Craps Parlay Bets – How to Play Them & Are They Worth it?

craps table with chips showing parlay bet increments

Craps parlay bets might just be the most exciting bet to hit in the casino, aside from a jackpot on a slot machine, or the ATS at the craps table.

A parlay bet in craps is a strategy where a player lets winnings ride by betting them along with the original bet on successive rolls. It is an attempt to compound winnings through consecutive successful wagers.

In other words – When you make a parlay bet at the craps table, you simply add all of your winnings to the same number. For example, lets say you made a yo bet for $1 and it hits. Your payout is $15 and your original bet stays on the yo. If you parlay, the $15 will be added to your yo bet, for a total bet of $16. If it hits again, your payout would be $240.

How to Make Craps Parlay Bets

To make a parlay bet in craps, follow these steps:

  1. Place an Initial Bet: Begin by placing a standard bet, such as a wager on the pass line, don’t pass line, come, or don’t come bets, or a place bet on one of the numbers. Hardways, Horn Bets, and other prop bets are common for parlays.

  2. Win the Initial Bet: Wait for the outcome of the roll. If your initial bet wins, you will receive your winnings in addition to the original stake.

  3. Parlay the Bet: Instead of collecting your winnings, inform the dealer that you want to parlay your bet. This means you want to leave the original bet and the winnings on the same bet for the next roll.

  4. Dealer Adjusts the Bet: The dealer will then stack your winnings on top of your original bet, increasing the total amount wagered.

  5. Outcome of the Parlay Bet: If your bet wins again, you win a significantly larger amount due to the compounded wager. If it loses, you lose the entire stacked bet.

Remember, parlay bets increase the potential payout but also the risk, as you’re betting not only your original stake but also the winnings from the first bet.

If you are new to craps, learn more about how to play craps here.

Parlay Strategies for Craps Players

Craps players might use a couple of different strategies when making parlays, either putting it all on one number, or spreading the winnings over multiple bets.

Spread Parlay Strategy

A progressive strategy, one where you spread winnings over multiple bets, would typically be used when place betting, or betting on all the hardways.

Parlaying Place Bets – Let’s use a simple example where you use $24 to place both the 6 & 8 for $12 each. If either hits, your payout would be $14, but lets add one unit to both the 6 & 8 instead, bringing them up to $18 each and you keep the extra $2. Now if either the 6 or 8 hit, the payout will be $21, giving you a total payout of $23.

Parlaying the Hardways – Let’s use a simple example where you use $4 to bet $1 on each of the hardways. Let’s say the hard 6 rolls, you’ll be paid $9 and your $1 bet on each hardway remains. You could add $2 on each of the hardways, bringing your new hardway bet up to $3 each. The next payout would be $27

All on One Number

The traditional definition of a parlay is putting all of your winnings on the bet that just hit. Whether that is on a pass line bet, one of the hardways, a proposition bet, or one of the point numbers. This is where the real fun begins for parlays.

Lets say you are betting the hardways, maybe $1 each. Hard 8 shows up, paying you $9, you parlay it and now you have $10 on the hard 8. If it hits again, it pays $90. If you have the sack to parlay that again, it brings your bet to $100 and would pay $900 if it hit again.

Stacking your chips on one number can lead to a big win if you’re lucky enough to get a craps shooter who throws the same number 3 times. I’ve been lucky enough to see it a couple times on the hardways.

Parley Betting Calculator

Use this simple calculator to see how quickly your bets grow when parlaying. Please note, when selecting place bets, the calculations account for you placing all of your money back on the place bet, which is not how it would normally work in the casino. For example, if you have $12 on the 6, your payout would be $14. You wouldn’t put the full $14 on the 6, you would only add $12. So you’ll need to keep this in mind when you look at the bet amounts for place bets

What are you Parlaying?
How many times will you Parlay?
Calculate Button

Total Payout: $

Payouts are determined by local gaming commission regulations, most states follow the same payouts used in this calculator, but these could vary from one jurisdiction to another. The above are from NV.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Parlay Betting

If you play craps for a while, you’re certain to see a craps player making parlays. Usually they are loud, especially if they are adding a lot of money after the first roll. They tend to be loud because they’re announcing to the entire table that they have giant balls.

When a parlayed bet hits, it usually means a huge payout. You can very quickly increase your chip count exponentially with a couple of quick wins. You would see a hard 8 parlay grow from $1 to $10 to $100 to $1000
But on the downside, it is extremely rare for a parlay bet to hit. When making a parlay, you’re also leaving all of your money on the table, placing you at greater risk for a loss on a particular roll sequence.

Understanding The Math Behind Parlay Bets

With two six sided dice, there are 36 possible combinations. Lets use an example with my favorite prop bet to make, the Yo. There are two ways to make an 11 (5,6 & 6,5), which means there is a 1 in 18 chance to throw an 11. The probability of throwing an 11 twice in a row is 0.0031.

This means, you can expect an 11 to be thrown twice in a row 3 times out of every 1,000 rolls.

Using a hard 8 as an example, you no longer need the number to be thrown twice in a row, you just need it to be thrown twice before the 7. But, there is only 1 way to make a hard 8, meaning it is a 1 in 36 chance of hitting while a 7 carries a 1 in 6 chance. The probability of throwing a hard 8 twice before a 7 shows up is 0.0007.

This means, you can expect to hit a hard 8 twice about 7 times out of 10,000 rolls.

This is a very complex calculation, and does not consider situations where the point was hit, bets were off, etc.

That being said, the bottom line is – your chance of hitting a parlay on any number is extremely low. But if it does hit for you, you’ll have an amazing payout.

Final Thoughts

Manage your risk when placing parlay bets, that goes for all the bets! I like to get my initial buy-in back during a roll sequence quickly, then play with house money. You should avoid the common mistake of simply looking at the big payout, take a look at the probability of winning the bet. Big wins can be a ton of fun, but they also come with an extremely low probability of actually hitting.

As always, don’t bet more than you can afford to lose. If you do choose to make parlay bets, do so in moderation. They can be a ton of fun when a table is hot, but if you’re always chasing that big win, you’re likely to lose more money in the long-term as the casino always has an edge.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to parlay a hardway…and I usually justify it by only looking at it as a $1 bet (my starting wager). But the reality is, when you parlay and now have $10 on it, you’re not betting $1 anymore, that is $10 that could be in your rail instead.

Good luck at the tables!

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