How to Play Craps
For many people unfamiliar with the rules of craps, the game can appear daunting and complicated. Not only is the game simple to learn, it’s often the most fun you can have on a casino floor.
At first you might be overwhelmed. The table has several betting areas, there’s casino staff everywhere, and numbers that sometimes seem good can other times be jeered. Shooters place bets and chuck dice, players hoot and holler, crowds hover on the rail. It looks complex but also fun. Both of those things are true.
Advancing from spectator to player requires a basic understanding of the game. This guide will take you through everything you need to know about getting started with craps.
Remember, you don’t need to know everything about craps to enjoy it. In fact, you could learn just one thing—the pass line—and play to win money.
- A craps game works in a cycle.
- It begins with a “come out” roll.
- If a 7 or 11 is rolled, players betting the Pass Line win even money. Players betting the Don’t Pass line lose.
- If a 2,3, or 12 is rolled players betting the Pass Line lose. Players betting the Don’t Pass line win on a 2 or 3 and push (tie) on a 12.
- A point is establishedby rolling a 4,5,6,8,9, or 10.
- The shooter then rolls until that point is made (rolled again) or the turn is ended by rolling a 7.
- Finally, a new cycle begins.
* The shooter is the person with the dice. Each player in Craps gets a chance to roll the dice, if desired. The turns progress clockwise around the table.
While there are many bets available at a craps table, novice players should begin by learning the basic strategy of the game. In order to do so it is important to become familiar with the 5 main types of bets: Pass line, Don’t Pass line, Come bet, Don’t Come bet, and Place bets.
PASS LINE BET
A Pass Line bet wagers that the point will be repeated before the shooter rolls a 7. If the come-out roll is a 7 or 11, the players who made a Pass Line bet win. However, if the shooter rolls “craps” (2, 3 or 12), the Pass Line bet loses. You cannot remove the Pass Line bet from the table once the point has been established; however, you can add odds to it while play is going on. Adding odds is recommended as it pays fair odds.
DON’T PASS LINE BET
This bet is the opposite of the Pass Line bet. The player wagers that the shooter is going to throw a 7 before rolling the point number again. Essentially the player is betting against the shooter; betting that he or she will lose.[It is often viewed as poor etiquette to bet against the rest of the table. Don’t Pass and Don’t Come bets are often frowned upon but are completely within the rules if this is how you wish to play]. If the come out roll is a 2 or 3 this player wins.If a 12 is rolled (the other part of ‘craps’) it’s a push, or tie. The bet will lose if the 7 or 11 (a natural) is rolled. Unlike the Pass Line bet, after the point is established, this bet can be removed from the table.
The “Come” is a bet that is made once the point becomes established. The player places a bet on the section of the table marked “Come.” The shooter then rolls, and the bet is placed in the box that corresponds to the number that is rolled. If the player wishes, he or she can add odds to the wager. Again, this is highly recommended as it pays fair odds with no edge to the house. If the number rolls before a 7 is rolled, the player wins this bet. If the 7 comes first, the player loses the bet.
DON’T COME BET
Like the “Come” bet, this one is made once the point is established. The player places a bet on the “Don’t Come” box on the table. The shooter rolls, and, like the Come bet, the dealer moves the bet to the box that corresponds with the number that is rolled. If that number is rolled before a 7 is rolled, however, the player loses. If the 7 comes first, the player wins the bet. In this way it becomes the exact opposite of the “Come” bet.
This wager is called the “place” bet because the player asks that it be “placed” on a specific number or numbers. Using the place bet, the player can wager on a number, whether it was the point that was established in the game or not. If that number comes up before the 7 is rolled, the player wins. If the 7 rolls first, the bet loses. For wagers of twenty bucks or more, you can “buy” the number, where, in exchange for paying a small “vigorish” or commission, you can get a better payoff if you win. Different casinos will have varying rulings on this.
The accompanying infographic offers a visual breakdown of the betting areas listed above as well as some other wagers the game has to offer.
In a casino, players make bets with chips on a felt table that displays the various betting possibilities. In most casinos, craps tables are double sided with identical layouts on both ends of the table. The center bets in the middle are for proposition bets. This set up allows more players to participate with a maximum of 8 on each side of the center line. Players can make multiple bets for each turn, round, or roll and should become familiar with the craps layout.
A casino craps table is usually operated by four casino employees:
- The boxman – The responsibility of the boxman is to guards the chips, supervise the dealers, and “coloring out” players (exchanging small chip denominations for larger denominations in order to preserve the chips at a table).
- Two base dealers – Tables generally have 2 base dealers, one on each side of theboxman.They collect and pay bets.
- The stickman – The stickman stands directly across the table from the boxman. He takes bets in the center of the table (the proposition bets: hard ways, yo, craps, horn, etc.). He announces the results of each roll, collects the dice with an elongated wooden stick, and directs the base dealers to pay winners from bets in the center of the table.
Each employee makes sure the other is paying out winners correctly. Occasionally, during off-peak times, only one base dealer will be attending the table, rendering only half the table open for bettors or one of the two base dealers will assume the role of the stickman. In some casinos, there is no boxman; the boxman’s duties are shared between the dealers and a roving supervisor who covers many tables.