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How to Play Craps
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How To Play Craps - Rules & Tips

Learn How to Play Craps

How to Play Craps and Win

Is It Really That Complicated to Learn How to Play Craps?

Craps is one of the most popular casino games. It is a type of dice game that is played against the bank or other players. Casino craps is played against the bank. Many people consider craps to be a complicated game, but this is not true. Even newbies can learn how to play craps just by learning the basic rules and strategies, but despite the simplicity of the game many people refuse to learn how to play craps. Unfortunately, those players are missing out big time because craps provides players with some of the best bets with the lowest house edge available, and craps is the only online casino game where a bet can be made with zero house edge.

Craps Table

The Craps Table Layout

Most craps tables played on today have a double layout--layouts at both ends of the table that are exact mirrors of each other. The game is set up this way to allow for more players at one table. The layout may look confusing for beginners learning how to play craps because there are many different bets that can be made. In fact, all you need to know about how to win at craps are basic bets since complicated bets have higher house edge. You can also play free craps online to practice basic craps bets and strategy.

Puck OFF
waiting for come out roll
Puck ON
ongoing game with point 4

Playing Craps

Let’s make learning how to play craps really easy to understand by stripping away the betting part first and just by focusing on the game’s mechanics--the basic rules of a craps’ game. First of all, if you look at the table, you will see a “puck,” in which the top side would either be black (OFF) or white (ON).  If it is white, then that means that there is an ongoing game taking place. If it is black, then that means the game has not yet started. As you can see so far, craps is a game of rounds.

Essentially, there is only one person who will actually be “playing,” and that is the shooter, who is the one holding the dice. All of the other people at the table will either be betting for, or against the outcome of the shooter’s throws

The game starts when the shooter rolls the dice for the first time, which is called the “come out roll” and either one of these scenarios could occur:

  • If a 7 or an 11 comes out then it’s an automatic win for the shooter (in case of pass line bet).  He also gets to keep the dice and is thereby entitled to another ‘come out roll’.
  • If he shoots a 2, 3, or a 12, then he automatically loses the game, which is called “Craps”. He still gets to keep the dice, and is still entitled to another ‘come out roll’. 
  • Now, if he shoots a number other than those mentioned before, then the puck will be flipped over, showing the white (ON) side instead of the black, and the real game begins to decide which player wins. The puck will then be placed on the number on the table corresponding to the number rolled on the dice. For example, if the shooter rolled a 9, then the puck will be placed on the number 9 square, and the number 9 will become the ‘point’.
  • When the game starts, the set of craps rules will change. This time, the last number you’ll want to roll is a 7, and this is where most people that are trying to learn craps rules get confused (7 wins on come out roll and loses if point was already established). If you’re the shooter, then you will keep rolling the dice until you roll the ‘point’ again, or if a 7 comes out.  If the point comes out before the 7 does, then you win.  If the 7 comes out first, then you lose and the dice will change hands.

Craps Bets

When you are trying to learn how to play craps and win, remember that craps is played with two dice so the possible numbers rolled are 2 through 12. A craps play can look confusing and is fast-moving because players can place multiple bets on different areas of the layout at the same time.

Craps Bets

Bets are made by the shooter and the spectators, but only the shooter is required to make one.  There are several possible bets to be made in a game of craps against or for any possible outcomes of the dice roll. They can be as broad as in “win or lose,” or they can be very specific, as in “Craps, Snake Eyes, two 1’s in order to form the number 2”.  The more specific bets will give higher pay outs and the broader ones usually pay out evenly, meaning that if you bet a dollar, then winning will give you another dollar.

Point 4
point 4 with $5 pass bet and $10 odds bet
Point 4 Wins
4 was rolled before 7 pass bet and odds bet win

However, here’s a very important tip for rookies that are trying to learn how to win at craps: Stay away from complex bets if you can. The odds will be against you--the probability of winning is very low. Sure, saying ‘boxcar’ or ‘snake eyes’ is very cool and it makes you seem like a pro, but if you don’t want to go bankrupt after only a few rolls, then only stick to basic bets.

  • First of all, there’s the Pass line bet. This means that you’ll be betting for a 7 or an 11 during the come out roll.  If a 2, 3, or 12 are rolled, then you will lose, just like in the example above.  If the “point” is rolled, then the pass line bets are kept in their place. They’ll win if the shooter gets the point before he sevens out. The shooter is required to make a pass line bet. Try not to pass bet as it is exactly the opposite and is not recommended unless you want to intimidate other players. However when playing online it is recommended craps strategy as the chance of winning is slightly better than pass line bet.
  • Come line bets’ and ‘Don’t Come bets’ are made after a point is established, but they are essentially the same as Pass line bets and don’t pass bets. The advantage is that you can establish another point and take advantage of an “Odds Bet” (see below) on different points as they are established. Of course, the craps rules are strict--until the shooter sevens out.
  • Another basic bet is the “Odds Bet” which takes place after the point is made. The spectators can bet on the point coming out before the 7 does. If you have $10 on a pass line you can make a $10 odds bet or a $20 bet at the double-odds table. This is the best bet you can make at craps because casinos will pay you the correct odds on this bet--there is absolutely no advantage (with pass line bet the casino only has an 0.85% advantage and a 0.63% advantage with double odds).
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Best Craps Books - How to Win at Craps
No-Nosense Craps Casinator's Pick
No-Nonsense Craps
- easy to learn instructions and strategies that can be used to increase chance of winning at craps tables
Find More Craps Books Here
Best Craps Instructional DVD
Live From Las Vegas: Craps Casinator's Pick
Live From Las Vegas: Craps
- information about craps rules, various bets, craps betting strategies, craps etiquette, how to win at craps and much more
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Useful Craps Tips
  • odds bet pays correct odds - the higher the max odds bet the lower casino edge
  • bets with lowest house edge (pass/don't pass or come /don't come with odds) are recommended for regular craps games
  • bets with higher flexibility (especially place and buy bets) are recommended for craps tournaments
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