Online Craps versus Live Craps: Is Playing Online Safe and Fair?

Y ou see the flashing advertisements on my website for online craps casinos and you wonder if they’re legitimate, safe, and fair.  You might also wonder how playing craps online compares to playing at a live table.  If you’re new to the game, those are good, tough questions you should ask.  Let’s look briefly at some of the key pros and cons of each, and then we’ll talk about the fairness issue.

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Let’s face it; the honest truth is that nothing beats the fun and excitement of a live craps table. Some online casino offer live online craps but it is not what you would expect.  People generally tend to like being with other people and experiencing emotions together, especially at a craps table.  When you’re winning, you like screaming, jumping up and down, hugging, and high-fiving the people around you and you’re generally happy that other people are sharing in your success.  When you’re losing, misery loves company.  However, even if you’re the type who loves people, you occasionally just want to get away from everyone and be alone.  No matter how much you might enjoy being with other people, you sometimes have a bad day where every little thing they do annoys you.  Their constant chatting when you’re trying to concentrate on the game, or their smoking, obscene language, body odor, or anything else just digs into your skin and gets on your nerves.  There’s one little eccentricity I have that you may find silly, but it’s something that bugs the heck out of me when I play at a live craps table.  I’m somewhat of a germophobe; I absolutely hate catching a cold.  I hate everything about a cold from the sore throat to the runny nose.  Did you know that casino chips are disgustingly filthy?  They are.  It seems like every time I’m at a full table, there’s always one jerk with a cold who wipes the drippy snot from his nose or sneezes into his hand, and then reaches down to fumble with his chips.  All those cold germs are now all over his chips, and my luck is that his chips will eventually become my chips.  He bets like a moron and always loses, so the dealer is constantly scooping up his losing chips (i.e., the ones with a ga-zillion cold germs crawling all over them).  Then, when I win on the next roll, the dealer pays me with the chips that the sick guy just lost.  It’s true!  I take special care not to scratch or touch anything on my head for fear of catching that guy’s cold.  I go to the bathroom every 45 minutes and wash my hands like a surgeon scrubbing up for surgery.  Call me crazy, but the last thing I want is to wake up the day after arriving in Vegas with a sore throat that lasts the rest of my vacation.  The point is, I don’t have to worry about any of that when playing at my favorite online casino, and neither do you.

The online casino let’s you play in the comfort of your home, alone if you wish or with your better half. You can choose to either download the casino software or play instant play craps.  I once knew a couple who had a great setup in their bedroom.  The desk was long with lots of room for snacks and wine glasses, and could easily accommodate two side-by-side cushy chairs with lots of legroom.  The exciting part was that they often played together completely naked in front of the computer monitor.  Although playing at a live craps table is tons of fun, one can only imagine the fun and excitement this couple enjoyed while “playing” at their favorite online casino.

I noted in another article that my favorite thing about online casinos is that you can play cheaply and it won’t cost you an arm and leg if you have a losing session (i.e., if you play with the discipline that we discuss in another article).  When playing at a live table, I always buy-in for $100.  But when sitting down for an online session, my strict limit is always $20 (i.e., if I lose the $20, I quit for the night; I don’t keep digging deeper into my account).  My personal online favorite is the $1 game.  I average about one to two hours of play on $20.  Sometimes I lose, sometimes I break even, and sometimes I win.  One of the good things about the low $1 minimum is, you can play cheaply while waiting for the table to heat up, at which time I increase my bets to take advantage of the distribution variance that’s working in my favor.  Ka-ching!  (The importance of distribution variance is explained in another article.)

The biggest drawback of a live table is that most people don’t live near one.  When I’m in the mood for a game of craps, I have two choices: 1) Get on a plane to go to Vegas or drive four hours to the nearest live casino, or 2) Walk 20 yards to the spare bedroom and turn on the computer.  It sure is convenient having access to a craps game just down the hall.  All the little positive things about playing online (e.g., the convenience of playing at home in my pajamas, not having to tip the server for bottles of water (or beer), not having the touch the dirty chips, etc.) make up for the excitement I miss by not playing at a live table.  In my opinion, each has its good and bad points so it all balances out.

You think, “Okay, playing online has its advantages, but is it safe and fair?”  Excellent question.  The first thing I look for are signs that my money is secure.  How many deposit methods do they offer, and are they internationally recognized (e.g., big-name credit cards, Neteller, money orders, etc.)?  How many withdrawal methods do they offer?  Do they have a fraud detection policy in place?  If they don’t even mention such a policy on their website, then I have little confidence that they have one or actually implement it.  Do they use encryption software?  As you know from my other articles, my favorite online casino is the Sun Palace (refer to the advertisements throughout my website).  The Sun Palace uses the latest private/public key encryption, which greatly enhances the safety of passwords and user names making them secure against all third party access.

Does the online casino you’re considering opening an account with use reputable gaming software with a sophisticated random number generator?  For example, let’s talk more about the Sun Palace.  Their gaming software is by Real Time Gaming, which is one of the premier gaming software providers.  To ensure fairness and accuracy, the software uses a complex random number generator, or “RNG.”  The Sun Palace software carries an official Certificate of RNG Evaluation from Technical Systems Testing (TST), which is a company known and trusted worldwide as the pioneer in online gaming testing and consulting.  TST tests the RNG emphasizing the validity of the distribution and unpredictability of the random numbers generated.  TST performs compliance testing to ensure the Sun Palace operates in accordance with current regulatory policies of the jurisdiction from which the casino is hosted.  TST’s compliance testing includes RNG evaluations, game and statistical evaluations, payout verification and reporting, and full security audits.  In short, I feel comfortable that my money is safe and that I’m playing a fair game when I login to the Sun Palace casino.

By playing online craps, you accept the fact that you’re using a computer with a programmed RNG.  What exactly is an RNG?  Wikipedia defines it as “a computational or physical device designed to generate a sequence of numbers or symbols that lack any pattern, i.e., appear random.”  In other words, when an online game requires an outcome, whether in the form of a dice roll or a card from a deck or a keno number, the computer “randomly” picks the outcome and displays it on your computer monitor.  All computer RNGs are not perfect in terms of true randomness, but they’re close enough to being unpredictable that they’re acceptable for use in the online gaming industry.  The point is that the computer uses sophisticated algorithms to “randomly” select the outcome for each craps dice roll.  The outcome of a roll is not influenced by a human sitting in dark basement at a computer terminal.  Having the system tested regularly (as the Sun Palace does by hiring TST) ensures fair play for everyone, both for the casino and the players.

Now that we know today’s reputable online casinos are safe (in terms of our money) and fair (in terms of the randomness of the outcomes), there’s really no reason not to enjoy them in the privacy and comfort of your own home. You can also play Live craps online at some casinos depending on the software they use. So it is like going to an actual casino but via a webcam.  When you feel the itch and want to experience the fun and excitement of a live table, then take a vacation to Vegas and get it out of your system.  After a few days, you‘ll be ready to head home and get back on your computer.

There are tons of online casinos just waiting for you to open an account.  Be careful which one you choose.  Remember, I’ve done all the homework for you.  The online casinos advertised on my website are the ones I prefer, and I think you will, too.  Just click on the link and follow the instructions provided on the casino’s website.  Good luck and have fun!

You can now head over to the table of contents to find more great content or check out the Online Craps FAQ

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Comments 3

  1. Hey guys, enjoying your site and had a question re: online casinos. Are there guidelines you use to recognize distribution variance in online casinos? that is if you’re playing the don’ts do and you hit 2 naturals is that enough in your mind to consider switching to the “do”‘s? or vice versa…thanks

    1. Hi dawgdoc, thanks for visiting the site.

      As noted in the article, a legitimate random number generator (RNG) used by any online casino for any casino game is not quite as perfect as the real thing, but it’s close enough to be deemed fair by gaming authorities. Therefore, distribution variances experienced with an RNG at an online casino are assumed to be close enough to the reality of a live table that we can consider them equal (they’re not actually equal, but close enough).

      When speaking of distribution variance and how it applies to the game of craps, the first thing we accept is the fact that variance does exist. Accepting this fact allows us to accept the next fact, which is that trends do occur because of variance. Accepting this fact enables us to then look for those trends at the craps table. It doesn’t matter whether you’re playing at an online casino or at a live table, the occurrence and frequency of trends are similar between an online table and a live table. (Remember, as noted above, we accept that a computer RNG is assumed to be equal to reality.)

      Therefore, the first part of our response to your question addresses the assumption that we will, indeed, see similar trends between an online table and a live table. The second part of our response addresses the need to define what constitutes a trend. That’s subjective. One person might consider three passes in a row to be a trend, while another person might believe a trend hasn’t formed until four, five, or six passes in a row have occurred. We have no secret formula for whether a set of dice-roll outcomes in a certain period of time constitutes a trend, whether hot, warm, cold, cool, or anything in between. We’ve all experienced and recognized the extreme trends. We all have said, “Man, the table is ice cold, I’m taking a break,” or “Woohoo, this table is on fire!” So, the question is, do you believe two naturals in a row constitute a strong enough trend to cause you to switch gears? Before continuing, let’s get off track momentarily to ensure we understand the term “natural.” A “natural” in craps is when a 2, 3, 12, 7, or 11 shows on the come-out roll. So, when you say, “…if you’re playing the don’ts and you hit two naturals…,” the question is, what were the actual outcomes for those two rolls? Were both outcomes the naturals that result in a win for the Don’t Pass (i.e., 2, 3), or were both outcomes the natural that’s a tie for the Don’t Pass (i.e., 12, when the layout shows Bar 12), or were both outcomes the naturals that result in a loss for the Don’t Pass (i.e., 7, 11)? Based on your question, we assume the naturals 7 and/or 11 appeared twice in a row, which causes you to ponder whether you should switch from the Don’t Pass to the Pass Line. Remember, deciding whether a trend is forming, occurring, or ending is subjective. In our opinion, two losing naturals in a row do not constitute a trend to the point that it would cause us to switch gears. Two losers might get our attention, but we would not switch gears yet. Again, we have no secret formula for recognizing a trend, so we can’t definitively say it’s right or wrong to switch (or not switch) in those circumstances.

      Our best advice is to try the Sun Palace online casino or lucky Red Casino found here (i.e., the ones we enjoy playing at), even if it’s just for fun, to get a feel for the outcomes. That way, you can rely your own experience to judge whether trends form at an online casino similarly to a live table. Please understand that you need to play more than five minutes to get a valid sample size (i.e., play long enough to allow different trends to form; otherwise, your results will be statistically invalid). Then, once you’re comfortable that the Sun Palace’s online game is close enough to a live table, you can up the ante for more excitement and play for real money, even if you make only the minimum $1 bet. Good luck and have fun at the tables!

  2. There are seasoned dice shooters and there are wall slammers at every live table. This is a big factor in determining right/wrong way bets. The sim takes this aspect of the game out. IDK if that is a good thing or not.

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