How to Play Craps: Rules and Strategies

Casinos are known for various sorts of games – card games, table games, slot games, and many others. All of these offer you a chance of winning a great amount of cash. The loudest people in the casino would definitely be at the slot machines, but there is no other place in a casino, which offers more excitement, than a group of people having a good time at the craps table.

Craps is basically a dice game. A player wagers on the result of a roll, or a sequence of rolls of a pair of dice. People who haven’t played the game before often get intimidated by the complex table layout, confusing terms used by the dealer, the fast paced nature of the game, and the sheer number of bets that you can make on the table. But if you learn a few simple bets and strategies, then you will realize that certain plays in craps offer the best house edge in any casino.


Craps has a very complex historical background. It dates back to the crusades and has been highly influenced by French gambling In fact, the name craps comes from the term crapaud, which in French means toad, as originally, people used to play this game crouched over a floor. Earlier, craps used to be played in the streets and was popularized mainly by the African – American people, who used to call it shooting dice. Street craps still exists, but Craps is the name given to the game played in casinos.

The Table and the People Involved

Generally in the centre of a craps table are the boxes for what you would call proposition bets. On either side of these boxes is an identical setup. Two people stand beside the centre of the table. One of them is called the boxman. He collects the cash, oversees the game and is responsible for no mishaps occurring. The other one is called the stick man. He is responsible for handing over the dice and also for announcing the result for each roll. Usually the stickman is very loud, keeps talking to keep the tempo of the game up, and encourages players to make more bets. On either end of the table are dealers, who take the bets, collect the chips for losing bets, and payoff the winners.

There is a pass line which goes in front of the players and stretches around the table. There are smaller, don’t pass bars as well. There are separate areas for come bets as well as the don’t come bets. Also on both the sides is an area called field, which is used for making bets dependent upon a single roll.

Betting on Craps Table

Just by looking at the table, you can tell that there are numerous bets possible in this game. But there are a few bets which lower the house edge to almost 1%. These are the bets you should be playing. Some of these bets are:

  • Pass or Don’t Pass Bet: This is the simplest and one of the most profitable bets. In this bet you are either betting with the shooter (pass) or against him (don’t pass). Always remember you can place these bets only before the first roll, or as it is called, the come-out roll. Mostly players go for the pass bet, as it is in spirit of the game to be going with the shooter. You play the bet by placing your chips on the pass line or the don’t pass bar, depending upon your bet. If the come out roll is a 7 or 11 then pass bets will be the ones that win while the don’t pass bets will be the ones that end up losing. If the roll is 12, 3 or 2 the pass bets will end up losing. Don’t pass best will be on the winning side on 2 and 3 but, neither win nor lose on a 12. If the outcome of the roll is any other number, then that number becomes a point. Dice are rolled again till the point a seven comes up. If point comes first then pass bets will end up winners and if a 7 comes first then don’t pass bets end up as winners.
  • Free Odds: After the point has been established you can place an odds bet by placing your chips behind your first bet. Payback is at true odds of the number being rolled, that is, for a 6 or an 8 you get 6:5. Combined with pass/don’t pass or come/don’t come bets, they offer a house edge of only 0.6%.
  • Come/Don’t Come: Such bets are very similar to the pass/don’t pass bets, but they are made only after the come out roll. After the come out roll, if a point number is recognized then you place your bet on the come or don’t come section of the table. If the subsequent roll is a 7 or an 11 then come bets will be the ones that win, while the don’t come bets are on the losing side, if it is a 12, 3 or 2, then come bets end up losing, and don’t come will win only on a 2 or 3 and not on 12. If any other number is rolled then it is the point number, and a 7 has to be thrown before the point for don’t come to win and vice versa for come bets to win.


These are the few bets which you must know before going to a craps table as they offer you the best chance to earn money. But you can also follow a few simple tips to make your stay at the table even more profitable. After your initial pass/don’t pass bet, it is a good idea to follow them with come/don’t come bets, and backing up these bets with odds bets, with a value as high as the casino allows.

Craps is a very exciting game, but slightly complex at the same time. If played with the right strategy it can be a highly rewarding experience.


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