How the Craps Table Works (For Beginners)

Craps Table
If you want to win a craps game, you should start by learning how the craps table works.

It might seem intimidating at first, but it’s less complicated than you think.

And smarts craps players ignore most of the table, anyway.

This post explains in detail for beginners what they need to know to bet on craps.

The Basics of the Craps Table

Craps tables are usually covered in green felt and will prominently feature which bets are available. The table is also the playing surface for the game. Players roll the dice on the same table where you place your bets.

Most of the best US casinos use a long table for craps – it’s 12 feet long, but it’s kind of rectangular. You’ll find smaller tables sometimes, but most casinos use the 12 feet long table because it accommodates more players. Up to 16 people can play craps comfortably at a 12 feet long table.

Casino Craps Table

Many people lean against the table, so the outside rail is often padded. Craps isn’t like blackjack; you don’t sit on a stool while playing craps.

Each player has a rack where he can put his chips while he plays. That’s located next to the padded railing.

The green felt is considered the bed of the table. The felt itself will have almost all the bets available stenciled on it.

Also, the craps table isn’t really a flat table – it’s more like a big, rectangular bowl. This prevents the dice from rolling onto the ground. The walls inside the table are padded with rubber pyramids that help further randomize the rolls of the dice.

Shooters are required to roll the dice all the way to the pyramids on the other side of the table.

How the Bets Are Laid Out on a Craps Table

Craps can easily overwhelm new players because of all the different bets available on the layout.

But it’s easier than you think.

You can think of the table as having a side section and a center section. Really, there are two identical side sections – one on either end of the table.

The dealer runs the side sections, while a stickman runs the center section.

You’ll see blocks with numbers and words in them in each section. Those are the bets you can place.

The stickman will encourage you to take center bets, but you should avoid these craps wagers. Smart players will instead make self-service bets.

Self-service bets – the bets you’re allowed to place for yourself – include the following bets:

  1. Pass
  2. Don’t Pass
  3. Come
  4. Don’t Come
  5. Field
  6. Big 6
  7. Big 8

These are the most basic bets in craps and they have the lowest house edge. Big 6 and Big 8 bets are the worst in this batch. On some tables, those aren’t even in the self-service area at all.

When one of these bets wins, the dealer puts your winnings on the table next to your bet. If you leave that money on the table, it goes back into action.

The other area in the side section is the dealer’s area. Here, you need to get the dealer to place your bet for you. This area includes the point boxes:

  • 4
  • 5
  • Six
  • 8
  • Nine
  • 10

You’ll notice that I spelled out 6 and 9. This is how they’ll appear on the table so that players don’t get confused about which is which.

When a shooter sets a point, the dealer puts a puck in the appropriate box to signify the point for that game. These spots also have a second purpose. Players can ask the dealer to place Buy, Lay, and Place bets in those spots.

Come and Don’t Come are still self-service bets, but the odds bet for those must be handled by the dealer. The dealer uses the chips you bet on Come or Don’t Come to mark the number in those numbered boxes, and they put the odds bet next to the appropriate number, too.

The Center Section Is for Prop Bets, Which You Should NEVER Make

You’ll notice that the stickman, who’s running the center section of the craps table, acts like a carnival barker. That’s because his job is to sell the worst bets on the table to the players.

The reason these are the worst bets on the table is because the house edge for ALL these bets is insanely high.

Craps Stick

The house edge is a statistically expected loss that you’ll see over the long run with a specific kind of bet.

The pass line bet has a house edge of 1.41%, which is relatively low for a casino game. In fact, it’s one of the best bets in the casino.

But the house edge on the bets in the center of the table is 9% or higher.

Nonetheless, here you can place bets in this section if you want to.

To do so, you toss your chips to the stickman in the center of the table and announce what bet you want to place. Try to use some skill and deftness when you do this. After all, you don’t want to knock someone else’s chips over, for example.

If you win, your chips will be paid directly to you instead of being placed next to your original bet.

Examples of Proposition Bets and Their House Edge

The hard way bets are bets on totals like 4, 6, 8, or 10.

But they only pay off if the shooter rolls that total “the hard way.”

This means that a hard 4 must be a pair of deuces, a 6 is a pair of 3s, and so on.

The payout for a hard 6 or hard 8 is 9 to 1. Meanwhile, the payout for a hard 4 or 10 is 7 to 1.

Craps Table

The house edge for the hard 6 or hard 8 bet is 9.09%.

The house edge for the hard 4 or hard 10 bet is 11.11%.

I often suggest that many gambling writers make too much of a fuss about the house edge on casino games. However, this is one instance where it’s a big deal.

You’re looking at a statistical advantage for the casino that’s 10 times as great on one bet as another.

You should pay attention to that, for sure.

Just skip the proposition bets.

You’ll have just as much fun playing craps and probably stay in action longer. Also, you’ll have a better chance of going home from the casino as a winner.

How to Get Used to the Craps Table Layout

The best way to get used to the game of craps is to play online craps first. Many of the casinos we recommend offer free-to-play versions of their casino games. You play for “play-money” chips.

The big advantage of doing this is that you’re not risking any money while you learn to play.

The layout for mobile craps tables is almost completely identical to what you’ll see in a live casino, too.

It’s much better to learn without risking money if you can.


You need to know how the craps table and its layout work if you want to win shooting dice. The best way to do that is to practice on a free game after reading through this quick tutorial. Perhaps the best tip I can offer is to stay away from bets in the middle of the table. The house edge is just too high one center bets to make it worth the risk.

You can learn about other casino games by reading one of these casino blogs.

Posted in: Table Games

Most Recent

See all recent
Play Space XY Game at Online Casinos & Win Real Money
BY Nick Pappas | October 5, 2023

Space XY isn’t your run-of-the-mill game that you can play at any online casino. It’s pretty unique in terms of the mechanics and how the gameplay works. Space XY also...

read more
DuckyLuck Online Casino Slots List on the Left and Wrath of Medusa Slots Game on the Right
DuckyLuck Wrath of Medusa No Deposit Bonus & Other Offers
BY Nick Pappas | October 3, 2023

The popular DuckyLuck no deposit bonus for Wrath of Medusa was only available when the site launched in 2020. The good news, however, is that you can claim similar bonuses...

read more
Online Slot Game son the Left and Person Playing Poker on a Laptop on the Right and the LuckyLand Logo in the Center
The Best Slots Like LuckyLand — Top iGaming Sister Sites
BY Nick Pappas | September 22, 2023

There are many online slots like LuckyLand that you can play. In fact, the best real money online casinos carry an extensive collection of slot titles that are equally fun...

read more