Craps Game Guide

Introduction To Craps

If you ever find yourself bored with your classic poker or blackjack tables, the craps game can be an exciting new venture. Although the rules and player lingo may seem complicated at first, the game becomes catchy once you get a hold of them. After 2 or 3 rounds, you will find yourself experimenting with different craps strategy plays, from safe “lines” bets to risky “snake eyes” gambles. It’s all part of the fun. But because you shouldn’t join a table while clueless about the inner workings, this craps tutorial will clear up some things for you. We will explore the table layout, rules, types of bets, and basic strategies to get you started in no time!

How To Play Craps

To kick off our craps tutorial, let’s talk about the basic rules first. We’ll leave the table layout for when talking about the bets, but don’t let its apparent complexity scare you off. Everything starts off with a player rolling dice. This is called the “come-out” roll, and the player rolling it is called “the shooter”. The come-out roll can have 3 outcomes: a natural (7 or 11), craps (2,3, or 12), or a point (the rest of the numbers in-between). A natural is an instant win, while craps are an instant loss. But the shooter keeps rolling regardless until a point shows up.

When this happens, the dealer marks the point on the table. Now, the shooter must roll until getting the number of the point again (not necessarily with the same dice combination) or until rolling a 7. A roll of 7 before the point means that the shooter loses and the betting round ends. The roll of 12 is called a “push” – meaning that nothing happens. Neither a win nor a loss. As you may have imagined, many numbers can be rolled between the come-out roll and the end of the betting round. This is where craps bets come in. Craps odds differ from one type of bet to the next.

Pass and Don’t Pass lines are one of the two safest bets in craps. The Pass line means that you are betting for the shooter to hit a natural, or to land on the point before “sevening-out”. The Don’t Pass line, as you may have expected, is the opposite bet. These are placed at the beginning, before the first roll, and remain there until the end of the round. Come and Don’t Come bets are essentially the same thing, but they are placed after the shooter rolled a point. Proposition bets are one-roll combinations, with a higher yield. Place, field, Big 6, and Big 8 bets are also specific combinations, but they only pay 1:1.

  • Betters place Pass or Don’t Pass bets.
  • Shooter rolls either a natural, craps, or a point.
  • Come, Don’t Come, Proposition, and other bets are placed.
  • Shooter rolls until either the point or a 7 appears.

Craps Rules

The most difficult part to wrap your head around is the craps bets and how to place them. The Pass and Come bets, as well as their counterparts, remain active over the entire round. These are the safest options in a craps casino and should be your first go-to choices. But let’s also have a look at the proposition bets: any seven, any craps (2, 3, or 12), ace deuce (3), aces or snake eyes (2), boxcars (12), horn (2, 3, 11, or 12). As we’ve said, high-risk, high-reward. These bets are only active for a single roll. If you miss out once, you lose. The hard ways are a special type of proposition bets. They imply rolling either a 4, 6, or 8 with the same numbers (ie: a 2 and a 2 for a 4). But if any other combination adding up to that number comes before, you lose. Lastly, there are 3 more options you can choose from. A place bet means betting on a number among the possible points. If that number is rolled before a 7, you win. Big 6 and Big 8 mean betting that a 6 or 8 will be rolled before a 7. A field bet is a one-dice gamble that a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12 will be rolled in the next turn. A 5, 6, 7, or 8 means you take a loss this time.

Craps Strategies

When it comes to craps strategy, there are more and less complex options to choose from. Because this is a beginner’s guide, we will skip complicated bets such as the Three-Point Molly for now. Like with any gambling game, you want to minimize the house’s edge as much as possible. The one-time roll bets are the opposite of that, with minimal chances of succeeding. Most craps players recommend staying away from them. Instead, the Pass and Come bets are the most favorable, minimizing house edge to a mere 1.40%. Don’t Pass and Don’t Come have the same odds, but you are betting against the player, so it may result in some frowns at the table.

Aside from those, Place bets may be a worthwhile option. The bet remains there until the end of the turn, so your odds are greater than with proposition bets. Field bets can also work in your favor, but there are big odds of landing the losing numbers, as there are more dice combinations available for them. Lastly, the Big 6 and Big 8 bets are the most nonsensical options in craps. The payout is 1:1, meaning that you can make a Place bet on either of them and get a better payout with the same odds. As a result, some tables don’t even feature these options.

  • Pass, Don’t Pass, Come, and Don’t Come bets are the optimal options.
  • Proposition bets favor the house too much.
  • Place and Field bets can either be worthwhile or not.

Different Types of Craps

As you may have expected, craps has a ton of different versions. For example, the Crapless Craps variation is a game in which a 2, 3, or 12 come-out roll doesn’t lose. The Don’t Pass bet is no longer an option here, and the player’s odds are greatly improved as compared to the original. However, most casinos don’t bother running it, as it is not profitable for the house. Another noteworthy variation is the High Point variation. Here, a come-out roll of 11 or 12 wins 1:1 money, while the rest sets the point. Now, the shooter must roll a number higher than the point and win. Anything lower than that and it’s a loss. The house’s edge is higher, but you may find it more fun.

Tips and tricks for Craps beginners:

If you are a beginner looking to get in on the craps action, we recommend watching 2 or 3 games before playing. This will help you see the rules play out, and understand the game’s dynamics. Next, stay clear of the Proposition bets unless you have spare chips to bet. It can be an exciting, albeit risky play, so make sure you don’t dive into these too much. Be careful with your Don’t Pass and Don’t Come bets. Remember, you are betting against the player, which can ruin the fun for the rest of the table if you overdo it. Instead, the counterparts of these bets are probably your best options. Lastly, check out some advanced strategies online after getting a better grasp of the game. Experimenting with these strategies can be fun, and stands a chance of discovering what works and what doesn’t for yourself.

Glossary Terms in the Game

  • Shooter – the player rolling the dice
  • Come-out roll – the first dice roll of the betting round
  • Pass/Don’t Pass bets – betting for/against the shooter
  • Come/Don’t Come bets – betting for/against the shooter after establishing the point
  • Proposition bets – bets that are only active for a single dice roll

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I play Craps online?

Yes! There are many online casinos offering a handful of variations of the game. The layout is also quite similar to what you would see on a real craps table in a casino. So, online casinos also offer an immersive and fun experience without needing you to be present physically.

Can I use a bonus to play Craps?

Unlike in the case of slot games, where casinos offer a couple of free spins for starters, most craps casinos don’t offer free bets. However, you can take advantage of the deposit bonus, or other cash prizes that arrive in your account. After getting these bonuses, use them as the first bets and play the game essentially for free!

Is Craps a fairly set-up game?

The chances of rigging craps are quite slim, mainly because it is based on dice rolls. In a casino, the player throws the dice, meaning that using a weighted pair is impossible without other players observing. In the case of an online craps game, gambling regulations force the casino to show proof of using a random algorithm for generating the rolls. Otherwise, they are not allowed to function in the first place. So, yes, the game is quite safe to play!

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