How to Play Craps Like a Champ
Preface: Craps is one of the few casino table games that looks surprisingly easy, yet is laden with complicated rules, betting options, and payout possibilities. In this easy-to-follow guide on how to play craps, you will learn the ins and outs of this dice game, craps terminology like the come out roll, pass line bets, the come line, the pass line, and the back wall. Craps goes back eons, to medieval times. It is believed that a game known as Hazard was the original game of Craps. The eponymous name is a derivation of the French word Crapaud which actually means ‘toad’. Given that this game was played on the streets with people hunkering down on their haunches while rolling the dice, it makes sense why it was called toad.
Craps has an incredibly rich history which could fill volumes of books just on its own. The game is loved by high rollers the world over, and it is often the poster child of casinos and online casinos from Monte Carlo to Las Vegas, and beyond. In order to understand how to play craps, it’s important to have an idea of what the craps table looks like. Much like roulette, the layout of the table gives players plenty of clues regarding the range of betting options that are available.
The layout of the craps table is interesting, in that there are many different betting options displayed. On the outside of the table is the ‘PASS LINE’ – this wraps around much of the table. On the inside of the craps table is the ‘Don’t Pass Bar’ followed by ‘BIG 6’ and ‘BIG 8’, with ‘Don’t Come’ and ’10’, ‘NINE’, ‘8’, ‘SIX’, ‘5’ and ‘4’. In the middle of the table is the word ‘COME’ and several other numbers and bet selections like ‘2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 and 12’.
The Pass Line Bet
The most common bet in craps is known as the ‘Pass Line Bet’. On this particular bet, if you roll a 7 or 11, you automatically win on the original Pass Line Bet. This is possible because the ‘Puck’ is off. Once the puck is on a number, 7 or 11 will cause you to lose. However, if you initially roll a 2, 3, or 12, you will automatically lose.
Once you place your bets, you as the craps shooter are required to take a pair of dice (5 dice are forwarded to you) in your hand and ‘throw’ them towards the back wall of the craps table. The dice must touch the back wall and land on their face (six-sided dice) to yield a valid result. The maximum possible dice roll is 12 and the minimum possible dice roll is 2. Incidentally, both of these are losing bets on the initial Pass Line Bet.
If you win on your craps roll, you can Let It Ride and double it up for the next roll. This is known as stack it or rack it. If you fail to roll 7 or 11 on the next spin, and you don’t hit one of the prohibited numbers, the new number becomes the point. The point simply means that you need to hit that number in order to win, and if you roll 7 or 11, you will lose.
At this point in the game, there are betting options that the craps shooter can place on himself/herself to hit the lucky number. These are known as ‘Odds Bets’. They are placed behind the player’s original bet and they are the true odds paid to the player if that number gets hit.
7 or 11 are Winners when a Point has Not Been Established
If you look carefully at the craps table now, you will notice that the field of numbers that are available a.k.a. 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10 are the betting options available to you. The reasons why 7 or 11 are not listed is that they are automatic winners before the point. Additionally, other numbers like 2, 3, 12 are not displayed in the top section either.
They are listed underneath the word COME with 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 as the FIELD of numbers. Players place bet numbers in craps if they don’t hit 7 or 11 on the Pass Line Bet. These are single roll bets only. If you decide to play the field, you toss a chip into the field of play and if any of those numbers hits (3, 4, 9, 10, or 11), you get paid out even money.
The Come Out Roll
That means your odds are 1:1. A bet of $200 will pay $200 in winnings. A bet of $400 will pay $400 in winnings, et cetera. If the point number doesn’t hit, but the field wins, payouts are still made. The Come out Roll kicks in once the point number has been hit. On the Come out Roll, 7 or 11 is an instant winner, but 2, 3, and 12 are losers. If you land a losing number, the line loses, but if anyone has bet on the field, the field will win.
For players that are just getting started with craps, while a game is in action, the Come Bet is placed. Same rules apply – 7 or 11 wins, 2, 3, 12 lose. That’s essentially everything there is to know about how to play craps for a first-time player. Incidentally, the longest craps dice roll that ever took place in recorded history was in Atlantic City, at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa when a grandmother named Patricia Demauro rolled the dice 154 times straight.
This Casinofy guide to craps serves as the basis for understanding the most important aspects of the game. Refer back to this guide on how to play craps whenever you need to refresh your memory.