Craps. Peculiar name perhaps, but the game is anything but. Indeed, craps is arguably the most exciting game in a casino. You can place a safe bet that the noisiest and most animated sections of a casino are where the craps tables are situated.
If raucous noise and buzz is what you are after in a casino, look no further. But what exactly is craps? How do you play it? What bets can you make? Read-on to find out.
Craps Rules For Dummies & Craps Rules PDF
Craps is a dice game which developed in the United States around the turn of the 19th century. A long-standing casino favourite, it evolved from a western European game called Hazard.
In the years succeeding World War II the game became hugely popular and was the dominant game in post-war Las Vegas. Although primarily played in a casino, it can also be played in more informal settings. Indeed, ‘Street craps’ was a popular pastime of American soldiers in the twentieth century.
In the casino, the craps table is ordinarily large and deep-pitted with a mat displaying a variety of words, numbers and boxes. The house pays a low edge when it comes to craps, meaning the pay-outs are very attractive.
Two dice are thrown by ‘the shooter’ on every roll. You will usually find a congregation of people frequenting the table placing bets. The general idea is that you bet as a pass line or don’t pass the line – all will be explained!
Rules of Casino Craps – Where Should I Start?
Standing at the centre of the sturdy, impressive-looking craps table you will find a boxman and a stickman. The stickman, aptly named with a stick in hand, controls the flow of the game, calling each roll and pushing the dice to the shooter. The boxman supervises the game and deposits cash collected by the dealers.
Along with the boxman and stickman, you will find two dealers. They deal with bets, collect money from losers and pay out winners. The craps mat can be a little daunting to the uninitiated, but here is what you need to know.
- Edging the mat is the pass line. Here you bet with the shooter.
- Further in, the smaller don’t pass line is to bet against the shooter.
- The come and don’t come sections are for bets with the same principles as pass line and don’t pass the line but are placed at a different time.
- At the centre of the table is a space for one-roll or proposition bets.
- The ‘Field’ section is the area to place a bet which backs a 2, 3, 4, 10, 11 or 12 to be rolled next.
- The boxes filled with the numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10 are for “Place” or “Buy” bets. With these bets you back one of these numbers to be rolled before the next 7.
- The big 6 and 8 in two corners of the mat are for bets which back a 6 or 8 to be rolled before the next 7.
For now, don’t be concerned with all the different bets – we will explain in further detail below. The pass line and don’t pass the line bets are the key ones for a beginner to be familiar with. Now, for some etiquette pointers:
- Make sure your hands are well out of the way when the shooter is ready to roll the dice.
- Be sure to place your bets in the correct, designated area.
- Place all bets and money on the table, not in hand, and state what the money is for to the dealer.
- Camaraderie is a part of craps. Cheer if you are backing the shooter.
- However, avoid cheering if you are betting against the shooter.
Basic Rules of Casino Craps Dice Game
The game commences when the shooter, who is essentially the player of the game, places a bet. At this point others at the table can bet too, though it isn’t mandatory. Next, the shooter rolls two dice and the action begins:
- If a 7 or 11 is rolled (a natural) or a 2, 3 or 12 (the craps) the round ends here, and bets are paid out and collected accordingly. This is the known as the first phase of the game.
- If any other number is rolled, this particular number becomes ‘the point’. The second phase of the game begins.
- The shooter rolls again, trying to roll the point before a 7. Whatever the outcome, the round ends once one of the possibilities has materialised. Wins and losses are sorted accordingly.
Shooting Craps Rules
This is pretty straightforward. As mentioned, the shooter starts proceedings by placing a bet. The first roll is known as the come-out roll. The shooter continues rolling until they fail to make the point in the second phase (explained below). At this point, a new shooter rolls.
Craps Rules – How To Play
So, you know the personnel, you’re familiar with the table display, you know the basics, but how do you actually play the game, I hear you ask. It is quite simple for beginners to get to grips with the fundamentals. Let’s get down to it!
As alluded to, the principal bets are the pass line and don’t pass line bets, which are placed at the beginning of the game. In the first phase of the game:
- Pass line bets win if a 7 or 11 is rolled.
- Don’t pass line bets win if a 2, 3 or 12 is rolled.
The current shooter continues rolling until a number other than a natural or craps is rolled. This number is then the point and the second phase is under way. The shooter now attempts to roll the point before a 7 is rolled.
- Pass line bets win if the point is rolled before a 7.
- If not, don’t pass line bets win.
When the shooter fails to make the point (sevens out), the person standing clockwise to the current shooter rolls as the new shooter. The game continues in this fashion.
Craps Rules Betting
Newcomers and casino dwellers alike are drawn to betting at the craps table. The relatively favourable odds, the randomness of the dice and the sheer excitement of the craps spectacle can prove to be irresistible to those keen on making a buck.
We have already covered the pass line and don’t pass line bets. Below is a breakdown of other possible bets.
Come bets and don’t come bets are very similar to the pass line and don’t pass line bets – the difference is when they are played. Once a point is established, you can place a come/don’t come bet. They are second phase bets.
- The come bet wins if a 7 or 11 is rolled. You will lose if a 2, 3 or 12 is rolled.
- Don’t come bet wins if a 2, 3 or 12 is rolled. You will lose if a 7 or 11 is rolled.
- If any other number is rolled, say a 10, your wager is moved to that number.
- If a 10 is rolled before another 7, the come bets win and the don’t come bets lose. If a 7 is rolled first, don’t come bets win and come bets lose.
- The Place bet can be played after the point has been determined. Bets can be placed on a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 being rolled before a 7. If a 7 is rolled before your number, you lose.
- The Big Six, Big Eight bets can be placed at any roll of the dice. If a 6 or 8 is rolled before a 7, you win.
- The Field bet is a one-roll bet which can be placed on a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12 being rolled. If any other number is rolled, you lose.
- The Hard-way bet is placed on one of 4, 6, 8 and 10. If this number is made as a pair on the dice, before another combination equaling your number and before a combination equaling 7, you win.
There are several other proposition or one-roll bets which can be placed for those feeling extra lucky. They can be placed before any roll of the dice. These bets include:
- Any craps. As the name suggests, if a 2,3 or 12 is rolled, you win.
- Horn bet. If a 2, 3, 11 or 12 is rolled, you win.
- You win if a 2 or 12 is thrown.
- Ace deuce. Win if a 3 is rolled.
- Any Seven. If a seven is rolled, you win.
- Win if an eleven is rolled.
Craps Rules & Odds
Hopefully, you now have a decent grasp of the bets available to you. Some are certainly more lucrative than others. Some of the odds we are about to show may look attractive, but you will need to be particularly ambitious to put your money on the proposition bets. Below is a run-down of the odds of the main bets:
- Pass/don’t pass pays evens.
- Come/don’t come pays evens.
- For Place bets, 4 or 10 will pay 9:5; 5 or 9 pays 7:5, and 6 or 8 pays 7:6.
- Big Six, Big Eight bets pay evens.
- For the Field bet, 2 pays 2:1, 12 pays 3:1. Other rolls pay even.
- For the Hard-way bet, hard 4 and 10, 8:1; hard 6 and 8, 10:1.
Now for those proposition bets:
- Any craps: 8:1.
- Horn bet: 2 and 12 pays 30:1, 3 and 11 pays 15:1.
- Aces: 30:1.
- Ace deuce: 16:1.
- Any seven: 5:1.
- Eleven: 16:1.
Craps Rules Odds Bet
The free-odds bet is one to be at the forefront of your mind. The casino pays true odds for this bet and there is zero house advantage, making it quite a unique entity in a casino.
The free-odds bet acts as an extension to bets in the first phase. You must place a bet in the first phase of the round to be eligible. Because of the potential winnings of the free odds bet, most casinos will place restrictions on the amount that can be bet. The bottom line is that you need to know about this bet. Here is how it works:
- Ensure you placed a bet in the first phase of the round.
- Place more chips on your pass line/don’t pass line bet in the second phase and notify the dealer.
- If the point is rolled before a 7, the pass line betters win both their bets. If a 7 is rolled before the point, the don’t pass betters win both their bets.
- Odds: 6:5 for 6 and 8; 3:2 for 5 and 9; 2:1 for 4 and 10.
Craps Rules Strategy
First and foremost, craps is an entertaining and exhilarating game and you should aim to play in that spirit. This is not the place for poker faces ladies and gentlemen.
Some of the bizarre lingo thrown around at the craps table may bewilder you at first. Indeed, you may be questioning whether you have steeped foot at a craps table or a rather unusual food market stall. Don’t worry, this is all part of the fun and all will become clear!
In terms of betting strategy, we encourage you to play conservatively, particularly when starting out. Get comfortable with the basics and familiarise yourself with the nature of the craps table. Craps can run at a fast pace so the last thing you want to do is rush into ill-thought out bets.
- Make sure you are aware of the odds before placing any bet.
- Play the simple pass/don’t pass and come/don’t come bets to begin with and get a feel for the flow of the game. The simple bets have relatively good odds anyway.
- Remember to take full advantage of the free-odds bet.
- Once you feel comfortable, consider placing one or two of the riskier bets if you have the means to do so.
- But do not play recklessly and be wary of the enticing odds of the riskier bets. Money can be lost awfully quickly and unapologetically if you get carried away.
- Never bet more than you can afford.
Just be aware that the house will always have an advantage regardless of the strategy you use. The simple pass line/don’t pass line and come/don’t come bets will keep the house edge as low as possible, whilst increasing your chances of winning.
Bear in mind that there is a big house advantage on proposition bets and as tempting as it might be, particularly to the more ambitious gambler, it is not a good strategy to just throw down chips on random proposition bets; that is the very worst strategy.
Furthermore, the Big Six and Big Eight bets and the Hard-way bet should be avoided. The house advantage is around 9% and 10% respectively, with both bets not enjoying good odds. There are certainly more lucrative bets to be found.
Craps Tournament Rules
For the seasoned player, craps tournaments are an appealing option. Craps tournaments have grown in popularity over recent years and are spreading all over the globe. Most casinos run regular craps tournaments. They can serve as a great learning experience for enthusiastic players looking to learn from the experts.
The key difference between craps tournaments and casino craps – and it is quite a significant difference – is that you are betting against other players, not the house.
Players must be experienced and have betting strategies in mind in order to be credible and play effectively and knowledgeably. Some things to be aware of:
- Entry fees. They can vary wildly but can be very pricey. It is not uncommon to pay in the high hundreds and thousands.
- Be aware of the specific rules of the tournament. It may be necessary to place all your bets at the start of the round for example. The minimum bets vary at different tournaments too.
- The duration of events can be as short as a few hours or as long as several days. Be sure to check.
- Observe your opponent’s strategies. There are aggressive players and conservative players. Be mindful of the individual strategy of your opponents and tailor your game accordingly to have a change of winning.
- The goal is to have the most money at the end of a specific number of rolls, 120 for example, or at the end of a certain time period.
Craps tournaments are certainly not for everyone. It is generally luck, rather than skill, which wins craps tournaments, and this may put players off. Furthermore, the entry fees can be very expensive.
Craps Rules In Las Vegas – Mastering The Rules For Craps In Vegas
The craps rules in Las Vegas mirror those at any other casino. The information you have read through in this guide provides you with what you need to know. Granted, it might be busier and a little wilder in Vegas in comparison to most other casinos, but the principles remain the same.
Of course, there will be far more selection and casinos will have slightly different customs and offers to entice you, but the basic rules of the game are the same. Here are some of the best odds you will find in Las Vegas. The Vegas strip offers:
- 100x odds at The Cromwell
- 10x odds at Stratosphere and SLS Las Vegas
- 3x, 4x and 5x odds are the standard odds offered on the strip
Downtown Las Vegas offers:
- Main Street Station. Up to 20x odds
- 10x odds at Golden Gate
- 10x odds at the D
- Eastside Cannery Craps. Offer up to 100x odds. Also, more of a local feel. Only two tables.
- Sam’s Town Craps. Off the Strip on the Boulder Highway. Pays 20X odds.
So, there you have it, some of the basics to get you started in the wonderful world of craps. Hopefully we have tickled your curiosity buds enough to get you playing. Craps is not as bewildering as it may appear and really can be an enthralling game. So, go on, get yourself to the brilliant craps table and experience the excitement first-hand!