If you step into a casino for the first time and follow the noise, you no doubt end up at the craps table. Craps is fast, loud, and the heart of any casino action. Despite all its heart-punding nature, craps can be one of the best casino games. Because depending on which bets you make, the casino advantage can be as low as 1% or lower. Although the game may seem daunting and complicated, it is pretty easy to play. After all, in essence, you will be betting on the outcome of two rolling dice, the heart of the game.
This article gives you the lowdown on craps. You will learn how to play craps and what are the best and worst bets to place. So, join me and let your ears lead the way. Get ready to rock and roll!
What Is Craps and Where Does It Come From?
As I have said, craps is a casino table game where you bet on the probability of the outcome of a pair of rolling dice. You can bet against other players, known as street craps which can be easily played in informal settings due to its simple setup. Also, you can bet against a bank, known as casino craps. Craps is the only casino game that puts you in charge of your hand. In other words, in this game, unlike blackjack or other games, you will not be dealt cards; instead, you select and roll your own dice.
A complicated European game called Hazard is known to be the father of the game. Although the origins of the game are unclear, it has been reported that around 1805, a member of a wealthy family of landowners in colonial Louisiana brought the Hazard game from London to New Orleans. Soon after, the game boomed in popularity during World War II.
In 1960, a few casinos across Europe, Macau, and Australia started to offer craps. The game continued to rise in popularity until after 2004 when online casinos joined the trend and spread the game globally.
Getting Started; What Are The Basic Rules Of Craps?
As I mentioned, the game’s goal is to successfully predict how the dice will land. Although the objective seems very easy, you should know that craps is like no other casino game. In this game, you and every other player at the table may play different games due to the various betting options craps offer. In other words, a roll of a dice may mean a win to you, a loss to the next player, and absolutely nothing to the other. The game is played in rounds, each with two phases: the come out and the point. Turns rotate around the table clockwise. Each player gets to roll the dice until the end of the round. Craps is a crowded table where up to 20 players can play at the same time. Players get a chance to throw dice, but if anyone does not want to roll dice, they can still play by betting on the shooter or the person who throws the dice.
Before making your bets, you should learn how to play craps. The following section covers the game objective and its essential props and characters.
There is a human crew in land-based casinos, and the Boxman is in charge of the craps table. However, in online craps, RNGs make all the decisions and do all the payouts. The live human crew is as shown in the picture.
How To Play Craps For Beginners
As I have said, dice are the heart of this game. Undoubtedly, you know the singular form of dice-die-a six-sided cube with one to six dots marking each one of its faces.
The objective of craps is to successfully predict the roll of dice and bet on the roll’s outcome. To understand your options better, let us do some mathematics.
As shown in the figure above, every pair of dice has 36 possible ways to land on a given roll. In other words, in every attempt, you or the shooter have a 1-in-36 chance of rolling any single combination. But the possibilities are what matters in craps, but the total dice matter. In other words, it depends you get a 6 and 1 or a 5 and 2. Because as you can see, some totals have multiple combinations and specific rolls are more likely than others. In short, in craps, you have the following possible outcomes:
- To roll a 7: Six ways or 16.7%
- To roll a 6 or an 8: Five ways or 13.9%
- To roll a 5 or a 9: Four ways or 11.1%
- To roll a 4 or a 10: Three ways or 8.3%
- To roll a 3 or an 11: Two ways or 5.6%
- To roll a 2 or a 12: One way or 2.8%
Don’t get fooled by the seemingly easy math involved in the game. Craps is more than a game of just dice rolls. Instead, it is a game of dice-roll sequences. The outcome of the game is more than the outcome of a toss. In fact, the outcome depends on a series of tosses, and your bet wins or loses based on numbers thrown in a specific order. The main takeaway here is understanding the difference between throw and roll. The first means a single toss of the dice. On the other hand, the latter represents a series of throws resulting in a win or loss of specific craps bets. In addition to the mentioned lingos, you may hear hand that refers to every roll a shooter has before passing the turn to the next player.
Understanding The Craps Layout
Before laying your bets, you should know the landscape you will be playing on. Craps has a relatively big table where up to 14 players can play at the same time. Also, this is a stand-up game, meaning there is no chair to seat, and you should play while standing. A classic craps table looks like the picture below:
Craps Betting Structure
As you can see in the picture above, there is a craps layout or the playing area where you place your bets depending on the type of bet you decide to lay. Later, I will further explain all the betting boxes you see in the picture. In general, the craps layout consists of the following:
1️⃣ The center section: the place for long-shot bets
2️⃣ The left and right wings: areas for the main bets
Shooter, The Star of The Show
As obvious as its name, the shooter is the main character in the game of craps because she is the player who throws the dice. Everyone becomes the show star during the game because the shooting position rotates clockwise around the table. Every player gets a turn to roll the dice for the entire table.
Shooting may seem scary for newbies to the game, but I definitely recommend giving it a try. After all, rolling the dice is the central part of the game and is fun. Even if your first roll goes off the table and lands in someone’s drink or mouth, the game continues, and nobody would get really upset. Everyone is there to have fun, so don’t take it so seriously. If a live craps table scares you so much, start with online craps games, and when you are pretty confident in your shooting skills, head to the closest casino to your house!
Walking Through Craps; Step-by-Step Guide To Play The Game
Before proceeding with this guide, read the craps layout section and understand the craps table sections well. Craps is a luck-based game. But you must do your homework and understand the chances of rolling specific number combinations to successfully estimate your odds of winning. Although plenty of fancy bets are available in this game, if you stick to the basic ones, you can considerably decrease the house advantage.
Step One: Wait till it is OFF
There is an On/Off sign on the table indicating when you can start playing. If the sign is ON, the game is in progress, and you should wait until the round is over. If the sign is OFF, you are allowed to start the game.
Step Two: Buy in
The game starts with placing your chips on any betting boxes or at land-based casinos by the dealer placing the chips. Typically, the minimum betting limit is $5. However, the minimum and maximum betting limits will be stated on the game info(online craps) or in front of the dealer(land-based craps).
Step Three: The first roll in craps or Come Out
Typically, most players place line bets(more on this later) before the game starts. In other words, players place their bets on the pass line or don’t pass. The action begins with the shooter throwing two dice. In land-based craps, the stickman pushes five dice to the shooter, and she chooses two of them to roll. Now, the shooter throws two dice on the craps table or presses the “roll” button if playing online craps. This is the come-out roll which is the first step in the game sequence. This throw is similar to any other throw, except some specific rules are applied to come-out rolls.
🔎 Natural: All bets on the pass line win even money if the shooter rolls 7 or 11. For example, you wager $20 on the pass line. The shooter throws a 6 and a 5, which is considered a natural(11). In this case, your bet wins and will be paid immediately.
🔎Craps: All bets on the pass line lose if the shooter rolls 2,3 or 12. For instance, you place a $25 bet on the pass line. The shooter rolls 1 and 1, which makes craps(2). In this case, you lost your $25 chips.
🔎Point: This case is somehow similar to a tie. If the shooter rolls 4,5,6,8,9, or 10, the numbers become the point. In this case, the pass-line bets neither lose nor win. In fact, the fates of the bets are determined by the next roll(point rolls). For instance, suppose the shooter rolls 6. Now, she rolls again to make the point(get the number 6 again) or to get 7. The sequence reset if the shooter makes the point by rolling a 6. In other words, the table reverts to a new come-out roll with the same shooter. However, the roll is a loser if the shooter rolls a 7 before a 6. The shooter SEVENS OUT, her turn is over, and the dice pass to the next player.
How To Place The Best Craps Bets
In craps, you have over 100 betting options. As you can see in the picture of the craps layout, the table itself shows the mere betting options every player has. Your craps betting options range from bets with their outcomes depending on a series of dice throws to one-roll bets depending on the next throw. So many betting options mean a variety of odds. Many craps bets involve heavy house advantages. For this reason, before buying in, make sure the minimum betting limit of the table is within your budget limit. You can bet as little as $5 to as much as $1,000 on the craps table.
So far, you should have learned the basics of the game and understood how to play craps(if you haven’t, I suggest going back and reading previous sections well). Enough knowledge about the game basics will help you to understand this section better and place wiser bets. A little heads up, you don’t have to understand every single bet on the craps layout to become a good player. Because some bets have very poor odds, and you should avoid them at all costs. You better focus on the more advantageous betting options, as I will explain below.
The Pass-Line Bet
The front-line or pass-line bet is the main betting option in the craps game. This type of wager is popular because it offers a low house advantage of 1.41%. This bet offers eight ways to win and only four ways to lose. This is how the pass-line wager works:
|Come-out roll||Pass-Line Bet Outcome|
|A 7 or an 11||wins|
|2,3 or 12(known as craps)||loses|
|4,5,6,8,9, or 10||The number that is rolled becomes the point and the next sequence will be point rolls.|
|A 7 after the point||Seven-out, loses|
Suppose the shooter rolls the point before a 7. In that case, she keeps rolling until the bet is resolved by either rolling a 7 before the point(sevening-out) or making the point by rolling the point number. For instance, suppose the come-out roll is 6. In this case, in the next roll or sequence of rolls, your pass-line bet wins if the shooter rolls a 6 and loses if she rolls a 7.
Remember, you cannot remove your pass-line bet after the point. However, you may increase your bet with an odds bet(more on this later).
The Don’t-Pass Line Bet
The back-line bet or don’t-pass line bet is the exact opposite of the previous bet. In this case, you are betting opposite the dice or opposite the majority of people bet. This way, you will be called the Wrong-way better if you bet on the don’t-pass line.
The way your bets win in this scenario also is opposite the pass-line bet. If the shooter rolls craps(a 2 or a 3) in the come-out roll, your bet wins(automatic winner), and you will be paid even money. On the contrary, if the shooter rolls 7 or 11, you lose(automatic loser). If a point establishes, you should pray for the shooter to roll a 7 before the point number because, in this case, your don’t-pass line bet wins. There is a push scenario for the don’t-pass line bet, which is 12. If the shooter rolls 12 in the come-out roll, this is considered a push, not lose not win. However, the casino retains its advantage.
The don’t-pass line bet also allows you to play with the lowest possible house advantage of 1.36%, slightly better than the pass-line bet.
Remember, you can only place your don’t-pass line bets before a come-out roll. Because as soon as the point has been established and the shooter starts to roll point rolls, placing don’t-pass line bets is forbidden.
The Come Bet
As I have said if the point is established on a come-out roll, pass-line bets are only affected by the point and the 7 and it can take a dozen or even more rolls to hit either of these numbers. For this reason, the come bet offers more excitement to players. With this type of wager, every point roll can be an independent come-out roll. But you should know that come bets can be made only after a point has been established for the pass-line bettors. To place a come bet, you should place your chips in the come bet area, as shown in the picture below.
Similar to the pass-line bet, the outcomes of the come-out roll determine the outcome of your come bet.
|Come-out roll||Come Bet Outcome|
|A 7 or an 11||Outright winner|
|2,3 or 12(known as craps)||loses|
|4,5,6,8,9, or 10||The number that is rolled becomes the point. Your bet wins if the number is thrown again in the next roll before a 7. But if in the next roll, 7 is thrown before the point number, your bet loses.|
You can place a come bet after the point has been established for pass-line bets. Let me explain it using an example:
Suppose you placed a bet on the pass-line and the established point is 5. This bet is resolved if, in the next roll, a 5 appears (win) or a 7 appears (loss). Now, before the next roll, you place a new come bet based on the same minimum betting rules as the pass-line bet. Now the shooter rolls 3. Your original pass-line bet remains unaffected, but you lose your new come bet.
The Don’t-Come Bet
If you want to place a don’t-come bet, you are allowed to do so after the point has been established for the pass-line bet. Similar to the don’t-pass bets, these bets are also considered wrong-way because you are betting opposite the dice. The outcome of the don’t-come bet is determined by the next roll. The bet loses if the number 7 or 11 is rolled. However, the roll of 2 or 3 means the bet is the outright winner. Similar to the don’t-pass scenario for number 12, if number 12 is rolled, the bet is considered a tie or push.
After the don’t-come bet is placed, there will be two scenarios about number 7 being rolled:
1️⃣Number 7 is rolled before the come-point is repeated: don’t-come bet wins.
2️⃣Number 7 is rolled after the come-point is repeated: don’t-come bet loses.
The Place Bet
These bets are allowed to be placed at any time during the shooter’s round. To make a place bet, you can bet on any individual number of 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10. If your number is rolled before a 7, you win. The good thing about the place bet is that you are allowed to decrease, increase or remove it at any point during the shooter’s round.
|Craps Place Bet Payouts|
|Number Rolled||Payout based on your wager||Example||House Advantage|
|4||9:5||Bet $5 to get $9||6.67%|
|5||7:5||Bet $5 to get $7||4%|
|6||7:6||Bet $5 to get $6||1.52%|
|8||7:6||Bet $5 to get $6||1.52%|
|9||7:5||Bet $5 to get $7||4%|
|10||9:5||Bet $5 to get $9||6.67%|
|Any other number||LOSS||–||–|
The Field Bet
This is a one-roll craps bet where you wager on a range of numbers 2,3,4,9,10,11, or 12 to be rolled. If the shooter rolls any of these numbers, you will be paid based on the likelihood of each number being rolled. However, you should know this is one of the craps sucker bets because of its high house advantage of 5.5%.
|Craps Field Bet Payouts|
|Number Rolled||Payout based on your wager|
|5,6,7, or 8||LOSS|
|All the winning numbers||1:1 OR 2:1|
The Odds Bet
This is one of the side bets offered on pass-line and come bets. Although you can place them on don’t-pass and don’t-come bets, the payouts will be lower. The bet wins if the point is rolled before a number 7.
The odds bet is considered one of the best bets in craps because the house advantage is zero, regardless of how it is calculated.
The odds bet pays out as follows:
💰 on points 4 and 10: the payout is 2:1
💰on points 5 and 8: the payout is 3:2
💰on points 6 and 9: the payout is 6:5
The Buy Bet
This bet is quite similar to the Odds or Place bets. However, the odds of the buy bet differ, and they are considered to pay fair odds except in cases where you should pay a 5% commission to be allowed to place this bet. Although most casinos charge the commission only in the case of a win, it is based on the total amount of the bet and usually is nonrefundable. The house edge for the buy bet varies from casino to casino, but it will be lower if the house charges for commission in the case of a win.
The Lay Bet
Similar to the previous bet, lay bets are also considered to pay fair odds. Except in cases where you should pay a 5% commission to be eligible to place your bet. This commission depends on your amount of winning and is typically nonrefundable. You can place lay bets anytime and on 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10.
Big 6 & Big 8
This is similar to Place bets on 6 and 8. In other words, you wager on the shooter to roll 6 or 8 before a 7. Unlike place bets, the big 6 and big 8 bets pay out even money. However, this is another sucker bet. Because the casino has a whopping advantage of 9.1%, meaning the house wins on average $91 out of every $1,000 bet. So, if you like to play with something having a 6 or 8 in it, I recommend sticking to the 6 or 8 place bet.
Proposition or Hop Bets
These are known as center bets and are one-roll bets players place on a 2, 3,7,11, or 12. You can place hop bets on any roll of the dice. As you can see in the picture above, the location for prop bets is at the center of the craps layout. Be careful about the payouts of these bets. As you can see, some bets pay 30 to 1 while some others pay 30 for 1. These two are pretty different. If a bet pays 30 to 1, it pays 30 times the bet. However, 30 for 1 payout means it pays 29 times the bet.
The best strategy to place prop bets is avoiding them altogether! However, if you want it so bad, go for it. Remember, I gave you my expert advice because the following hop bets will suck your wallet badly!
|Craps Proposition Bets|
|Prop Bet||How it works||Payout||House Edge|
|Any 7||It wins if the next roll is 7 and loses if any other number appears.||4 to 1 or 5 for 1||16.7%|
|Craps-11||Wager on any craps or 11 represented by all circled C and E s.||For any craps: 8 for 1.
For 11: 16 for 1
|Horn-bets||The bet wins if the next roll is 2, 3, 11, or 12 and loses if any other number is rolled. It may not be included in all craps layouts. It is similar to the craps-11 bets. It is like you are wagering on 4 individual bets with 4 individual chips. So, if one bet wins, the other three lose.||For 3 or 11: 16 for 1.
For 2 or 12: 31 for 1
|The 2, 3, 11, or 12||Wins if the next roll is 2,3, 11, or 12 and loses on the roll of any other number.||For 3 and 11: 16 for 1.
For 2 and 12: 31 for 1
|Varying from 11 to 14%|
|Any Craps||Wins if the next roll is 2,3 or 12 and loses if any other number rolls.||8 for 1||11%|
The Hard Ways
If the number you wager on comes as a pair, it is known as hard. Hard-way bets have 4 different options to bet on 4, 6, 8, and 10 numbers. The bet wins if the number rolls as a pair and loses if the number comes easy. For instance, you wager on hard 6; if the shooter rolls two 3s(hard 6), your hard-way bet wins, but if 4 and 2(easy 6) are rolled, you lose.
Unlike proposition bets which are one-roll bets, hard-way bets are multi-roll bets. This means they stay on the table until they are solved one way or another. Among all the mentioned sucker bets, hard ways are the worst due to a 9 to 11% house advantage.
Craps Betting Tips For Beginners
✅Practice on free games first before you play for real money.
✅Use online casinos to practice.
❌Avoid craps tables with minimum bets limits that are more than your bankroll.
✅Memorize possible dice combinations.
✅Take advantage of casino bonuses and promotions.
❌I always say this: NEVER CHASE YOUR LOSSES.
✅four best craps bets are Pass line bets, Come bets, Don’t pass bets, and Don’t come bets. Understand and practice them well before playing for real money.
❌ Know your budget, know how much and when you want to place a bet. Do not waste a lot of time deciding. Do not make late bets.
❌Avoid sucker bets at all costs.
Best Online Casinos To Practice Craps and Play For Real Money
The best way to learn the craps is by practicing online games. There are more than a bunch of online casinos offering flash and real-money craps games. However, I do not recommend playing at sites you just come across. The following sites are the best online casinos you can find. All of them are legit, licensed, and reliable. They offer 24/7 customer support, various safe banking methods, multiple welcome and loyalty promotions, world-class game quality, and more. Pick any and start your craps journey today!
|Online Casino||Welcome Bonus||American Players|
|Betonline||Up to $1,000||Yes|
|Super Slots||Up to $1,000||Yes|
|Ignition Casino||Up to $3,000||Yes|
To Sum IT Up
Craps is popular and loved by many casino players because of its fast and unpredictable nature. More than dozen betting options make it hard to get bored playing this game. If you learn the four best craps bets and practice them well, you will have a fun time playing it online and in a land-based casino. If your bankroll can afford it, you may try sucker bets occasionally. But remember, always play wise and do not exceed what your wallet can afford!