How To Play Craps Like a Pro: Basics, Rules, & Strategies
Learning how to play craps can be an immensely exciting experience for any gambler. A game that developed from the western European game of Hazard, this dice game has origins that may date as far back as the Crusades. Eventually, the popularity of craps exploded during World War II, making it one of the most popular casino games today.
In this guide, we will be delving into the basics, rules, and strategies of the game.
What is Craps?
Craps is a dice game where players can wager against the bank or other players on the outcomes of a pair of dice. Since this game requires very little equipment, the term “street craps” refers to a game of craps played in an informal setting.
One of the main highlights of this game is the high payouts offered by operators along with the fact that it is one of the only casino games where there is 0% house edge.
Although many gamblers steer away from craps for fear of its complexity, craps is actually quite an easy game to learn. Since craps rules are fairly straightforward, all players need to know when playing for the first time is the goal of the game.
In craps, players bet on the outcome of a pair of rolled dice. Since they are not able to influence the outcome, craps is considered to be a purely luck-based game.
The most complex element in craps would be the choice of wagers as it is based on the potential outcome of the dice. Beginners are recommended to take it slow without trying to learn all the wagers in one go. Instead, learn the basics and understand the game as you go!
The Craps Table
Like many other dice games, craps has a specially designed table layout for gamblers to place their bets. In a traditional casino, the dice in this table game is rolled by one of the players, known as the “shooter”. This role generally changes at the end of each round so each player gets the chance to roll the dice.
Be it an online or physical game, any player can place their bets by putting the chips on the craps table. In a traditional casino, the table is run by the:
- Boxman – In charge of exchanging players’ cash for chips, supervising, and overseeing the game.
- Stickman – In charge of the dice by moving them around the table using a stick, passing the dice to the shooter at the start of each round, and calling out the outcome of each roll.
- Base Dealers – In charge of paying winning bets and collecting wagers. They can also place a bet on behalf of a player.
Before each round, the game begins with the first roll known as a “come out roll” where the shooter must place a bet before rolling the dice on either the don’t pass line or pass line. If the total value is 2, 3, or 12, the player “craps out” and the round ends. Gamblers will lose their pass line bets and win their don’t pass bets.
If the total is 7 or 11, the round is also over. Any other value allows the player to continue to the next stage. The shooter continues to roll the dice while other players place bets until a 7 or point value is reached. Once that occurs, the round ends and a new come out roll is made. Generally, this is where the dice roll passes on to the next shooter.
Here is a table that shows the names used to describe the outcome of the dice roll.
|2||Ace Deuce||Hard Four|
|3||Easy Four||Five (Fever Five)||Hard Six|
|4||Five (Fever Five)||Easy Six||Natural / Seven Out||Hard Eight|
|5||Easy Six||Natural / Seven Out||Easy Eight||Nine (Nina)||Hard Ten|
|6||Natural / Seven Out||Easy Eight||Nine (Nina)||Easy Ten||Yo (Yoleven)||Boxcars / Midnight|
Rolling the Dice
When playing at a land-based casino, there are requirements when it comes to rolling the dice. Dealers will insist that the shooter roll the dice with one hand. The dice must also bounce off the far wall of the table to keep the game fair by preventing shooters who are making a “controlled shot”.
Placing Bets in Craps: A Step-by-Step Guide
There are several betting options available in craps. They include:
The shooter in the game has to make either a “pass line” or a “don’t pass” bet. These bets are optional for other players.
Pass Line Bet
The pass line bet is the most common bet in craps. This is when players place a bet in the pass line area on the table. Once the shooter rolls the dice, here are what the outcomes mean:
- 7 or 11 – An automatic win for all players who have placed a pass line bet. This outcome ends the game and the next round begins with a new shooter and come out roll.
- 2, 3, or 12 – An automatic loss for all players who have placed a pass line bet. This outcome also ends the game and the next round begins with a new shooter and come out roll.
- 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 – These outcomes establish a point with no player winning or losing their bets. The game moves on to part two (as explained below).
Don’t Pass Bet
For the “Don’t Pass” bet, you are betting against the shooter. In this bet, here are what the outcomes entail:
- 2 or 3 – An automatic win, paying 1:1 to the player.
- 7 or 11 – Unlike the pass line bet, a 7 or 11 is an automatic loss.
- 12 – A total of 12 is a push for players who bet on “don’t pass”. It means you get your bet back without winning or losing.
- 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 – Like the “pass line” bet, these outcomes establish a point with no one winning or losing. The game then moves on to part two (as explained below).
Part Two: Playing the Point
Part two in craps only begins when the roll ends up at 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 points. This is when the game becomes even more interesting as this is where you play the point. In these outcomes, the stickman flips a button on the table to “ON” and places it on the designated outcome.
For example, in a come out roll of 5, the dealer flips the button to “ON” and places it on number 5 on the table. In a pass line bet, the goal is to roll the point where players are paid 1:1. If a 7 is rolled first, all pass line bets lose. In the event any other number than the point or 7 is rolled, the roll is repeated.
Here are the bets you can make in part two of the game:
Said by some experts to be the best bet in craps, taking odds refers to players predicting that the shooter rolls the point before landing a “7”. Any player who has placed a pass line bet can take odds – some casinos even allow players to stake their bets two to five times their pass line bet.
If you win, the payout depends on the point as seen in the table below:
|Name of Bet||Come|
|Bet Placement||Player places on the “Come” line|
A “come bet” is the follow up bet that has the same premise as the come out roll. In the instance the come out roll was a “5”, the shooter would need to roll again. The “come bet” is based on this next roll. The results are as follows:
- 7 or 11 – Win
- 2, 3, or 12 – Lose
- Any other result is the “point”
Don’t Come Bet
|Name of Bet||Don’t Come|
|Bet Placement||Player places on the “Don’t Come” line|
Players can only place a wager on the don’t come bet when the game goes into part two where the shooter is rolling for the point. The outcomes of this bet include:
- 7 or 11 – Immediate loss
- 2 or 3 – Win
- 12 – Push
- Any other result is the “point”
|Name of Bet||Place|
|Bet Placement||Dealer places bet|
|House Edge||1.52% to 6.67%|
Players wager on the place bet after a point is determined to predict one of the point numbers that will be rolled before a 7. The payout is as follows:
|Name of Bet||Field|
|Bet Placement||Player places on the Field line|
|Roll Required||Single roll|
|Payout||1:1 or 2:1|
In this bet, players predict the outcome of one of the seven numbers. The payout is 1:1 for all numbers except when the total is 2 or 12, where the payout is 2:1.
Proposition bets are alluring as their payouts can go as high as 30:1 due to its higher house advantage. Sometimes referred to as center bets, it involves the player wagering on specific outcomes such as doubles.
Best Tips & Strategies for Craps
Although craps is a relatively easy game to learn, it can be difficult to master. To win at craps, there are some tips and strategies that can increase your odds of winning:
Learn the Basics
As the saying goes, “knowledge is key”. This saying also applies to a simple game of craps. By far the best craps strategy, understanding the basics of the game allows you to know what bets are the best to make while avoiding wagers that have a high house edge. This also allows you to spot opportunities so you can make the most out of your bets.
Pace Your Bankroll
Just like any other gambling game, you have to keep calm and avoid giving in to your emotions. That said, the best way to play craps is to pace your bankroll and play with low risks. In craps, the bets with the lowest risks are the pass line bet and the come bet with a house edge of 1.41%, along with the free odds bet that has a 0% house edge.
Understand Craps Odds
When you are learning how to play craps, you are essentially also learning dice probability. The table below shows the odds of each number coming up every roll:
What is the Best Way to Learn How to Play Craps?
The best way to learn how to play craps is to play free games online. After reading the guide and understanding the basics and strategies of the game, look for a trusted site that offer free craps games.
Start by playing free games. This is important as you do not have to risk your funds on real money games until you have understood the ins and outs of the game. Once you are ready, you can opt for online casinos that offer free credits during sign up so you can play real money games for free.
Learning how to play craps is relatively easy, but mastering the game to make profit can take some time. If you are a beginner at the game, be sure to take advantage of free craps games online to gain a better understanding of the game before making the commitment with real money.
What is the best bet in craps?
There are three great wagers you can make in craps and they have the lowest house edge. They include the free odds bet that has a 0% house advantage and the pass line and come bet that has a house edge of 1.41%.
How do you roll the dice in craps?
In online craps, you roll the dice by clicking on the “roll” button. In traditional casino craps, the Stickman gives you five dice of which you choose two. Then aim the dice towards the back of the table and throw the dice so they bounce off the back.
Are online craps fair?
Yes, if you are playing with a reputable site, online craps games are fair as they are based on random number generators (RNGs) that recreate the randomness of craps games. This maintains a fair and honest gaming environment for bettors. The honesty of these games are often regulated by independent bodies that conduct frequent checks.
How do you win at craps?
There is no guarantee to win at craps as it is purely a luck-based game. However, there are steps players can take to improve their likelihoods of winning. This includes pacing their craps bets, increasing bets when the odds of winning increases, and understanding how the game works.