Craps is a hugely popular dice game that is played at brick and mortar casinos and, a quick fact, it is the casino game most commonly featured in film and television. At first glance, the game and its table can appear incredibly confusing as a lot can happen quickly. However, it’s actually pretty easy to play the dice game.
If you’re interested in learning how to play, just read on to find out and become a master in no time.
While most people feel overwhelmed when they first approach a craps table or read about the rules, it’s all fairly simple to learn and the table makes it much easier to know what to do. One important thing to note is that at brick and mortar casinos, three to four employees will be standing around the craps table to help out.
They include the “boxman”, an employee who stands at the centre of the table and supervises it, the “stickman”, who stands opposite the “boxman” and operates the stick to move the dice around the board, and lastly, around two dealers who manage the bets, pay the winners and collect losing money. If you decide to play online, most of this will be automated by the computer or, during a live casino game, may be replaced by additional dealers.
In craps, two six-sided dice are thrown by a player known as the ‘Shooter’. When a new round begins, the Shooter will select two dice to roll and make a Pass or Don’t Pass Line bet. Once the Shooter has made a bet, other players will make a bet and the Shooter rolls the dice, known as the ‘Come Out Roll’.
The Come Out Roll will establish a point number and the aim of the game is to roll that number again before rolling a seven, all while other players make their own bets on the outcome of the dice. In craps, each player takes turns in rolling the dice. However, some players can last for multiple rounds while others will last for just one round.
Now that you know all about the dealers and how the game starts, it’s time to take a look at the craps table. When you first glance at the table, you’ll notice that it has a dozen different boxes, each with its own meaning. This is what generally confuses new players and puts them off playing. But once we’re done with you, you’ll know exactly what each box on the table represents.
- Pass Line: Used by bettors supporting the current dice-shooter, placed before dice is rolled
- Don’t Pass Line: Used by players betting against the current dice-shooter, placed before dice is rolled
- Come: Used by bettors supporting the current dice-shooter, placed after the point is made
- Don’t Come: Used by players betting against the current dice-shooter, placed after the point is made
- Middle Section: A rectangular box in the middle of the table, used for proposition bets
- Field: Used by players betting on specific numbers to show up
- Numbered Boxes: Used by players to bet on a specific number before a specific number of rolls
- Big 6: Used by players betting that a six will roll before a seven
- Big 8: Used by players betting that an eight will roll before a seven
Try and memorise what each box on the craps table means, once you’ve figured it all out, it’ll be much easier to play a round of craps. But before we start, it’s time we explained the different bets.
There are five main types of bets you can make when playing craps and they all involve the boxes on the table, so it’s a good thing you’ve already memorised all of that, right? The bets are:
Pass Line Bets
Before Point is Established: You wager that the dice will roll a 7 or an 11 on the Come Out Roll. If the Shooter lands a 4, 5, 6, 8 or 9, a point is established.
After Point is Established: You wager that the Shooter will roll their point number before they roll a 7. You lose your bet if the Shooter rolls a 2, 3 or 12 (Known as ‘Craps’) on the Come Out Roll or a 7 before landing their point.
Don’t Pass Line Bets
Before Point is Established: You wager that the Shooter will roll ‘Craps’, a 2, 3 or 12, on the Come Out Roll.
After Point is Established: You wager that the Shooter will roll a 7 before their point.
Similar to a Pass Line bet but can only be placed anytime after the point is established. You wager that the Shooter rolls a 7 or 11. If the Shooter rolls a 2 or 3 after a Come Bet is made, the bet is lost. If the Shooter rolls any other number after a Come Bet is made, that number becomes your point number and your Come Bet wins if the Shooter rolls it again before a 7. Rolling a 12 results in a tie.
Don’t Come Bets
Similar to a Don’t Pass Line bet but can only be placed anytime after the point is established. You wager that the Shooter will roll a 2 or 3 after the point is made. If any other number is rolled, that becomes your point and for your bet to win, the Shooter must roll that number again. Rolling a 12 results in a tie.
A side you can only place if you’ve already made one of the above four bets. You wager on whether the point number of the seven will be rolled first.
You wager that either a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12 lands with the next roll of the dice.
You wager that the Shooter will roll either a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 before rolling a 7. If you win with a Buy Bet before the Shooter rolls a 7, the casino pays you True Odds, though the casino deducts 5% of your winnings.
Opposite to Buy Bets, you wager that the shooter will roll a 7 before the number you’ve chosen from 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10. If you win with a Buy Bet before the Shooter rolls your point number, the casino pays you True Odds, though the casino deducts 5% of your winnings
Follows the same rules as Buy Bets but doesn’t offer you True Odds.
Follows the same rules as Lay Bets but doesn’t offer you True Odds.
Big 6 and Big 8
You wager that the Shooter will roll either a 6 or 8 before rolling a 7.
You wager that the Shooter will roll a hardways (Double) resulting in a 10, 8, 6 or 4 before they roll a 7 or an “easy way”, other combinations totalling 10, 8, 6 or 4.
Proposition bets are a group of single roll bets found together on the table. They tend to be much harder and are only suggested for more experienced players.
When playing craps, you’ll hear the stickman yelling out names for specific dice combinations. While there are numerous guides that claim to explain the names of each dice combination, most of them aren’t actually correct. This is because most dealers will call out their own creative names during the game.
However, it’s likely that you will find common names such as Snake Eyes (1,1), Boxcars (12,12) Ace-deuce (2,1) and many more. It’s a good idea to look up several different guides to get an understand of the names, but don’t rely on them too much as the names depend solely on the dealer.
Odds and Payouts
Your odds and payouts depend entirely on what you’ve wagered on. For example, if you make a Pass Line bet that the Shooter rolls a 7 or 11 for their Come Out Roll and it happens, you double your money. If you wager on the point number and the Shooter hits it, your money is doubled.
Come Bets, however, pays even money. Meanwhile, rolling a 3, 4, 9, 10 and 11 during a Field bet will pay even money while landing a 2 or 12 pays two to one. We’ve already mentioned that Buy and Lay bets pay you True Odds while Place Win and Place Lose bets don’t. Lastly, Big 6 and 8 bets pay even money.
How To Play Craps
When playing craps at a brick and mortar casino, you’ll simply need to use your casino chips and interact with the dealers and other players available at the table. It’s a completely different experience when you’re playing online, however, it’s a completely different experience.
But how exactly do they differ?
After registering, depositing and loading up the online craps game, you’ll need to make a wager by clicking on the relevant part of the board with your chips. You can either make a large wager by clicking repeatedly on the same sport or changing the size of your casino chips or you can make combination bets on different parts of the table.
Once you’ve placed your wager, you’ll need to click the ‘Roll’ button. The dice will be thrown on the table and all winnings will be accordingly paid. That’s it! Once done, you can set down your wager and roll again.
Since everything is automated and done by the computer in online craps, it’s incredibly easy to play. In fact, you may find it easier to play online craps that the game at brick and mortar casinos.
The History of Craps
It’s thought that craps date back to 1125 when a noble English man named Sir William of Tyre created a game called Hazard to entertain his troops while waiting to lay siege on a castle named Hazarth. However, other historians believe that the game dates back to the Romans who used to shave pig knuckles into cube-like shapes and throw them to entertain themselves at camp.
Regardless, the game grew in popularity in England during the late 1600s and early 1700s, though it was mostly only played by the rich. The game eventually spread to France where it was given a new name; Crabs. In the mid-1700s, the game spread to the Americas via the French and English with two variations. Though they apparently featured the same basic rules, some features were notably different.
In 1907, a man named John H. Winn, now known as the Father of Modern-Day Craps, changed the game by introducing the Don’t Pass Line bets, revolutionising the game and creating a new surge of popularity. Craps became even more popular when gambling was legalised in Nevada in 1930. It’s even thought that soldiers played craps during World War Two to pass the time.
Today, craps is more popular than ever. And with the help of online guides, more and more people are beginning to try the game both online and at brick and mortar casinos. They’re all discovering just how fun it is, so why don’t you go and give it a try too?