You would think that craps would be a fairly simple game, just shooting dice really, but in reality it is a fairly complex game, or at least it can be if you want it to be. Plenty of casino players are intimidated by it, although many who take the time to learn at least the basics of it really come to love it.
Craps not only differs from other casino games as far as the sheer multitude of types of bets available, and it’s own particular set of rules, it even has its own lingo, which players need to be familiar with, as well as being versed in craps etiquette.
For example, craps players tend to be a pretty superstitious lot, and in spite of the central role that the number seven plays in the game, players who utter the word “seven” at any time will face disdain, and players may even flee to another table, as this is seen as bad luck.
So this number is instead referred to as “big red” or simply “red” so when you hear that spoken at the table you want to be aware of its meaning. The word “eleven” isn’t spoken here either, the number is instead commonly referred to as “yo.” There are many other rather unique terms that form the banter of a craps game, although one does pick it all rather up quickly.
In a casino, a craps table is staffed by four different floor personnel, and the four are generally needed, and this gives you another idea that this is no simple game. However, provided one has a good idea of the basics, one can play craps with all the confidence and skill required.
The Basics of Playing Craps
Craps was developed from the dice game of hazard, which was particularly popular in England from the middle ages until the 19th century, when it was decided by the French that the game needed simplification, and thus the game of craps was born. Given the relative complexity of craps though, hazard was indeed a very complex game.
The term craps was derived from “crapaud,” which means “toad” in French, referencing the way players would crouch over a street game. Street craps remains popular to this day, although the number of bets one can make is greatly simplified due to the lack of a banker (the house).
At a craps table, players take turns rolling the dice, but before they are rolled, the player rolling them must place a bet of pass or don‘t pass. This bet is based upon whether the player will be successful or not, pass in other words, and players are allowed to bet either for or against that, and even the player himself or herself may bet against this.
At this time, as well as later, a number of other bets can be made. Two dice are used, and the total of the two dice is what comprises the count here. Depending on what the count is during this initial roll, the round may be over or it may continue.
An initial roll of 7 or 11, a “natural,” instantly wins for the pass line, and a roll of a 2, 3, or 12 “craps out” and the don’t pass line wins. If any other number is rolled, this number becomes the “point,” and the shooter must roll this number again before rolling a 7, and if so, the pass line wins. If a 7 is rolled first, the no pass line wins.
Many More Craps Bets Can Be Made
Pass or no pass bets are the basic bets of craps, and there’s nothing really complicated at all about this, but there are many more bets that can be made at the table, on a number of other things.
As it turns out though, pass or don’t pass offer the lowest house edge at the craps table, 1.41% for pass bets and 1.36% for don’t pass, so players who don’t place other bets are well served odds wise. In spite of no pass bets having slightly better odds, a lot of players frown upon them, as most players bet the pass line, and you are seen as betting against them, although this has no consequence to their odds.
It’s probably true that a lot of the appeal of craps is the camaraderie that players feel at the table, banding together to beat the house, so if you look to disturb that, to join the dark side that the casino is on, that’s often not going to be seen as favorable.
Another popular type of bet that can be placed at a craps table are come/don’t come bets, based upon a player hitting the point or not after it has been set, which have the same favorable odds as the pass/don’t pass line.
Beyond this, players may bet that certain numbers will be rolled, bet these numbers in combination, with many options available, bet on players hitting the point the hard way (with a pair) or the easy way, or make place bets, and players may also buy, lay, or put bets, with the house getting a commission, which is where things get fairly complicated.
It’s plenty to understand the basics of the game to enjoy it though, and players who engage in these proposition bets only do the casino a favor as the odds aren’t as favorable. The basic odds of craps though are among the best in the casino, and it’s surely one of the most enjoyable casino games as well once you get the hang of it, which doesn’t really require much time at all.