How to Play Craps


Craps is a very old game, probably older as the invention of dice itself. For thousands of years, people played craps on streets. Soldiers and sailors especially loved the game – they are probably also the inventors too. As a casino game, it is fairly new when compared to other games and only has a one hundred years old history. But it is also one of the most popular ones: you can always see a crowd around the craps table. It is the only casino game that is mandatory to play while standing up; sitting is not allowed. For this reason, craps tables are always crowded, filled with excitement and adrenaline.

In this article, we will try to answer the most common questions about the game; such as how to win at craps and what are the best bets in craps. But before that, we need to explain the craps rules and how the game works. In the casino version, craps is being played on a specific table. This table looks like a bathtub – it is long and narrow, especially at the far side. The betting options and the paytable are displayed on this table too. The player rolling the dice is called the “shooter”. There are four casino employees around the table, but only one of them is important: the boxman. The boxman is the only guy who is sitting in a chair – he supervises the game.

Each round of craps consist of two phases. In phase one, the shooter rolls the dice. The first roll is called the “come out” roll. The possible outcomes of the come out roll and their results are:

  • If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11, he wins.
  • If the shooter rolls a 2, 3 or 12, he loses.
  • If the shooter rolls any other number, this is called the “point” and the first phase ends. All players can put on their bets up until this point.
  • In the second phase, all bets are closed. The shooter tries to roll an outcome based on the point number.
  • If the shooter rolls the point number before rolling a 7, he wins.
  • If the shooter rolls 7 before rolling the point number, he loses. Basically, the shooter keeps rolling until he gets the point number or 7.

Craps Betting Strategy

You can bet on different things in craps. Craps odds and craps strategy differ according to your betting preference. (And of course, craps payouts also differ.) There is no need to be a shooter to place a bet in craps, you can even bet against the player. These are the betting options of the game:

  • Pass Line Bets: You are betting that the shooter will win the round, as we explained above. Probably the most popular betting option of the game. Anyone can make this bet.
  • Don’t Pass Line Bets: You are betting against the shooter. You can bet that he will roll a 7 before rolling the point number. Anyone can make this bet.
  • Come Bets: You are betting that the shooter will win the first phase. In other words, you are betting on the outcome of 7 or 11. Anyone can make this bet.
  • Don’t Come Bets: The opposite of Come bets. You are betting that the shooter will roll a 2, 3 or 12 in the first phase and lose. Anyone can make this bet.
  • Odds Bets: This betting option is only available in the second phase. You are betting on a specific outcome, for example, 6 – 6. This is the option with the highest payout.
  • Buy & Lay Bets: You are betting that a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 will be rolled before the shooter rolls a 7. You are betting on all of these possibilities.
  • Place Bets: Same as Buy & Lay bets; but, this time, you are betting on one outcome only. In other words, your odds are very low but the payout is much bigger.
  • Hard Ways Bets: You are betting that the shooter will roll a double dice before 7, for example 2 – 2.
  • Field Bets: You are betting on that the shooter will roll a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12.

As you can see, there are lots of betting options but they all depend on the outcome of the dice, as expected. In other words, we need to take a look at the dice probability to determine the craps odds and find the best craps strategy.

The outcome possibilities of the dice are as follows:

The Total Of The Dice Probability
2 % 2,78
3 % 5,56
4 % 8,33
5 % 11.11
6 % 13.89
7 % 16.67
8 % 13.89
9 % 11.11
10 % 8.33
11 % 5.56
12 % 2.78

Mathematically; pass line / don’t pass line, come / don’t come bets, and the outcomes of 6, 8, 4 and 10 have the lowest house edges in the game. In other words, to make a profit and limit the losses, always bet on these numbers/options. To get an idea about the craps odds and craps payouts, you can refer to this table:

Bet Type Odds Payout
Pass Line and Come 251:244 1:1
Don’t Pass Line and Don’t Come 976:949 1:1
Odds Same as paid Between 2:1 and 6:5
Buy Between 2:1 and 6:5 %5 of intended bet
Lay Between 1:2 and 5:6 %5 of intended win
Place Between 2:1 and 6:5 Between 9:5 and 7:6
Hard Ways Between 8:1 and 10:1 Between 7:1 and 9:1
Field 5:4 2:1

To sum it up, the best bets in craps are Pass, Don’t Pass, Come, Don’t Come and Field bets.

Craps for Beginners

Play craps online for fun to learn and practice the game. Playing for fun will teach you about the basics of the game and will help you to become a better player, without risking real money. Online craps games are as same as the “real” versions, rules do not differ. You can play for free and without downloading a software, that is why they are called “instant play” games. And when you think it is time to continue in the casinos, you can try your luck at real money craps too.