How to Play Craps
Play craps online to enjoy the buzz of the Craps table - Anytime, anywhere!
Conversely, nothing is quite as dead as a craps table when the dice are cold. At peak hours, when you see three or four somber individuals at the big table for 24, you can be sure the loser 7s have been coming up all too frequently.
Craps is the fastest-moving of casino table games. An average speed at a busy blackjack table runs around 60 hands per hour, but the house expects about 100 decisions per hour at craps. That, along with the tendency of craps players to have several bets working at once, means that craps requires a larger bankroll than other table games. And craps offers the widest variety of bets in the casino, with dozens of wagering options on the table.
All this can be pretty intimidating to a newcomer. But casino games were not designed to chase customers away, and craps is easier than it looks at first glance. Yes, there are an enormous number of bets available, but you only need to know 1 to get started. In the next section, you will learn all about the "Pass" bet. This will demystify the game of craps for you and you'll be confidently playing in no time!
The most important bet to understand is the “pass line” bet. This bet is made by putting your chips on the pass line before the “come out roll”. If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11, this bet pays even money. If the shooter “craps out” by rolling a 2, 3 or 12 you lose. But if the shooter rolls any other number, that number becomes the “box point” and you win your bet if that same number is rolled again before the shooter “sevens out”. The house edge on a pass line bet is only 1.41%. The “don’t pass” bet is the opposite bet and has an even smaller house edge. But stay away from this bet unless you want to make enemies at the table. Unless of course you are playing online 😉
Once the point has been established you can “take odds”. This is an additional bet that the box point will be rolled before a 7. This is the single best bet on the casino floor because it pays true odds – meaning the house has no edge. Because of this casinos will limit how much you can wager here. Many casinos allow what is called 3-4-5x odds. Which means you can bet three times as much as your pass line bet on a 4 or 10, four times your pass line bet on a 5 or 9 and five times on a 6 or 8. If you play craps by always making a pass line bet and maxing out the odds, the house edge is only 0.374%. There is no place on the table for this bet. You make this bet by placing your chips behind your pass line bet after the point is established.
Once you have mastered this strategy you can extend it to include “come” bets and other bets. The come bet is exactly like a pass line bet except that you can make this bet before any roll other than the come out roll. And the next roll becomes the come out roll for your come bet. To make a come bet you will place your chips on the come line before the roll. You can take odds on the come bet just as you can on the pass line bet and the math is exactly the same. After the point is established, toss your chips to the dealer and say “odds on the 6” or whatever the point is. The dealer will move your chips to the point.
Practice on our Craps game below and get comfortable with these basic bets... Then move on to more bet types in the next section.
Now we have covered an introduction to the game and the basic bets that you need to know to play confidently, we will look at some other bet types:
The shooter is required to make either a Pass Line bet or a Don't Pass bet if he wants to shoot. Some casinos require all players to make a minimum Pass Line or Don't Pass bet (if they want to make any other bet), whether they are currently shooting or not.
Pass line bet: The fundamental bet in craps is the pass line bet, which is a bet for the shooter to win.
If the come-out roll is 7 or 11, the bet wins.
If the come-out roll is 2, 3 or 12, the bet loses (known as "crapping out").
If the roll is any other value, it establishes a point.
If, with a point established, that point is rolled again before a 7, the bet wins.
If, with a point established, a 7 is rolled before the point is rolled again ("seven out"), the bet loses.
The pass line bet pays even money.
Because the odds are against making a point, a player may make or increase a pass line bet and any corresponding odds (up to the table limit) at any time after a point is established. Once made, however, the pass line bet can not be taken down or reduced.
Don't pass bet: A don't pass bet is a bet for the shooter to lose ("seven out, line away") and is almost the opposite of the pass line bet.
If the come-out roll is 2 or 3, the bet wins.
If the come-out roll is 7 or 11, the bet loses.
If the come-out roll is 12, the bet is a push (neither won nor lost). In some casinos, the bet pushes on 2 and wins on 12 instead. Others allow the player to choose to either push on 2 ("Bar Aces") or push on 12 ("Bar Sixes") depending on where it is placed on the layout. The push on 12 or 2 is mathematically necessary to maintain the house edge over the player.
If the roll is any other value, it establishes a point.
If, with a point established, a 7 is rolled before the point is rolled again ("seven out"), the bet wins.
If, with a point established, that point is rolled again before a 7, the bet loses.
The don't pass bet pays even money.
Because the odds are against making a point, a player may take down or reduce a don't pass bet and any corresponding odds at any time. Once taken down or reduced, however, the don't pass bet can not be restored or increased. Because the shooter must have a line bet the shooter generally cannot reduce a don't pass bet below the table minimum, although casinos will allow the shooter to move the bet to the pass line in lieu of taking it down.
There are two different ways to calculate the odds and house edge of this bet. The table below gives the numbers considering that the game ends in a push when a 12 is rolled, rather than being undetermined. Betting on don't pass is often called "playing the dark side," and it is considered by some players to be in poor taste, or even taboo, because it goes directly against conventional play, winning when most of the players lose.
Pass odds: If a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 is thrown on the come-out roll (i.e., if a point is established), most casinos allow pass line players to take odds by placing up to some predetermined multiple of the pass line bet, behind the pass line. This additional bet wins if the point is rolled again before a 7 is rolled (the point is made) and pays at the true odds of 2-to-1 if 4 or 10 is the point, 3-to-2 if 5 or 9 is the point, or 6-to-5 if 6 or 8 is the point.
Individual casinos (and sometimes tables within a casino) vary greatly in the maximum odds they offer, from single or double odds (one or two times the pass line bet) up to 100x or even unlimited odds. A variation often seen is "3-4-5X Odds," where the maximum allowed odds bet depends on the point: three times if the point is 4 or 10; four times on points of 5 or 9; or five times on points of 6 or 8. This rule simplifies the calculation of winnings: a maximum pass odds bet on a 3-4-5X table will always be paid at six times the pass line bet regardless of the point.
As odds bets are paid at true odds, in contrast with the pass line which is always even money, taking odds on a minimum pass line bet lessens the house advantage compared with betting the same total amount on the pass line only. A maximum odds bet on a minimum pass line bet often gives the lowest house edge available in any game in the casino. However, the odds bet cannot be made independently, so the house retains an edge on the pass line bet itself.
Don't pass odds: If a player is playing don't pass instead of pass, they may also lay odds by placing chips behind the don't pass line. If a 7 comes before the point is rolled, the odds pay at true odds of 1-to-2 if 4 or 10 is the point, 2-to-3 if 5 or 9 is the point, or 5-to-6 if 6 or 8 is the point. Typically the maximum lay bet will be expressed such that a player may win an amount equal to the maximum odds multiple at the table: If a player lays maximum odds with a point of four on a table offering five-times odds, he would lay ten times the amount of his Don't pass bet. At a 3-4-5x odds table, the maximum odds one can lay will always be 6x the amount of the don't pass bet.
Come bet: A come bet can be visualized as starting an entirely new pass line bet, unique to that player. A player making a come bet will bet on the first point number that "comes" from the shooter's next roll, regardless of the table's round. If a 7 or 11 is rolled on the first round, it wins. If a 2, 3, or 12 is rolled, it loses. If instead the roll is 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, the come bet will be moved by the base dealer onto a box representing the number the shooter threw. This number becomes the "come-bet point" and the player is allowed to take odds, just like a pass line bet.
The dealer will place the odds on top of the come bet, but slightly off center in order to differentiate between the original bet and the odds. The second round wins if the shooter rolls the come bet point again before a seven. Winning come bets are paid the same as winning pass line bets: even money for the original bet and true odds for the odds bet. If, instead, the seven is rolled before the come-bet point, the come bet (and any odds bet) loses.
Come bets can only be made after a point has been established since, on the come-out roll, a come bet would be the same thing as a pass line bet.
Because of the come bet, if the shooter makes their point, a player can find themselves in the situation where they still have a come bet (possibly with odds on it) and the next roll is a come-out roll. In this situation, odds bets on the come wagers are usually presumed to be not working for the come-out roll. That means that if the shooter rolls a 7 on the come-out roll, any players with active come bets waiting for a come-bet point lose their initial wager but will have their odds bets returned to them.
If the come-bet point is rolled on the come-out roll, the odds do not win but the come bet does and the odds bet is returned (along with the come bet and its payoff). The player can tell the dealer that they want their odds working, such that if the shooter rolls a number that matches the come point, the odds bet will win along with the come bet, and if a seven is rolled, both lose.
Many players will use a come bet as "insurance" against sevening out: if the shooter rolls a seven, the come bet pays 1:1, offsetting the loss of the pass line bet. The risk in this strategy is the situation where the shooter does not hit a seven for several rolls, leading to multiple come bets that will be lost if the shooter eventually sevens out.
Don't come bet: In the same way that a come bet is similar to a pass line bet, a don't come bet is similar to a don't pass bet. A don't come bet is played in two rounds. If a 2 or 3 is rolled in the first round, it wins. If a 7 or 11 is rolled, it loses. If a 12 is rolled, it is a push (subject to the same 2/12 switch described above for the don't pass bet). If, instead, the roll is 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, the don't come bet will be moved by the base dealer onto a box representing the number the shooter threw. The second round wins if the shooter rolls a seven before the don't come point.
Don't come bets can only be made after the come-out roll when a point has already been established. The player may lay odds on a don't come bet, just like a don't pass bet; in this case, the dealer (not the player) places the odds bet on top of the bet in the box, because of limited space, slightly offset to signify that it is an odds bet and not part of the original don't come bet.
Winning don't come bets are paid the same as winning don't pass bets: even money for the original bet and true odds for the odds lay.
Single roll bets
Single-roll (proposition) bets are resolved in one dice roll by the shooter. Most of these are called "Service Bets", and they are located at the center of most craps tables. Only the stickman or a dealer can place a service bet. The bets include:
2 (snake eyes, or Aces): Wins if shooter rolls a 2.
3 (ace-deuce): Wins if the shooter rolls a 3.
Yo: Wins if the shooter rolls 11.
12 (boxcars, midnight, or cornrows): Wins if shooter rolls a 12.
2 or 12 (hi-lo): Wins if shooter rolls a 2 or 12. The stickman places this bet on the line dividing the 2 and 12 bets.
Any Craps (Three-Way): Wins if the shooter rolls 2, 3 or 12.
C & E: A combined bet, a player is betting half their bet on craps and the other half on yo (11). One of the two bets will always lose, the other may win.
Any seven: Wins if the shooter rolls a 7. This bet is also nicknamed Big Red, since the 7 on its betting space on the layout is usually large and red, and it is considered bad luck[by whom?] and a breach of etiquette to speak the word "seven" at the table.
The Horn: This is a bet that involves betting on 1 unit each for 2, 3, 11 and 12 at the same time for the next roll. The bet is actually four separate bets, and pays off depending on which number is actually rolled, minus three units for the other three losing bets. Many players, in order to eliminate the confusion of tossing four chips to the center of the table or having change made while bets are being placed, will make a five-unit Horn High bet, which is a four-way bet with the extra unit going to one specific number. For example, if you toss a $5 chip into the center and say "horn high yo," you are placing four $1 bets on each of the horn numbers and the extra dollar will go on the yo (11).
Hard and Horny bet, which is a combination of the horn bet and all hardways.
Whirl or World: bet is a five-unit bet that is a combination of a horn and any-seven bet, with the idea that if a seven is rolled the bet is a push, because the money won on the seven is lost on the horn portions of the bet.
On the Hop This is a single roll bet on any particular combination of the two dice on the next roll. For example, if you bet on "5 and 1" on the hop, you are betting that the next roll will have a 5 on one die and a 1 on the other die. The bet pays 15:1 (just like a bet on 3 or 11) except for doubles (e.g., 3 and 3 on the hop) which pay 30:1 (just like a bet on 12, which is the same as 6 and 6 on the hop). The true odds are 17:1 and 35:1, resulting in a house edge of 11.11% and 13.89% respectively. When presented, hop bets are located at the center of the craps layout with the other proposition bets. If hop bets are not on the craps layout, they still may be bet on by players but they become the responsibility of the boxman to book the bet.
Field: This bet is a wager that one of the numbers 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12 will appear on the next roll of the dice. This bet typically pays more (2:1 or 3:1) if 2 or 12 is rolled, and 1:1 if 3, 4, 9, 10 or 11 is rolled. The Field bet is a "Self-Service" Bet. Unlike the other proposition bets which are handled by the dealers or stickman, the field bet is placed directly by the player.
Players identify their Field bets by placing them in the Field area directly in front of them or as close to their position as possible. The initial bet and/or any payouts can "ride" through several rolls until they lose, and are assumed to be "riding" by dealers. It is thus the player's responsibility to collect their bet and/or winnings immediately upon payout, before the next dice roll, if they do not wish to let it ride.
These are bets that may not be settled on the first roll and may need any number of subsequent rolls before an outcome is determined. Most multi-roll bets may fall into the situation where a point is made by the shooter before the outcome of the multi-roll bet is decided. These bets are often considered "not working" on the new come-out roll until the next point is established, unless the player calls the bet as "working."
Casino rules vary on this; some of these bets may not be callable, while others may be considered "working" during the come-out. Dealers will usually announce if bets are working unless otherwise called off. If a non-working point number placed, bought or laid becomes the new point as the result of a come-out, the bet is usually refunded, or can be moved to another number for free.
A bet that the shooter will throw a 4, 6, 8 or 10 the "hard way", before he throws a seven or the corresponding "easy way". A hard way occurs when both dice show identical values, also known as "doubles" or "pairs." Pairs are called at the table as "hard 8" or "4 the hard way".
Opposite of hard way is a bet that the shooter will throw a specific easy way (either 4, 6, 8 or 10), before he throws a seven. An easy way is a value that does not have two dice identical, so 3-1 is easy way 4. These are rarely available as bets except by placing on a point number (which pays off on easy or hard rolls of that number) or if made as a single-roll ("hop") bet (e.g., "hop the 2-4" is a bet for the next roll to be an easy six rolled as a two and four).
Big 6 and Big 8
A player can choose either the 6 or 8 being rolled before the shooter throws a seven. These wagers are usually avoided by experienced craps players since they pay even money (1:1) while a player can make place bets on the 6 or the 8, which pay more (7:6). Some casinos (especially all those in Atlantic City) do not even offer the Big 6 & 8. The bets are located in the corners behind the pass line, and bets may be placed directly by players.
The only real advantage offered by the Big 6 & 8 is that they can be bet for the table minimum, whereas a place bet minimum may sometimes be greater than the table minimum (e.g. $6 place bet on a $3 minimum game.) In addition place bets are usually not working, except by agreement, when the shooter is "coming out" i.e. shooting for a point, and Big 6 and 8 bets always work. Some modern layouts no longer show the Big 6/Big 8 bet.
Place and buy
Players can place or buy any point number (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10) by placing their wager in the come area and telling the dealer how much and on what number(s), "30 on the 6", "5 on the 5" or "25 buy the 10". Both place and buy bets are bets that the number bet on will be rolled before a 7 is rolled. These bets are considered working bets, and will continue to be paid out each time a shooter rolls the place or buy point number. By rules, place bets are NOT working on the come out roll but can be "turned on" by the player.
Place bet payouts are slightly worse than the true odds: 9-to-5 on points 4 or 10, 7-to-5 on points 5 or 9, and 7-to-6 on points 6 or 8. The place bets on the outside numbers (4,5,9,10) should be made in units of $5, (on a $5 minimum table), in order to receive the correct exact payout of $5 paying $7 or $5 paying $9. The place bets on the 6 & 8 should be made in units of $6, (on a $5 minimum table), in order to receive the correct exact payout of $6 paying $7.
Buy bets are paid at true odds, but a 5% commission is charged on the amount of the bet. Traditionally, the buy bet commission is paid no matter what, but in recent years a number of casinos have changed their policy to charge the commission only when the buy bet wins. Some casinos charge the commission as a one-time fee to buy the number; payouts are then always at true odds. Most casinos usually charge only $1 for a $25 green-chip bet (4% commission), or $2 for $50 (two green chips), reducing the house advantage a bit more.
Where commission is charged only on wins, the commission is often deducted from the winning payoff—a winning $25 buy bet on the 10 would pay $49, for instance. The house edges stated in the table assume the commission is charged on all bets. They are reduced by at least a factor of two if commission is charged on winning bets only. Rarely casinos offer the place bet to lose. This bet is the opposite of the place bet and wins if a 7 is rolled before the specific point number. The place bet to lose typically carries a lower house edge than a place bet.
A lay bet is the opposite of a buy bet, where a player bets on a 7 to roll before the number that is laid. Just like the buy bet lay bets pay true odds, but because the lay bet is the opposite of the buy bet, the payout is reversed. Therefore players get 1 to 2 for the numbers 4 and 10, 2 to 3 for the numbers 5 and 9, and 5 to 6 for the numbers 6 and 8. A 5% commission (vigorish, vig, juice) is charged up front on the possible winning amount. For example: A $40 Lay Bet on the 4 would pay $20 on a win. The 5% vig would be $1 based on the $20 win. (NOT $2 based on the $40 bet as the way buy bet commissions are figured.) Like the buy bet the commission is adjusted to suit the betting unit such that fraction of a dollar payouts are not needed.
If a player is unsure of whether a bet is a single or multi-roll bet, it can be noted that all single-roll bets will be displayed on the playing surface in one color (usually red), while all multi-roll bets will be displayed in a different color (usually yellow).
Optimal strategy in craps is quite straight forward. Bet the don't pass (and/or don't come) and back it up laying the maximum odds. That is known as "playing the dark side," because the vast majority of players bet the opposite way. If you don't want to be a contrarian, and enjoy going with the flow, then the pass and/or come bets, plus taking full odds, is almost as good. Or if you are playing online, it doesn't really matter!
Laying the Odds
This is the opposite of taking odds, in other words betting that a seven will be rolled before the point. It is called Taking the Odds if you bet on a point after a Pass bet. It is called Laying Odds if you bet against a point after a Don't Pass bet. In both cases the odds are statistically fair, with no house edge. To be specific Laying the Odds against a 4 or 10 pays 1 to 2, against a 5 or 9 pays 2 to 3, and against a 6 or 8 pays 5 to 6.
Much like Taking Odds, the amount you may take Laying Odds is limited to some multiple of your Don't Pass bet. For example, if casino allows 5X Odds, then you may bet up to an amount such that a win would be no more than 5X the Don't Pass bet. In the case of the common 3-4- 5X Odds, you can Lay up to 6X the Don't Pass bet after any Point, which would result in a win of 3, 4 or 5X the Don't Pass bet.
Play Craps Below
Where to Play Craps
Both Casinos Below Meet a Strict Criteria for us to be able to recommend them:
Can be played on your computer, tablet or mobile (Anywhere, anytime)
Have live games and virtual games - Over 500 Games
Play for Free or Play for Money
Are safe to deposit and withdraw money from online
Independently reviewed and audited
100% Secure – 128 bit encryption
Completely legal, safe and fun to play at
A Fun Casino that Ticks All of the Boxes
Ground control here at Casino Room release new games every single week, plus promos including rocket powered reload bonuses and freespins that are out of this world. Play on your computer or on your tablet or mobile device, access your account wherever you are. Sign up, your first spins are on us.
Another Great Casino that also Ticks All of the Boxes
Guts is another fun casino that you can also try out for free and get free spins at just for registering. Give them a go... Play on your computer or on your tablet or mobile device, access your account wherever you are. Sign up, your first spins are on us.