How to Play Craps

Learning How to Play Craps

Want to learn how to play craps? Like any game, the basic rules of craps are not difficult to learn. Casino games are designed to draw you out and get you to lay down your cash. Even still, many people who are new to the game of craps look at the playing surface (known as the “bottom”) and figure they can never learn to play. Sure, craps has a complicated betting system and an intricate playing surface but the game itself is simple.

If think you don’t know how to play craps you are playing right into the casino’s hand. All the sparkle and fireworks at game tables is designed to keep you on edge — much like the lack of clocks and windows, the casino wants you somewhat “dazed and confused” when you’re handing them your hard earned money.

Why Play Craps?

How to Play CrapsThere are good bets and bad bets in the casino (most are bad, so it is preferable to be the casino with a pay per head service like In the game of craps, your odds of winning depend on the “shooter” — the person tossing the dice. Because of the randomness inherent in a pair of dice, some bets in craps are genuinely awful. Knowing what kinds of bets to make is an important part of learning how to play craps. Without throwing too much jargon in your face, a “pass line” bet offers 50-50 odds — about the same as a single bet in blackjack. The House edge on a “pass line” bet in craps is less than the edge in a game of blackjack — 1.4% for craps compared to about 2% for blackjack.

Craps Bets

Because there are so many possible bets in craps, many people never give the game a try. Here’s a brief description of the most common craps bets.

Place bets — One of the top bets in craps in terms of financial reward is a place bet. Place bets are made on any of the point numbers (4,5,6,8,9,10) at any point during a game of craps. This is a wager that one of these six numbers will come up before the shooter throws a 7. An example of a place bet would be handing your chips to the dealer and saying “Place the six.”

Come bets — Another great craps bets odds-wise. A come bet is possible on each toss of the dice once the shooter established a point. To make this bet, stack the amount of chips you wish to wager in the designated “come” area of the craps table.

Hard bets — As the name implies, these bets are hard to win on. A “hard number” is a pair, so that a “hard 10” is a pair of 5s. You can earn a ton of money on a hard bet, but the odds are against you.

Pass line bets — Easily the best bet for the odds — most shooters will bet the pass line. Think of these bets are the “basic wager” in the game of craps. This is an even money bet that pays out if the shooter rolls a total of 7 or 11 on the come-out roll, or if you throw a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 on the come-out roll and repeat that number before you roll a 7. The pass line bet loses if the come-out roll is a 2, 3, or 12 (“craps”) or when a 7 is rolled before the point comes up again.

Don’t pass bets — Since a pass bet is a bet that the shooter will win, a Don’t pass bet is a bet against the shooter. The don’t pass bet wins if the shooter craps out on 2 or 3 on the come-out roll or if the shooter rolls a 7 before repeating the point. A don’t pass bet loses if the come-out roll is a 7 or 11 or when the shooter repeats the point number before a 7 comes up.

Big bets — The “big” bet (either big 6 or big 8) is a bet that a 6 or an 8 will come up before a 7. If any other number comes out before 7, there’s no action and the dice shoot again. A big 6 or big 8 bet can be made at any point in the game, including on the come-out roll.

One roll bets — Also called “service bets”, this term is casino slang for any kind of proposition bet that is settled on a single roll of the dice.

How to Play Craps – The Basics

Take a look at an image of a craps table. The table’s “bottom” is the spot where players “shoot” dice and then place bets on the outcome of the “decisions”. Each total shown on the face of the dice is referred to as a decision. Since craps is played with two six-sided die, the possible decisions include all numbers from 2 up to 12. Every craps table is covered in felt which is overlaid with a diagram of empty spaces for placing various kinds of craps bets. Learning how to play craps is really just a matter of learning how to bet on decisions.

In the center of the bottom is a betting section where “Hard ways” or “One roll” bets can be placed. The ends of the craps table is divided up into sections for Come, Pass Line, Place, and other bets. Notice that the ends of the bottom are mirror images.

The first time you walk up to a craps table, be sure to step confidently into an open position. The shooter is the player who rolls the dice for the decision — easy to locate because he or she is holding the dice and all eyes are on their hands. The dice are tossed onto the bottom in such a way that they hit the back wall at the end of the table that sits opposite the shooter.

Each bettor takes turns shooting the dice, with shooting turns changing based on a clockwise rotation around the table. When a new shooter takes over, the stickman pushes multiple sets of dice to the shooter so that individual shooter can choose the pair he wants to shoot with.

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