Craps is one of the most exciting Casino games around as it is high in Player involvement. You will regularly hear yelling and shouting at a Craps table in a land-based casino. It is played on a purpose-built table using two dice.
Like most Casino games, you play against the House (Casino) as opposed to other players and as there are lots of different betting options you can bet on when guessing what numbers will come up when the dice are rolled, there is plenty of choices to make too.
In this article we discuss how to play craps giving you a break down of craps rules and everything you need to win at the game. This is part 1 of a two part article. The second part being about more advanced strategies and tips.
The Goal of the game of Craps
Players need to guess the outcome of 2 standard, 6-sided dice being rolled and what the total of the 2 dice will be.
The game of Craps is played with a set of two perfectly balanced dice with each die having six white dots numbered 1 through 6. There is an equal chance of each number being rolled.
Possible Dice Combinations:
Ways To Roll
1-3, 3-1, 2-2
1-4, 4-1, 2-3, 3-2
1-5, 5-1, 2-4, 4-2, 3-3
1-6, 6-1, 2-5, 5-2, 3-4, 4-3
2-6, 6-2, 3-5, 5-3, 4-4
3-6, 6-3, 4-5, 5-4
4-6, 6-4, 5-5
Names of Dice Rolls in Craps
Game Session Preparations:
Set your budget – As a general rule, you need enough for 50 bets when playing Craps and other table games.
Choose your table – All will have a minimum and maximum amount you can place on all different bets, choose one where each of your favorites is no more than one-fiftieth of your budget. i.e. if you have a bankroll of $/€/£200, you should be looking at betting no more than $/€/£4 per time
Find a space at the table – Unlike many Casino games, players always stand and do not have a specific area where they place bets – there are many different types of bets that all players can use. This is irrelevant when playing online.
Decide how much you would like to change up and play with – You will be given chips, the sizes of which depend on how much you change up and the limits of the tables.
To begin, the Shooter (one of the Players) needs to bet at least the table minimum on either the Pass Line or the Don’t Pass Line
The game is played in Rounds, with the right to roll the dice by each player moving clockwise around the craps table at the end of each round. A player may choose not to roll but can continue to bet.
Once all players have made their desired bets, the Round begins. Each round has two phases: Come Out and Point. To start a round, the shooter makes one or more Come Out rolls.
Payouts are sometimes made after each roll, and sometimes made after several rolls; see the individual Bet descriptions for details.
Craps Table Layout
We will delve more into the table layout features below in the Placing Bets in Craps section. On the Craps table there are two Dealers, a Stickman, and a Boxman.
The Stickman uses a long flexible stick to push the dice around the craps table, gathering the dice after rolls and pushing them to the player.
The Boxman is the person in charge of the game and has final decision-making authority.
The Dealers cash chips and ensure that bets are placed on the table correctly.
Placing Bets in Craps
Out of 990 decisions at the craps table, you can expect to lose 14 decisions more than you win.
As with any Casino game, there will invariably be swings, both large and small, either way when it comes to winning or losing. In the relatively short time you will be playing, there will be fluctuations in this house edge, so at times things will be going in your favor.
You can place craps bets at any time, the best time to start doing this is when a new Shooter starts. The first thing he needs to do is Establish a Point.
If a Shooter rolls a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 on his/her first roll, all other bets below can be made.
If a 2, 3 or 12 are rolled, all Players will win they are Come Out bets and the Shooter will continue rolling to establish a new Point.
If a 7 or 11 are rolled, all Players will lose their Come Out bets and a new Shooter will be designated.
Pass Line/Don’t Pass Line
When it is your turn to throw the craps dice, you must determine whether to bet the Pass line or the Don’t Pass line. Most Shooters, as well as most of the other Craps players at the table, will bet the Pass line, as it is the basic bet in Craps.
The Pass line bet is an even-money bet that wins if you either roll a total of 7 or 11 on the Come-Out roll or if you throw a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 on the Come-Out roll and repeat that number before you roll a 7. The Pass line bet loses if the Come-Out roll is a 2, 3, or 12 (known as “craps”) or when a 7 is rolled before the established Point Number is repeated.
A Pass Line bet can be made at any time during a Shooter’s roll, even after he has established a Point. However, a bet placed on the Pass Line after a Point has been established is a very poor bet, since you have missed the opportunity to win on the Come-Out roll when the shooter throws a 7 or an 11. The only way you can now win is if the shooter repeats his point before he Sevens-Out.
A Come bet is identical to a Pass line bet, with one exception: A Come bet may be made on every throw of the dice once the Shooter has established a Point. A Come bet is made by placing the number of chips you wish to wager in the designated Come area of the Craps layout.
Once you place a Come bet, the very next roll of the dice becomes the Come-out roll for that bet. Therefore, if the Shooter rolls a 7, you will win even though Pass line betters will lose. If an 11 is rolled, you will win while the Line bets will not be affected. However, should one of the Craps numbers come up (2, 3 or 12) you will lose, but the Line bets will be unaffected.
If the Shooter throws one of the Box numbers on the first roll of the dice after you’ve made a Come bet, this number becomes an established Point for your Come bet. To win this bet, your Come point must be repeated before a 7 is rolled.
Once a Point has been established for your Come bet, the Dealer will move the chips you have bet to the corresponding numbered box on the Craps layout to await a decision for that Point. When you win a Come bet, the Dealer will pay you off by placing your original bet, along with your winnings, in the Come section of the layout. If you do not immediately retrieve your chips, they will be in action on the next roll of the dice as a new Come bet (this is collected for you automatically when playing online).
The Don’t-Pass Line Bet
We know that a Pass line bet is simply a wager that the Shooter will win. But you also can bet that the shooter will fail to make a pass and thus lose.
The Don’t Pass line bet wins when the Shooter throws a Craps of 2 or 3, but not 12, on the Come-Out roll, or when he rolls a 7 before repeating his established Point number. This bet loses when the Come-Out roll is a 7 or 11, or when the Shooter repeats his Point number before rolling a 7.
The Don’t Pass line bet is the exact opposite of a pass line with one exception: Although a roll of 12 on the Come out loses for Pass line betters, it is not a winning number for Don’t Pass betters. It is a stand-off and neither wins nor loses. This is because if Don’t Pass betters were permitted to win in this situation, they would have an advantage over the house. So by barring (disallowing) the number 12 on the Come-Out roll, the casinos retain a small edge. Some casinos bar the number 2, but the effect is exactly the same.
Unlike a Pass line bet, a Don’t Pass bet can be removed after a Point number has been established on the Come-Out roll. Once a Point is established you have an advantage over the house, thus the casino has no objections to your taking down the bet. Of course, you should never do this. After going up against an 8 to 3 house edge on the Come-Out roll, you will have an overall average advantage of 18.8% after a Point has been established.
Laying the Odds
When the Shooter establishes a Point number on the Come-Out roll, players who have made Don’t Pass line bets are permitted to Lay the Odds. In the same way, Don’t Come bets are the exact opposite of Come bets (with the exception of a 12 is rolled on the Come bet), the Laying the Odds bet is the exact opposite of an Odds bet (which no exceptions).
Correct payoffs for Lay Odds bets are as follows:
Points 4 and 10 pay 1-to-2
Points 5 and 9 pay 2-to-3
Points 6 and 8 pay 5-to 6
Don’t Come Bets
Don’t Come bets can be placed on every throw of the dice after a Point has been established. After you have placed a Don’t Come bet, the very next throw of the dice becomes the Come-Out roll for that bet. If the Shooter rolls a Craps number of 2 or 3, you will win while Don’t Pass line betters will not be affected. If a 7 is rolled, you will lose and bets on the Don’t Pass will win. You also will lose if an 11 is thrown, although this number will not have a bearing on Don’t Pass bets. A roll of 12 is a stand-off.
These bets can be made at any time and, they are all one roll bets.
Any Craps: Wins if a 2, 3 or 12 is thrown. Payoff 7:1
Any Seven: Wins if a 7 is rolled. Payoff 4:1
Eleven: Wins if a 11 is thrown. Payoff 15:1
Ace Duece: Wins if a 3 is rolled. Payoff 15:1
: it acts as the bets on 2, 3, 11 and 12 all at once. Wins if one of these numbers is rolled. The payoff is determined according to the number rolled. The other three bets are lost.
This is a bet on a specific double coming out on the next roll. For example, if a player is putting money on the hard 6 the player is betting that the shooter will roll a 3,3. You can only bet on 2:2, 3:3, 4:4 or 5:5, and you are betting on a specific double to appear and not covering all of them.
Best Craps Bets
Taking the Odds
When the Shooter establishes a Point on the Come-Out roll, any player who has made a Pass line bet is allowed to “take the Odds.” A single Odds bet is an additional bet, up to the amount of your original bet, that the Point number will be repeated before a 7 is rolled.
*Important* The “Odds Bet” is the best one you can make in the game of Craps because the house has no built-in advantage.
The Odds bet not only hasn’t any house edge associated with it, but also has no official designated space on the Craps table. Therefore, to take the Odds, you must place the appropriate amount of chips behind your Pass line bet in the open area of the Craps layout (this is also the same when playing online).
The correct payoff for Odds bets varies from Point number to Point number, depending on the odds of a 7 being rolled before a particular point is repeated. Correct odds payoffs are as follows:
Points 4 and 10 pay 2-to-1
Points 5 and 9 pay 3-to-2
Points 6 and 8 pay 6-to-5
Pass Line/Come Bet
251 to 244
1 to 1
Don’t Pass/Don’t Come Bet
976 to 949
1 to 1
Pass Line Odds/Come Bet Odds/Buy Bets (5% commission)
Numbers 4 or 10
2 to 1
2 to 1
Numbers 5 or 9
3 to 2
3 to 2
Numbers 6 or 8
6 to 5
6 to 5
Don’t Pass Odds/Don’t Come Bet Odds/Lay Bets (5% commission)