Easy steps to learn how to play craps - basic craps rules

Learn how to play craps with our easy-to-follow guide, which explains the rules of craps along with how to play the game, strategies, and more.

You’ll soon find out that our step-by-step guide on how to play craps is one of the best online. Not only have we provided you with all the info you need to know but we also made it as entertaining as possible while adding in a few humorous gifs to brighten up your day.

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About Craps

Craps is undoubtedly one of the more complex table games to play at a land-based or even an online casino, mainly because of the many bets available. It is often described as a complicated game, which scares players away towards other simpler casino games such as blackjack or baccarat.

However, like most complex games, once you understand the basic rules and simple betting options of the game, it becomes much easier to play and follow – besides, it does help if you can quickly do the math in your head. But don’t let this scare you too, most craps players use craps tables strategically by placing bets that favorably outweigh the losing bets. In fact, most bets have a high payout rate, which makes up for the losing bets.

Before jumping into the thick of things, you should be aware that the outcome of a craps game depends entirely on chance and luck. Unlike games such as poker where skill plays a major role in determining who wins and loses, there is no skill involved when playing craps.

This means anyone can play this fun and exciting game, regardless of their expertise in the field. All you need is some spare time and a few chips to get started. If you want to learn how to play craps properly, you’ve come to the right place. We will walk you through everything you need to know about this game so you can start playing today.

Craps History

Like many other popular casino games, the origins of craps are unknown, although many theories have been thrown around. The most popular theory is that the English created the game in the 19th century using a pair of dice. They called it “hazard.” When they migrated to America, they introduced the game to street vendors and locals who shortened the name to “crabs.”

Another theory suggests that crabs originated in France. According to this theory, the Duke of Normandy created the game back in the 14th century and named it “crape jou” which literally translates to “rag game.” Soldiers shortened the name to crapanoule, which means “shit game.” When the game reached England, the name was changed to crabs.

During the 1800s, crabs made its way to New Orleans where gamblers refined the game by establishing specific bets and the table we know today. This version eventually spread to other parts of the country, gaining fame among miners during the gold rush.

John H. Winn, a manufacturer of gambling equipment, introduced don’t pass bets to the craps table. He added a box numbered “odds” to the table; this later evolved into the big and little field. Winn also numbered the chips to avoid cheating, which ultimately led to the development of the craps game we know and love today.

Learning Craps Rules

The first step to learning how to play craps is understanding the rules. Although there are several bets available, there are three main craps rules you need to keep in mind:

  • The game always starts with the shooter rolling the dice from the end of the table.
  • There are two main bets: the Pass Line and the Don’t Pass Line.
  • You can also make additional bets depending on where the dice land after being rolled.
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That’s it! These three rules form the basis of the game. Now that you know these three essential rules, we can move on to the next section, which covers the layout of a craps table.

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Understanding a Craps Table

Before we jump into the nitty gritty, take a moment to appreciate the excitement etched onto this player’s face as he prepares to throw the dice.

If you’ve ever seen a craps game played out in a movie or at a land-based casino, you may have noticed just how busy the table seems. With its numerous bets and large table layout, it can seem quite intimidating, especially if you’re new to the game. However, getting to grips with the basics is much easier than you think.

First off, there are two Craig Sauer, NHL’s First Ever Hockey Agent, Dies Age 62 !!! of play on a craps table:

  • The left side is known as the “pasley” or “the right side to be on” – this is where we position ourselves.
  • The right side is referred to as the “non-pasley” or “the dark side.”

The table features a back wall divided into boxes displaying numbers and names of bets. Running across the bottom of the table is the center section, which features a line known as the Pass Line and similar line labeled Don’t Pass.

A space known as the Field sits just above the ends of these lines. On the right-hand side of the table, you’ll notice a row of small boxes. These boxes correspond to Come and Don’t Come bets.

The area behind the Pass Line and extending toward the center of the table represents the Big Six and Big Eight. If the shooter rolls a six or eight, your bets on these spaces will win; if they roll a five or seven, you’ll lose your wager.

The areas in the middle of the table represent all the oddly named bets that include place bets, the field, and coming out craps bets. Several betting circles running lengthways down the center of the table indicate specific Place bet amounts.

Several other boxes scattered around the table are used for various specific bets like the 4 and 10, 5 and 9, and 6 and 8. Keep in mind that not all casinos offer these specific bets, particularly online.

While this may all sound quite confusing, once you get stuck into a game of craps, it all becomes clear, and it’s actually pretty straightforward.

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Craps Terms

Much like any other casino game, craps has its own unique language. While this may seem rather daunting, you’ll be fluent in craps terms and jargon before you know it. Until then, we suggest keeping this list of craps terminology close by:

  • 1-2-3 Roadmap – a bet that covers four numbers i.e., 1, 2, and 3.
  • Any Craps – a bet that assumes the shooter will roll a 2, 3, or 12.
  • Any Seven – a bet that predicts the shooter will roll a 7.
  • Aces – a bet where the shooter rolls a 2.
  • Ass Seven – a combination of Aces and Any Seven bets.
  • Cold Dice – dice that aren’t hot.
  • Hot Dice – dice that are hot.
  • Lay – a slang term used for laying the dice.
  • Place Bets – additional bets you can make on the Come and Don’t Come sections of the table.
  • Press – press or increase your bet.
  • 6/8 – a space used for placing a bet that the shooter will roll either a 6 or 8.
  • 4/10 – a space used for placing a bet that the shooter will roll either a 4 or 10.
  • 5/9 – a space used for placing a bet that the shooter will roll either a 5 or 9.
  • Big Six and Big Eight – spaces found on the far right-hand side of the table, used for betting whether the shooter will roll a six or eight.
  • Boxcars – another word for twelves.
  • Boxman – the individual that stands between the dealers and is responsible for handling the cash and cubes.
  • Cubes – duplicates of the dice up top that the players use to place their bets.
  • Don’t Pass Bar – the area on either side of the Don’t Pass line.
  • Field – a one-roll bet that can equal a win if a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, or 11 is rolled. However, a 5, 6, 7, or 8 will cause you to lose your bet. What makes a craps table buzz with anticipation is that the casino may pay 2:1 on a 2 or 3, 3:1 on a 12, and 7:1 on a 12.
  • Come – when you make a Pass Line bet after a point has already been established.
  • Come Out – another word for coming out roll.
  • Hard Way – when you bet on a 4, 6, 8, or 10 and only win if the dice roll the number via different faces. For example, you can only roll a 4 by throwing a 1 and a 3 or a 2 and a 2.
  • High Point – the space that represents 16, which is the most money a shooter can win.
  • Inside – the area of the table that features various bets.
  • Lay Odds – bets you can place behind the Come and Don’t Come sections.
  • Lay – another word for laying the odds.
  • Odds Bet – a bet that sits in the center of the table and can be used by those who have made a Pass Line or Don’t Pass Bet.
  • One Roll Bet – a bet you place that will produce a result after one roll of the dice.
  • Outcome Bet – a bet you place based on the outcome of a series of rolls.
  • Right Better – a person that places a Pass Line bet.
  • Don’t Pass Bet – a bet against the shooter.
  • Wrong Better – a person that places a Don’t Pass bet.
  • Shooter – the player that is throwing the dice.
  • Street Shark – someone who watches the game closely in hopes of learning how to play craps so they can beat the system and become an instant millionaire.
  • Taking the Odds – increasing your original Pass Line or Don’t Pass bet by making an additional Odds bet.
  • Biggest Payout – 30:1 for landing a 15x odds bet and a point of 4 or 10, or a 150:1 payout for making a 15x odds bet with a point of 5 or 9.
  • Lowest Bet – placing a $1 wager on the corner, anywhere on the table, except for the Center, Big Six, Big Eight, and Payoff sections.
  • Backside – the area found on the opponent’s side of the table, which is used to make any bets against the shooter. These bets include the Don’t Pass Bet, Don’t Come Bet, and Place Bet with a seven out.
  • Offical Shooter – the individual that throws the dice.
  • On Pass or Win – when the dicehopper’s chances of winning are in your favor.
  • Stickman – the Stickman is the dealer that manages the pucks, keeps the dice going in the right direction, and pays out inside bets.
  • Dealer – deals with customers on the front or the stick side of the table.
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These are just a few craps terms you’ll pick up along the way. Once you get the hang of things, you’ll be tossing words like a pro and may even have your very own craps motto – roll ‘em!

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How Do You Play Craps Online?

Now that you know the rules, it’s time to put them into practice. Here’s a quick rundown of how to play craps online:

  1. Launch your preferred online casino and search for craps in the game lobby.
  2. Click on the craps game to launch it and wait for it to load.
  3. Check the value of the ante, this is the minimum bet you need to place to play the game.
  4. Once the game has loaded, you will be taken to the bankroll window. Decide on how many chips you want to buy. Then, click on the ‘Buy’ button to purchase your chips.
  5. Now that you have your chips, you can place your bets by dragging and dropping your chips over the relevant spaces on the craps table. Remember, you must place a Pass Line bet to begin the game.
  6. Once you have placed your bets, click on the ‘Roll’ button. This will throw the dice.
  7. The dice will determine your first roll also known as the ‘Come Out’ roll. If you roll a 7 or 11, you win your Pass Line bet. However, if you roll a 2, 3, or 12, you’ll lose your bet.
  8. If you roll any other number (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10), that number becomes the ‘point.’ The croupier will place a puck on the table to show everyone what the point is. Then, you can choose to ‘Take Odds,’ which allows you to place an extra bet behind your Pass Line bet.
  9. Once you’ve taken odds if applicable, the game moves onto the Point position. You can move your bet from the Pass Line to the Space bet position. This allows you to continue passing with the samebet until you tell the dealer otherwise or you’ve run out of credits.
  10. You can now click on the ‘Roll’ button again. If the dice lands on the point number you chosen, you’ll win your bet. But if the dice lands on seven, you’ll lose your bet. If you landed on any of the other numbers, the process repeats itself.
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And that’s it! You’ve learnt how to play craps online. Of course, there are numerous other bets you can place once you feel comfortable with the ropes. However, it is always best to start with the Pass Line bet and work your way up – literally!

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How to Play Craps at a Casino

Playing craps at a casino works much the same way as playing it online. However, when you play at a brick-and-mortar establishment, there are several craps players etiquette tips you should keep in mind, namely:

  • Only throw the dice off your back hand – don’t switch hands unless the dealer asks you to do so.
  • Move your bet amount onto the table before the caller calls out the bet.
  • Place your chips carefully and gently on the table to avoid confusion for the dealers.
  • Don’t place your drinks anywhere near the chips.
  • Don’t handle the chips of another player.
  • Don’t try to figure out everyone’s strategies.
  • Don’t assume that you can touch the chips and direct the dealer to give you certain values – this causes confusion. Rather, tell the dealer what you would like to do.
  • Tip the dealers when you win.

Here’s a quick video showing you what to expect when you play craps at a casino.

The key to playing craps at a casino is to take your time and enjoy the game. Don’t be afraid to ask the dealer questions either. Dealers are generally happy to explain the ins and outs of the game and help you place your bets. Plus, tipping the dealer is customary, especially if you’ve had a good run.

How to Make Bets in Craps

Craps offers numerous bets, which can seem quite overwhelming, especially if you’re new to the game. But fear not! We’ve simplified this section to provide you with the lowdown on the bets you need to know.

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The Pass Line

This is the safest bet you can make and one of the more popular choices. Essentially, you’re betting with the shooter. If the shooter rolls a seven or an 11, you’ll receive a payout of 1:1.

However, if the shooter rolls a two, three, or twelve, you’ll lose your bet. If the shooter rolls any other number, the dealers set a ‘Tobing’ cube displaying the number in the center of the table. The game then continues, hoping to land the number shown on the Tobing cube to win your even money payment.

Don’t Pass Line

This is the opposite of the Pass Line bet. In other words, you’re betting against the shooter. If the shooter lands a two or three, you’ll receive a payout of 1:1. However, a roll of seven or eleven will cause you to lose your bet, while a roll of 12 results in a push (a tie), which means you neither win nor lose your bet.

Once the Tobing cube has been set, anything other than the number rolled will result in a loss. However, if the shooter rolls the number shown on the Tobing cube, you’ll get your place bet back.

Lay Bet on the Don’t Pass Line

Essentially, this bet is the opposite of the Place bet. In other words, you’re betting that the shooter will roll a seven before he or she rolls the Place number. Keep in mind that this is a risky bet and is only offered in certain casinos, usually in Atlantic City and Nevada.

Come and Don’t Come Bets

After the initial come out roll, you can make a Pass or Don’t Pass bet at any stage. However, if a point number comes up, you can make a Come bet. Essentially, this bet sets another Tobing number in your favor. If the shooter lands a seven or the originally bet Tobing number, you’ll win your Even Money Come bet. However, if the shooter lands your Come Tobing number before seven, your Come bet is changed to a Pass Line bet.

Don’t Come Bet

This is the opposite of the Come bet. In other words, you’re setting a Tobing number against yourself. If a seven appears before the originally bet Tobing number, you’ll receive a payout.

Place Bets

You can make these bets at any stage, with the exception of when a shooter has rolled a point. In other words, before the come out roll. You simply wager a chip behind the corresponding place number on the table.

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Placing a one-unit wager on any of the place numbers, excluding seven, will yield a payout of less than one to one. However, if you place a bet on six or eight, you’ll receive a payout of 7:6. Meanwhile, wagering on five or nine pays out 9:5.

Laying Odds Behind the Come and Don’t Come Area

You can strengthen your Come or Don’t Come bet by taking odds behind the designated spaces on the table. This enables you to essentially lay or take true odds against seven or in favor of the place number.

Big Six and Big Eight

You’ll find these bets on the extreme right side of the table. This bet simply assumes that the shooter will land a six or eight before seven. You can place this bet at any stage during the round, excluding the come out roll. If you bet on six or eight, you’ll either win or lose your bet instantly.

Field Bets

You can place field bets at any stage, excluding when the shooter shows a point number. A field bet assumes that the shooter will land a 3, 4, 9, 10, or 11. If the shooter rolls a two or 12, the bet results in a push, meaning you neither win nor lose your stake.

Horn Bet

This bet involves wagering that the shooter will roll either a two, three, 11, or 12. You can make this bet at any stage, with the exception of when the shooter shows a point number. This bet pays out at 15:1. However, if you only want to bet on the 2 and 12, the payout is increased to 30:1. But, if the shooter lands a 3 or 11, the payout is cut to 7:1 or 15:1, depending on the casino you’re visiting.

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Hedge Bet

You can protect your bets against the horn by adding a bet of four to one on either 5 or 6, excluding the horn numbers. In this case, if the shooter lands a two, three, or 12, you’ll receive a payout of four to one. However, if the shooter rolls a five or 11, you’ll receive half your original stake, known as a partial push, and keep your hedge bet.

Hardway Bets

This type of bet involves wagering that the shooter will land a 4, 6, 8, or 10, by only rolling the same number on both dice, before rolling a seven. For example, you can only roll a four by throwing a 2 and a 2 or a 3 and a 1.

When you visit the casino, you’ll see that hardway bets are marked as 4/10, 5/9, 6/8. Keep in mind that a hard eight cannot be indicated as an eight alone. It must be marked as 6/8. Also, note that a hard four cannot be indicated as a four; it must be indicated as 4/10 with the six showing as the ten. This is because a six can turn into a seven if it rolls with one face value of one, but a four cannot. The same applies to the 5 and 9 spaces, which must be marked as 5/9. A five cannot turn into a 10, but a six can change to a 12 if it rolls with one face value of one.

Yo or Whirl Bet

In street terms, a yo or whirl bet is a horn back bet. In other words, rather than betting with the horn, you bet against it. So, if the dice roll two, three, 11, or 12, you’ll win your bet. The reason why this bet is referred to as a yo or whirl bet is because, in the streets, the horn is never bet as a single unit. Rather, it is always wagered in increments of three or four at a time. When this happens, instead of saying “I bet the horn,” the bettor will say, “I yo the wire.” Meaning, the bettor is wagering against the horn or hardway bets.

How to Place a Bet in Craps

There are two ways to place bets:

  • Using chips
  • Using tokens
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Using Chips

If the players have been at the table long enough to build up a pile of colorful chips, they can place their bets by simply putting down the correct-colored chips for the desired stake according to the table limit.

Using Tokens

Often, brand new players will be asked if they would like to use tokens when placing their bets. This involves exchanging cash for chips. Players simply hand their cash to the dealer who gives them the relevant chips in return.

Top Craps Tips and Strategy

Although craps is a game of chance, there are several ways to reduce the house edge. Below, we’ve listed our top craps tips and strategy guides to help improve your game and potentially boost your chances of winning:

Tip One – Master the Basics

It is crucial to familiarize yourself with the basic craps rules and strategies before you dive in headfirst. Once you feel comfortable with the ropes, you can start exploring different bets and raising your stakes. But it is always best to start slow and steady.

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Tip Two – Get to Grips with Probabilities

Pass line bets have the lowest house edge and boast the strongest probability of winning. Knowing the probabilities of certain outcomes can also help you. For instance, you have a 49.3% chance of rolling a 7, while you have a 13.8% chance of rolling a 2. By knowing the odds of certain occurrences, you can prepare yourself mentally and decide how much to bet based on the percentages. However, remember that craps is still a game of pure chance and each roll is unpredictable.

Tip Three – Practice Makes Perfect

If possible, try practicing your craps skills online for free. Many online casinos offer free games that allow you to get a feel for the game without having to wager real money. This is a great way to experiment with different bets and strategies without suffering any losses.

Tip Four – Set Limits and Stick to Your Budget

One of the best tips for craps and any casino game really is to establish your limits ahead of time. Determine how much you’re willing to spend and stick within that budget. Never chase your losses. If you’re having a bad run, call it a day and walk away while you can.

Tip Five – Take Advantage of Casino Bonuses

Many online casinos offer bonuses and promotions that can be used on craps. Be sure to claim these deals to stretch your budget further and enjoy more gameplay. However, keep in mind that these offers typically come with certain conditions, such as wagering requirements. Always read the terms and conditions carefully before claiming a bonus.

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Strategy One – The Simplified Press-and-Pull Method

This strategy involves starting with a basic bet, such as a pass line bet. If you win, leave your bet on the table for the next roll. However, if you lose, increase your bet to the maximum allowed and try again.

Strategy Two – Maximizing Odds Bets

One of the best craps strategies is to take full advantage of odds bets. These bets have a house edge of zero and allow you to increase your payouts. Simply make a pass line or don’t pass line bet and then take the maximum odds bet permitted. This strategy reduces the casino’s house edge significantly, improving your overall odds of winning.


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Joe has been a freelance writer for the past eight years. He has sold over 1,500 articles for an array of publications and clients. Like most writers, Joe enjoys creating content on a variety of topics, rather than focusing on one niche. This is why he enjoys writing for BestCasinoSites.net – the articles come in a variety of sizes and types, allowing him to challenge himself daily. At present, Joe split his time between the US and Europe, which helps him avoid the dreaded midafternoon commute in both locations.