HOW TO PLAY: Craps for Beginners
Craps is a game played with dice. The player throws the dice across the table, making sure to hit the back wall. The number rolled can determine wagers immediately or create a scenario where a number must or must not be rolled again for a player to win.
Object of Craps
The object of craps depends on what side a bettor chooses to play. A game starts with the option of placing a Pass Line or Don’t Pass bet. Each is a wager against the other.
Most players wager on the Pass Line. This wager wins on the first roll if a 7 or 11 is called. The bet immediately loses if the roll is a 2, 3 or 12. If the dice roll a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10, the number becomes the point. A player must roll that number again to win. The Pass Line bet will lose if a 7 is thrown before the point is made. The only numbers that matter once a point is established is a 7 or the point. All other rolls are considered a push.
The Don’t Pass bet is the opposite of the Pass Line. It is considered the house way. Many players refer to it as the “Dark Side”. A player on the Don’t Pass line loses if the come-out roll is a 7 or 11. The bet wins on a 2 or 3. It pushes on a 12, which is the roll where the house makes its money in craps. If a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 is rolled, the Don’t Pass player wants a 7 to come before that number.
The rules on the Come bet are exactly the same as the Pass Line. The only difference is that it is on a different roll than the come-out. It wins immediately on a 7 or 11 and loses on a 2, 3, or 12. Any other number that comes must be rolled again for the Come to win. Players may wager on the Come bet only once a point has been established. If no point is established, the Pass Line is the proper way to place this bet.
The Don’t Come has the same rules as the Don’t Pass similarly to how the Come is to the Pass Line. It is a side bet that is only offered after a point has been established and is not available on the come-out. The Don’t Come wins on a 2 or 3 and loses on a 7 or 11. It pushes on a 12. Any other number becomes a side point where the Don’t Come player hopes a 7 is rolled before the number.
Pass Line, Don’t Pass, Come and Don’t Come bets offer odds. These are the true mathematical probability based on the outcome. There is no house advantage on craps odds. Online casinos will usually allow a player to bet double odds. This means double the amount of the original bet. A $1 line bet would be allowed to place $2 in odds in a double odds game. Las Vegas casinos will offer odds as high as 100 times the original wager.
Pass Line and Come Odds
- 4 and 10: 2 to 1
- 5 and 9: 3 to 2
- 6 and 8: 6 to 5
Don’t Pass and Don’t Come Odds
- 4 and 10: 1 to 2
- 5 and 9: 2 to 3
- 6 and 8: 5 to 6
The Field is a one-roll bet. It wins on a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12. All other numbers lose. A 2 or 12 pays double on Field bets. Many casinos will pay triple on a 12. Casinos in Australia and some other Pacific countries will pay triple on 2 and double on 12. The house advantage on the Field is cut in half when the house pays triple on either 2 or 12.
A bettor that does not want to wait for a point to be established may pick his favorite numbers. This is called a place bet. These bets are available on the 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10. The bet wins if the number comes before a 7. The bets lose when a 7 is rolled. Place bets may be taken down at any time before a roll. Place bet payouts are:
- 4 and 10: 9 to 5
- 5 and 9: 7 to 5
- 6 and 8: 7 to 6
Players that want to place the 4 or 10 and wager at least $10 may buy it. This lowers the house advantage. A player pays 5% of the winning amount if the bet hits. A player that buys a number will pay $.25 for every $5 wagered. Live casinos will round the vig to the nearest dollar.
Some people are pessimists that want the shooter to lose. These bettors can bet that a 7 will come before a certain number. A player must pay 5% of the potential winnings before laying the number. Some casinos will only require a player to pay the 5% vig on a 4 or 10 lay if it wins.
There are four Hard Way bets on a craps table. The best way to describe these is a roll of doubles. It is two of the same number. The bet wins if the Hard Way is rolled before an easy way or a 7. For example, a player that bets the Hard 8 will win if the dice roll as two-4’s. If a player rolls a 2 and a 6, the bet loses because that is an easy way.
Hard Way Payouts
- Hard 6 and 8: 9 to 1
- Hard 4 and 10: 7 to 1
Hop Bets are one-roll bets. A player tries to call the exact roll with a Hop Bet. If the Hop Bet is a hard way, it pays 30-1. If the wager is an easy way, it pays 15-1. The craps layout will usually have places for the 2, 3, 11 and 12 bets. Most casinos will book any Hop Bet as long as the wager is made before the dice are out.
The Horn is a one-roll bet with an equal wager on the 2, 3, 11 and 12. These bets are usually made in increments of $4.
The Any Craps bet is a one-roll bet that pays 7-1 when a 2, 3 or 12 is rolled.