How to Play Craps


Craps

Craps is a casino dice game which is played at a casino table with up to twenty players. There are a few different beliefs when it comes to where Craps originated. The first is it was developed from an Old English game called Hazard. The second is it originated from the French game of Crabes. The third is that the game was played in a simpler form by Roman soldiers. Craps entails players betting money against the casino on the outcome of the rolls on two dice.

In the land-based form, craps is a very social and rowdy game which much yelling and cheers around the table. Despite the aura of mayhem, excitement and relaxed camaraderie, there is a very strict code of etiquette that is practiced around the craps table.

The basics of craps are really simple but there are numerous types of bets which a player needs to understand in order to master the game. Once the differences between the various bets have been internalized, a player will be ready to roll. Click for information on history, dice combinations, terminology, table layout and nicknames for craps numbers.

Table Set-Up

Craps is a game whereby the winners are determined based on the outcome of the roll of the dice. Basic craps play is very simple, but a player needs to understand the table layout and betting options properly before starting to play.

The game of craps is played on a table that's specially built for craps. The game is played with two dice. The dice are the most important element of the game and are almost treated as holy objects. They are produced under very strict conditions and regularly inspected for any damage. There are very strict rules about how the crapshooter handles the dice and as a matter of course, the dice are replaced with a new pair after approximately eight hours of play.

The craps table can accommodate up to 20 players and every player is given a chance to be the crapshooter – to roll the dice. If any player wishes to pass up his turn to roll, he is allowed to nominate someone in his place and can bet on the thrower or he can pass the dice to the player on his left. The crapshooter must only handle the dice with one hand during the throwing process and the dice have to hit the wall on the opposite end of the table. If the dice get thrown off the table accidentally, then they are inspected thoroughly before being returned to the playing table.

Who is at the Craps Table?

Shooter: The craps game is based around the shooter. The crapshooter rolls the dice and bets on which way the dice will land. While the crapshooter is a player, when they take on the role of shooter, they become an integral part of the game. The shooter keeps shooting unless he does not make his point. When the shooter does not make his point, the dice are passed on to the person on the left.

Boxman: The boxman is responsible for the house's money and will be keeping a very close eye on the stacks of chips. He also watches everything that happens at the table and ensures that the game play runs smoothly. The boxman will also change a player's chips to money and will deal with any problems that arise regarding betting during a game.

Stickman: The stickman takes care of the dice and moves them around the craps table with the help of a thin flexible stick. When a new shooting round begins, the stickman moves three pairs of dice towards the shooter and one is chosen. After each throw, the stickman moves the dice back to the shooter with his stick, and he is also responsible for announcing the outcome of each throw.

Dealers: There are two dealers at a craps table, each one handling one side of the table. The dealer's role is to pay off winning bets and to collect losing bets. The dealers also have the right to make certain bets such as Place Bets, Lay Bets and some Odds bets. If a player would like to make these bets, he needs to lay his chips on the side of the table and instruct the dealer how to place them.

Floorman: The floorman is basically the overseer of all that is happening at the table. His role is to ensure that everything goes smoothly and will often be supervising more than one table at a time. The floorman will also approve credit for players and keeping an eye out for unsavoury characters around the craps table.

Craps Play

Craps begins with the first roll of the dice called the Come Out roll and opens the betting round. A Come Out roll can only be made if the previous crapshooter failed to produce a winning roll (a Point or a seven out). The Point is defined as the value of the dice roll if a bettor's wager does not win or lose on the Come Out roll.

A new game begins with a new shooter and if he makes his Point, the dice are handed back to him and he begins the new Come Out roll. While in theory this roll is a continuation of the shooter's roll, the Come Out roll basically indicates that a new game is about to begin.

If a shooter fails to make his Point, the dice are transferred to the next player to begin a new Come Out roll. The new shooter is the person located directly to the left of the previous shooter and the game always moves in a clockwise direction around the table.

The dice are thrown across the craps table layout which is divided into three areas: left side, center and right side. Each side area is a mirror image of the opposite side with the following sections:

  • Pass and Don't Pass Line Bets
  • Come and Don't Come Bets
  • Odds Bets
  • Place Bets
  • Field Bets

The center area is shared by both sides and holds the Proposition Bets.

Craps Table Layout

Craps Table
  • APass Line Bet
  • BDon't Pass Line Bet
  • COdds Bet
  • DOdds Bet
  • EDon't Come Bet
  • FField Bet
  • GPlace Bet
  • HDon't Come Buy Bet
  • IDo Come Buy Bet
  • JBig 6 & Big 8
  • KHardway Bets
  • LAny Craps Bet
  • MCraps 2 Bet
  • NCraps 12 Bet
  • OCraps 3 Bet
  • PEleven Bet
  • QAny Seven Bet
  • RHorn Bet
  • SC & E Bet

Craps Bets

  • Pass Line Bet: A Pass Line bet is made by placing chips in the Pass Line box. Once the shooter picks up the dice for the first time and makes a bet, the first dice roll is called the Come Out roll. If the Come Out roll is 7 or 11, then the Pass Line bet wins. If the Come Out roll is 2,3 or 12, the Pass Line bet loses. If any other number is rolled, it becomes the Point number. Hereafter, the Pass Line bet will only win if the shooter rolls the Point number before rolling a 7. If a 7 is rolled before the Point number, the bet is lost and the chips are removed from the table.
  • Don't Pass Line Bet: This bet works in the opposite manner as Pass Line bets. Chips are placed in the Don't Pass Bar and the bet must be made at the beginning of a new game in which the crapshooter will be throwing the dice for the first time. If the shooter throws a 7 or 11 in his Come Out roll, then Don't Pass Line bets is lost. If the Come Out roll, however, is a 3, then the bet is won. If a double one or double six is rolled, it does not count on the Come Out roll, turning the next roll into the Come Out roll. Any other number produced on the Come Out roll becomes the Point. When the Point is determined, the dealer moves the Don't Pass bet onto the relevant number, and if the shooter rolls the point again before a 7 or 11, the Don't Pass Line bet loses. If a 7 is rolled before the Point, then the Don't Pass Line bet wins.
  • Come Bet: Unlike Pass and Don't Pass bets, which are made at the start of the shooter's game, a Come Bet can be made at any point during a shooter's game. Chips are placed in the Come Box and the next roll of dice becomes the Come Out roll for the Come bet. If the shooter rolls 7 or 11 on the Come Out roll the Come bet wins. If 2, 3 or 12 is rolled straight after a Come Wager is made, the bet is lost. Any other number will be made the Point. If the Point is rolled a second time before a 7 is rolled, the Come bet wins. If a 7 or 11 is hit before the Point, the Come bet is removed from the table.
  • Don't Come Bet: The Don't Come bet is similar to the Don't Pass Line bet except that a Don't Come bet can be made during any point in the game by placing chips on the Don't Come Bar. The next roll of dice becomes the Come Out roll for this wager and if a 7 or 11 is thrown, the bet loses. If a 2 or 3 is rolled, however, the bet wins. If the dice rolled is 12, the bet is a tie. All the other rolled numbers become Point numbers and if they are rolled again before rolling a 7, the Don't Come bet is lost. If a 7 or 11 is rolled before the Point number, the Don't Come bet wins.
  • Place Bet: A Place bet is made once the Point number has been determined and can be made during any point in the game. The Place bet is made by placing chips on the 4,5,6,8,9 or 10 box numbers. Once the bet has been placed, if the indicated number is rolled before a 7, the Place bet wins. However, if a 7 is rolled before the Place bet number, then it loses. The odds vary according to the selected number – 4 or 10 have 9:5 odds; 5 or 9 have 7:5 odds; 6 or 8 have 7:6 odds.
  • Odds Bet (also known as Free Odds): Odds bets are strategic bets and offer some of the best odds in the casino world. These bets are made as supplementary bets to Pass, Don't Pass, Come and Don't Come bets – an increase in the wager amount of an original bet. To make a Free Odds bet, the Point number must already be established and the dealer must have moved original bets onto the craps table. The bet is made by placing more chips on top of one's original bet. Please note that these bets can be removed or decreased anytime. However, because these bets offer some of the best odds and are to the player's advantage, it's recommended that these are not removed or reduced.
  • Field Bet: This bet is the easiest to understand on the craps table and can be placed at any time during the shooter's game. The Field bet is determined with a single roll. After the bet is made, if 2,3,4,9,10,11 or 12 are rolled, then the Field bet wins. The Field bet loses if a 5,6,7 or 8 is rolled.
  • Buy Bet: A Buy bet, like a Place bet, is made on numbers 4,5,6,8,9 or 10 after the Point number has been determined. If one of the selected numbers is rolled before a 7 then the Buy bet wins. The Buy bet has a 5% commission fee slapped on it, but the bet returns better odds than the Place bet, depending on the selected number.
  • Lay Bet: The Lay bet is also made on box numbers at any time in the game, and is also charged a 5% commission fee. The Lay bet is similar to the Don't Come bet because it also hopes to hit a 7 before the select number is rolled. The Lay bet is made by placing chips on 4,5,6,8,9 or 10 in the Come Box. If the number is rolled before a 7 is rolled, then the bet is lost.
  • Proposition Bets: Proposition bets are like Field bets because they are also determined by a single dice roll. A bet is made by placing a chip in one of the Proposition bet boxes and the next roll of dice determines success or failure. If a bet is placed in the Any Seven box it is for a seven to be rolled; Any Craps box is for a 2, 3 or 12 to be rolled; Eleven is for an eleven to be rolled; Ace Deuce is for a 3 to be rolled; Aces of Boxcars if a 2 or 12 is rolled; and Horn Bets for a 2, 3, 11 and 12 to be rolled.
  • Buy Bet: A Buy bet, like a Place bet, is made on numbers 4,5,6,8,9 or 10 after the Point number has been determined. If one of the selected numbers is rolled before a 7 then the Buy bet wins. The Buy bet has a 5% commission fee slapped on it, but the bet returns better odds than the Place bet, depending on the selected number.
  • Big 6 and Big 8 Bet: Do not play the Big 6 or Big 8 bets. You are better off to place the 6 and 8.
  • Any Seven Bet: A bet that the next roll of the dice will be 7. It is set on any one roll of the dice in the "Seven" field on the craps table. If 7 is rolled, you'll win 4 times your bet.
  • Any 11 Bet: A bet that the next roll of the dice will be 11. It is set on any one roll of the dice in the box on the craps table containing the two pictured dice that add to 11. If 11 is rolled, you'll win 15 times your bet.
  • Any Craps Bet: A bet that the next roll of the dice will be 2, 3 or 12. It is set on any one roll of the dice in the "Any Craps" field on the craps table. If 2, 3, or 12 is rolled, you'll win 7 times your bet.
  • Horn Bet: A bet that the next roll of the dice will be either 2, 3, 11 or 12. It is a one roll bet that adds up to either to 2, 3, 11 or 12. A winning horn bet pays 15 to 1 on numbers 3 and 11 and 30 to 1 on numbers 2 and 12.
  • Hop Bet: A one roll bet usually made on a combination of the dice not offered on the one roll bets. For example, [5][5] "hopping" is a bet that two fives called a hard ten, will be thrown on the very next roll.
  • C & E Bet: The C bet is placed directly on the letter C which stands for "any Craps" bet and is exactly the same as placing a bet on the "any Craps" bet. The E bet is placed directly on the letter E which stands for "any 11" bet.
  • C & E Split Bet: A C and E split bet is placed between the letters C & E on they craps table.
  • Hardway Bets: A Hardway bet is a bet that the two dice will show the same number and can be either 4, 6, 8 or 10. If the seven has been rolled then the Hardway bet is lost. When a double four is thrown, for example, the result is known as a hard eight.

Craps Etiquette

Craps

Due to the nature of the game and the fact that the dice are the major tool in a craps game, there are very strict codes of conduct practiced around a craps table:

  • When a player is offered to become the next shooter, it is not considered rude to pass on to the next player. However, it should be remembered that at least one player has to be the crapshooter who will bet on the Pass or Don’t Pass line in order for the game to continue.
  • It is traditional to tip the dealers and this is done by tossing a few tips onto the table, and saying ‘for the house’, ‘for the dealers’ or ‘for the boys’. Another method used is placing extra chips next to one’s bet and calling out ‘dealers’.
  • After the Come Out roll, it is thought to be bad luck to say the word ‘seven’, so the term ‘big red’ is used.
  • It is considered bad luck to change dice in the middle of a roll.
  • A player makes a Center bet by throwing chips to the center of the table and announcing the intended bet. The stickman will put the chips in the correct place for the player.
  • It is bad etiquette to ‘late bet’ or to place wagers when the dice are not in the middle of the table. While technically this type of wager is allowed, a player that does it too often will be warned.
  • Food and drinks should be kept away from the chip rail.
  • Most players consider it bad lack for the shooter to leave the table after rolling a successful Come Out roll.
  • When the shooter is ready to roll, players must remove their hands and elbows from the table area so as not to interfere with the throw and dice. The stickman will often call out “Hand’s high, let ‘em fly” or something similar.

Summary

Craps is a great, social game that is highly popular in land casinos. Once a player has learnt the different types of bets, he will be able to truly enjoy craps. Craps is also available in countless online casinos and the free games will help a player master craps before even a cent is spent.

Posted by Denise Marie

Craps Resources

Click for a full range of craps resources like the history of the game, how to play, the different combinations and probabilities, the various number nicknames and much more: