The Complete YesNo Guide to Craps

Craps GuideCraps is one of the most well-known and most exciting games in any casino. For new players, it can also be one of the most confusing. Most people can come up with a basic understanding of the rules of the game itself by playing for fun online or just watching a live game, but the details aren’t so obvious. Understanding the etiquette and intricacies of play and all of the possible bets will require a little time as well as a bit of practice and patience.

Although it can look intimidating at first, the game of craps isn’t really that complicated. By the time you’ve read through this guide, you’ll have a very good idea of how to get into a game and play like a pro at any land-based casino or your favourite online casino. The key to playing well and having the best possible experience is to take the time to educate yourself before you hit the table.

With all of the action and betting options at a craps table, the place to learn is most definitely not in a live setting with real money on the line.

What Sets Craps Apart From Other Games

It doesn’t matter if you play the game at a real table in a casino or on a virtual table online, you’ll find that craps is a special game that provides an entirely unique gambling experience.

Undeniable Excitement And Atmosphere

If you’re at a brick and mortar casino, the craps tables are often the most lively area in the whole building. It’s quite common to see people with ear-to-ear smiles, cheering and clapping, and, frankly, looking like they’re having the time of their lives.

Since craps is a game played as a group and so many people can gather around just one table, it’s not unusual to see several people feeding off of each other’s energy as their bets pay off and the dice are rolled again. The excitement and anticipation that build up at the craps table are absolutely infectious.

You Can Bet With No House Edge

There is only one game in the casino that offers bets with no house edge built in, and that game is craps. Now, don’t take that wrong. That doesn’t mean that there is no house edge anywhere in the game of craps, there most definitely is, but there are some bets with perfectly even odds.

Whether you win or lose over the long run on those bets is truly decided by the random results of the dice, not any sort of mathematical formula that’s stacked against you.

Loads Of Wagering Options

When compared to craps, all of the other casino games seem quite limited in the number of betting options they offer you. You only have one choice on the slots. Blackjack will let you double down if you like. Other games might let you make three or four different types of bets. Even roulette, with all the numbers and combinations, doesn’t quite match up to what you can do when you want to bet on craps.

Especially for those who like to mix up their bets a lot, craps is the top game. You can bet that the shooter will win if you like him or lose if you don’t. You can bet on which number will come up first on the dice or even which numbers will show to make combinations like five, six, and seven. You can lay money down on pretty much every last thing that’s going on at a craps table.

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Our Top Tips For New Craps Players

For new players and those new to gambling and casinos in general, craps can be an especially intimidating game. Even if you’re alone and just gambling with play money on your computer it can still seem complicated and get confusing. So, if you’re going to be diving into your first few rounds of craps, here are a few tips to help make sure that things go smoothly and you have fun.

Learn Before You Play

Not just with craps, but for any game where you’ll be gambling with real money, live or online, you should learn everything you can about the game before you play. If you know what you can expect and have a basic idea of what you want to do before the dice start rolling, it’s much more likely that you’re going to have a good experience with the game and possibly even walk away with a little more wealth in your wallet.

Understand The Bets

As we said above, there are a lot of different betting possibilities on a craps table. You probably won’t be able to memorize exactly how they all work or what the odds are at first, but you should try to be sure that you understand at least a few of them. First, of course, you don’t want to be throwing all of your money away on the wagers with the worst odds. You’re also not going to have much fun, though, if you don’t understand what you’re betting on. Even if you win, it’s not much fun if you don’t really know why you won.

Keep A Level Head

Craps plays fast and it’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of the game. It’s certainly fun, but that can also be dangerous for your bankroll if you’re not paying attention. It’s important to keep your wits about you while you’re playing and stay aware of how much money you’re putting out on the table as well as how much you might be ahead or behind for the session.

That goes for any game, actually. Whenever you’re gambling you should only be playing with money that you can afford to lose. Be sure you know your limits and you stick to them when you play.

The Basics Of Craps

The most basic part of the game of craps is, quite obviously, someone standing at the table and rolling dice. The player rolling the dice is called the shooter. The shooter will stand at one end of the table and must throw the dice hard enough that they hit the wall on the other end of the table (the rail) for it to be considered a valid roll.

The first time the shooter throws the dice is referred to as the “come-out roll”. You can make several different bets on the come-out roll, but we’ll get to those in a moment. On the come-out roll, the main goal is to roll a number other than 2, 3, 7, 11, or 12. Those five numbers have special meaning and result in an instant win or instant loss on the come-out roll. The real fun, however, starts when something else comes up on the dice.

When another number lands on the come-out roll, it sets what is known as “the point”. The point is the number that needs to come up again before the shooter craps out. To “crap out” is to roll a 7 before rolling the point again.

A simple example: A new player gets the dice and becomes the shooter. He rolls the dice—the come-out roll—and the result is an 8. The goal now is for the shooter to roll 8 again before rolling a 7.

As far as the dice and the shooter, that’s really about all there is to it. If the come-out roll lands on 2, 3, 7, 11, or 12, some of the initial bets will win and some will lose, but no point is set. The same shooter will continue to roll the dice until he or she sets a point. Once the point is set, the shooter will roll until either the point comes up again or the dice land on 7.

When the point is hit again or the shooter craps out, everything starts all over with a new come-out roll. If the point is hit first, the same shooter will keep rolling. If it’s craps first, a new shooter gets the dice.

For those wagering on the action, they can bet with or against the shooter. Most players, as you might imagine, will bet with the shooter. The more times the shooter rolls the point before rolling craps, the more the players betting on the shooter are going to win. This is why you’ll see so many people around a table getting excited when the shooter is having a run of good luck. That good luck is paying off for all of them as they keep collecting on their bets.

The complexity in the game, and some of the biggest payout opportunities, come from all of the betting options. The thing to remember is that the action with the dice won’t change. They will move from one shooter to another, but the action of the game isn’t influenced in any way by the bets being made.

Betting At The Craps Table

Now, as we get into the possible bets, don’t worry about learning and remembering all of them. You’ll still be able to have fun and win big even if you play only a few. In fact, most people who play craps only make a few of the available bets regularly. You’ll only absolutely need to know a few of the basic bets and then you can look over the others to see if any of them present chances and odds that appeal to your gambling style.

The Pass Line Bet

The pass line bet is the first bet that can be placed before the come-out roll. In fact, if there is no pass line bet, there will be no come-out roll. Some casinos require the shooter to place a pass line bet when he takes the dice. Some also require players to make a pass line wager before they can place any other bets on the table.

On the come-out roll, 7 and 11 are winning numbers. If the shooter throws a 7 or 11, pass line bets are paid out at 1:1 (even money). The numbers 2, 3, and 12 are losing rolls and, therefore, pass line bets lose if one of them hits on the come-out roll.

If any other number is rolled, then that number becomes the point and the pass line bet becomes a bet on the shooter hitting the point before he craps out. If the shooter hits the point, pass line bets win. If a 7 comes up first, pass line bets lose.

This initial bet is probably the one that creates the most confusion for new players. Depending on what’s going on, 7 can be a winner or a loser. If someone doesn’t know the rules of the game, it can look really strange when the croupier pays you for a 7 on one bet and then takes your money away the next time a 7 comes up.

The rule is easy to remember, though. If no point has been set, pass line bets win on a 7. If a point has been set, then pass line bets lose on a 7.

The Don’t Pass Line Bet

As was mentioned above, in craps you can choose to bet against the shooter if you like. The don’t pass line bet is the most basic bet you can make against the shooter. It is also placed before the come-out roll and pays 1:1 for a win. It’s more or less the opposite of a pass line wager, but not exactly.

When you make a don’t pass line bet, you will win if the dice land on 2 or 3 and lose if they land on 7 or 11. If the roll is a 12, however, the bet is a push—your money is returned.

Then, if a point is set, the don’t pass line bet becomes a wager that the shooter will roll a 7 before he rolls the point again. If the point is rolled first, this bet loses.

Playing at a live table, those that place bets that go against the shooter might face some dirty looks or less-than-friendly comments. When the majority are counting on the shooter’s luck to win money, they tend to be somewhat mean to someone who might do anything to jeopardize that good luck.

Of course, you can do whatever you like. It’s your money and your choice. Just be ready for some feedback from the crowd if you decide to go against the grain.

The Odds Bet

After a point has been set, you’ll be able to place an odds bet. Winning or losing an odds bet works exactly like the pass line bet. If the point is rolled first, you win. If a 7 comes up first, you lose.

The odds bet is usually made by stacking chips behind your pass line bet. The payout for this bet is based on the true odds of rolling whatever number is the point.

Example: The shooter throws the come-out roll and gets a 9. With the point set at 9, you can now make an odds bet to complement your pass line bet that the shooter will roll another 9 before he rolls a 7. If he rolls the point first, you’ll get paid on both bets.

Odds bets pay the following returns:

  • 4 or 10 – 2:1
  • 5 or 9 – 3:2
  • 6 or 8 – 6:5

You will also be able to place odds bets on the don’t pass line which follow the don’t pass line’s payout rules.

There is usually a limit on how much you can wager on an odds bet. This is because you’re getting paid the true odds with no house edge on the bet. Generally, the limit is three times your original pass line (or don’t pass line) bet but it can vary from one place to another. Online or live, the exact limit should be clearly posted.

The Come Bet

The come bet is going to seem somewhat confusing at first, but try to think about it as a game within the game we’ve already described.

The come bet works exactly as a pass line bet except for the fact that it is placed after the point has been set. It also pays out at 1:1.

When you place a come bet, it’s more or less like a new game starts for that particular bet. If the next roll is a 7 or 11, you’ll win. If the next roll is 2, 3, or 12, you’ll lose. If the result of the roll is any other number, that number becomes the point for the come bet. Then, if the point is rolled first, you win, and if a 7 comes up first, you lose.

You’ll also be able to place odds bets along with the come bet just like with the pass line bets.

The come bet can create some strange results when you have more than one bet out on the table. Since you can only place this bet after the point has been set on the come-out roll, you’ll most likely have a bet out on the pass line. If you place a come bet and the first roll is a 7, you’ll win the come bet, but that 7 will mean a loss on the pass line bet — as well any odds bet you may have had out.

You have to be careful to make sure that you’re not putting out more money than you intended to have on the table at one time. You can most certainly lose more than one bet at a time on a single roll of 7.

The Don’t Come Bet

As you’ve probably deduced, the don’t come bet works the same as the come bet, but going in the opposite direction. It’s another 1:1 bet that the shooter will lose.

Just as the come bet follows the pass line rules for wins and losses, the don’t come bet follows the same rules as the don’t pass line. You’ll win if the next roll is 2 or 3, push if it’s 12, and lose if it’s 7 or 11. If a point is established, you’ll win if the shooter rolls a 7 first and lose if the shooter rolls the point first.

Again, playing at a live table, you might find yourself on the receiving end of some dirty looks when you place a don’t come bet.

The Field Bet

A field bet is simple and easy to understand. It is just a bet made on the result of the next roll of the dice, regardless of what else is going on in the game.

Once you place your field bet and the dice are rolled, the bet is settled. If the result is 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12, you win. If the dice land on 5, 6, 7, or 8, your bet loses. The payout is 2:1 if the result of the roll is 2 or 12 and 1:1 for any other winning result

The Hardway Bets

There are four possible rolls that make up the hardways bets. They are 4, 6, 8, and 10. When any of these come up as the result of both dice showing the same number, it’s said to have been rolled “the hard way”.

It’s referred to as doing it the hard way because with a 4, for example, you can arrive at four by landing a 3 on one die and a 1 on the other, or vice versa. There are two combinations of 3 and 1. To get it the hard way, however, there is only one combination of 2 and 2 to make 4. The same happens with the other three numbers.

When you place a hardways bet you are betting that your chosen number will land the hard way before a 7 is rolled. On a win, 4 and 10 pay 7:1 and 6 and 8 9:1.

The Next Roll Bets

As the name indicates, these bets are all based on the result of the next roll of the dice. It’s simple. If you predict the result of the next roll, you win. If you don’t, you lose. You may also see these bets referred to as proposition or “prop” bets.

The next roll bets have the highest payouts available at the craps table but they’re also the hardest to hit and they do have a house edge included in the odds. You can bet on any of the following results coming up on the next roll:

Boxcars – Boxcars pays 30:1 for a win. The dice must both land on 6.

Aces – Aces also pays 30:1 for a win. The dice must both land on 1.

Ace Deuce – The payout is 15:1. One die must land on 1 and the other must land on 2.

Any 11 – You’ll win 15:1 if the next roll is 11.

Any Craps – You’ll win 7:1 if the next roll is 2, 3, or 12.

Any 7 – You’ll win 4:1 if a 7 lands. You’ll get the evil eye for this one, too.

That’s Everything You Need

Now you should have everything you need to get in on a game of craps. Hopefully, it doesn’t seem as complicated as perhaps it did before you started reading. Craps really is one of the most fun and exciting games you can play, whether you’re one of the crowd around a table in a live casino or just shooting by yourself online.

Cheers and good luck!

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