Craps

Although it doesn't have the largest following in the UK, craps is extremely popular in the US and, as they've told us all, Americans are rarely wrong – so it must be good...

Craps can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. There are more than 30 different bets that you can place, all with different odds and payouts. The object of the game is to predict which way the dice will land.

As we said before, in order to start playing craps you only really need to understand one bet. This is called the pass line bet and is the most commonly played bet in craps. If you play this bet you also be making a bet with a tiny house edge and (obviously) an even (1 to 1) return on your bet.

Craps at a glance

  • Not found in many land based UK casinos but a real treat to play online
  • Some say it's a complex game
  • We say if the Yanks can play it us Brits certainly can too
  • In craps, some bets come with zero house edge
  • Understanding one type of bet is sufficient to get started at craps

Online Craps

Craps is generally recognised in US land-based casinos as one of the rowdiest games going and regular appearances in films and TV programmes have reinforced this opinion (Friends aficionados may remember that Chandler proposed to Monica at the Craps table after Monica went on a massive winning streak) .

Taking the game online means that some of the game experience was always going to be lost in translation. What we're left with though, is what you might consider to be a purist's version of the game where you can get on with it without distraction. This is just one of a few benefits of playing craps online.

Online Craps Table The (potentially confusing) craps table layout

Fundamentals of the playing online craps

  • Online craps is ideal for beginners as they can get to grips with all of the bets without distractions.
  • You can play at your own pace so you won't feel rushed.
  • Other players often frown upon players betting against the shooter, unless you have a very lifelike computer this won't happen online.
  • There's no reaching across the table and asking other people to place your bets for you – just one click of the mouse and you're ready to go.

Things to know before playing craps

  • Betting on the pass line (or with the shooter) is the most common bet in craps.
  • Once this bet has survived the first roll, you can take odds on it which is an extra bet with 0% house edge.
  • Play craps games where you can make the bet described above (called taking odds).
  • There are no craps variations but learning the 30 different bets is enough to get your head around.
  • The payouts of craps bets range from 1:1 up to 30:1 while house edge goes from 0% (the odds bet) to over 11% (hard 4 and 10).

From Shady Beginnings to the Big Screen

Despite being viewed as quite a modern game, you'll actually be hard pushed to find a casino game that goes back further.

As it does date back so far, the details of the origins of the game are sketchy at best. Like all good things, it's generally accepted that the game evolved from an English game named Hazard which dates back to the 12th century.

It's likely that the game was tweaked over centuries before becoming particularly popular in English taverns in the 17th century. From here the game spread to France where it is believed to have picked up the name of craps.

The name craps is believed by some to have been derived from crabs which described a dice roll of 1 + 1. However, others claim it is a shortening of the French word 'crapeaud' which means toad. There is also a school of thought which claims that it came from 'crabes' which was when you lost two throws in a row.

None of these stories makes much sense and despite many historians taking on the challenge, it appears we'll never really know where the name of craps came from.

What we do know is that the game was taken to the United States by the French who settled in and around New Orleans. Here it became a big hit on riverboat casinos in the 19th century after having been tweaked by John H. Winn. Winn added more variety to craps and his changes have seen it grow into one of the most iconic casino games around.

Much more recently, craps has been featured in films, such as Ocean's Thirteen and Rush Hour, which have portrayed it as a popular and pretty raucous game.