Complete Guide to Craps

Craps TableCraps is a popular game in casinos around the world, but newcomers are often intimidated by the large crowds and excitement that usually surrounds the craps tables. The fear of doing something wrong and looking stupid keeps a lot of people away from the table (NOTE - if that is the case, practice online craps for free).

The rules can be complicated if you want to learn every possible bet, but if you start by learning the most basic rules and craps terminology, you’ll be able to join the craps tables in no time. After you get comfortable with being at the table and making the simple bets, you can start learning more bet types.

Craps is played by up to 20 players on a long rectangular table. Each player takes turns throwing two dice down the length of the table and the outcome of various bets is determined by the dice. The dice-thrower during any given round is referred to as the “shooter.”

Before the dice is rolled, the players place bets on the “Pass” line or “Don’t Pass” line. The first roll of the dice is called the “come-out roll” and this roll is used to establish the point.

If the come-out roll is a 2, 3, or 12 it’s called “craps” and is an automatic loss for all pass line bets. A come-out roll of 7 or 11 is called a “natural” and results in an automatic win for all pass line bets.

If the come-out roll is any other number, (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10) then that number is the point. After that, the shooter will continue throwing the dice until the point is rolled again or a 7 is rolled.

If the come-out point is rolled before a 7 is rolled, all pass line bets win. If the shooter rolls a 7 before rolling the point, this is called a “seven-out” and it results in a loss for all pass line bets.

That’s it for a basic round of craps.  There are many more bets you can make at the table after you get the hang of it.

Craps Bets

Here are all of the most important Craps bets, along with their explanation, payouts, and house edge.

Pass Line Bet

This is the most basic bet in craps and is the first one you should learn. These bets win if the come-out roll is a 7 or 11. If the come-out roll is 2, 3, or 12, the pass line bet loses. If a point is established, the pass line bet wins if the point is rolled again before a 7 is rolled. If a 7 is rolled before the point is rolled again, all pass line bets lose.

Pays 1:1     |     House edge: 1.41%

Don’t Pass Line Bets

This is the opposite of a Pass Line bet. These win if the come-out roll is a 2 or 3 and lose if the come-out roll is a 7 or 11. If the come-out roll is a 12, the bet is a push and the bettor gets his money back. After the point is established, these bets win if a 7 is rolled before the point is rolled again.

Pays 1:1   |   House Edge: 1.40%

Come Bets

These are very similar to Pass Line bets except they are made after the point has been established by a come-out roll. Come bets lose if the shooter’s next throw is a 2, 3, or 12, and win if the shooter’s next roll is a 7 or 11.

If any other number is rolled, that establishes the “come point.” The come bet wins if the come point is rolled again before a 7 is rolled. Come bets lose if a 7 is rolled before the come point is rolled again.

Pays 1:1   |   House Edge: 1.41%

Don’t Come Bets

These are the opposite of come bets. Don’t come bets win if the shooter’s next throw is a 2 or 3 and they lose if the shooter’s next throw is a 7 or 11. If the shooter’s next throw is a 12, the bet is a push. Throws of any other number set the come point. The bet wins if a 7 is rolled before the come point is rolled again.

Pays 1:1   |   House Edge: 1.40%

Place Bets

These bets are placed after the point has been established. You pick a dice roll of 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 and if that number comes again before a 7 you win. If the shooter rolls the point and there is a new come-out roll by a different shooter, your place bet remains in effect. In some casinos the new come-out roll is excluded from place bets.

Bets on 4 or 10 - Pays 9:5   |   House Edge: 6.67%

Bets on 5 or 9 - Pays 7:5   |   House Edge: 4.0%

Bets on 6 or 8 - Pays 7:6   |   House Edge: 1.52%

Buy Bets

These are very similar to place bets except buy bets have a different payout structure. You can bet that any of the points (4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10) will come before a 7. The buy bets pay true odds but the casino charges a 5% vigorish.

Bets on 4 or 10 - Pays 2:1   |   House Edge: 5% commission

Bets on 5 or 9 - Pays 3:2   |   House Edge: 5% commission

Bets on 6 or 8 - Pays 6:5   |   House Edge: 5% commission

Field Bets

These bets are for a single roll of the dice. If the next roll is a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12 you win. A roll of 5, 6, 7, or 8 is a loss.

Bets on 3, 4, 9, 10, and 11 - Pays 1:1   |   House Edge: 5.55%

Bets on 2 - Pays 2:1   |   House Edge: 5.55%

Bets on 12 - Pays 3:1   |   House Edge: 5.55%

Big 6 and Big 8 Bets

Place the chips on the Big 6 or Big 8 section on the craps table to make this bet. This is a bet that a 6 or 8 is rolled before a 7 is rolled again.

Pays 1:1   |   House Edge: 9.09%

Proposition Bets

Here are all of the proposition bets you can make:

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Any Craps

Wins if the next roll is a 2, 3, or 12. Pays 8:1. House Edge: 11.11%.

Any Seven

Wins if the next roll is a 7. Pays 5:1. House Edge: 16.67%.

Any Eleven

Wins if the next roll is an 11. Pays 16:1. House Edge: 11.11%.

Ace Deuce

Wins if the next roll is a 3. Pays 16:1. House Edge: 11.11%.

Aces or Boxcars

Wins if the next roll is a 2 or 12. Pays 30:1. House Edge: 13.89%.

Hardway Bets

These are bets that the number will be rolled “hard” before it’s rolled easy or a 7 is rolled. A hard roll is one that consists of two pairs. For example a hard 4 would be a roll of 2-2 and hard 6 would be a roll of 3-3.

Hard 4 and Hard 10 – Pays 8:1. House Edge: 11.11%.

Hard 6 and Hard 8 – Pays 10:1. House Edge: 9.09%.

Faces at the Craps Table

Craps tables are typically ran by up to 4 casino employees at a time:

Boxman

Supervises the dealers, keeps an eye on the chips and handles the exchange of small chips for larger chips.

Base Dealers

There are two base dealers and they stand on each side of the boxman. The base dealers are responsible for collecting and paying all bets.

Stickman

The stickman stands on the opposite end of the table with a stick that he uses to collect the dice. He is also responsible for bets placed in the center of the table and announcing the results of each roll.

Craps Etiquette

- When you’re ready to join the game, walk up to the table and place your cash on the table. Politely ask the dealer for change when he’s not in the middle of something. Do not hand your cash directly to the dealer.

- Don’t say the word “seven” out loud. It will upset many superstitious craps players.

- Handle the dice with one hand only. If you need to switch hands, set the dice on the table with one hand and then pick them up again with the other hand.

- Keep your dice throws below the eye level of the dealers.

- Be mindful of other players’ chip stacks, especially when throwing the dice.

- Don’t take forever to shake the dice before throwing – it doesn’t take much.

- Don’t try to place let bets.

- Keep food, drink and cigarettes away from the table.

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