Craps is an exciting casino game, in which players roll a pair of dice and bet on the outcome. It is a game of pure chance but playing it does involve skill and knowledge, and when played correctly, it offers one of the lowest house edge rates in the history of casino gambling. But it was not created overnight – craps has existed for centuries in some form or another and its rules have changed and gradually developed into the sophisticated game we know today.
Fast-paced and offering tons of wagering options for players, it is one of the most popular games of chance alongside roulette and it is featured in the largest casinos around the globe. This dice game comes with seemingly complex rules and extremely rapid gameplay that may easily overwhelm some casino enthusiasts. In reality, craps is much simpler than it looks and players can quickly learn the basics once they start off with the fundamental bets.
In the following sections, beginner players will find the most important information about craps – its rules, types of bets, and even some of the strategies developed by professional craps players. We have also tried to explain the mathematics behind craps in the simplest way possible, as well as the differences between the variations of the game. Like with all other casino games, craps can be played online, so we have also included a quick introduction to several software developers who have excelled in designing high-quality, user-friendly versions of craps.
Craps Table Layout and Etiquette
Due to the rapid placing of bets, craps is often difficult to understand for bystanders. In order to learn the game, they should first take a look at the craps table and make themselves familiar with the fundamentals.
Sections of the Craps Table
Craps is played on a rectangular-shaped table with U-shaped ends and high edges. The dice are thrown on the green felt of the table by the shooter. Players make their bets by placing chips into different cells, each corresponding to a particular type of bet. This convoluted diagram of cells is called a layout and it is basically the same in all casinos, land-based or online. In the center of the table, players will find the layouts for the so-called Hardways and for One-Roll bets, while the ends of the table have sections for basic bets such as Pass Line, Come, Field, Place bets, and others.
The next thing players should pay attention to the craps table is the staff – typically, there are up to four employees that stand behind the two long sides of the table. On one side, we have the boxman, who supervises the dealers and stands behind the bank. There are two dealers who stand at either side of the boxman and pay winnings to the players or collect chips from their respective half of the table. The stickman is across the table and he is responsible for announcing the outcome of each roll, for passing the dice to the next player, and for managing the Proposition bets in the center of the table.
Craps players must follow a strict etiquette, required by the fast pace and complex nature of the game. In fact, the craps etiquette is so elaborate that it certainly deserves to be described in a separate guide but there are several basic tips for every first-time player – players only announce their bets to the dealers, who then place the chips accordingly; players never take their winnings but wait for the staff to pay them out; and players should also make sure to keep their hands away from the table once the shooter is about to roll the dice. Overall, players are expected to act respectfully at the table and never mention the number 7, as this is believed to bring bad luck.
Basic Craps Rules
The first toss of the dice is called a “come-out roll” and it is considered the beginning of each round. The outcome of the toss is the sum of the numbers displayed on the pair of dice and it can be anything from 2 to 12. Each come-out roll has three possible outcomes:
- 7 or 11 – A roll of the dice, resulting in 7 or 11, is called a natural and all “right” bettors win. This outcome ends the round.
- 2, 3, or 12 – These numbers are known as the “craps numbers” and if the dice show any of them, “right” players lose, while “wrong” players win. The round ends.
- 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10 – If the shooter rolls one of these numbers in the come-out roll, this is called establishing the point. The tossed number becomes the “point” and one or more rolls of the dice are required to settle the round.
Fundamental Bets in Craps
The player who is the shooter in the new round is required to place one of the two basic bets in craps – either the Pass Line or the Don’t Pass bets, which will be explained in detail below. For the rest of the players at the table, these bets are optional. Sometimes, betting on the Pass and the Don’t Pass is called “win” and “don’t win” or “right” and “wrong” betting. Don’t win or wrong bettors are considered to play with the casino and against the other players.
This is the most fundamental bet in craps and it wins when the dice land on 7 or 11 in the come-out roll. When making this wager, players are said to bet with the dice and not against it. The payout is even (1:1) and if the shooter tosses 7 or 11, everyone who has placed this bet wins. If the come-out roll is 2, 3, or 12, the bet loses but if any of the other numbers appear, it establishes a point.
This means that the bet will not be settled immediately and the shooter must continue tossing the dice. Once the point has been established, the Pass Line wins only if the point number lands before a 7. If the shooter rolls 7 before the point number, the round ends and those who have wagered on the Pass Line lose.
The Don’t Pass line bet can be easily described as the exact opposite of the Pass Line – with this wager, players bet that the shooter will lose. Therefore, those who have bet the Don’t Pass win if the dice fall on 2 or 3 and receive an even payout. They lose if the come-out roll is 7 or 11 and if the dice land on 12, this is considered a push. Once again, if the come-out roll is any other number, it becomes the point for the following rolls.
Those who have placed their chips on the Don’t Pass bet then win if the shooter tosses 7 before the point. They lose if the point number comes out first.
If a point is established on the come-out roll, players have the option to make a bet that is a multiple of the Pass Line and most casinos allow multiples of 1x to 100x. This wager wins if the point number appears before 7 and loses if 7 is first. The best thing about this bet is that the payout here is much better than when betting on the Pass Line and it varies, depending on the point.
Don’t Pass Odds
Those who bet on the Don’t Pass can also lay odds on their bet and will win if 7 lands before the point. Similarly to the Pass Odds, this bet is simply a multiple (1x-100x) and pays better, which is why it is preferred by many players.
The Come bet is very similar to the Pass Line as it wins and loses at the same outcomes and it offers the same payout. What makes different, however, is the timing – the Come bet can be placed only once a point has been established. With this wager, players set their own “come-out” roll and their own point – they are separate from the main come-out roll and point established initially by the shooter. In its own come-out roll, this bet wins with 7 or 11 and loses with 2, 3, or 12 but wins with the point number after has been established.
Don’t Come Bet
As you have probably guessed, the Don’t Come bet is the opposite of the Come bet it is also available once the point has been established. This wager wins with 2 or 3 and loses with 7 or 11. Once a point number has been established, it wins if 7 appears before the point and loses if the point lands first.
Single and Multi-Roll Bets
Also known as proposition or prop bets, these one-roll bets are resolved in the next roll of the dice and players either win or lose immediately. Most of these bets are also known as Service bets and for them, chips are placed at the center of the craps table. It is different, however, when playing online craps.
A good example for a prop bet is Snake Eyes and with it, players bet that the shooter will toss 2 in the next roll. The Field bet is more popular, though, because it wins if the dice land on 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12.View more...
Over the past few centuries, the game of craps has developed significantly and different versions of it have appeared across the world. Nowadays, there are not many variations and most casinos offer the same rules and payouts, which are considered as a standard.
This the most common variation of craps and it can be found as “casino craps” or simply “craps”. Bank craps is the game you can play online and, in fact, much of this guide refers to it. Its origins could be traced back to the first gambling houses in Las Vegas and from there, it was popularized around the world. The house edge for every bet is different but overall, it is around 1.40%.
Crapless craps is probably one of the weirdest variations of this game. It does not have the Don’t Pass bet and the rules for the Pass Line bet are very different. This variation has a higher house edge at 5.38%, which is why it is not particularly popular among players.
New York Craps
New York craps can actually be found in many casinos around the world but it does not allow Come and Don’t Come bets to be placed. In addition, it uses a different table layout Here, the overall house edge is 5.00%.
Simplified craps is a very rare version of the game where all the standard types of bets have been completely scrapped. Instead, players can bet on 2, 3, 4, 10, 11, or 12, i.e. the numbers, where there are just a few possible combinations. Of course, these are also the numbers that are the least likely to land. The house edge in this game is 2.80%.
Craps Odds and House Edge
Since craps uses two six-sided dice, the probability and odds for every number are fixed and can be calculated very easily. As we have mentioned above, there are 36 possible combinations in the game, so to determine the probability for tossing 7, for instance, we simply need to compare the combinations for 7 with all possible combinations. There are 6 different combinations for tossing a 7, so the probability of winning is 6/36 or 0.1666.
2Craps House Edge
Remember that the probability of an event happening ranges between 0 and 1, where 0 means that the event will certainly not happen, while 1 means that will certainly happen. Usually, the probability is represented as a percentage, so 0.1666 will be 16.66% (0.1666×100). What about the odds in craps? This term is usually used to represent basically the same thing – the likeliness of an event happening. However, with the odds, we compare the winning combinations for tossing 7 and the combinations, which are losing.
In this case, the odds for 7 will be 6 to 30, which is typically expressed as 6/30 or 6:30 – 1 win to 5 losses. In most cases, the odds are written in reverse and refer to odds against winning – 5:1. The payout for this particular outcome of the roll, however, is 4:1 and this slight difference between the true odds (5:1) and the casino odds (4:1) create a built-in advantage for the casino. And this is the so-called house edge, which for the Any 7 bet is 16.67%.
In other words, players who place this particular bet can expect to lose 16.67% of their total bet ($16.67 out of $100). The overall house edge for the game of craps is 1.41%.
Major Developers of Online Craps
Most of the large casino software development companies have released their versions of online craps. Typically, these games follow the standard rules of Bank Craps and are almost identical in terms of gameplay and payouts. Certain content providers, however, have created craps versions of exceptional graphics quality, smooth gameplay, and user-friendly design.
Players who choose to play Craps by Microgaming can rely on smooth gameplay and easy-to-understand rules and payouts. This is hardly a surprise considering the fact the company launched the first online casino back in 1994 and has the knowledge and experience to develop intriguing and aesthetically pleasing virtual casino games. The Isle of Man-based company is also popular for the hundreds of classic and video slots within its portfolio.
Founded in 1999, Playtech is yet another leader in the design, creation, and supply of gambling software. Along with bringing craps to thousands of online players, it provides gaming and betting sites with high-quality casino platforms, online poker rooms, sports betting solutions, live dealer games, bingo, and many more.
RealTime gaming or RTG started in 1998 as an online casino company which provided operators with a download-based gaming platform. Today, the studio develops colorful slots and realistic table games that can be played in-browser or as part of their casino software package for download.
NetEnt, formally known as Net Entertainment, is one of the pioneers in the development of online casino games and complete gambling software solutions. The studio was founded in 1996 in Sweden and today, its impressive gaming portfolio includes hundreds of online slots, live dealer games, as well as fantastic virtual table and card games such as roulette, blackjack, craps, and poker.
It is a common misconception that because craps is a game of chance winning or losing is up to your luck. Those who rely simply on “luck” without understanding the rules and probabilities of the game usually leave the craps table bankrupt. This can be avoided by simply applying some simple strategies when playing craps.
Basic Strategy for Craps
The best way to optimize the time spent on the craps table is simply placing the bets with the lowest house edge. These are the Don’t Pass and the Don’t Come bets laid with odds – the higher the odds, the better. Laying the maximum odds (100x) reduces the house edge to nearly 0%. Knowing the rules and the etiquette at the craps table is also recommended while more experienced players may also use combinations of bets that provide a good balance between coverage and bet size.
The combining of bets is a successful tactic known as betting patterns. As some casinos do not allow odds on the Don’t Pass bet, players can combine this wager with one or two Don’t Come Bets. Another good pattern is placing a Don’t Pass bet with two Don’t Come bets, a Field bet, and Lay bets on 4 and 10.
Betting systems or betting progressions are quite popular among gamblers, especially in games such as blackjack, roulette, craps, and baccarat. They do not involve a complex strategy for playing but a method for increasing or reducing the bet size, depending on whether you win or lose. Positive progressions require players to increase the bet size as they win, while negative progressions say the stakes must be increased after a loss. Popular progressive systems are the Martingale, Paroli, Labouchere, and D’Alambert.
1Allocating Session Bankrolls
New players on the craps table should always allocate a session bankroll, i.e. the money they can afford to lose every time they visit the table. A good way to do that is to separate the entire gambling bankroll for the week into smaller bankrolls – each of them, however, should be enough to last ten different shooters or at least ten rounds of craps.
2Win Goals and Loss Limits
Another method to avoid spending too much money at the craps table is to set win goals or loss limits. It is even better to do both – the loss limit should never exceed 50%, while a good win goal is 30% of the entire bankroll. The idea is to stop before you lose all your money or with win goals, to stop while you still have some profits.
3Winning and Losing Streaks
Winning and losing streaks are a reality in gambling and at the same time, they are absolutely random. Craps players should not continue playing after 6 or 7 consecutive losses (5 losses is even a better limit) and wait for their bad luck to change. Winning streaks are also random, so players can never be certain that the next bet will win.
4Betting Systems to Avoid
Craps players should know that progressive systems do not guarantee winnings and while some of them are often useful for money management, others can be devastating. Negative progressions, in particular, should be avoided at all times, as they include exceptionally high risk. The Martingale, for instance, requires doubling the bet after a loss and returning to the original stake after a win – this could be very risky if the player is in a long losing streak.
Is It Possible to Change the Odds in Craps?
No, the odds in craps are fixed, as is the overall house edge of the game. However, players can choose to place bets with the low house edge in order to increase their chances of generating a profit by the end of the craps session.
Can I Play Online Craps for Free?
Yes, most online casinos offer demo versions of their games, including craps. Playing craps in fun mode is a great way to learn the basics of the game and become familiar with all the different types of bets. Often, players will not be required to even register an account in order to try the craps variation on offer.
Is Online Craps Better than Craps in Land-Based Casinos?
That depends solely on every player’s individual preference – virtual craps in online casinos is a single-player craps and the speed of the game is determined by the player. Usually, the betting limits of online craps are lower and players can check the rules and the payouts at any time. The physical game is much more dynamic and played by up to 8 gamblers simultaneously, which makes it seem much more complex and difficult to play.