How to Play Craps

How to Play Craps

Test your good fortune. How? Play Craps!

Playing craps is entertaining. Winning is based on luck, and the rules are straightforward. With craps, how to play is pretty much a no-brainer, except for the part where you have to familiarize and practice the betting strategies.

In a live casino, craps gets the attention for being “loud.” And in a right way!

There’s a lot of cheering involved around the table, as the dice rolls away. It’s a social endeavor where you’re bound to make a friend or two. So what’s not to love about craps?

How to play craps, you may ask? I bet you’re eager to know. Check out this article before heading for a trip to Atlantic City. We’ve got everything to equip you to start playing and winning in craps.

What is Craps?

Craps is a gambling game that involves putting a bet using two dice on the resulting odds of a single roll or a series of rolls.

Guessing the outcomes of the next roll makes this part of craps play very thrilling!

To play craps successfully, you have to know the many different types of bets you can wager. This is mainly what makes the game fun and exciting.

It’s a game reliant on pure chance. There’s no way you can influence the dice’s outcome.

It has no record of past events, too, crossing out any hot predictions. Thus, studying the odds and managing your bets is the main strategy required to beat the casino’s house edge.

To play craps, you can either bet against other players or the casino.

Playing craps requires minimal equipment. Often you can even find players on the streets. But for a more formal experience, you got yourself a legit casino in Atlantic City.

To play craps in a less intimidating environment, you may opt for an online casino too.

Oftentimes, a trip to a Las Vegas casino would not involve a game of craps. Those who are rookies to the casino scene would find its table layout and the loud crowd intimidating.

It is quite an experience. But if you find time to know “how is craps played?” don’t pass the opportunity to win some big cash and have a great time!

History of Craps

Craps is a fun group game. It doesn’t require a lot of strategies as you would in card games like blackjack or poker, making it a good option for you to unwind, and enjoy socializing with other players in a live casino.

Knowing the history of craps may not help you win the next roll, but it could be a great conversation starter. Other than that, it will enhance your experience on how to play craps.

Did you know people played craps since the time of the Crusades in the Medieval era?

An English man invented what was then called a game of “Hazard” to entertain troops during battle. The original version of craps only required them to bet on a single roll of one dice.

Come the 17th century, you can see people play craps all across Europe and soon was found in the United States when the French colonized them.

In the 20th century, John H. Winn, an American, altered the game to its modern version today, where you can either bet with or against the shooter.

Craps Table Layouts

Much like a roulette table, a craps table has a unique layout design that allows you to place your chips on numbers to garner winning bets.

Live Casino Craps

How to play craps in a land-based casino requires an actual pair of dice to be rolled on the table by a “shooter.” 

The shooter is a participating player. To play craps, you may have one shooter for continuous rolls, or a new shooter may be assigned in every one roll.

Anyone, including the shooter, can put their chips at stake at whatever part of the betting layout they wish to wager on.

A few casino employees run a craps table. They are the:

  1. Boxman – He is responsible for the chips on the table. He converts them into cash or exchanges them for different denominations as requested by the players.
  2. Stickman – He moves the dice around the table with the use of a stick. He does this to send the dice across the table to the next shooter at the start of every one roll. This is why he stays in the center section. He is also responsible for announcing the outcomes of the roll bets.
  3. Base Dealers – The table is divided into two identical side sections. Two base dealers are assigned, one on each end. They work closely with the boxer. They provide the payout to the winners as well as collect the losing bets. A part of the table may be inaccessible, so you may ask the dealers to place bets on your behalf.

Online Casino Craps

How to play craps online is much simpler. You’re basically the shooter every time.

To play, you place your odds bet by clicking on the appropriate part of the betting layout on your screen.

Press the specific button that cues the dice to be rolled automatically.

When the results of one roll are announced, your wins or losses are paid out or collected accordingly.

What are the types of bets to play craps?

The very goal of how to play craps is simple. You bet on the sum outcome of a two dice roll. That’s all there is to it.

Perhaps the one thing that makes this game confusing are the many bets you can make. They’ve been developed and practiced over time by avid gamblers.

Some are pretty straight forward. While some are a little more complicated than others. But it doesn’t mean you have to know all of them to get started.

For basics, you at least have to know the pass line and don’t pass bets, the come and don’t come bets, and the odds bets. Let’s get to understand our betting options more in-depth:

Pass Line and Don’t Pass Bets

These are the most common bets on how to play craps, especially as a beginner.

The pass line or don’t pass bet has to be made before the come-out roll. A shooter places this bet. Or in other casinos, at least one participating player has to make a pass line or don’t pass bet before any additional wager.

This pays even money to whoever wins.

A winning pass line bet is if the come-out roll is valued at 7 or 11. It loses if it’s a 2, 3, or 12. If any other value (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10) comes out, a point is established at that value.

The pass line bet at that point will remain until a 7 or that point is rolled again. An outcome of 7 is a losing bet, while when that point is rolled, the wager wins.

Don’t pass bets win when a come-out roll results in a 2 or 3. It loses if it is a 7 or 11. A 12 result pushes the bet with no winner or loser.

When a point is established, the same process applies except the exact opposite. It wins with an outcome of 7 and loses when the point is rolled.

The house edge for pass line bets is 1.41%, and for don’t pass bets, 1.36%. It pays 1:1.

Come & Don’t Come Bets

Mathematically speaking, the come bet is the same as the pass bet. The difference is the come bet can be made at any time other than the come-out roll.

Applying logic, likewise, the don’t come bet is like the don’t pass bet except for the time consideration when it can be wagered.

To illustrate, let’s say you’ve made a come bet and rolled a seven. You win even money. If you rolled a 2, you lose. If an 8 was rolled, your wager would stay in place until it is rolled again. Otherwise, if a 7 is rolled, you lose.

Given the same situation, a don’t come bet will result in the equal opposite action.

The house edge for every roll on the come bets is at 1.41%, and don’t come bets at 1.36% as well. It pays 1:1.

Odds Bets

Odds bets are, in essence, side wagers that can be made when a point is established.

An odds bet complements the pass line bet, don’t pass bet, come and don’t come bets. Thus odds wagers can only be made after any of these four have already been wagered.

An odds bet is advantageous because it pays at true odds. For example, if the point number is six or eight, winning odds bet is paid 6:5. For 5 or 9, it’s 3:2, and for 4 or 10, it’s 3:1.

There is no house edge for an odds bet. However, the house edge is kept from the initial pass and come, or don’t pass and don’t come bet.

For craps lingo purposes, you are said to be “taking the odds” when you make an odds bet over a pass or come bet. You are “laying the odds” for an odds bet over a don’t pass or don’t come bet.

Place Win Bet

Place win bets may be wagered after a comeout roll after a point is established. The point numbers can either be 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10. The wager wins for as long as a point number is rolled before a 7.

House edge depends on the outcome. It is 1.52% on 6 or 8, 4% on 5 or 9, and 6.67% on 4 or 10.

Place Lose Bet

A place lose bet is the opposite of a place win in the sense that you succeed in the case a 7 is rolled before the point number is chosen.

Payout is 4:5 for 6 or 8, 5:8 for 5 or 9, and 5:11 for 4 or 10.

Buy Bet

Like a place bet, you bet on a specific number to be rolled before a 7 to win. The difference is that you have to give the casino a 5% commission.

For example, you wagered $20 for point number 4. You must pay the casino $1 commission. If you win, you are paid 2:1. This differs depending on the outcome.

House edge is 2.27% on 6 or 8, 2% on 5 or 9, and 1.67% on 4 or 10.

Lay Bet

This would be the exact equal opposite of a buy bet, and the casino will charge you a 5% commission still. With this wager, you win if a 7 is rolled before your chosen point number.

Payouts are 5:6 for a 6 or 8, 2:3 for a 5 or 9, and 1:2 for a 4 or 10.


When the same number is shown on both dice, it means it is rolled the “hard way.” For example, a hard 4 is 2 on both dice.

To win a hardway bet, your number should be rolled the hard way before the shooter rolls a 7 or your number any other way. If, for example, you bet hard on a 10. Only a 5-5 can make you win, not a 4-6, 2-8, or 1-9.

Payoffs are 9:1 on 6 or 8 and 7:1 on 4 or 10. Five or nine is an exception since they are odd numbers.

Field Bet

A field bet is settled during the next roll. It wins when a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12 is rolled. It loses to a 5, 6, 7, or 8.

The payoff for winners is half the wager or even money. But in case 2 is rolled, it pays 2:1, and with 12, 3:1. In some casinos in Reno, Nevada, it is the other way around. House edge is at 2.78%

Proposition Bets

Proposition bets are also settled on the next roll. There are a lot of different proposition bets available.

They are unique single rolled bets and can get interesting to wager. House edge is, however, higher for these ones and is advised to be avoided. If you have the extra cash to risk, why not?

  1. Two (Aces) or Twelve (Boxcars) – 13.89% house edge, pays 30:1. Wins if the next roll is 2 or 12. All others lose.
  2. Three (Ace Deuce) or Eleven – 11.11% house edge, pays 15:1. Wins if the next roll is 3 or 11. All others lose.
  3. Any Sevens – 16.67% house edge, pays 7:1. All others lose.
  4. Any Craps – 11.11% house edge, pays 7:1. Wins if next rolls are 2, 3, or 12. All others lose.
  5. Easy Hop – 11.11% house edge, pays 15:1. Wins when your specific combination of different numbers shows. (ex. 3-6, 2-5) All others lose.
  6. Hard Hop – 13.89% house edge, pays 30:1. Wins when your chosen combinations of numbers are the same. (ex. 4-4, 8-8) All others lose.

Big 6 and Big 8

These are special bets on the craps table that are not always present in every casino. If the casino has them, you win even money if any 6 or 8 is rolled before a 7. Pays 1:1.

How to Play Craps?

How to play a basic game of craps in the thriving Atlantic City is not that complicated at all! Check out these easy steps:

Step 1: Choose possible sums rolled on a pair of dice.

Remember, you are gambling on the sum of the values on a pair of dice. It’s a fast-paced game, so you better be quick in deciding your numbers, making your bets, and reading the outcome.

The shooter rolls the comeout roll, which is the first roll in craps. How to play and win at this part of the game depends purely on chance.

Winning and losing numbers will depend on the bets wagered and stage of the game. Review the part of this article containing the betting types to better familiarize yourself.

Step 2: Place your bet on the pass line on the comeout roll.

On a very visible part of the craps table, the dealer lays a disk to keep track of the game. When it is flipped on its black part with the word “Off,” it connotes the start of a new round.

The beginning and succeeding parts of the game cannot begin without anybody making a pass line bet. That’s the rule.

Typically, you’d want a result of 7 or 11 to win the pass bet. 2, 3, and 12 are craps numbers and lose. If any other number comes out of the roll, it is established as the “point.”

Step 3: In a push, play the point.

Point numbers are 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10. When these are rolled during the comeout, it means neither anyone wins nor loses.

The dealer flips the disk to its “On” part. The shooter keeps rolling the dice, hoping this number rolls again before a 7 to win. The pass line bets are in force until the round is over when the shooter “sevens out” or the point turns up.

Step 4: Place a come bet.

At this part of the gameplay, the come-out roll is over, and you can now place your chips on the come bet space. It works just like the pass bet.

If a shooter rolls a 7 or 11, a come bet wins. If it rolls to a 2, 3, or 12, you lose. If a come bet point value is established, the shooter keeps rolling, hoping to roll that point.

Likewise, in a pass bet, you can also make a don’t pass bet. In a come bet, you can also opt for a don’t come bet. The results are the complete equal opposite. This means in a don’t come, for example, you win if a 7 is rolled instead of the point number.

Step 5: Apply other betting types in craps.

How to play craps in the most exciting way possible is to give other bets a shot. At this part of the game, you can stay conservative and just wager the basic line and come bets. These basic bets are less risky but don’t pay as much.

If you want to add spice to your play, throw in an odds bet! Other types like your single roll predictions like the field and hardway are also excellent choices.

Only use proposition bets when you’ve truly mastered how to play craps and are comfortable risking extra cash.

What’s important is you know how to manage your bankroll and do not get carried away. This especially when you’ve had streaks of winnings, or loss. Success in any casino game requires control.

Step 6: Roll the dice when you are the designated shooter.

If you play craps in the casino long enough, you should expect to become the shooter. For you to become the shooter, you have to place a pass or come bet.

The stickperson will present you with 5 dice. From that, you choose two, then toss them hard enough to hit the rail on the opposite side of the table.

There are a few rules when tossing. You have to be keen on this as to not look like an amateur. Shake and toss the dice with just one hand.

Since the craps table is long, better to throw than to roll them. If they don’t hit the back rail of the table, you have to repeat the process.

This is not a problem in online craps. How to play craps online is much simpler. The virtual dice are rolled with the aid of a random number generator automatically once you click on the trigger buttons.

Step 7: The dice is rotated to the next shooter.

A shooter “sevens out” when he rolls a loser 7 after establishing a point. At this part of the game, the dice is rotated to a new shooter, and a new round is played.

If the pass loses to a 2, 3, or 12 in the comeout roll, the current shooter still keeps shooting. If the shooter rolls the point number and wins, it ends and starts over even without a “seven out.”

The world record for the longest roll streak without sevening out is earned by Patricia Demauro.

She rolled 154 times in 2009 at the Borgata in Atlantic City. That was a total of 4 hours and 18 minutes before the dice was eventually rotated to the next shooter.

Etiquette in Craps

How to play craps provides the technical aspect of the game. Knowing the etiquette required of you to act is as meaningful too. Here are what you need to do:

1. Respect and Tip the Casino Craps Table Operators

First things first, you should know the casino operators in front of you and their respective tasks. Because craps involves a lot of money and shooters taking turns is pretty fast-paced, the table is managed by a team of 4.

The boxperson sits closest to the pit. He keeps the tabs, stashes, and guards betting chips.

The stickperson stays opposite the boxperson. He uses a long stick to carry the dice around. He basically controls the whole game’s tempo. He calls the results too.

The other two are dealers. They work hand in hand with the boxperson, converting cash to chips, collecting losses, and paying out winning bets. The whole team makes sure all players follow the rules.

As a decent player, make sure you treat these casino operators with courtesy and respect when they’re doing their job. Don’t lash on them when you’re not having a good time.

It’s basic etiquette to tip them, especially when you leave on a win. Most of these casino staff are paid on a minimum. Your generosity will go a long way.

In craps, you tip by dropping some chips on the table while announcing, “For the house!”

2. Get Your Chips Ready

You should have your chips ready at the beginning part of the game. As you enter the casino, pay a visit to the exchange counter, or ask the dealers’ assistance at the table.

To buy chips at the table, put your cash on the layout, and tell the dealers you want some chips.

They are not allowed to get the money directly from your hand. This is crucial information as you do not want this casino employee to possibly get in trouble.

Take note that if you are entering the middle part of the game already, be cautious not to disrupt the flow. Wait to join in when the disk is flipped on “off” and just about to start a new round.

In the online casino arena, make sure you already made enough a deposit to get started as soon as possible.

3. Placing Bets

Dealers are not allowed to touch participating players. When you’re ready to place a bet, put them on the table layout, and ask for a chips change. Inform the dealer what you want to bet on.

Be aware that it is rude to make a late bet. A late bet is made when the dice are no longer in the middle of the table. This slows down the game and disrupts the stickman from doing his job correctly.

Pass line and come bets are monitored by the dealer who pays these players directly.

Players who wish to wager on a proposition and hardway bets should throw chips on the relevant part of the layout themselves and shout to the dealer what they want. This includes field bets and the Big 6 and Big 8.

To wager an odds bet, you should say, “Odds on my (number), please.” 

When the dealer calls “The dice are out.” or a “Hands high.“, it cues all bets should be locked in. The shooter may now shoot.

4. Know the Betting Limits

Games will have specific betting limits you will be required to put on the line. Online, you’ll be given the option to choose a range of minimum and maximum amounts. You should choose a comfortable range.

For a live casino arrangement, you place bets on the line depending on the minimum and maximum bets mentioned on the placard of the craps table.

If, for example, the minimum for a table is $10, but you are only comfortable to bet $5 on the line, consider other tables manageable for your bankroll.

Proper Dice Handling in Craps. How to play proper craps as a shooter requires you to be keen on a few things. At this point, you have to place a minimum bet on the pass or don’t pass line.

Don’ take too long tossing the dice as everyone will be in anticipation. Don’t blow on the dice or do any sort of ritual. It has no way of affecting the outcome. It might only annoy others.

We’ve observed some players, usually drunk, even cough or spit on the dice. Be professional, not disgusting.

Don’t conceal the dice too. People will think you replaced them with rigged ones.

Shake and roll the dice, making sure you toss them strong enough to reach the end of the table where it is expected to bounce off. If you fail on your first toss, you’ll be asked to do it again.

This is necessary to ensure randomness and prevent cheating.

5. Cheer for Other Players

There’s a lot of casino enthusiasm in a craps table. Everyone gets excited to see the outcome of each roll. At any point, it could become loud and rowdy. But even so, remain respectful with your words and deeds.

When you’re not the shooter, root for others waiting to win the line bet or anticipate their point number to roll.

6. No Food or Drinks on the Craps Table

Casino game tables have special layouts. If damaged, a repair could be costly. That’s why food and drinks are discouraged. You should avoid smoking too.

Casino craps tables usually have cup holders for your drinks, if any. Always be wary not to spill anything when you’re taking a sip.

7. Manners and Good Behavior

Always play at your best behavior. Do not force yourself to a craps game when you are extremely tired or irritated. You could get on somebody’s nerves when your emotions get in the way.

Don’t drink too much. No one wants to play with loud drunk bettors. This is common courtesy. In effect, drunks have the capability to fling chips all over the place too. That’s not nice.

When cheering, don’t be sarcastic towards other players who have lost their bets. This could create tension between participants and could have you both kicked out of the casino.

Tips on How To Play Craps

From starting off with a pass line bet to risking a proposition bet. What are the best practices to increase one’s chances of winning in craps? Here are a few tips to consider:

1. Memorize the Odds

As noted in the part of this article containing the different bet types to play craps, odds, or house edge were mentioned.

Memorizing these will help you increase your chances of winning and optimize the money you wagered.

Based on a probabilities study, the most common is when a shooter rolls a 7, or point value of 6, followed by a point 8. Numbers 2 and 12 are least likely to roll since you’d need precisely a pair of ones or sixes, respectively.

The basic bets, the pass and don’t pass line, come and don’t come bets have a lower house edge but have higher odds for a pay out. The more complicated the bet is, the higher the house edge, the lower the odds, the higher the amount paid if you win.

Stay within your comfort zone. Establish limits to your bankroll.

2. Master Craps Lingo

Like other casino games, craps has its own slang too. If you’ve played craps long enough, you’ll be hanging with all the big shots in no time. But even when you’re still a beginner, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with some basic terms so you can be on the same page with everybody else:

  • Craps numbers – These are 2, 3, and 12. Depending on the bet, but they are usually “bad news.”
  • Right bettor – Players betting on the pass line.
  • Wrong bettor – Players betting on the don’t pass line and, in essence, betting against the shooter.
  • Parlay – Adding a wager.
  • House edge – The advantage of the casino.
  • Snake eyes – A pair of 1’s.
  • Center field – Rolling a 9.

There’s a whole lot more slang and craps terms out there. They grow in number as more and more players accept and use them regularly.

It adds to the overall fun and entertainment of the game. Keep playing, and you just might surprise yourself easily, spitting them out in every game!

3. Predict the Next Rolls with Field Numbers

The field area contains the numbers 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, and 12. These numbers near the pass line do not require players to ask the dealer’s permission to place their bets on the craps tables.

All field bets pay even money or 1:1. A roll of a 2 or 12 has lesser odds, thus pays higher at 2:1 and 3:1, respectively. These are in favor of the players.

The numbers at the top part of the table, however, are for place bets and buy bets, not part of the field. You will need to notify the dealer if you plan on wagering in these areas. The same goes for the special corners, Big 6 and Big 8. 

These may not always be present in all tables, but they could make the game more exciting!

4. Play with a Place Bet

A place bet can be made anytime before the shooter rolls. These are the top row numbers near the stickperson. They work similarly with a field bet except you win if the number will roll before a 7.

The odds on this are lower than an odds bet. Give this a shot if you have extra cash to risk.

5. Make Proposition Bets when Comfortable

These bets are also considered single roll bets and are separate from the main part of the game, which has the pass line and come bets.

A rectangular box in the middle of the table contains these with pictures of dice.

It’s good to take advantage of these unique bets to earn more possible winnings. But the odds on these are very high in favor of the casino.

If you’re still getting yourself familiar with the shooter rolls, how the point values work, or the overall game in general, avoid proposition bets unless you’re feeling extra courageous.

6. Practice Craps Online

After knowing all the bets and odds of a roll, the next thing to do is experience it.

If a live craps game is still an intimidating thought, playing craps online would do great practice!

What’s great about online craps is you have the option to play without risk with free games. When you’re ready to start risking money, then real money online games are available too.

It’s still more convenient because you do not experience the pressure of having fellow opponents waiting on you to roll the dice or announce a bet.

With online craps, you get to take advantage of casino bonuses too! This could help reduce the house advantage.

However, there’s something about the thrill of being in the presence of fellow casino enthusiasts.

Witnessing shooter rolls, anticipating your point value to roll, and hearing loud cheers are things you can only experience in a brick and mortar casino.


How do you play craps for beginners?

To summarize everything, here are three easy ways to play craps:

  1. Know the basic rules of the game. What is the ultimate goal? This way, to play the game will be based on common sense rather than mastering fine details.
  2. Know the three basic sum outcomes of a gameplay. A natural (7, 11), craps, (2, 3, 12) and the point (all other numbers).
  3. Know which bets to make and their corresponding odds. Make sure your decision is informed and not impulsive.

What is the best strategy to play craps?

To place pass and don’t pass bets or come and don’t come bets are the best strategies to play craps mainly because of its low house advantage.

What is the difference between an online game of craps and live casino craps?

The rules and processes in both versions of the game are the same. You can apply the same betting strategies.

Both versions have outcomes solely reliant on chance. Every roll made is independent of the past rolls. For online games, they are programmed by a random number generator.

The main difference is that with online craps, you play by yourself. You are the shooter in every roll. Interaction with other players happens in a chatbox.

Some online casinos offer live streaming craps with a real-life dealer. You get to experience some of the live-action in the comforts of your home.

In live craps, you are in the presence of participating players and 4 casino craps table operators.

Craps is a very social and loud game. You’re bound to either make a friend or possibly an enemy, just in case you get on their nerve. You surely don’t want that!


Craps may seem intimidating at first with a number of table operators, a unique table layout, and lots of cheering players.

But come to think of it, the rules and how to’s of the game are actually really simple.

Much of the effort in learning the game lies in knowing all the types of bets you can wager, their odds, and the etiquette you must abide.

We hope our article has boosted up your spirits in giving craps a shot.

If you’re not quite ready for the live scene or the idea of risking any money, give it a feel over a free online game. And when you’ve mustered enough courage, we look forward to hearing from your experience.

Feel free to leave us a message in the comments section below!

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