by J. Phillip Vogel
Play Craps provides the basics of the game, history and a handy betting reference table. A lesson at Learn to Play Craps program.
Many gamblers think of playing craps as a relatively new game popularized by casinos early in the 20th century. But tracing its roots back through the ages reveals a surprisingly much longer history. In Roman times, soldiers tossed the cubed bones of animals for sport in an effort to pass the long hours of servitude, from which sprang the phrase roll the bones.
Centuries later, Arabian gamers devised their own interpretation, called az-zahr, which eventually spread through medieval Europe as Hazard. Over time, the game shifted again, becoming Crabs (referring to the lowest possible roll, a pair of ones) when played by the English aristocracy, and Crabes in France, until reaching the Americas and finally settling down in early 19th century as Craps.
Although playing craps is a relatively friendly game with a low house edge, because of its chaotic appearance gamblers unfamiliar with it often shy away. But once you get past its deceptive exterior, playing craps is actually one of the easiest games on the casino floor.
At its most basic level, craps play is comprised of two stages:
Stage 1: The Come Out Roll. Craps begins with the initial roll of the dice, called the come out roll. With the come out, the shooter throws the dice, determining whether the game will begin or end on that roll.
For example, if the shooter throws a 2, 3, 7, 11, or 12 the round ends there. If any other total is rolled—4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10—that number becomes the point, and the dealer places a small round puck on the table at that number’s location, announcing to all players the point for the round.
Stage 2: After the Point. Once a point number has been established, the game continues in play with the same shooter throwing until a decision is reached: either the point number is re-rolled, or a seven shows. Once either of those happens, that round is over, and the play starts all over again.
Prior to the start of Stage 1 and continuing until the play is over, players can make a variety of different wagers. Some are betting that the shooter will re-roll the point number—known as the Do side of the game—while others are betting that the shooter will roll a seven before the point number is rolled; such players are called Don’t bettors. Still others are betting on rolls that are completely unrelated to the point.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common bets during play from both sides of the game.
The Do Side of Craps
Play Craps - Pass Line: An even money bet made by placing chips in the area marked Pass Line. This wager wins if the first roll of the dice is a 7 or 11, and loses if a 2, 3 or 12 is rolled. If a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 is rolled, that number becomes the Point. Once there is a point number, to win the player must repeat that number before a 7 is rolled. If a 7 shows before the point is repeated, the pass line bet loses.
Play Craps - Come Bet: The come bet is a delayed pass line bet made after the point has been established on the come out roll. The rules are identical to the pass line bet: the come bet wins if a 7 or 11 is rolled and loses on a 2, 3, or 12. Any other number becomes your come point and must be repeated before a 7 is rolled during play.
Play Craps - Taking Odds: The odds bet is a supplemental wager made after a point has been established and is used to support the pass line bet. This bet is made in multiples (usually up to 2x) of the pass line bet. If the pass line bet wins, the original pass bet will be paid at 1 to 1, while he supplemental wager will be paid at odds of 2-1 if the point was 4 or 10, 3-2 if the point was 5 or 9, and 6-5 if the point was a 6 or 8.
The Don’t Side of Craps
Play Craps - Don’t Pass: The opposite of the pass line bet, a don’t pass bet wins if the shooter rolls a 2 or 3 on the come out roll and loses if a 7 or 11 is rolled. If a 12 is rolled, it's a tie and play continues. Once the point has been established, a don’t pass bet wins if the shooter rolls a 7 before repeating the point.
Play Craps - Don’t Come Bet: The opposite of the come bet, the don’t come may be wagered once the point has been established on the come out roll. An initial roll of 7 or 11 loses, 2 or 3 wins, and a 12 is a push. If a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 is rolled after a don't come bet has been made, the dealer will move the wager from the don't come area to the corresponding number.
Play Craps - Laying Odds. As opposed to taking odds, when laying odds the player is betting that the 7 will show before the point number is rolled. This bet is made in multiples of the don’t pass wager and is paid off at odds of 1-2 if the point is 4 or 10, 2-3 if the point is 5 or 9, and 5-6 if the point is 6 or 8.
Now that you have explored the two stages of craps along with the Do side and Don't side betting options, you are well prepared and educated to Play Craps Online. An additonial resource is the comprehensive craps table betting guide below.
Play Craps Betting Reference Table
is a summary of the main features for the various bets in craps,
including a basic description, payout, and corresponding house
Play Craps: Basics Tips and Strategy
While there are plenty of strategies designed to fit the various playing styles, for beginners I suggest sticking with the Do side of the table, taking it slow until you have mastered the game basics. Here are some basic strategy tips to help you get started.
Play the pass line. The pass line is the most fundamental bet in craps, and perhaps the best place to start if you’re a beginner. It’s simple and comes with the added benefit of offering a moderately low house edge of 1.41%. Regardless of your bankroll, play at the table minimum until you understand how this craps bet works.
Take the odds. If you’re betting the pass line (or the come), be sure to take proper odds as this drastically reduces the house’s edge. For example, if you take full odds at a double odds table (2 times the pass bet) the combined edge for the pass line and odds is only 0.6%--quite a drop from the 1.41% you’re getting on the pass line alone.
Avoid proposition craps bets. There are some craps players who use proposition bets as a hedge against another bet. They might, for example, bet a $3 Any Craps (7-1) to protect their $20 pass line bet on the come out roll. While the effectiveness of such strategy varies, for the beginner, there is one rule to follow concerning proposition bets: stay away. They house edge on each and every one of these best is poor at best, and downright horrible at its worst.
Once you’ve given our play craps program a try, you’ll find that it really is one of the easiest and most entertaining games in a casino.
And if you do it right and stick with the craps bets that offer the best odds, you’ll likely find yourself on the receiving end of some nice paydays.
Play Craps is followed by the 10 Best Bets
Return to Learn Craps Program
Gambling Teachers home
GT is attentive about getting the word out about our free
programs, lessons and add-ons offered, however, we ask your assistance
and consideration in promoting us.
Click link below that reads, "Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how..." to add a link to your site, blog or personal page.