It's the noisiest game in the house and only spectator
game in the casino that's worthy of the name. Next to
Blackjack it's got some of the best player odds in the
house and only Roulette has more betting options for
the player. It's the one and only Craps.
Picture your average Poker game: stone faces, few words,
cagey players and cut-throat action. Craps, god bless
it, is the complete opposite. Players yelling bets, hangers-on
pumped on the action, fellow bettors your companions
with the chips flying and the dice right behind them.
It's not just a game, it's the King of Dice.
And while it's true that a smart player can step in
with $100 and with a little luck walk away minutes later
with $10,000, it's also true that there are more sucker
bets than you can shake a stick at. Few games show you
the line between a smart bet and a bad one, inked right
on the felt for all to see. Strategy, opponents, long
odds and smart bets. Craps has it all.
Unfortunately Craps can be pretty intimidating for the
newcomer. There are such a large number of betting options,
special rules and exceptions that you'll feel as if you'll
never get a handle on it. Personally, I avoided the Craps
table for the longest time simply because it was so noisy
and confusing. But hang in there because the smarter
you play the easier it is. The trick is to take it one
step at a time.
When you are rolling the dice you are the "shooter".
Your first toss in a round of Craps is called the Come
Out roll. If you roll a 7 or 11, you win and the round
is over before it started. If you roll a 2, 3, or 12
that's a Craps and you lose: again, it's over before
it started. Any other number becomes the Point. The purpose
of the Come Out roll is to set the Point, which can be
any of 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10. The Dealer places a puck
marked "On" above the Point number printed
on the table.
The basic objective in Craps is for the shooter to win
by tossing the Point again before he tosses a 7. That
7 is called Out 7 to differentiate it from the 7 on
the Come Out roll. If the Point is tossed, the shooter
and his fellow bettors win and the round is over. If
the shooter tosses Out 7, they lose and the round is
over. If the toss is neither the Point nor Out 7, the
round continues and the dice keep rolling.
Betting and payoff
Here's where life at the Craps table can get complicated.
There are an overwhelming number of betting options
and it'll make you dizzy trying to figure them all
out at once. Like I promised though, it's easy to play
smart. Let's talk about those smart bets first.
The typical -- and simplest -- bet is called a Pass bet.
It is placed on the Pass Line before the Come Out roll.
Assuming that the round goes past the Come Out roll,
you're betting on the chance that you'll roll the Point
again before you roll an Out 7. Pass bets win at even
odds, 1:1. Since any Pass bets are typically betting
with the shooter, Pass bettors are said to be betting "right",
they're supporting the shooter in his attempt to win.
To Win: win on the Come Out roll if the dice show 7
or 11. Win on any subsequent roll if you roll the Point.
To Lose: lose on the Come Out roll if the dice are Craps
(2, 3, or 12). Lose on any subsequent roll if it's an
Don't Pass bets
A bet placed on the Don't Pass line is basically the
opposite of a Pass bet. Assuming that the round goes
past the Come Out roll, you're betting that the shooter
will roll Out 7 before making the Point. In other words,
you're betting against the shooter, which is why it's
called a "wrong" bet. Rest assured though,
there is nothing wrong with the odds on a Don't Pass
To Win: win on the Come Out roll if the dice show Craps
(2, 3 or 12). Win on any subsequent roll if it's an Out
To Lose: lose on the Come Out roll of 7 or 11. Lose
on any subsequent roll if it's the Point.
Come/Don't Come bets
Come and Don't Come bets are basically the same as Pass
and Don't Pass except they are placed while a round
is in progress. They are designed for players who join
the game late. The same rules apply: win if the next
roll is 7 or 11, lose if it's Craps. Otherwise the
roll becomes the Come Point.
An Odds bet is a backup bet on a Pass/Don't Pass/Come/Don't
Come bet already on the table. They're usually limited
to two or three times (2x or 3x) the original bet and
pay off at true odds: the payoff truly reflects the
probability of the dice's roll and there's no additional
house edge involved. Unlike original Pass/Don't Pass/Come/Don't
Come bets, unresolved Odds bets can be removed from
the table during play.
Pass Odds and Come Odds pay 2:1 on a roll of 4 or 10,
3:2 on 5's and 9's, and 6:5 on 6's and 8's.
Don't Pass Odds and Don't Come Odds pay 1:2 on a roll
of 4 or 10, 2:3 on 5's and 9's, 5:6 on 6's and 8's.
Now for the rest of the table, the Place Number bets
and Proposition bets. Unfortunately the odds against
you here vary from mediocre to terrible which is why
savvy players ignore almost all of them. These bets
are mostly designed for players who either have money
burning a hole in their pocket or feel they have to
bet on every little toss of the dice. The price of
such impatience and risk-taking is higher house edges,
sometimes dramatically higher.
A Place Number bet is where you are betting that a particular
number will roll before a 7 does, or vice versa. These
include the Place, Buy, Lay and Lose bets, the Big 6
and Big 8, and finally the Hard 4, Hard 6, Hard 8 and
The Proposition bets are where you bet that the next
roll will be a specific number. These include the 2,
3, 7, 11, and 12 bets, the Any Craps bet, the Field,
Hop and Horn bets.