When you walk into a casino, you are likely to hear a lot of cheering and commotion going on at one particular area on the floor. If you look for this noise you’re bound to wind up at a Craps table. This is where players seem to get the most excited and loudest of all casino games. It’s a fast paced game with lots of action going on that makes it very entertaining and fun to watch. In many movies that are based on gambling, Craps is often the game of choice to be highlighted.

Craps is also a game that many stay away form because of all the excitement. It can be very intimidating to jump right in, especially if you don’t know anything about the game, or just have severe social anxiety. Either way, it’s time to overcome your fears and get into the action. Why should you be the only one left on the rail watching?

History Behind Craps

There are many conflicting stories as to when Craps was first invented and how it has become the game it is today. Many believe it is a variation of an old English game called “Hazard.”  It’s told that Crusaders in 1125 AD would play this game during castle sieges. The game was very popular among the elite royalty in England up to the 17th century. It was splayed in every casino for the highest of stakes.

How Hazard evolved into craps is still a story up for debate as well. Many will say that it was the French gamblers who started calling it Craps. A roll of 2 in a game of Hazard was called “Crabs” and was a losing roll. I suppose the French could not say this word so they just called it Craps. No one knows for sure really.

My favorite version of the how Craps got its name is that it derived from the French word “Crapaud.” Its literal translation in English means toad. The word crapaud was used to describe how the people playing Craps looked. They would be crouched down on the ground and looked like toads.

What we do know is that someone brought the game to America and it would be turned into what we know today as Craps. The story of who brought the game to America is also a grey area, but most will say that the French brought it to New Orleans and it would spread from there.

Once it worked its way to America, the game was already much like it is today with a few exceptions. The major change that was made was the addition of the Don’t Pass bet. Before this betting option was put into place, many players figured out how to exploit the casinos. The “Don’t Pass” bet would put an end to that and gave the house its edge back.

How to Play Craps Online or Live

The game of Craps is played with a pair of dice and a betting table. The table layout will have all bets that can be placed including side bets. The bets are usually displayed in duplicate on both sides of the table so that all players can easily see the bets available to them. Other than the person throwing the dice, players may stand anywhere they choose and will usually be crowded on all sides of the table.

The person throwing the dice is called; The Shooter. The first roll of the dice is called the come out and is the most important as it will dictate most bets on all rolls after that. If a 7 or an 11 is rolled on the first throw of a new shooter, all bets made on the pass line will win. If the roll is a 2, 3 or a 12, pass line bets lose and the shooter will relinquish the dice to a new one and we start over again. If the roll is a 4, 5,6,8,9 or 10, this will be what’s called the point number. If the shooter rolls a point then they will continue to roll the dice until they either roll that number again or “crap out” by rolling a 7. Based on what bets are placed will determine if you win or lose, which we will begin to talk about next.

If you are not sure when the first roll is, or you are just joining the table, you can easily tell where the shooter is at, by looking for an “On” or “Off” chip on the table. The dealer will place a black “Off” chip on the come out roll, signifying this is the first roll for the new shooter. Once the point number is rolled, the dealer will place a white chip that says “On” which lets you know that the point is declared. There will also be a marker on the point number to let everyone know which number is the point.

The Bets

There are numerous bets that can be placed in a game of Craps and all have very unique qualities that must be understood. We will go through each and every single bet that can be placed and the proper way to place these bets. There will be a certain way to make your bet official in some cases, so placement of bets is just as important as what they are.

The Pass Line

Let’s start with the most common bet used in Craps. The Pass Line bet is one that almost every craps player makes and will be the staple of your Craps tool belt. When you place a Pass Line bet, you are betting that the player will not roll a 2, 3 or 12 on the first roll. You are also betting that they will roll the point number before rolling a 7. If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11 on the come out roll, all Pass Line bets will win even money and a new game will start.

If a point number is rolled on the first roll, all pass line bets will be moved just underneath the line and await the outcome of the dice. If the shooter rolls the point number before a 7, the pass line bets will win. If a 7 is rolled, then your pass line bet loses and a new game starts.

Don’t Pass Line

The “Don’t Pass” bet is just the opposite of betting the pass line. In this case you will be betting against the shooter. If the shooter rolls a 2 or 3 on the first roll, don’t pass bets win. If a 12 is rolled all don’t pass bets are considered a push and your money is given back.

Once the point number is established, you don’t pass bet stays on the table until the point number or a 7 is rolled. If the point number is rolled before a 7, don’t pass bets lose. If the 7 is rolled, the don’t pass bet loses.

The Odds

This bet that will not be marked on the table is one that not many are aware of. It almost just like placing a Pass Line bet with some differences.

You may only place an Odds Bet after the come out roll and a point has been established. Once this happens, you place your bet just beneath your pass line bet. You must have placed a pass line bet in order to place a pass line bet.

An odds bet will win if a point number is rolled before the 7, but will pay out different odds based on which number is the point.

  • A point number of 4 or 10 pays 2-1.
  • A point number of 5 or 9 pays 3-2.
  • A point number of 6 or 8 pays 6-5.

The odds bet has no house edge making it a favorable bet for the player. However, due to this fact, most casinos limit the amount you can wager on an odds bet. The amount will also differ based on the point rolled.

  • A point of 4 or 10, you may bet up to 3 times your pass line bet.
  • A point of 5 or 9, you may bet up to 4 times your pass line bet.
  • A point of 6 or 8, you may place a bet up to 5 times your pass line bet.

These limitations may vary at casinos, but these are the most commonly used.

Laying the Odds

Just as don’t pass is the opposite of a pass line bet, laying the odds is the opposite of taking the odds bet. If you’ve placed a don’t pass bet then you may lay the odds after a point number has been established. This bet will win if a 7 is rolled before the point number.

Laying the odds also has similar payouts and amounts that you can bet based on specific point numbers. The amount you may bet on a specific number is exactly the same as you are allowed to bet an odds bet. For example: If you were allowed to bet an odds bet up to 3 times your pass line bet on a point of 4 or 10, then you may do the same for the laying the odds bet. The payouts will be slightly different however and are described below.

  • If the point is 4 or 10, laying the odds bet pays out; 1-2.
  • If the point is 5 or 9, laying the odds pays out; 2-3.
  • If the point is 6 or 8, laying the odds pays out; 5-6.

“Come” and “Don’t Come” Betting

These bets are just like a pass or don’t pass bet. The main difference being; they are only allowed after come out roll, once the point has been rolled. After the come out roll and a point is established, you may place a come or don’t come bet. The following roll after one of these bets are placed will be the point number for these bets only. The same rules apply to the pass bets on came bets.

A come bet will win if the point rolled for come bets is rolled before a 7. A don’t come bet will win if a 7 is rolled before the come bets point number.

Place Bet

A place bet is almost the same as taking the odds bet. The differences are that you don’t have to have made a pass line bet and they will pay lower odds. The rules are the same and will pay specific odds based on what the point number is.

  • If the point number is 4 or 10, place bets pay; 9-5
  • If the point number is 5 or 9,  place bets pay; 7-5
  • If the point number is 6 or 8, place bets pay; 7-6

Place to Lose

This exactly the opposite of the Place bet and is much like laying the odds bet. However, it’s rare to find a casino that offers this bet and are usually found only in casinos located in Australia.

Buy Bets

A buy bet is the same as making a place or odds bet. The difference is you will get better odds than you would on a place or odds bet. You will also have to pay a 5% commission to make this bet. This commission almost negates the better payout you would receive. The payouts are also based on what the point number.

The only time you should place a buy bet is if the point number is a 4 or 10. In this case the payout on these point numbers is better for the buy bet versus a place bet.

Lay Bets

Lay bets have the same concept as making a buy bet. They have the same rules as laying the odds and place to lose bets but with better payouts. You will also have to a 5% commission to place a lay bet.

Again, the only time a lay bet is better is when the point number is a 4 or 10.

Big 6 and Big 8

These bets are like making a place bet, except only on the point numbers of 6 and 8. I won’t go into great detail about this bet as it should be avoided at all costs. This bet pays less than an actual place will and is almost exactly the same type of bet. You wouldn’t bet $10 to win $20 if you could bet $10 to win $30 with the same chances of winning now would you?

The Hard Way

This is a bet that may be placed if the point is a 4, 6, 8 or 10. If the shooter rolls one of these point numbers by throwing double 2s, double 3s double 4s or double 5s, all hard way bets win. If a 7 or other variation of these point numbers is rolled, the hard way bets lose.

The Easy Way

Some casinos will allow you to place an easy way bet which is just the opposite of the hard way bets. If the point is a 4, 6, 8 or 10 you can place an easy way bet and if the point is rolled any way other than doubles and before the 7, these bets will win.

Single Roll Bets

You will see areas on the table with available betting options. These are usually in the middle and are called single roll or side bets. They have nothing to do with the point number and can be placed on any roll of the dice. All side bets must be placed by the dealer at the table, so make sure to inform them what you want to bet on and allow them to place it.

  • Double 1’s or double 6’s pays 30-1
  • A roll of a 1 and 2 or a 5 and a 6 pays 15-1
  • Double 3s or double 4s pays 10-1
  • Double 2s and double 5s pay 5-1
  • The Field Bet is betting that a 2, 3,4,9,10,11 or 12 are rolled. If a 2 or 12 is rolled the bet pays 2-1. All other numbers pay 1-1
  • A bet on a 2 or 12 being rolled pays 30-1
  • A bet on 3 or 11 being rolled pays 15-1
  • A bet on a seven being rolled pays 4-1
  • A bet on a 2,3 or 12 being rolled pays 7-1

Hop Bets

A hop bet is placing a bet that a specific combination of dice will be rolled on the next bet. For example: You may place a bet that a 2 on dice and 5 on the other will be rolled. All these bets pay 15-1 except when betting if they will be a combination of doubles. A hop bet on double 2s being rolled for example pays 30-1 along with other hop bets that include doubles being rolled.

Craps Strategies

Now that we have a gazillion options to bet on, which ones do we use. Or do we just toss our chips on the table and hope it lands on a winning bet? The answer is obviously no, and you will be surprised at how easy a winning strategy in Craps is.

You can take all bets mentioned above and ignore just about all of them. There are only 2 bets you want to place when playing Craps if you’re looking to win. These are the Don’t Pass, and Laying the Odds the bet. In case you forgot already, the don’t pass bet is a bet against the shooter rolling the point number before a 7. The laying odds bet are much the same but pays out based on what the point is.

These two bets have the lowest house edge of any bet in Craps and will give the best possible chance at winning. In fact, the laying odds bet has no house edge which is virtually unheard of any game in a casino. This is why you won’t see it laid out on the table as they don’t necessarily want you to know about it. But now you are a skilled and knowledgeable player and have the information needed to beat the house.

We also know that every other bet is just a sucker bet and should always be avoided. If you like to fit in and root along with others, you can place a pass bet and odds bet as they are not that much different as far as the house advantage goes. Only a few fractions of a percent; which will not make or break you. Most players use these bets and you are in a sense rooting for the shooter as these bets will win if the shooter can roll the point before a 7. Most of the other bets, especially the prop bets or inside bets have terrible odds and a house advantage as high as 17% on some.

One important note about etiquette in a craps game to conclude If you are following this strategy and betting against the shooter with a don’t pass and laying odds bet, it’s not polite to cheer when your bets win. Most will be betting with the shooter and being the lone winner at a table full of losers isn’t the best time to flaunt the fact that you won.