How To Play Craps: A Beginner’s Guide
Casino games are a source of entertainment for many around the world. People who spend their leisure time in casinos enjoy the games, atmosphere, and social aspects of gambling.
Craps is an age-old casino game for those who prefer a dynamic playstyle, whether they play craps online or in a brick-and-mortar venue. Here, we’ll explain how to play craps; going through all the rules and possible game outcomes you need to know before you can jump into your first craps game.
Before we dive in, we should break down some of the critical components of craps. Many know it’s a game played with dice, but in most cases, that is where their knowledge ends, unless they’ve played before. If you want to start playing craps, you’ll need to know more than that.
The Craps Table Layout
The craps table seems overwhelming at first for some players, considering the number of fields and options.
On one side, there’s the casino’s bank with chips for betting. Typically, the craps table allows eight players, and the fabric is covered with writings illustrating bet types. Usually, the edges of the craps table have better options for winning than the middle.
The stickman is responsible for collecting the dice and handing them to the player. The stick is curved, long, and designed to gather the dice with ease.
Before the first roll of the dice, the puck is placed with the “off” side faced up. After reaching “the point,” the puck is turned over, showing “on,” and put on the point number. The “on” side of the puck is usually white, and the “off” side is black.
Craps is played with two dice, and opinions on who invented it are divided. The game has a long, storied history in the US, with the first records of the game being played dating back to the 1800s.
Players bet on each roll, but they’re not allowed to touch the dice – that’s done by the stickman. After collecting the dice, that person passes them to the player whose turn it is to play. That player is called the shooter.
A craps table is crewed by four members, making this casino dice game easier to follow and play.
- The boxman
The boxman is a supervisor who controls the box – the central table area. The boxman’s job is to verify the payment and book call bets. Generally, their main job is to control the game.
- The stickman
The stickman’s main job is to take care of the dice at all times. They are responsible for collecting and handling the dice, and call for the outcomes of the rolls. The stickman is also in charge of proposition bets.
- The dealers
Some of the dealers’ responsibilities include helping players place bets on the casino craps table and marking the points. The boxman has one dealer standing on each side. If you want to buy chips, ask a dealer to exchange your money for chips. They are also responsible for payouts and clearing the craps table.
- The shooter
All players with an active pass get the chance to be a shooter. This means they are rolling the dice, and the order moves clockwise. If a player is not the shooter, they bet on the shooter rolls.
How To Play
Although craps rules may seem intimidating and complicated at first, they are easy to catch onto in play, and players can quickly get acquainted with the bets. Let’s explain how the game works.
What Are the Rules?
As mentioned before, the shooter is the person who rolls the dice. Craps betting begins with the first roll, commonly known as the come-out roll, which dictates how the game works for that player.
The rules of craps stipulate that when the come-out amounts to 7 or 11, those who placed a bet on the pass line win, i.e., that any pass line bets are winning bets. In cases when the come-out is 2, 3, or 12, those who placed a bet on the pass line lose the bet instantly. When the come-out equals numbers other than 7, 11, 2, 3, or 12, the number is “the point.”
The shooter’s aim is to match that number before getting a 7. If they manage that, they win, and other players lose the game. All you need is a bit of training to develop your own craps strategy and make the most out of this game.
Types of Bets
Craps is one of the most diverse casino games in terms of the bets available – there are more than 40. We’ll present the most common ones:
- Pass line bet
If you’re looking for a quick game demonstration, the pass line bet (sometimes called a front line bet) would be a good start. Players win or lose automatically. When the shooter rolls a 7 or 11 on the initial (come-out) roll, they instantly win. If their come-out score at the craps table amounts to 2, 3, or 12, they lose.
Apart from these numbers, everything else is “the point,” and when the shooter gets the point before 7, they are the winner. If the shooter rolls a 7 before reaching the point, they lose.
- Come bet
Next in our craps guide is the come bet. A come bet is pretty simple and similar to the pass line. You win if you’re the shooter and get 7 or 11 on your next roll. If you get 2, 3, or 12, you lose.
If you get any remaining number, the bet is on that number. So, if you get that number before getting a 7, you win. If you get a 7 before rolling that number, you lose.
- Don’t pass line bet
This is the complete opposite of the pass line bet. Put simply, players are betting against the shooter’s chance to get the point before they roll a 7. The pass line and don’t pass line bets are the basics of craps.
Here, rolling a 2 and 3 gets you a win instantly, whereas you automatically lose if you roll 7 and 11 on the come-out. If you get 12, that’s a “push.” If the shooter gets a 7 before the point, you win. If they get the point before a seven, you lose.
- Don’t come bet
As you may have guessed, on the next roll, the numbers 2 and 3 bring you victory, and a roll of 7 means you lose instantly. Similarly, as before, a 12 is a push.
You win if the shooter rolls a 7 before the number, and if they get the number before 7, you lose. That’s how a don’t come bet works.
- Place bets
Place bets are the staple of learning how to play craps for beginners. During the round, you can bet on any number. You instantly win if the shooter gets that number before rolling a 7. Players can decrease or increase the bet during the round, or remove their bets.
- Field bet
The field bet is a one-roll bet, and it’s “self-service.” The player can bet on specific numbers, and if 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12 are rolled, they win. If any of the remaining numbers are rolled, they will lose.
Free odds/lay odds
When playing craps (gambling in casinos or playing craps online), it’s rare to see an even break, but craps odds give you various options to choose from. Even though the name of the bet is “free odds,” they are not truly free because you still have to invest money.
Instead, the house has no edge in this bet, but the winnings are paid out like they would be if the odds were regular. Players need to make a come or pass bet. When the rolls lead to the “point,” players can back that bet.
As mentioned, these free craps odds are paid like true odds. When the point is 6 or 8, the free odds winnings are paid at 6-5 odds. When the points are 5 or 9, payoffs are 3-2. On 4 or 10, payoffs are 3-1.
In some casinos, you can get 3x, 4x, or 5x odds and make three times your bet when the point is 5 or 10. Similarly, you can get 4x when the point is 5 or 9, or even 5x when the point is 6 or 8. Generally, it’s helpful to know more about odds while playing craps at a casino or online.
A one-roll bet on a two will usually result in a 30-1 payout. The house edge is lower if the payoff is higher. Most listings are odds-to-1, but in some casinos, the payout structure is odds-for-1, which includes the bet in the payoff.
With a $1 bet and a 30-to-1 system, you’ll be able to keep the $1 bet and will gain $30 – $31 in total. If players are paid 30-for-1, $29 in winnings are added to that $1, which will result in $30.
Playing craps and choosing the Field will bring house the edge to 5.56% or 2.7%. Players win when their next roll is 2, 3, 4, 9, 19, 11, or 12. Players who win are paid 2-1 when the roll is 2, and 2-1 or 3-1, if the roll is 12, but they are paid even money in most cases.
2 or 12
Here, the house edge is 13.89%, and the payout is 30-1. When players bet on 2, the following roll needs to be 2. When you bet on 12, the next one needs to be 12. If all remaining numbers are rolled, you lose.
3 or 11
To fully explain how to play craps, we need to also mention the 3 or 11 rule. With a house edge of 11.11%, winners get 15-1 payouts. When players bet on 3, they will want the next roll to be 3 as well; when they bet 11, the next one needs to be the same. They lose if they get any other number.
With the house edge of 16.67%, winners will be paid 4-1.
Winners get paid 7-1. The house edge is 11.11%. In this bet, you’ll get three numbers, and to win, shooting the dice will need to bring you 2, 3, or 12.
With this bet, the house edge is 13.89% or 11.11%. There are hard hop bets and easy hop bets: The first ones are paid 30-1, and the latter are 15-1.
It’s relatively hard to win this bet. You bet on specific numbers, and you’ll bet on “7-2 hopping,” for example, or “3-6 on the hop,” and you’ll win only if those exact numbers are rolled.
When it comes to “hard hopping,” the two numbers need to be the same, like 2-2 or 5-5. In cases when these numbers are different, it’s called an “easy hop.”
Whether you decide to play craps online or in a brick-and-mortar casino, we hope this article will help you prepare to enjoy it and place winning bets at the craps table. The rules are easy to follow once players read about the game first, and things get even easier when they actually start to play craps.
While the game is pretty simple at its core, even professional gamblers have been known to lose millions playing craps. When you’ve gained some experience, you can work on strategies for being even more successful at the craps table!
Is craps easy to learn?
Yes. Although the rules might seem complicated, and the craps table may look intimidating for those who never played the game, it is enough to simply read about the rules and how to play to get a general sense of the game.
Many articles online can explain the game in a “Craps for Dummies” way. When players start to play, they quickly understand the aim of the game and how everything works.
What is the safest bet in craps?
One of the simplest and easiest bets to place is the pass bet. This bet is also very safe to play, with the house edge of 1.41%, and it pays even money. When players bet $50, they get $50 back for winning.
Why is craps so popular?
The game of craps is very popular, both in casinos and online, because total beginners can win and gain money on sheer luck. No skills are needed to succeed in this game, and it takes little time and effort to learn how to play craps. This is probably why it’s the most common dice game in the world.