Craps is among the most popular casino games, mostly due to its rapid pace and suspense. It is a spirited game, with multiple players and betters gathered around the table all at once, loudly willing the dice to tumble and halt in their favor.
Even though Craps is a popular and quite fun casino table game, it can be extremely intimidating the first times around, especially with all that is happening in just one spot, and with the numerous bet types on the table too.
There are many bets in Craps that are often times confusing to less experienced players. We offer explanations of the basic sequence and main bets: Pass Line and Come/Don’t Come Bets.
How to Play Craps
Within the craps strategies available (tips in other words), the first to consider is mainly for beginners – learn the game. Walking up to the game is quite tempting, and even more so when you see so many people cheering around it – makes you want to be part of the betting experience there; however, if you do not know the game, you will not be able to know what bets are best for you, after all, there are way too many on the table to choose from (at least from a beginner’s point of view).
So, learn the game, the basics, how to play it, and what bets have lower house edge on them.
Simply put, Craps is played with two dice and any number of players. One by one, players take the role of “shooter” and throw the dice across the table. A shooter’s turn ends when a seven is thrown and bets are paid out. All players, including the shooter, bet on the outcome of the roll.
No matter the bet, every round of Craps begins with a Come out roll, which is the shooter’s first roll. This first roll establishes either a “point” number or—if the Come out roll is a 7 or 11—a win. In order to establish a point, the combined values of the two dice must be 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10. If the Come out roll is 2, 3, 7, 11, or 12 the round is over. If the Come out roll results in a point, the shooter can throw again and again, trying to roll the point number before a 7 is rolled.
Pass Line Bet
The most basic bet in Craps is the Pass Line. A pass line bet is a bet that the shooter will win their point number. On the Come out roll, players place their bets on the Pass Line area of the table. If the shooter throws a 7 or 11 on the Come out, it is a win. If the shooter establishes a point, and then rolls the point again before a 7 is rolled, it is also a win. If the Come out roll is 2, 3, or 12—aka Craps—it is a loss.
After a point has been thrown, players may place up to double their original Pass Line bet on the odds that the shooter will throw the point number again before rolling a 7. This is called “buying odds.” Payouts for buying odds is as follows:
- If point value is 4 or 10, odds pay 2:1
- If point value is 5 or 9, odds pay 3:2
- If point value is 6 or 8, odds pay 6:5
The opposite of buying odds is “laying odds.” This is a bet that a 7 will be rolled before the point number is rolled. The payouts for laying odds are exactly the opposite of those for buying odds. For instance, the “don’t odds” pay for point values 4 or 10 is 1:2.
Come bets can be made at any time during the game and are similar to Pass Line bets. A Come bet puts money on the odds that the shooter will throw the point number on the first roll after the Come bet is placed.
Don’t Come Bet
Opposite of the Come bet, a Don’t Come bet expects the shooter to roll a 7 before the point number. If the shooter rolls a 2 or 3, the Don’t Come bet wins. A 12 means a tie. Any other number is called a “Come Point.” Betters win if a 7 is rolled before the Come Point and lose if the Come Point is rolled before a 7.
Craps Strategy – Bet the Pass Line, Then Take Max Odds
Continuing with the above mentioned, the best bet for beginners has to be the ‘pass line’ bet, which should always be done before the come out roll. This bet offers the best odds for players, and hence, the best to minimize your risks – perfect for beginners.
Another point to cover with the pass line bet is to take the maximum odds available on the table/game/bet – as it will pay you on some bonus odds, and obviously, you will not be losing out on them. The best way to make sure you are doing it the right way is simply by asking the dealer if the bet is correct – he/she should let you know.
Regardless, we are back to the beginning, where you really need to know the game inside-out before heading to the table – it will give you an advantage of knowing the odds, bets, and rules, since, in such a fast-paced game with so many people betting at the same time, there is no guarantee the dealer or anyone else will take the time to explain things to you – unfortunately.
The last bets you could consider betting on too, especially since we want to keep the house edge as low as possible, would then be the ‘odds bet’ and the ‘come bet’ – however, the pass line bet is still the best overall, especially for beginners.
Apart from the above three (3), any other bets are really best for tournaments, when the table is doing pretty good (is hot), and if you know what you are doing… after all, the house edge on these bets is much higher since the casino will not have to pay proper odds on them – so unless that is the case, stay away from them for now.
These are just simple craps strategies, or better yet, some tips to start out with that should improve your chances at the tables, and allow you to have a better time too, which should be your top priority here. All in all, the best way to learn the game is to play craps now – best to start at online casinos, as it will let you play at your own pace, with instructions at hand too, and with bets as low as $1 dollar.