Everyone who heads to a casino wants to come away a winner. The act of gambling and playing the games themselves can be a great way to spend an evening. But, obviously, the thrill of potentially making some extra money is part of the equation, too.

Everyone knows the house always comes out ahead overall on a given night. However, among the vast number of people who visited the casino that night, there are always some who actually do come out ahead, and everyone wants to be among their ranks.

For some games, like slots, there’s only so much you can do to increase your odds. Craps, on the other hand, is a game where your wallet could benefit from a bit more planning and forethought.

We’re not proposing that you find a way to control the roll of the dice – as we learned from Carrie, nothing good comes from people trying to move things with their minds. But, unlike games with simplified win-or-lose betting systems, such as blackjack and roulette, craps has a very complex library of betting options, and knowing how to choose the right bets at the right times can play a huge role in how successful your game is.

If you go online and do a quick search online of “how to win at craps,” you’ll find an endless list of different strategies, systems, and people who say they’ve developed a foolproof system to win at craps every time. Whether they’re looking for a payout or not, you never know which of these people to trust. Here are a few tips to help you choose the best craps system:

• Understand the basics before you start looking up craps strategies.

For someone who doesn’t know much about computers or understand the basics of how they work, it’s rather easy to be misled and taken advantage of by someone who’s trying to sell him or her a product her or she doesn’t need, or worse, trying to convince him or her to install a program that’s actually a virus.

In the same way, if you don’t understand the essential elements of craps, it will be virtually impossible to tell which strategies might work and which ones are just snake oil. Before you start researching get-rich-quick schemes with craps, you need to understand the basic elements of the game and the terminology of all the different bets.

You might be asking, “If I have to know all the details of the different bets involved, doesn’t that defeat the purpose of looking for a winning system? If I know all that, why would I need a strategy”? The answer is no. Educating yourself about the game doesn’t make the advice of pros useless. In fact, the strategies and tricks that other players have developed are typically based on the expertise they’ve gained over years of trial and error or in-depth study of the various odds and ratios involved.

There’s a reason that craps isn’t an easy game and it isn’t just an instant moneymaker for everyone who knows how to play. Even after you’ve learned about the game, strategists have probably recognized risks and advantages you haven’t thought of, so there’s a definite use for taking in some new theories.

• Don’t trust any system 100 percent.

The game of craps is nuanced, and there’s a seemingly endless number of possible combinations that could appear throughout a round. No system can account for all the variables (at least no system that isn’t hundreds of pages long).

While a planned system can help you know what types of bets to make in most situations, it isn’t foolproof. This goes back to our last tip – understanding the game to the greatest extent you can. Blindly following a system without knowing when you need to change it up and use your own judgment is a recipe for an unexpected loss. While it’s great to go into a craps game with a strategy, be prepared to turn off autopilot and trust your own knowledge if you need to.

• If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

This is probably the first rule that you need to remember when you’re shopping around for a good craps system. You’re an intelligent person – you know it’s impossible to come out ahead on every single bet you place or every round you play.

If anyone touting or selling a craps strategy claims to give you 100 percent wins, or close to it, that should be an immediate red flag. If someone has told you an obvious lie upfront, it brings into question everything else he or she has said.

You should be especially cautious about this with anyone who is trying to sell you his or her strategy. He or she has a vested interest in convincing you to give his or her system a try, and even if you only use it once and realize it’s not working he or she still has your hard-earned money.

Even if it’s a free strategy you’re reading about online, the very nature of gambling means your money is always at stake.

Do you really want to risk your savings or your spending money trying a strategy that can’t possibly work as well as it claims? Some people fall into this trap and bet more money than they should, thinking they’ll double it without a doubt. This isn’t a situation you want to find yourself in when the dice don’t come up the way you expected.

• Look for consistency.

Think about it. What are the odds (yes, that’s a gaming pun) only one person has found the perfect recipe for winning at craps, and no one else has gotten behind it? There is no shortage of people out there looking for the perfect craps strategy, so if one person claims to have found the “foolproof way to win every time,” it’s unlikely no one else has discovered it.

It’s even more unlikely the person would be willing to hand over his or her secret to others because then everyone would be following the system and the casinos would catch on.

On the other hand, if there’s a strategy or an element that seems to appear in many different craps strategies, there’s probably something of merit in it. When you’re shopping around and looking for some new craps systems to try, look for things that many of them have in common.

• Don’t take it everything at face value.

If you believe everything you read or hear, you’ll be broke by the time you reach the casino. Keep in mind the people who developed the craps strategies you’re trying have formed them after trial and error or complex math (if they work well, that is).

When you’re trying to get to know a new system, don’t be afraid to give it a whirl with small bets to put it to the test. Or, if you’re a math whiz, give the theory a try on paper.

Whether you decide to use a preformed system or rely on your own judgment and knowledge at the craps table, just be flexible, study the game, and have a great time while you’re at it.