If there’s one game in the casino that scares more players away than any other, it’s craps. The action moves fast, there are too many bets to keep track of, and even having to throw the dice can be intimidating. But in reality, craps is a fun game that doesn’t require a lot of knowledge to play. In a real world casino, learning how to play craps will let you play one of the most social games in the casino. Even if you learn craps so you can play it in an online casino, it’s well worth it; the game has one of the lowest house edges around, making it an excellent value no matter where you play.
Craps Rules A game of craps begins with one player – the shooter – throwing a pair of dice down the craps table. Before this first roll (known as the come out roll), most players will make the pass line bet, and we’ll talk about the rest of the action in terms of that bet. When the dice come to rest after being thrown, the result is the total of both dice added together. If the result is 7 or 11, all pass line bets immediately win even money. If the result is 2, 3 or 12, all pass line bets immediately lose. If any other number is rolled, that number becomes the «point.» Once the shooter has rolled a point, that shooter continues rolling the dice until they either roll the point a second time, or they roll a 7. If the point is rolled first, the pass line bet wins even money. If the shooter rolls a 7, all pass line bets lose.
Playing the pass line bet also gives you the opportunity to «take the odds» behind the pass line after the shooter rolls a point. Each table has different limits for how much more money you can place behind the pass line after a point is rolled; limits can range from 3x to 100x the initial pass line bet. The odds pay better money than the pass line bet itself; if the shooter rolls the point before a 7, the odds pay out depending on what the point was, according to the following chart: 6 or 8: 6-5 5 or 9: 3-2 4 or 10: 2-1 The Craps Don’t Pass Bet Another basic craps betting option is the don’t pass bet. If you make the don’t pass bet, then you’re essentially betting the opposite of the pass line bet. On the come out roll, the don’t pass bet loses on a 7 or an 11, wins on a 2 or a 3, and pushes on a 12. If the shooter rolls a point, the don’t pass bet wins if the shooter rolls a 7 before rolling the point again. Just like on the pass line, you can put odds behind the don’t pass bet (usually referred to as laying the odds).
These odds bets win if a 7 is rolled before the point, and pay out at the opposite payouts of the pass line odds bets: 6 or 8: 5-6 5 or 9: 2-3 4 or 10: 1-2 Craps Strategy Craps offers some of the best bets in the casino, as long as you stick to some of the more basic bets on the table. The pass line bet offers a house edge of just 1. 41%, while the don’t pass bet has a house edge of about 1. 36%. While the don’t pass bet offers fractionally better odds, it also means you’ll be rooting against the rest of the table; if you’re playing in a live casino with a big group of players, you might prefer staying on the same team as everyone else rather than have the slightly better odds. However, the biggest advantage to playing either of these bets comes with the additional odds bet you get to make behind the initial bets. When you take or lay the odds, those bets come with absolutely no house edge! That’s right: the odds bets are an entirely fair bet between the casino and the player. The house’s edge comes only from the initial pass line or don’t pass bet. The combined house edge on all the money you will bet on the pass line and behind it is under 1%. Other Craps Bets Here’s a rundown of some of the other common craps bets you can make at the table. Come/Don’t Come: While most of these other bets are sucker bets, the come and don’t come bets are simply the same as pass and don’t pass – only they’re made on a roll other than on the come out roll. They carry the same house edges as the pass and don’t pass bets. Place: A place bet is similar to an odds bet, only you can make it any time you want on any «point» of your choosing (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10). You don’t have to make a pass line bet to make a place bet. However, the place bet offers lower odds than the odds bets do, and carry house edges of between 1. 5% and 6. 7%, depending on the point. You can also make place bets to lose, which are the equivalent of laying the odds. Hard Way: You can make a bet that a pair will be rolled to make a 4, 6, 8 or 10 before the shooter rolls a 7 or that number in another way. For instance, if you bet on 8 the hard way, you win if the shooter rolls a pair of fours before rolling a 7 or any other 8. These hard way bets usually carry house edges of 9 to 11%. Field: The field bet is a bet that the next roll will be a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12. If the next roll is a 3, 4, 9, 10 or 11, the bet pays even money. On a 2, the bet pays 2-1, and on a 12, 3-1 (some casinos change which of these bets pays more). Under these rules, the field bet has a house edge of 2. 8%.