Craps is my favorite casino game even though it’s entirely random has no skill element. I don’t know who came up with the details of this game, but I’m amazed at how much fun a game that’s entirely random can be.
But a lot of newcomers are intimidated by craps (even though they shouldn’t be).
In this post, I answer seven of the most important beginner craps questions so that you can get started playing the best game in the casino.
1 – What Are the Basic Rules of Craps?
Craps is a dice game played with two standard 6-side dice. It’s played in rounds, even though they don’t really talk about “craps rounds” while playing.
A round starts when the shooter rolls the dice the first time – this is the come-out roll. The basic bet is the pass line bet, which is a bet that the shooter will “succeed.”
This bet can be resolve immediately on the come-out roll, or it might require multiple rolls to resolve.
If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11 on the come-out roll, the pass bet wins immediately. It’s an even-money bet.
If the shooter rolls a 2, 3, or 12 on the come-out roll, the pass bet loses immediately.
If the shooter rolls any other number (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10), a “point” is set. The shooter continues to roll until one of two things happens:
He either rolls the point number again (succeeding) or rolls a 7 (failing).
If he rolls the point number again before rolling a 7, the pass line bet wins even money.
If he rolls a 7 before rolling the point number, the pass line bet loses.
Once that round is resolved, a new round starts with a new come-out roll.
The rest of the game has to do with the various bets available.
But if you understand the basics of craps betting, you can ask the other gamblers and the dealers about a lot of other details and do fine.
2 – Can Craps Be Rigged?
Rigging a game of craps used to be a lot easier. Casinos use translucent dice now so that you can see that the dice aren’t weighted. Security keeps a close eye on things, too, to make sure you’re not swapping your own dice out for the casinos’ dice.
I wouldn’t worry about craps being rigged in any commercial casino. I might worry about it if I were participating in a streets craps game, but surely you’re not engaged in that kind of activity, are you?
3 – How Do You Easily Win at Craps?
The great thing about craps is that the house edge is already really low for the most basic bet – the pass line bet only has a house edge of 1.41%.
This means that the house will win in the long run, but you have a reasonably good chance of going on a winning streak while you’re at the craps table.
You can improve your odds even more with the addition of the free odds bet, which I’ll discuss below.
One way to easily win at craps is to avoid the sucker bets and avoid casino betting systems. Those are both sure ways to lose.
The sucker bets in craps are the ones that have the highest payouts. They also have the worst odds for the gambler.
And betting systems never work in the long run. They might make for an interesting way to raise and lower your bets, but they’re a losing proposition in the long run.
4 – What Are the Payouts in Craps?
The payouts for the bets you should be making in craps are almost all even money. This means if you bet $100 and win, you get $100 in winnings.
This even-money payout is true of the following bets:
- Don’t pass
- Don’t come
The only other bet you should be making is the odds bet, which I’ll explain in detail in its own section.
But here are the payouts for the odds bet:
- If the point is 4 or 10, the odds bet pays off at 2 to 1.
- If the point is 5 or 9, the odds bet pays off at 3 to 2.
- If the point is 6 or 8, the odds bet pays off at 6 to 5.
I don’t recommend making any other bets at the craps table, because the house edge skyrockets – especially with the highest payout bets.
Here’s an example:
A bet on hard 8 wins if you get a pair of 4s on the dice. This bet pays off at 9 to 1, which sounds great.
But the odds of winning that bet are 10 to 1, and the house edge is a whopping 9.09%.
That’s not even the worst bet available, either. It’s just a great example because of the wonderful movie, Hard Eight, from PT Anderson – one of my favorite directors. One of the main characters, Sidney, always bets the hard 8 at the craps table.
5 – What Are the Best Odds in Craps?
The best odds when playing craps for real money are on the most basic bets – pass, don’t pass, come, and don’t come – and the free odds bet. I’ve already discussed the pass bet, so I will skip that here.
The come bet is just a bet on the next roll that treats it as a new come-out roll, even if that roll is a bet subsequent to a come-out roll that resulted in a point. The don’t come bet is the same thing as the don’t pass bet in the same situation.
The house edge for the pass line bet is 1.41%, but the house edge on the don’t pass bet is actually even a little better at 1.36%.
6 – What Is the Odds Bet in Craps?
The odds bet is a bet you can only place after you’ve made a pass line bet and the shooter sets a point. If the pass line bet is resolved immediately, you can’t make an odds bet.
The odds bet is special because it’s the only bet in the casino where the house doesn’t have an edge. The catch is that you can’t place the odds bet unless you’ve placed a pass line bet AND the shooter has set a point.
The house edge is 0% on the odds bet, which is resolved along with the pass line bet if the shooter makes the point.
Of course, if the shooter rolls a 7 before rolling the point number, you lose both the pass line bet AND the odds bet.
Since the size of 0% edge bet combined with your pass line effectively reduces the house edge, the casino usually limits the size of the odds bet you’re allowed to place. The minimum odds bet is the same size as your pass line bet.
I covered the payouts for the odds bet above.
You can also “lay odds,” which is when you place an odds bet after betting on the don’t pass line. It has the opposite payouts – 1 to 2, 2 to 3, or 5 to 6 instead of 2 to 1, 3 to 2, or 6 to 5.
Laying odds also has a house edge of 0%.
7 – What Are the Odds of Rolling a 7?
You have a better probability of rolling a 7 on a craps roll than you do of rolling any other specific total. That’s because you have more ways to roll a 7 than any other total.
You have 36 possible outcomes on a roll of the dice, and of those, 6 result in a total of 7.
This translates to 6/36, or 1/6.
The odds of rolling a 7, therefore, are 5 to 1.
Seriously, winning at craps is way easier to play than you probably think. It’s also more fun than you probably think. I encourage you to give it a try.
Given the nature of a blog post, I couldn’t go into more detail with the answers to each of these questions than this, but you can more detailed explanations of all these topics elsewhere on this site.