us and cannot be seen from our earthly vantage point. For the rest of us the dark side of the moon seems a mysterious, perhaps even hostile and foreboding place. I am guessing that most people would not want to go there.

In the game of craps there is also a darkside. (The darkside is also called the “don’t” side.) And like the small contingent of astronauts who have seen the dark side of the moon, only a small percentage of craps players play the darkside. For most craps players, the darkside of craps is not where they want to go.

Most people who play craps are called rightside players. (They are also called “do” players.) They are playing with the shooter, or at the very least, they are hoping that the shooter hits their particular numbers before the appearance of the dreaded 7.

Not so the darksider. While the other players want the shooter to shoot forever (a truly impossible dream), the darksider is content and indeed quite happy if the shooter goes down in flames by throwing a quick seven-out.

In most instances when a darksider wins, the rightsider loses. On the come-out roll to establish a point, if the shooter rolls a 7 or 11, the rightsiders win. However, if the shooter rolls a 2, 3 or 12, the rightsider loses. In such a case, the darksider wins on the 2 or 3 but loses on the 7 or 11 (the 12 is a tie for the darksider on the come-out roll). The rooting in such a case pits one type of player against the other type of player.

When a point is established, the rightsiders want the shooter to hit that point (along with other numbers) while avoiding the 7. On the darkside of the game, the player wants that 7 to wipe the shooter out thereby winning the bet for the darksider. Once again, the rooting interests of the rightsider and the darksider are at cross purposes.

Now there are times when a darksider and a rightsider can both win, but the structure of the game far more often than not pits the desires of one player against the desires of the other player.

It would not be much of an exaggeration to state that darksiders are disliked by rightsiders – in fact, some rightside players can throw fits when a darksider comes to a table. You will often hear rightsiders brag that they hit their points and many numbers causing the darksiders to lose. There is often great joy in watching a darksider hit the deck. (“Ha! Ha! I nailed him! I wiped the creep out!”)

I’ll be generous here: Maybe five percent of craps players are darksiders. I’m guessing there are several reasons for this. First the general dislike by the other players is certainly one. Craps tends to be a somewhat communal game and someone who is perceived as betting against the community can cause such community angst. The feeling is that the darksider is the enemy, a person hoping the rightsider will lose.

I also think the darksider can only make money if shooter after shooter sevens-out (in most cases) relatively quickly. It is rare to get on a “run” of darksider good luck on a single shooter. Rightsiders do not have that problem. One hot or blazingly hot shooter can bring in the big bucks.

I am not sure that what I am about to write is absolutely true but my experience with darksiders shows them to be somewhat quiet (my friend calls them “sneaky”) when they play. They tend to take the end-table positions and many of them will not shoot the dice when it is their turn.

Rightsiders will delight in a darksider taking the dice and then hitting point after point; in short, losing money on his own roll.

Only a few times in my quarter century of play (and that entails 130 days in some years) have I seen darksiders cheering and screaming at a table. Needless to say, the rightsiders quickly left that particular table. Cheering is not usually in the darksiders’ responses to the game.

My best advice to darksiders is relatively simple. It goes step-by-step as follows:

  1.  Wait for the new shooter to establish his point.
  2.  Then make a “don’t come” bet. If the shooter rolls a 7; he loses but you also lose. The good news is that a new shooter takes the dice.
  3.  If the shooter rolls an 11, you lose. DO NOT make any more bets on this shooter. Wait for the next shooter.
  4.  When the bet goes on a number take the maximum odds (or the odds that you can afford).
  5.  Do not make any other bets.
  6.  If the shooter rolls a 7, you win. Wait for the next shooter to establish his point and proceed to bet the same way as above.
  7.  If the shooter hits his point; do not make any more bets against this shooter.


In short, you making one bet per shooter. This is a safe, money-efficient way to play. No single shooter can destroy you. It would take a fairly long series of shooters to do you any devastating damage.

So do you think you want to go the darkside? It will take a little bit of courage—the kind of courage our astronauts displayed when they went to the dark side of the moon.

Frank Scoblete’s newest books are I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage- Play Craps!, I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack! and Confessions of a Wayward Catholic. Frank’s books are available on, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.

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