Craps is a thrilling casino game with numerous betting options, but it revolves around the fundamental pass line bet. To get started, familiarize yourself with the following basic rules:
- Pass Line Bet: Players initiate the game by placing their chips on the pass line of the craps layout. Some bets necessitate the dealer’s assistance in moving your chips.
- The Comeout Roll: The game begins with the comeout roll, where the shooter rolls the dice.
- Winning on Comeout: Pass bettors win if the comeout roll results in a 7 or 11. Conversely, they lose if the roll yields a 2, 3, or 12. Any other number becomes the “point.”
- Point Phase: If the shooter establishes a point number during the comeout, they continue rolling until they either roll the same number again (winning with even-money payoff) or roll a 7 (losing).
- Continuation or “Seven Out”: If the shooter succeeds in making their point, a new comeout roll begins. If not, they “seven out,” and the dice pass to a new shooter.
- Variety of Bets: Craps offers a range of bets, from simple single-roll bets to more complex multi-roll bets.
Now, let’s delve into the craps table layout and explain the available bets.
Craps Table Layout: The layout represents different betting options. Placing chips on the pass line signifies a pass bet, which spans multiple rolls. On the other hand, if your chips are placed in the area displaying dice with a 6 and a 5, you’re making a one-roll bet on 11. In online craps, you can make bets by clicking on the layout, but live casino play requires physical chip placement. For other bets, simply put your chips in front of you on the layout and inform the dealer of your desired bet. For instance, if you wish to bet $5 on the place bet for 4, you would put $5 in chips in front of you and tell the dealer, “I’d like a $5 place bet on 4,” after which the dealer will move your chips to the designated 4 box.
Common Wagers in Craps: Let’s categorize the available wagers into multi-roll and single-roll bets. Many craps players have multiple bets active simultaneously. Note that not all potential wagers are listed here, but you can find house edge information for bets like lay bets and horn bets in the final chapter’s chart.
How to Play Multi-Roll Bets:
Pass Line Bet
- House Edge: 1.41%
- Winning bets are paid even money. This bet often confuses newcomers as it usually takes multiple rolls to determine the outcome. While 7 is initially favorable for players, it eventually becomes a losing number.
Craps Pass Line and Come Bets: Simplified Rules
Craps may seem complex, but casinos aim to keep rules approachable to encourage player participation. After all, without players, casinos can’t thrive.
- Pass Line Bet Sequence: It all starts with the “comeout roll,” signaled by a disc placement on the table. If the disc is positioned in a corner with the “off” side up, it’s a comeout roll. When it’s in a numbered box with the “on” side facing up, the pass sequence is already underway, and it’s not a comeout roll.
- On the comeout roll, a 7 or 11 grants a win for pass bets, while 2, 3, or 12 results in a loss. Rolling 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 sets a “point,” shifting the game’s objective. Now, the shooter must roll the point before a 7 to win.
- All other rolls don’t affect the pass bet. For example, if the point is 6 and subsequent rolls are 4, 8, 3, 11, and 5, the pass bet remains in play. The outcome hinges on whether the shooter hits the point or rolls a 7.
- Come Bet (House edge: 1.41%): The come bet mirrors the pass bet, but it’s placed when there’s already a point for pass bettors. If the next roll is a comeout, opt for a pass bet. If there’s an existing point, go for the come bet. The subsequent roll serves as the start of your come bet sequence.
- For instance, if the shooter establishes a point of 6 on the comeout, you place a come bet before the next roll. If the shooter rolls 7 or 11, your come bet wins. Rolling 2, 3, or 12 leads to a come bet loss, and any other number becomes a new point for your come bet.
- It’s important to note that a 7 which benefits your come bet could be detrimental to a pass line bet, and a 2, 3, or 12 that results in a loss for the come bet won’t impact the pass line bet.
- Don’t Pass and Don’t Come Bets (House edge: 1.36%): These bets are the counterparts of pass and come bets, respectively. You opt for don’t pass on a comeout roll and don’t come if it’s not.
- During the comeout for a don’t pass bet or the initial roll after a don’t come bet, a 2 or 3 leads to a win, while a 7 or 11 results in a loss. A roll of 12, which is a loss in pass or come sequences, ends up as a push. In this case, you can retrieve your bet after a 12. Any other number establishes a point. If a 7 rolls before the point is repeated, don’t bettors win. If the point comes first, they lose – opposite of pass or come bets.
While most players lean towards pass bets for camaraderie, don’t bettors, sometimes referred to as “wrong bettors” or part of “the dark side,” enjoy a slightly lower house edge and have their own following.
Free Odds and Lay Odds: Enhancing Your Craps Strategy
Craps offers a unique advantage with “free odds” or “lay odds” bets, where the house edge is effectively reduced to zero. These bets pay out at true odds, depending on the point number established, offering a rare opportunity in casino gaming.
- Understanding Free Odds: Despite the name, “free odds” don’t mean the bets are cost-free; you still have to wager money. The term “free” signifies that there is no commission or hidden advantage for the house. To place free odds, you must first make a pass or come bet. After a point is set, you can back your original bet with a second one. While it used to be equal to your pass or come bet, most casinos now allow multiples of your initial bet.
- True Odds Payouts: Free odds bets are paid out at true odds, which vary depending on the point number. For instance, if the point is 6 or 8, a winning free odds bet is paid at 6-5 odds. Points of 5 or 9 yield 3-2 payoffs, while 4 or 10 result in 3-1 payoffs. These payouts reflect the actual probability of rolling those numbers.
- Example: Using two six-sided dice, there are 36 possible combinations. With six ways to roll a 7, five ways to roll a 6 or 8, four ways to roll a 5 or 9, and three ways to roll a 4 or 10, the true odds against rolling 6 before 7 are indeed 6-5, aligning perfectly with the payout on winners. This absence of a house edge makes free odds bets highly attractive. Keep in mind that the house edge is still present on the initial pass or come bet.
- Multiple Odds: Some casinos offer “multiple odds,” allowing you to bet any multiple of your original bet, up to the maximum limit. For example, with 10x odds, your odds bet can be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10 times your initial wager.
- Don’t Pass and Don’t Come: If you prefer don’t pass or don’t come bets, you can also “lay the odds.” For instance, with a point number of 6, you have six ways to win (the ways to roll a 7) and only five ways to lose (the ways to roll a 6). Laying the odds results in winning $5 for every $6 bet on 6 or 8, $2 for every $3 bet on 5 or 9, and $1 for every $2 bet on 4 or 10. Again, these payouts align with the true odds.
- Place Bets: If you’re impatient and don’t want to wait for the shooter to establish a point during the comeout, you can opt for place bets. These bets allow you to bet on a specific number, and you win if the shooter rolls your chosen number before a 7. Unlike pass or come bets, other numbers are inconsequential. Place bets pay more than even money but less than true odds, resulting in a house edge, which varies depending on the number chosen.
- Important Note: When placing bets on 6 or 8, it’s crucial to bet in multiples of $6 to receive the correct 7-6 payout. Betting an odd amount, like $5, will lead to an even money payout.
While many players favor placing bets on 6 and 8 due to their frequency, other numbers with higher house edges are less popular.
Buy Bets: Weighing the Costs and Benefits
Buy bets offer a chance to bet on specific numbers in craps, but they come with a price. While winning buy bets are paid at true odds, you have to pay the house a 5% commission to enjoy this favorable deal. Here’s how it works:
- When you place a buy bet, you’re essentially wagering that a specific number (e.g., 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10) will be rolled before a 7. To illustrate, let’s say you buy the number 4 for $20; you must also pay the house a $1 commission. If you win, you’re paid at the 2-1 true odds.
- This commission lowers the house edge from 6.67% to 4.67% when buying 4 or 10. However, the house edge on other numbers increases. Some casinos, though, only charge the commission if you win. In such cases, the house edge drops to 2% for buying 5 or 9 and 1.67% for buying 4 or 10. This makes buying a more attractive option than placing bets. For buying 6 and 8 under these conditions, the house edge is 2.27%, still slightly higher than the 1.52% for a place bet.
Hardways Bets: A Riskier Proposition
Hardways bets are a different kind of craps wager, and they come with higher house edges:
- With hardways bets, you’re betting that both dice will show the same number (e.g., a hard 4 is a 2 on each die, and a hard 6 is two 3s). The payoffs for hardways bets are 9-1 on 6 or 8 and 7-1 on 4 or 10.
- To win a hardway bet, your chosen number must come up the hard way before a 7 or your number appears any other way. For instance, if you bet on hard 8 and the roll results in 2-6 or 3-5, you lose; only a roll of 4-4 (hard 8) is a winner.
- The house edges on hardways bets are relatively high, with 9.09% on 6 or 8 and 11.11% on 4 or 10. Due to these steep house edges, hardways bets are considered riskier and are less popular among craps players.
One-Roll Bets: Quick and Risky Opportunities
Before diving into individual one-roll bets, it’s essential to understand the following:
- Payoffs for one-roll bets, such as a bet on 2, usually pay 30-1. However, some casinos may offer different odds, like 31-1, 32-1, or even 33-1. Keep in mind that the higher the payoff, the lower the house edge. Additionally, some casinos pay “odds-for-1,” which includes your original bet in the payout, while others pay “odds-to-1,” where you keep your original bet.
The Field: A Varied Proposition
The field bet is a popular one-roll wager, but its house edge can vary:
- In the field bet, you win if the next roll is 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12. The majority of the time, winners are paid even money. However, some casinos, especially in Reno, Nevada, may reverse this and pay 3-1 on 2 and 2-1 on 12. If both 2 and 12 pay 2-1, the house edge is 5.56%. If either pays 3-1, this reduces the edge to 2.78%.
Other One-Roll Bets: Quick Wins with High House Edges
There are several other one-roll bets with varying house edges:
- 2 or 12 (House edge: 13.89%): Winners are paid 30-1 if the next roll is the chosen number (2 or 12). All other numbers result in losses.
- 3 or 11 (House edge: 11.11%): Winners are paid 15-1 if the next roll is the selected number (3 or 11). Any other outcome leads to losses.
- Any 7 (House edge: 16.67%): Winners are paid 4-1 if the next roll results in a 7.
- Any Craps (House edge: 11.11%): Winners are paid 7-1 if the next roll is 2, 3, or 12.
While these one-roll bets offer quick opportunities for wins, their higher house edges make them riskier options in craps.
Hop Bets: A Dice-Specific Wager
Hop bets in craps are a dice-specific type of wager that come with varying house edges:
- House Edge: Hop bets can have a house edge of either 13.89% or 11.11%, depending on the specific bet.
- Payouts: Winning hard hop bets are paid at 30-1 odds, while successful easy hop bets receive 15-1 payouts.
Here’s how hop bets work:
- In a hop bet, you’re essentially betting that each die will land on a specific number. For instance, you might tell the dealer, “6-3 hopping” or “4-2 on the hop.” Your bet wins only if both dice display the exact numbers you specified.
- A “hard hop” occurs when both dice show the same number, such as 1-1 or 4-4. If the two numbers are different, it’s considered an “easy hop.”
Craps Rules: Essentials to Know
Whether you’re playing craps online or in a live casino, certain rules and procedures remain consistent:
Rule #1: Number of Dice
- Craps is played with two six-sided dice, and your bets are based on the total of the numbers that appear on both dice. For example, if one die shows 2 and the other shows 4, the total for that roll is 6. If both dice show 1, the total is 2.
- It’s important to note that you cannot bet on each die individually; all craps bets are on the combined total of both dice.
Rule #2: Buying Credits
- In online casinos, you typically start by making a deposit to fund your gaming. If you already have funds in your account, you can use them for betting.
- In live casinos, most players buy chips at the craps table. Some may have chips from previous play, while others might have credit accounts with the casino. To buy chips, you place cash on the table and inform the dealer of your intention. The dealer will then exchange your cash for chips. It’s important to note that dealers cannot directly take cash from your hand.
Rule #3: Table Personnel
- In live casinos, there is a human crew managing the craps table, consisting of four key roles: the boxman, the stickman, and two dealers.
- The boxman oversees the table, ensuring that players adhere to the rules and dealers make accurate payouts. When you buy chips by placing cash on the table, a dealer hands the cash to the boxman, who places it face down on the table. After the dealer gives you chips, the boxman uses a flat plastic paddle to push the cash into a drop box, which is later collected by security personnel.
- The stickman wields a long hooked stick used to move dice around the table. When it’s your turn to roll, the stickman pushes the dice towards you. Additionally, the stickman manages proposition bets at the center of the table.
- The two dealers are responsible for specific ends of the table, giving you chips when you buy in, managing your bets, and making payouts.
Table Personnel in Craps: The boxman, stickman, and two dealers work together to ensure the smooth operation of the craps table in a live casino environment.
Craps Betting: Placing Your Wagers
Understanding how to place your bets is crucial in craps, and it varies between online and live casino settings:
Rule #4: Betting at Online Casinos
- Online casinos typically provide a graphical representation of the craps layout on your screen. You can click on chip images to choose your desired bet amount and then click on the specific area of the layout where you want to place your chips. For instance, if you wish to make a Pass Line bet, you’d click on the Pass Line area. If you want to bet on 11, you’d click on the box depicting 11 with one die showing 6 and the other showing 5.
Rule #4: Betting at Live Casinos
- In live casinos, you have more control over placing some bets, like Pass Line, Come, and Field bets, where you can put your chips directly on the designated areas. However, for most other bets, you need the dealer’s assistance. To make these bets, you’ll place your chips in front of you on the layout and inform the dealer of your desired bet. For example, you might say, “I’d like to place $6 each on 6 and 8.” The dealer will then move your chips to the appropriate betting boxes and position them according to your location at the table, ensuring clarity about both the bet and the bettor.
Rule #5: Betting Limits in Craps
- Online casinos often offer a range of minimum and maximum betting options. For example, you may be able to select from options like a minimum bet of $1 with a maximum of $100, a minimum of $5 with a maximum of $500, or a minimum of $10 with a maximum of $1,000. You can choose the range that suits your comfort level. In live casinos, betting limits are displayed on a placard at the table. If the posted minimum is higher than what you’d like to wager, you may need to search for a table with more suitable limits.
Rule #6: The Shooter’s Role
- In online casinos, dice rolls are generated randomly by a computer algorithm. However, in live casinos, the game involves shooters taking turns. To understand this, let’s revisit the Pass Line.
- As previously discussed, the Pass Line sequence begins with a comeout roll. If the shooter rolls 7 or 11, Pass Line bets win, while rolls of 2, 3, or 12 result in Pass Line bets losing. Any other number rolled becomes the point. If the shooter rolls the point number again before rolling a 7, Pass Line bets win. But if a 7 comes up first, Pass Line bets lose.
- When a shooter rolls a losing 7 after establishing a point, it’s referred to as “sevening out.” At this point, the dice pass to a new shooter. Not all losing rolls lead to a new shooter; for example, if a 2, 3, or 12 appears on the comeout roll, the shooter has not sevened out and continues shooting.
- Likewise, not all 7s result in a seven out. If the shooter successfully makes a point, the sequence restarts with a new comeout roll, and on that roll, 7 and 11 again become winners.
- The shooter can keep rolling as long as they keep making points and avoid sevening out. In an extraordinary case, Patricia Demauro rolled the dice 154 times without sevening out in 2009 at the Borgata in Atlantic City. This impressive streak lasted for four hours and 18 minutes before the dice passed to the next shooter.
CRAPS ODDS – TABLES
|PASS OR COME WITH 1X ODDS||Varies||0.8%|
|PASS OR COME WITH 2X ODDS||Varies||0.6%|
|PASS OR COME WITH 3X ODDS||Varies||0.5%|
|PASS OR COME WITH 3X, 4X, 5X ODDS||Varies||0.4%|
|PASS OR COME WITH 5X ODDS||Varies||0.3%|
|PASS OR COME WITH 10X ODDS||Varies||0.2%|
|PASS OR COME WITH 20X ODDS||Varies||0.1%|
|PASS OR COME WITH 100X ODDS||Varies||0.02%|
|DON’T PASS/DON’T COME, 1X ODDS||Varies||0.7%|
|DON’T PASS/DON’T COME, 2X ODDS||Varies||0.5%|
|DON’T PASS/DON’T COME, 3X ODDS||Varies||0.3%|
|DON’T PASS/DON’T COME, 3X, 4X, 5X ODDS||Varies||0.3%|
|DON’T PASS/DON’T COME, 5X ODDS||Varies||0.2%|
|DON’T PASS/DON’T COME 10X ODDS||Varies||0.1%|
|DON’T PASS/DON’T COME 20X ODDS||Varies||0.07%|
|DON’T PASS/DON’T COME/100X ODDS||Varies||0.01%|
|PLACE 6 OR 8||7-6||1.52%|
|PLACE 5 OR 9||7-5||4%|
|PLACE 4 OR 10||9-5||6.67%|
|BUY 6 OR 8 WITH 5% COMMISSION||6-5||4.67%|
|BUY 5 OR 9 WITH 5% COMMISSION||3-2||4.67%|
|BUY 4 OR 10 WITH 5% COMMISSION||2-1||4.67%|
|BUY 6 OR 8, COMMISSION ON WINNERS ONLY||6-5||2.27%|
|BUY 5 OR 9, COMMISSION ON WINNERS ONLY||3-2||2%|
|BUY 4 OR 10, COMMISSION ON WINNERS ONLY||2-1||1.67%|
|ANY CRAPS (2, 3 OR 12)||7-1||11.11%|