A Game Guide to Craps
Craps is generally the casino game you’ll see in television or films. It’s incredibly popular and lively, particularly because players are often heard screaming as they win or lose.
Like slots, many people love craps because it’s a fast-moving casino game but taking one glance at the table might leave you feeling confused. But don’t worry about that because our handy guide will help you out.
Craps is a variation of the British game Hazard and a spin-off of the French game Crabes. Hazard was a game invented by Englishman Sir William of Tyre in the early 1100s. Around 1807, Hazard was brought over to New Orleans from London by Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville, who simplified the game and introduced it to the working class. The game exploded in popularity and quickly spread throughout the US.
However, the game was abused by casinos who used unfair dice. To fix this problem, Philadelphia dice maker John H. Winn developed the craps table layout, which continues to be used today. Craps also experienced a surge in popularity during World War II in which soldiers played by using a blanket as a shooting surface.
The game is still played today and hasn’t changed much since John Winn developed the craps table. But how do you actually play craps? And what do all the different sections on the craps table mean? Well, let’s find out.
How to Play Craps
Compared to other casino games available to players, craps is unique because players themselves throw the dice and determine whether or not they lose. There is no dealer involved here, and the game is completely based on chance.
In craps, each player takes turns rolling the dice. The player rolling the dice is called a shooter and everyone participating places bets on the same roll of the dice, whether they’re the shooter or not. The current shooter will continue rolling the dice until they hit a seven, known as ‘sevens out’.
Craps is a game of rounds and each round can either last one roll or multiple rolls. The round starts with a Come Out roll, meaning the first roll, in which the shooter throws the dice to establish a point number. The shooter will then keep throwing the dice to try and get the same number again before a seven is rolled.
If a seven is rolled, a new player becomes the shooter, sparking the beginning of a new round. However, if the shooter rolls their point number, they win. Meanwhile, other participants wager on the outcome of the two dice.
Online games involve the player betting on an area of the table. With each bet, players place a chip on the table by clicking on an area. Players then click the roll button to roll the dice. After counting the result, players either win or lose money. They can then bet and roll again.
But what bets are available?
Pass Line & Don’t Pass Line Bets
There are a huge number of different bets available in a game of craps and each one features different rules. The two most basic bets participants can place on are the pass line and don’t pass line bets. When betting on this, players are required to place their chips in the labelled sections before the come out roll.
If participants make a pass line bet and the shooter’s come out role values at 7 or 11, then win. If the dice values at two, three or 12, they lose. However, if the shooter rolls any other value, that number becomes the point and the participants’ bet remains on the table. If a seven is rolled after this, they lose. However, if the point is rolled again, they win.
If participants make a don’t pass line bet and the shooter’s come out roll values at two or three, they win. If the shooter rolls a seven or 11, the participant loses. However, if the shooter rolls a 12, the bet becomes a push, meaning the participant doesn’t win or lose. If the shooter rolls any other value, that number becomes the point and the participants’ bet remains on the table. If a seven is rolled after this, they win the bet. If the point is rolled, they lose.
Come & Don’t Come Bets
The come and don’t come bets are relatively similar to the pass and don’t pass bets. However, these bets are made after the come out roll and after the point is established.
During a come bet, if the shooter’s first roll after the participant’s bet is placed rolls a seven or 11, then the participant wins. If a two, three or 12 is rolled, the participant loses the bet. If another value is rolled, the participants’ bet remains on the table and the number rolled becomes that point. After this, if a seven is rolled the participant loses the bet but if that point is rolled again, the participant wins the bet.
The don’t come bet is basically the complete opposite. If the shooter’s first roll after the bet is a seven or 11, the participant loses the bet. If a two or three is rolled, they win the bet. However, if another number is rolled, the participants’ bet remains on the table and the number rolled becomes the point. If a seven is rolled after this, the participant wins the bet but if the point number is rolled, the participant loses the bet.
Odds bets are extensions of the above bets. Odds bets are extremely special because they have no house edge, meaning how much the casino wins over time. However, plays are actually required to place one of the previous bets first. In fact, participants can only make an odds bet after a point has been made.
Meanwhile, the payout on odds bets depends on the difficulty of hitting that number. For example, a point of four or 10 has a payout of 2:1, a point of five or nine has a payout of 3:2 and a point of six or eight has a payout of 6:5.
In craps, each roll of the dice has a special name, which many new players may find confusing. The most famous roll name from craps is a pair of ones called “snake eyes”, which gets its name because the two ones look like the beady eyes of a snake.
Take a look below for more roll names:
A lot of craps players are superstitious and avoid doing anything that may equal bad luck during their round. Take a look at some common superstitions below:
- Never say “seven” after a point has been made: Some craps players believe that saying the number aloud will increase the chance of a seven being rolled. Instead, players refer to the number as “It”.
- Don’t hit other people’s money with the dice: Craps players also believe that doing this will quickly result in a seven.
- A male first-time player: If you’re a man who has never played craps before, don’t tell your fellow players because it’s supposedly unlucky and rolls will quickly result in sevens.
- A female first-time player: Contrary to the above, female first-time players are said to be extremely lucky as players believe women will continue to throw points rather than sevens.
Ace Deuce: A bet that the next roll with be a three (A two and a one).
Aces: A bet that the next roll of dice will be snake eyes.
Action: Bets that are currently active.
Any Craps: A bet that the next roll with is 2, 3 or 12.
Any Seven: A bet that the next roll will be a seven.
Black: Dealer slang for $100 gaming chips which are black in most casinos.
Bones: Another name for dice.
Boxman: Table supervisor who sits between dealers and opposite the stickman.
Box Numbers: The place you bet for number four, five, six, eight, nine and 10.
Boys/The Boys: Slang for the dealers.
Cold Dice: An expression used to describe the craps table when no one is rolling their point.
Come Bet: A bet made after the point is established.
Come Out Roll: The first roll to establish a point.
Crap Numbers: The numbers two, three and 12.
Don’t Come Bet: A don’t pass bet made after the point is established.
Don’t Pass Bet: A bet that the shooter will not roll their point.
Front Line: Another name for a pass line bet.
Garden: Slang for field bet.
Hard Way: A bet on four, six, eight or 10 in which a participant can only win if the dice rolls as pairs.
Hi-Lo: A one roll bet on two or 12.
Hi-Lo-Yo: A one roll bet on two, 11 and 12.
Hop Bet: A bet that the next roll will result in a particular combination such as 3-5, 2-2, 41 etc.
Hot Dice/Hot Table: When players are winning or rolling a lot of numbers.
Marker: A plastic disc used to mark the point number on the table.
Outside Numbers: Slang for numbers four, five, nine and 10.
Payoff: The amount received from winning a bet.
Payout: The odds associated with a bet, such as 7:1, or the amount received from winning a bet.
Place Numbers: The numbers four, five, six, eight, nine and 10.
Point: The value established with the come out roll.
Right Bettor: Someone betting on the pass line, working with the table.
Seven Out: Rolling a seven before rolling the point.
Stickman: The casino employee at the craps table who passes the dice to shooters and announces the outcome of rolls.
Wrong Bettor: Someone betting on the don’t pass line, working against the rest of the table.