Your health and physical condition should be the most important part of your life. After all, your body is the greatest tool you will ever own. On a daily basis you will be exposed to numerous guides on how to improve your physical fitness, your diet and other aspects of your body.
However, one thing you will rarely see is an article, news story or TV segment on the importance of keeping your mind fit and active. But your brain is a muscle that needs just as much working out as your back or your biceps. And one of the ways to give your brain a boost is by playing games. In fact, scientists around the globe have proven the link between gaming and improving cognitive ability.
Some are better than others for your mind, but one in particular – often confined to casino halls – offers you a wealth of opportunities to keep your mind active and your faculties sharp. It’s called craps.
Read on to find out why craps is the ideal game for your brain.
What is craps?
Craps is the unusual game that can boost your brain power
Craps is a game that requires attention above all else. If you’re not focusing on what’s going on, you’ll soon lose track of the game. Here’s how it works:
- When the white side of the puck is turned over, the game begins.
- The shooter rolls the dice and everyone else bets on what numbers will come up.
- Players place a bet on the pass line. This can be either a:
- Pass line bet
- Don’t pass line bet
- Odds bet
- Come line bet
- Don’t come line bet
- If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11, everyone on the pass line wins.
- If the shooter rolls a 2, 3 or 12, everyone on the pass line loses.
- If any other number comes up, the puck moves there and another round begins.
Why is craps good for the brain?
It might look straightforward from the surface, but craps is so complex that it will constantly have you thinking
Most casino games (and games in general) will only test your brain in a one-dimensional way, whereas craps engages almost every aspect of your mind.
The precursor of craps, hazard, relied on players knowing the intricacies of a number of contradictory rules and regulations.
Despite craps being an effectively ‘dumbed down’ version of hazard, it is still a complex game with a lot more rules than standard casino table games like blackjack, baccarat and roulette. Further to that it is a game of strategy and problem solving.
True success lies with your cognitive prowess. As the game progresses, you will be forced to rely on your powers of recall, deduction and your ability to balance risk and reward.
How do I win at craps?
One of the reasons craps is better than many other casino games at enhancing your cognitive abilities is because there are so many strategies to adopt. Craps is not purely a game of chance – strategic skills are key to success. Here are some craps strategies:
- Pass and come, with odds. By betting pass and come with odds, you’re effectively betting with the shooter. This strategy reduces the house edge to the lowest it can be (1.41%).
- Don’t pass and don’t come while laying odds. This strategy is essentially the opposite of the previous one. Basically, you’re betting against the shooter making their point.
- Placing 6 and 8. 6 and 8 are the two most frequently rolled numbers. Picking these numbers mean you avoid waiting for the shooter to establish a point.
There are many other strategies that can clear the way for you to win at craps. Checking out gambling expert John Grochowski’s comprehensive guide to craps strategy could make a positive difference to your performance on the table.
What language is used in craps?
So we’ve already established that craps can help you become a more strategic thinker, but did we mention that craps will also expand your vocabulary? Unlike many other games, craps had its very own lexicon that you must first familiarise yourself with before rolling the dice. Below is a list of some of the most commonly used phrases and terms needed to play craps.
- The Boxman – Quite simply this is the boss of the table, the person that sits in the middle of the table watching the dealers and looking out for cheats.
- Craps – 2,3 or 12
- Yo – Number 11, sometimes referred to as Yo-Leven
- C and E Craps – 11
- Snake Eyes – Two 1’s
- Boxcars – Two 6’s
- Little Joe from Kokomo – 4, rolled as a 1 and 3
- Jimmy Hicks – 6
- Skinny Dugan – A loser 7
- Skate and Donate – 8
- Centre Field – 9
- Puppy Paws – Two 5s
- Natural Winner – 7 or 11 on the come-out roll
What are the odds for craps?
Multiple outcomes are possible in every game of craps. As such, if you play the game enough the concept of weighing up risks will become embedded in you.
As there is a huge variation of outcomes at the craps table, the odds and house edge vary depending on the roll of the dice. The least favourable odds are for rolling any 7 as the house edge will then be a massive 16.67%.
12 and 2 provides the best odds of 35/1 which can lead to large wins, the house edge on these rolls are 13.89%. Pass/Come have the lowest odds of 251/244 and in turn the lowest house edge of 1.41%.
Of course, there will be no one at the table telling you any of these ongoing odds and probabilities. To keep abreast of these, you will need to perform some nimble mental arithmetic – further putting your already stretched brain to the test.
Ultimately, you can’t completely swear by probability. On one gambling grandma’s road to scooping a huge jackpot in 2009, she rolled the dice 154 times without throwing a seven. The probability of that happening is one in 1.56 trillion.
Monetarily speaking there is of course a chance that playing craps will enable you to win a life-changing amount of money. However, the biggest benefit to be gained from craps is mentally and cognitively. There aren’t many casino games that have you thinking and concentrating quite as much as craps.
The basic playing of the game will provide you with a release from the stress and anxieties of day-to-day life as you engage with it a mindful way. The mental acrobatics that the game will force you to compute will undoubtedly test your brain, boosting your long-term cognitive abilities in the process.