Craps is one of the most exciting casino games ever, but many players are intimidated by the numbers and all the different bets available in it. Most people also think craps is hard, but it’s quite the contrary.
In this ultimate guide on how to play craps for beginners, you’ll learn everything about the craps table, rules, terminology, and many other things!
So, if you want to learn how to play craps and win, keep reading this article, and you’ll become an expert in no time!
What is Craps?
Craps can be played in both online and live casinos, and it’s one of the most popular games, as it can get pretty exciting. It’s played with two dice, and the numbers on them determine whether you win or lose when placing bets at different places on the table.
The game can have 20 players at the table at once, each one taking turns and rolling the dice. Players use casino chips to bet on the different sections of the craps table, and they can bet against each other or against the house.
Brief History of the Craps Game
Craps was formerly known as “hazard,” an English variation of the game that dates centuries ago. Hazard was brought to America in the early 19th century, but it didn’t become popular among the social classes until the underclass learned how to play it.
The game got its name, “Craps,” in Louisiana due to the mispronunciation of the word “crabs,” which were the losing numbers for the first dice roll in Hazard.
At the beginning of the 20th century, John H. Winn, a dicemaker, popularized the game by introducing a new layout and came up with the design we see today in modern games. With its introduction, cheating was reduced to a minimum.
Craps became hugely popular during World War II, as it was simple and could be played by military members, who used blankets as a shooting surface. After the war, craps became a dominant game in Las Vegas, Caribbean, and European casinos. It ultimately remained popular in the 2000s with the introduction of online casinos.
Important Craps Terminology
Before reading about the craps rules and bet placement strategies, you should first get familiar with the basic craps terminology and important definitions. The table below should help you out:
TermDefinitionBetting RightWhen you place wagers on the pass line, you are “betting right” because you are betting with the shooter.Box NumbersBox numbers is an alternative term for the place bet section.Hard NumberA hard number is a roll that is a result of two doubles. For example, seeing two 5s means you’ve rolled a hard 10.House EdgeA term that’s often used in all casino games, house edge, refers to the statistical advantage the casino has over players and the gross profit the casino expects to make from the game. When it comes to craps, the house edge ranges from 1.52% to 16.90%.Cold TableCold table is a term that’s used when the game of craps ends and has no winners.Outside NumbersOutside numbers refer to 4, 5, 9, and 10.PointThe point is the number that lands on the comeout, and can be a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10. Once it’s established, the players will keep betting until the dice roll on it again or a 7.
Roles in Craps
Other than knowing the important craps terminology, you should also be familiar with the roles you’ll be seeing at the table, such as:
The boxman. The boxman is a casino employee who oversees the chips, exchanges cash for players, and ensures that the gameplay is fair.The stickman. The stickman is a casino employee who announces the outcome of each roll and who is in charge of passing the dice to the shooter. The name comes from the long stick, curved at the top, that they use to pass the dice.Two base dealers. Casinos usually have two base dealers at each side of the craps table. They place the bets for players, collect the wagers, and handle the payouts.The shooter. In craps, players take turns rolling the dice, which usually goes clockwise. The person whose turn it is to roll the dice is called the shooter.
Craps Table Explained
Understanding the table is how you become good at this game, which is tricky as the craps table can be up to 12ft long and can hold between 8 and 16 players. It also has numerous betting fields, including:
The “pass” line and the “don’t pass bar”The big 6 and big 8 betsThe “field”The “come” and “don’t come bar”The “place”Dealers and players
The “Pass Line” and the “Don’t Pass Bar”
Due to their low house edge (1.41%), the pass line and the don’t pass bar are the most common bets made on the craps table. You can place bets on these two boxes before the point or a 7 is rolled.
If the dice fall on either a combined 7 or 11, all players who bet on the pass line automatically win. On the other hand, if you think the result of the roll will be a 2, 3, or 12, you should bet on the don’t pass bar.
It’s interesting to note that players who bet on the don’t pass bar are referred to as “wrong bettors” as they bet against the shooter. The house edge for this bet is also slightly lower than the pass bar (1.36%)
The Big 6 and Big 8 Bets
The big 6 and big 8 are the bets that pay the biggest at the craps table, but they also have a high house edge (9.1%). Still, besides the pass and don’t pass bar, they are the most played bets on the craps table.
These two bets are found in the corner between the pass and don’t pass bar, and you should bet on them if you think you will land a 6 or 8 before landing a 7.
The winners are paid even money, which makes these bets unprofitable in the long run.
The field is a bet that’s located just above the don’t pass bar and has a house edge of 2.78% or 5.56%, depending on the casino’s rules. If the pay on both 2 and 12 play 2-1, the house edge will be 5.56%, whereas if either pays 3-1, the house edge will be cut in half to 2.78%.
You should place your bet on the field if you think the next roll will be a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12.
The “Come” and “Don’t Come Bar”
When the point has been established, the round can go on for a few more throws. This is when you can start betting on the come and don’t come bar sections. Both sections have low house edges, 1.41% and 1.36%, and are quite similar to pass and don’t pass bets.
You should place your bet on the come section if you think you’ll land a 7 or 11 on your next roll or add your bet to the don’t come bar if you are hoping to land 2, 3, or 12.
If any other number comes out on the next roll besides 2, 3, 13, 7, or 11, it will become your personal point, which will give you double chances of losing or winning.
The place is a section located above the come bet, near the boxman. You can place bets here if you think the shooter is going to land a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 before landing a 7. On the other hand, if you think the shooter will land a 7 instead, you can place a ‘place to lose’ bet.
The house edge for the place bets depends on the outcome of the dice. For example, the house edge is 1.52% for 6 and 8, 6,67% for 4 and 10, and 4% for 5 and 9.
Dealers and Players
The dealers and players section is also known as the center section or the hardways. Here, you can place single-roll bets made on the odds of the dice landing on a hard number. A number that’s rolled hard means that both sides of the dice show the same number.
For example, a hard 5 is a roll in which both dice land on a 5.
This section of the craps table also has the highest house edge, which can range from 10 to 16.7%, depending on the roll, but at least the odds can be up to 30:1.
6 Basic Craps Rules
Although craps might seem like a difficult game, it’s like that only because it has numerous rules. Here are some of the most important ones that every player should be familiar with before visiting the craps table.
As previously mentioned, craps is played with two six-sided dice. Your goal in this game is to bet on the total of the numbers that land face up on these two dice.
When you bet in craps, you are betting on both dice, not each one separately. So, for example, if one dice lands on 1 and the other on 5, the number on that roll is 6. If the numbers are 2 and 2, the roll is 4, and so on.
#2. Purchasing Credits
Before making bets at the craps table, you first need to buy credits, as the game is played with chips. The buy-in is done at the table and has a few unwritten rules.
Firstly, you must buy the chips from the dealer, but you mustn’t hand the cash directly to them as they are not permitted to take it from you. Instead, place the cash on the table, and the dealer will take it and exchange it for chips.
Secondly, don’t try to buy in in the middle of the roll. This is considered disrespectful, and you should always wait for the roll to be over before asking the dealer for chips. Just remember that the average roll is about 8 rolls, so you never have to wait too long.
#3. Shooter Etiquette
Craps is a game that revolves around throwing the dice, betting, and having a good time. That’s why you shouldn’t ruin everyone’s game by messing with the dice when it’s not your turn.
Don’t touch them, take them outside the table, blow on them for luck, or do anything else you’d like to do. They are handled by the shooter and the shooter only.
You should also remember to throw them with one hand and keep the dice where the dealer can see them. This will help you avoid cheating accusations and keep your reputation as a shooter sky-high.
#4. Placing Bets
In online craps, you place bets by clicking on the desired area and selecting the number of chips you wish to wager.
At live tables, on the other hand, you can place your bets on your own only in the Come and Field sections. For all other sections of the table, your chips must be placed by the dealer.
To place a bet in a live casino, simply push the chips in front of you and tell the dealer your desired bet. For example, you can say “$10 on hard 6,” and the dealer will move your chips accordingly.
#5. Betting Limits
Whether you’re playing in a mobile or live casino, every craps table will have betting limits.
Usually, the tables have a minimum and a maximum allowed amount of chips you can wager. For example, a minimum can be $1, $5, $10, or higher, whereas the maximum can be anywhere from $100 to $1000 or more.
Before choosing the craps table you want to play at, it’s super important you read a placard containing the betting limit details. You should only bet at a table you can financially handle.
#6. Tipping the Personnel
Last but not least, you should always remember to tip the personnel at the craps table. Casinos don’t usually pay the dealers too much, which means they need to rely on tips to earn a solid salary.
Tipping the casino staff well will also earn you the nickname “George,” which is given only to generous players.
Some players tip because they are superstitious and believe in good karma, while others do it because it makes them feel good after winning a bet. Regardless of your reasons, tip the personnel—it’ll be appreciated.
Craps Betting Tips
Now that you know all the important bits about craps, we’ll give you some useful betting tips, such as:
Use the welcome bonuses. Most online casinos nowadays offer welcome bonuses, which are made to help all players start off on the right foot and have some bonus money to bet with in the beginning. Set a gambling limit. Whether you’re playing blackjack, poker, or craps, you should always set a gambling limit for yourself, as you can get carried away easily. Without it, you’ll just find yourself going on a “walk of shame” and visiting the nearest ATM until you empty your bank account.Practice online. Although it’s easy to understand, craps is a difficult game to master. The best way to get a solid grasp of the game is to practice online. There are free versions of craps you can play with an AI, but you can also play with $1 bets until you get the hang of it.Wait for your space. If you want to join a game of craps, there needs to be a chips shelf available for you first. So, check if there is one, and ask the dealer to join. If there isn’t any, you should be patient and wait for your space to open.Don’t cross the line. Like all other casino games, even craps has an unwritten etiquette with a certain set of rules. One of these rules tells you that you should let the dealer or the stickman handle bets. Reaching across the craps table yourself could mess up the chips and the placed bets.Make bets on time. When playing craps, you should always pay attention to the dealers, as they will announce when bets can be accepted. So, when you hear the announcement, place your bets on time and let the game proceed smoothly.
How To Play Craps Online
If you’ve made it this far, the chances are you want to use your freshly gained knowledge and play some craps. In such a case, your best bet would be to play online first, so you could get the hang of the game and hone your skills.
To play craps online, all you have to do is:
Find an online casino with plenty of craps tablesCreate an account and add funds to itJoin a table with your preferred betting limitsHave fun!
If you’re completely new to the game, you should also look for an online casino in which you can practice craps without having to bet real cash. This way, you can make bets without suffering any losses.
Craps for Beginners FAQ
#1. Is craps easy to learn?
Craps is an easy game to learn but a hard game to master. It has pretty straightforward rules, but some players might be discouraged from playing because of all the numbers at the table. But, once you get the hang of it, craps will become one of the easiest and most enjoyable games you’ve ever tried.
#2. What is the best bet in craps?
Although there isn’t a definite best bet in craps, the pass bet is one of the better ones, especially for beginners. It has one of the lowest house edges (1.40%), and it’s an easy bet to make. If you’re an experienced player, you can use it to reduce the house advantage in your favor.
#3. Can you beat the game of craps?
As it’s impossible to predict what numbers the dice will land on, it’s also impossible to consistently win in craps. The best thing you can do is to learn the odds and house advantages of each bet, which will help you make smarter moves.
#4. Is craps skill or luck-based game?
Craps is more of a game of chance than a skill-based game, as players can’t control the outcome of the game in any way. You can’t apply your skill to reduce the house edge as you would in blackjack, so you can only hope the dice land where you want them to.
Craps has various kinds of bets, and we hope that this article has helped you get a better grasp of some of them. Even though you can’t beat the game—as it’s a game of chance—knowing how to bet and being familiar with all the rules can give you an advantage.
So far, we’ve learned that:
Craps is a game that’s played with two dice, whose outcome determines whether you win or lose when placing bets at different places on the table.Craps became hugely popular during World War II.The personnel you’ll see at a craps table include the boxman, who exchanges cash and chips; the stickman, who passes the dice to the shooter, and two base dealers, who place bets for players.When playing dice, you should remember to:Handle the dice only when it’s your turnPlace your bets politelyBet within your financial limitsTip the personnelWait for your turnNever cross the lineMake bets on time