Craps is one of the most famous casino table games in the world. The tables always draw a crowd and it is often the nosiest place on the casino floor. Of course, if you play online it is likely to be a quieter experience, but it is easily just as fun.
The basic idea of Craps is very simple, all you are doing is betting on the outcome of the roll of a pair of dice. However, the game has evolved considerably over the years, and now it is fairly complicated with many different rules. Nonetheless, it won’t take you long to get your head around it, so read on to learn all you need to start playing this exciting game.
A Brief History of Craps
Like Roulette, the name of the game Craps has a French origin and originally the game was known as ‘crapaud’, which means ‘toad’. Today Craps is played on a fancy casino table, but originally it was played on the floor and people would have to squat down to play it, a position that made them look a bit toad-like, and this is how the game got its name.
Amazingly, the game can trace its roots all the way back to the Roman Empire. While they may not have had modern dice to play with, players would carve small cubes out of pigs’ knuckles and this is where the Craps term ‘rolling the bones’ came from.
Later, when soldiers returned to France from the Crusades the game became known as ‘hasard’, from the Arabic game of ‘azzahr’, or ‘the dice’. The game then moved across the Channel to England where the name became ‘hazard’ and it rapidly grew in popularity. You will even find references to it in Chaucer’s famous Canterbury Tales.
The game soon spread from England to America, and in particular became popular in New Orleans. As it travelled the rules changed and when the ‘Don’t Pass’ rule came in around 1865, the modern form of the game was born, and this is the game that you will find in casinos across the world. There are some slight differences between the land casino game and the online version, and here you will learn all about them and how to play.
How to Play Craps
At first the Craps table appears to be hugely confusing, there are all kinds of sections on the betting area and a great deal of terminology that is enigmatic to say the least. However, it is actually quite easy to understand so keep reading and you’ll be rolling the dice in no time at all.
At first roll of the dice in a game of Craps is called the ‘come out roll’. If it results in a total of 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10, then the ‘point’ is established. If the total is 2, 3, 7, 11 or 12, then the round immediately ends. After the point has been established an ‘ON’ puck is placed on the point on the relevant number on the upper edge of the betting area. From this point onwards, the dice are rolled continuously until the same point is rolled again, or a 7 is rolled.
Pass Line Bets
On the left hand side of the betting area is a section marked ‘Pass Line’. This bet is placed before the come out roll. If a 7 or an 11 is rolled you win the bet and the round is done. If a 2, 3 or 12 is rolled it is called ‘Craps’ and you lose the bet. As mentioned, any other number becomes the point. You will win the pass line bet if the point is rolled before a 7. You will lose the pass line bet if a 7 is rolled before the point. A winning pass line bet pays even money.
Don’t Pass Line Bets
This is basically the opposite of a Pass Line Bet and to place it you need to put your chips on the ‘Don’t Bass Bar’ section of the betting area before the come out roll. You are betting on a 7 being rolled before the point. You will win on the come out roll with Craps (2 or 3), and on any other roll with a 7. If the come out roll is a 12 the Don’t Pass Line bet is returned to your as a push. You will lose on the come out roll if it results in either a 7 or an 11, and on any other roll if it is the point. If you win the bet then you are paid even money.
The largest section of the betting area is marked ‘Come’ and that is where you place these bets. You will win even money if the next roll produces a 7 or an 11. You will lose the bet if the next roll is Craps (2, 3 or 12). If the shooter (the person rolling the dice) rolls a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, then that number is marked as the ‘Come Point’ and the Come bet will be moved from the ‘’Come’ section of the betting area to the box corresponding to the Come Point. If the shooter then rolls the Come Point again before rolling a 7 then you win the bet. If a 7 is rolled first then you lose the bet. A Come bet pays even money.
Don’t Come Bets
As you probably realised, this is the opposite of a Come bet. You can place it after the come out roll in the ‘Don’t Come Bar’ section of the table. If the shooter rolls a 2 or a 3 then the Don’t Come bet will win. If the shooter rolls a 7 or an 11 then the bet will lose. If the shooter rolls a 12 then the bet is returned to the player as a push.
If the roll produces 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, then that number becomes the Don’t Come Point. The Don’t Come Bet is moved from its section of the betting area to the upper left corner of the number box that corresponds to the Don’t Come Point. After the Don’t Come Point is established the Don’t Come Bets will win even money if a 7 is rolled and lose if the Don’t Come Point is rolled.
An Odds Bet is an extension of the Pass, Don’t Pass, Come and Don’t Come bets, so if you aren’t yet clear on them go back and review them. The maximum bet you can place on an Odds Bet is three times your original bet. The Odds Bet will win when the original bet wins, but they are paid at true odds. Unlike the original Pass, Don’t Pass, Come and Don’t Come Bets, any unresolved Odds Bets can be removed from the table during play.
Pass Line Odds Bets
You can place this bet by placing your chips outside of the ‘Pass Line’ section on the betting area, underneath your original Pass Line bet. A winning Pass Line Odds bet pays true odds 2:1 if the point is 4 or 10, 3:2 if the point is 5 or 9, and 6:5 if the point is 6 or 8.
Don’t Pass Line Odds Bets
You can place this bet by placing your chips to the right-hand side of your original bet in the ‘Don’t Pass Bar’ section of the betting area, on the picture of the two dice. A winning bet will pay true odds, 1:2 if the point is 4 or 10, 2:3 when the point is 5 or 9 and 5:6 when the point is 6 or 8.
Come and Don’t Come Odds Bets
These bets are placed beneath the Come and Don’t Come bets, after they have been moved to the point’s box. A winning Come Odds bet will pay 2:1 if the point is 4 or 10, 3:2 if the point is 5 or 9, and 6:5 if the point is 6 or 8. A winning Don’t Come Odds bet pays 1:2 if the point is 4 or 10, 2:3 if the point is 5 or 9, and 5:6 if the point is 6 or 8.
A Field Bet is simply a bet that the next roll of the dice will produce a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12. Put your chips in the ‘Field’ section of the betting area to place this bet. If the roll of the dice produces a 2 or a 12 then you will be paid double your initial bet (2:1). If it produce 3, 4, 9, 10 or 11 then you win even money (1:1) and you will lose the bet if a 5, 6, 7, or 8 is rolled.
Big 6 and Big 8 Bets
In the left hand corner of the betting are is a section labelled ‘6 BIG 8’. Placing your chips there is simply a bet on one of those numbers being rolled before a 7 and it pays even money (1:1). You can choose to bet on 6 or 8 by placing the chips on the relevant numbers.
Place Win Bets
Place Win Bets are on the roll producing 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10. To place then you need to put your chips on the lower line of the box containing these numbers. The bet can be placed at any time, but the Place Win bet is off during a come out roll. You will win if the shooter rolls your number before a seven. The payouts vary depending on the number you have bet on: 6 and 8 pay at 7:6, 5 and 9 pay at 7:5, and 4 and 10 pay at 9:5.
Place Lose Bets
These are very similar to Place Win Bets, except that you will win if the shooter rolls a seven before your number. To place this bet put your chips on the upper line of the box containing your number. Once again the payout will depend on the number you have bet on: 6 and 8 pay at 4:5, 5 and 9 pay at 5:8, and 4 and 10 pay at 5:11.
This is virtually the same as a Place Bet, but the payouts are different. Buy bets are off during a come out roll. To place your bet you need to put the chips in the centre of the number box on the betting area, and they will be labelled with a ‘BUY’ market. If you win a Buy bet then a 5% commission is charged. The winnings are paid at true odds, 6:5 for numbers 6 and 8, 3:2 for numbers 5 and 9, and 2:1 for numbers 4 and 10.
A Lay bet is the opposite of a Buy bet. The lay bets are placed in the square above the numbers in the betting area and are labelled with a ‘LAY’ marker. It is a bet that a 7 will be rolled before a 4, 6, 8, 9, or 10. A Lay bet is a bet against the dice, this means that you win if a 7 is rolled before your chosen number. Like the Buy bet, there is a 5% commission on winning bets. Lay bet winnings are paid at true odds: 5:6 for numbers 6 and 8, 2:3 for numbers 5 and 9, and 1:2 for numbers 4 and 10.
Any 7 Bets
This is a very simple bet on the next roll producing a 7 and it pays at 4:1. To place the bet put your chips in the area marked ‘Seven’ on the betting area.
Any Craps Bets
This bet wins if one of the Craps numbers (2, 3 and 12) is rolled next and the bet pays at 7:1. To place this bet put your chips in the ‘Any Craps’ box in the betting area.
C & E Bets
You will see two columns of the letters C and E and they represent two different bets. A C bet is the same as placing a bet in the “Any Craps” betting area. If you click on the ‘C’ then you will see your chips added to the Any Craps area. The E bet is the same as placing a Horn 11 bet (see below). Click on the ‘E’ to place your chips in the Horn 11 betting area.
This is a bet on the shooter rolling a 2, 3, 11 or 12 next. You need to place your chips in the box where the pictures of two dice add up to the total you want to bet on. The payouts depend on the total you have bet on, it pays 15:1 for 3 and 11, and 30:1 for 2 and 12.
Hard way Bets
This is a bet that the shooter will roll a 4, 6, 8 or 10 as doubles (e.g. 4 + 4), before they roll a 7. You place this bet by putting your chips in the box on the Craps table that contains pictures of two dice that total the number you want to bet on. Rolling a number by doubles is called rolling it ‘the hard way’ (e.g. 2 + 2), whereas rolling a 4 with a 4 and a 1 is called ‘the easy way’. A winning hard way bet pays 7:1 for the numbers 4 and 10, and 9:1 for the numbers 6 and 8.
Basic Craps Strategy
Now that you have understood all the different types of bets and how a game of Craps works, it is time to start putting together a betting strategy. Obviously, in a game with so many types of bets there are numerous strategies around, but here we will just discuss the most basic of them, ones that beginner players will benefit from.
The idea of a betting strategy is to reduce the house edge and the edge will vary depending on the type of bet that you have decided to place. The Pass Line, Don’t Pass Line, Come and Don’t Come Bets have the lowers house edge of 1.41%. This means that they are the safest bets to place and while they don’t offer the largest payouts, they shouldn’t result in too heavy losses.
After the point has been established on the come out roll you can place an additional bet that is called the Free Odds bet and it has a house edge of zero. This is obviously the best bet available to make sure that you make use of it as much as possible.
While it can be fun to take risks, they can lead to sever losses. That is why many people will avoid One Roll bets, i.e. bets that are settled in a single roll. They offer very large payouts, but they have a house edge of 13.9%, so don’t place bets that you can’t afford to lose!
Hopefully now you have a full understanding of how to play Craps. It is certainly a game that can take time to master, but it also offers hours of fun and the chance to win big. Start paying today and see what the dice have in store for you.