Craps is an exhilarating, exciting and entertaining table game, and continues to be one of the most popular draws of any casino. The game is based around rolling two dice, and those around the table bet on the outcome of the throw. It’s key that you get to know the table and the rules before you start, because there is much more to it than just rolling a number.

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Craps - How to Play

For the complete beginner, a craps table can appear daunting and baffling in equal measure.  However, once you get past this odd-looking field of play, and you grasp the rules, it becomes a lively and entertaining casino game with the opportunity for several players to win big at the same time.

Craps is a dice-based game played in two stages – the come-out roll and the point.

Come-out roll

The first stage of craps is the come-out roll; a player, known as the shooter, will roll two dice, and anyone around the table can choose to get involved by betting on the outcome.

The table has ‘Pass’ and ‘Don’t Pass’ lines, and bets are placed on one of these.  Pass represents betting on a successful roll for the shooter, whilst Don’t Pass bets rely on a loss.

If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11, which is called a ‘natural’, then bets on the Pass line can be paid at 1:1, so betting 10 would pay 20.

At this point, players around their table can take their winnings and move on, or continue and carry on betting on the shooter’s throws.

If the shooter rolls 2, 3 or 12 then this is called ‘craps’ or ‘crapping out’, and it means bets are lost and the game is over.  At this point, bets on the Don’t Pass line are paid, because you correctly bet against the shooter in the first round.

Betting on the Don’t Pass line is not exactly the way to make friends around the table, but it can pay handsomely.

The point

If the shooter rolls 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10, then this is said to have established the ‘point’.  There is an on/off marker, which is flipped to ‘on’ at this stage.

The shooter must aims to roll the same point number again before rolling a 7.

So, a roll of 7 has gone from being your friend to your enemy at the craps table.

Once point is established, you cannot remove bets from the table until the game is finished, and if the shooter successfully rolls point then money is doubled.

Those backing the shooter will be rooting for point and betting on the Pass line, whilst those with money on the Don’t Pass line will quietly hope for a losing roll of 7.  There is expected etiquette at the craps table, and a Don’t Pass bet is considered rude.  You can still bet this way, but it is frowned upon.

However, when you are playing at home you are free to do as you please, since you aren’t physically sharing a table with others.  You also usually have a better chance to win when you bet with the house, so it’s worth thinking about playing these better odds when in the privacy of your own home and not at risk of breaching any etiquette.

Rolling terms

Craps is certainly not short of a few gaming terms, so it might be worth getting familiar with these.  Each roll variation has a given name, so if you hear ‘snake eyes’ during the come-out roll, then the shooter has rolled a 1 on both dice, equalling 2 or ‘craps’.  If you hear ‘boxcars’, then the shooter has rolled a 6 on both dice, equalling 12 or ‘craps’.

When you hear ‘natural’ or ‘seven out’, it means the shooter has got to 7 with a roll variation such as 6 and 1 or 3 and 4.  If this is in the come-out round then the shooter, and those backing the shooter, will win, with the opportunity to continue.  If this is during the point stage of the game, then the shooter has lost, and the game ends.

It is a good idea to get to grips with these terms before you get involved in craps, just to make the game clearer and easier to play.