How to Play Craps

Craps is a fast-moving game where players place wagers on the result of a dice roll, or a sequence of rolls. Like most casino games, craps is a game of chance and does not require any special skills or strategies to win.

What makes craps so popular is its low house edge of 1.41% that gives a player a better chance of walking away a winner.

The Rules

In a land-based casino, craps is played against the casino and up to 12 to 16 people are able to play at once. A craps table features a large felt layout set inside a table with high railings that allow players to bounce the dice without them going out of bounds. Online craps games have a similar look and feel of the land-based versions but instead of rolling real dice, you’ll roll a virtual pair.

The game begins when the shooter makes a bet that is above the table minimum on either the Pass Line or the Don’t Pass Line. The shooter then rolls two standard dice which have six sides with numbers spanning from one to six. After the shooter has rolled the dice, the total number of dots on the tops of the dice indicate the “roll.” A game of craps typically consists of a series of rolls.

The first roll made by a shooter is known as the “come-out roll.” When a player has a roll of 2, 3, or 12, it is called “craps.” If a shooter gets craps on their come-out roll, the game is over. In addition, if the first roll by a shooter is a 7 or 11, the game is also over. Each round in craps has two phases: come out and point. Payouts may be made after each roll or in some cases after several rolls. 

Game Play

Craps is a fairly straightforward game that can be learned rather quickly. The first throw, or come-out roll, can have one of three possible results:

  • If a player gets a total of 2, 3, or 12, the player has “crapped out” which refers to a losing roll. The shooter and other players have the option to bet on this outcome but this ends the player’s turn to shoot.
  • If a player gets a total of 7 or 11, the player is a winner and gets to continue shooting.
  • If a player gets any other number total outside of the ones mentioned above, it sets a point. After the point is set, the shooter will continue to shoot until the player rolls the same total as the point or a total of 7. If the player rolls the point, it’s considered a win. If the player rolls a 7 before rolling a point, the player loses.

Before you start playing craps, familiar yourself with the different bets you can make. While you can place bets anytime, the best time to do so is when a new shooter begins. The most popular bets made in craps include:

Pass Line Bet

The Pass Line is the fundamental bet in craps games. If you bet on a Pass Line and your first number total is a 7 or 11, you win. If you have a total of 2, 3, or 12, you lose. If you roll a point (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10), the number needs to be repeated before you roll a 7. If you roll a 7 before you hit the point, you lose.

Don’t Pass Line
The Don’t Pass Line bet is essentially the opposite of the Pass Line bet. When you make this bet you are betting against the shooter, meaning you want the shooter to roll a 2, 3, or 12 on the come-out roll so they “crap out.” If a point is established on the come-out roll, you want the shooter to roll a 7 before the point.

Come Bet

The same rules apply to a Come bet as a Pass Line bet. The primary difference between the two is that you can only make a Come bet once the point has been established. You can make a Come bet by placing the number of chips you want to wager in the designated area of the Craps table. Once a Come bet has been placed, the next roll of the dice becomes a Come-out roll for your Come bet.

Don’t Come Bet

A Don’t Come bet is simply a reversed Come bet. Once the point has been established, the player wins if the total is a 2 or 3 and loses if it’s a 7 or 11. If the total is 12, it’s a tie. All other dice rolls result in a win if a 7 appears before them on following throws.

Odds Bet

If a shooter establishes a point on their come-out roll, any player that has made a Pass Line bet has the option to “take the odds.” This is the best bet you can make in craps as the house has no built-in advantage. A single odds bet is an extra bet up to the amount of your original bet that the point number will be repeated before rolling a 7.

Field Bets

A field bet uses just one dice roll and if the total is 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12, the player is a winner. If the roll totals a 5, 6, 7, or 8, the player loses. Field bets have different payouts based on the roll. A 2 pays double (2:1) while a 12 pays out 3:1. Any other winning dice rolls pay out even (1:1).

Proposition Bets

You can make proposition bets at any time and these bets are all single roll bets except for hardways. These proposition bets include:

  • Craps: If a player throws a 2, 3, or 12, they win. The payoff is 8:1.
  • Seven: If a player throws a 7, they win. The payoff is 5:1.
  • Eleven: If a player throws an 11, they win. The payoff is 16:1.
  • Horn Bet: If a player throws a 2, 3, 11, or 12, the player is a winner and payoff is determined based on the number rolled.
  • Ace Deuce: If a player throws a 3, they win. The payoff is 16:1.
  • Boxcars or Aces: If a player throws a 2 or 12, they win. The payoff is 30:1.

Getting Started

Just a few leading online casino software providers have released popular craps games, including leading providers like Microgaming, NetEnt, and Playtech. 

There are many reasons people are drawn to these games online. Minimum bets are often much lower compared to online casinos and the games can be accessed round-the-clock. In addition, there are plenty of free online craps games that you can use to practice before moving onto the real thing. Once you have mastered the rules of craps, it can be a thrilling game to play. 

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