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.

How to play craps

To learn how to play craps and every single bet available would take some time – time that could be spent playing the game itself.

So we've tried to keep this how to play craps guide short by only featuring a bet on the pass line.

Our suggestion would be to get this guide, print it out, register with one of our casino partners and play the game for free and experiment with each bet, looking carefully at the outcome.

Oh Craps!

  • Few casino games offer as many ways to bet as craps
  • Pass line bets are the most common and win if the point is rolled again before a seven
  • Just playing the pass line bets is a good way of getting familiar with the game.

Let's start by looking at the renowned pass line bet. The pass line bet is the most common bet in craps and is also known as betting with the shooter (the person with the dice). The nature of the game is such that you could play the game for years, only placing this bet, but still enjoy the game as much as anyone else.

Amongst other reasons for its popularity, the pass line bet carries some of the best odds in the game of craps. So without further ado, below is a step by step guide to placing a pass line bet in online craps.

  1. Once you've opened the craps table screen, select how much you would like to bet by clicking on the corresponding chips that are on the side of the table.
  2. Place a pass line bet by clicking anywhere in the section on the table labelled ‘Pass Line'.
  3. Click roll and watch as the dice are rolled (this is called a come out roll).
  4. Here the combination of the dice rolled leads to three different outcomes
    1. You win your bet with odds of 1:1 when 7 or 11 are rolled.
    2. You lose your bet when 2, 3 or 12 are rolled.
    3. If the number rolled is 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 then that number becomes your point number.
  5. If the first two outcomes above occurred, return to step 1. If the third outcome occurred then click on the roll again button and watch as the dice are rolled.
  6. Now there are three outcomes again –
    1. The point number is rolled and you win at odds of 1:1.
    2. A 7 is rolled and you lose.
    3. Any other number is rolled and you return to step 5.

As we explained above, there are many more bets on offer in craps but following these steps will allow you to play a simple game and understand what all the shouting is about!

If you want to learn more about craps then have a look at our guide to craps rules which describes every bet that can be made in this ever-popular online casino game.

Conquering Craps

JACKPOT TIP – The payouts can vary between craps games so make sure that the one you play has high odds. For example, placing 2 and 12 pays out at 3:1.

Craps can be a pretty friendly game if you play the right bets. You've just got to know which ones these are. To help you out, below is a probability table of the outcome of a dice roll.

Outcome Number of Combinations Probability
2 1 35:1
3 2 17:1
4 3 11:1
5 4 8:1
6 5 6.2:1
7 6 5:1
8 5 6.2:1
9 4 8:1
10 3 11:1
11 2 17:1
12 1 35:1

We've also compiled a number of craps tips to help you through the formative stages of your craps life.

  • Play the pass, don't pass, come or don't come bets. These bets have a house edge of 1.36% - 1.41%.
  • Take the odds on the pass, don't pass, come and don't come bets. These have a house edge of 0%.
  • Never bet on Big Six or Big Eight. It's the same as placing six or eight but pays out less.
  • Only place field bets if the 2 and 12 pay 3:1.
  • Realise that proposition bets have terrible odds so don't expect to win much if you play them.

Craps Rules and Bets

"You can only take odds on the don't pass line once the shooter has thrown the come out roll and the point has been established."

Case in point, this sentence goes to show how complex and confusing a game craps can appear to be. But it doesn't have to be and once you begin to understand what's going on, you'll be able to see just how exciting, and potentially rewarding the game can be.

Things to know when playing craps

  • Online craps is easier to play than in a land-based casino
  • The game features 20 different types of bets. More than any other casino game!
  • There is no house edge on pass line and don't pass line odds bets
  • Come and Don't Come Odds Bets feature an incredibly low house edge
  • Big 6 and Big 8 only pay even money, the payout would be better on a place bet

The best way to learn craps rules is to take it one step or one bet, at a time. Some bets are unpopular because they carry poor odds while others are exactly the same as other bets but have different names. However, good or bad, they're all listed below.

With a bit of luck you might even be able to decode this page's opening sentence should you make your way through this entire guide to craps.

Online Craps Rules

For starters, the good news is that craps is a much easier game to play online than it is at your local casino. Saying that, you may be hard pushed to find the game in your local land- based casino as us Brits tend not to be too keen on craps as our friends across the pond.

As with most other online casino games, playing craps online can be more relaxing and less pressured, allowing you to take your time, measure up the table and select the right bets without feeling pressure from other players around you. And more specifically with craps online, you're not going to get distracted by masses of spectators and players shouting and getting over excited around the table!

However, there are still a fair few things to understand when learning the rules of craps. Below is a basic explanation of how a game or round of craps is played.

Establishing the Point

The point is the number that you would have to roll in order to win on the pass bet. It is determined by the first roll of a game (the come out roll). So if a 5 is rolled on the come out roll then the point is 5.

Basic Game Play of Craps

  • The first roll in a craps round is called the come out roll. If the dice total is 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 then the point is established. On the other hand, a total of 2, 3, 7, 11 or 12 on the come out roll immediately ends the round.
  • When the point has been established, an "ON" puck will be placed on the point. After the point is rolled the dice will be rolled continuously until the same point is rolled again or a 7 is rolled.

Types of bets in Craps

As we've mentioned before, there are plenty of different bets to be placed in craps. These bets vary massively in terms of odds and payouts and mean that players can have entirely different craps experiences. Here's a list of all the bets on offer in online craps.

Pass Line Bets

The pass line bet is placed on the pass line before the come out roll. If a 7 or 11 is rolled you win and the round is done. If a 2, 3 or 12 is rolled you lose.

When any other number (4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10) is rolled that number becomes the point. You win the pass line bet if the point is rolled before a 7. You lose the pass line bet if a 7 is rolled before the point. A winning pass line bet pays even money (1 to 1).

Don't Pass Line Bets

A don't pass line bet is the opposite of a pass line bet and is placed on the craps table in the "Don't Pass Bar" before the come out roll.

In a don't pass line bet, you are betting that a 7 will be rolled before rolling the point. You win on the come out roll if a 2 or 3 is rolled and on any other roll if it's 7.

If the come out roll is 12, a don't pass line bet is returned to the player in a push. You lose on the come out roll if it's either 7 or 11 and on any other roll if it's the point.

A winning don't pass line bet pays even money (1 to 1).

Come Bets

To place a come bet put your chips in the box labelled "Come". You win if the next roll is either a 7 or 11. You lose if the next roll is craps (2, 3 or 12).

If a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 is rolled then that number becomes the come point, and the come bet is moved from the "Come" bar to the box corresponding to the come point.

If the shooter rolls the come point again before rolling a 7 you win the bet. If a 7 is rolled first you lose the bet. The come bet pays even money (1 to 1).

Don't Come Bets

A don't come bet is the opposite of a come bet. It is placed after the come out roll in the "Don't Come Bar" on the craps table.

If a 3 or 2 is rolled, this bet wins but if a 7 or 11 is rolled, then it loses. If a 12 is rolled, then the bet will be returned to the player in a push.

If the roll is a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 then that number becomes the "Don't Come Point". The bet is now moved from the "Don't Come Bar" to the bar in the upper left corner of the box corresponding to the "Don't Come Point". Once the don't come point is established, don't come bets win even money (1 to 1) if a 7 is rolled and lose if the don't come point is rolled.

Odds Bets

This is the famous 0% house edge bet. However, it can only be taken when there's a pass, don't pass, come or don't come bet on the table. It's essentially a backup bet for these bets and is limited to three times your original bet.

Pass odds and come odds pay 2 to 1 on a roll of 4 or 10, 3 to 2 on a roll of 5 and 9, and 6 to 5 on a roll of 6 and 8. Don't pass odds pay 1 to 2 on a roll of 4 or 10, 2 to 3 on a roll of 5 and 9, 5 to 6 on a roll of 6 and 8.

Unlike original pass, don't pass, come, don't come bets, unresolved odds bets can be removed from the table during play.

Pass Line Odds Bets

Place a pass line odds bet by clicking on the craps table outside of the "PASS LINE" bar. In order to place this bet you must have bet the pass line and the point must be established.

A winning pass line odds bet pays true odds: 2 to 1 on a roll of 4 or 10, 3 to 2 on a roll of 5 or 9, and 6 to 5 on a roll of 6 or 8. Most importantly, this bet carries absolutely no house edge!

Don't Pass Line Odds Bets

Place a don't pass line odds bet by clicking on the right side of your original bet in the "Don't Pass Bar". In order to make this bet, the point must have been established and you have to have placed a don't pass bet.

A winning don't pass line odds bet pays true odds: 1 to 2 on a roll of 4 or 10, 2 to 3 on a roll of 5 or 9, and 5 to 6 on a roll of 6 or 8. This bet also has no house edge making it a very wise bet.

Come and Don't Come Odds Bets

Come and don't come odds bets are placed beneath the come and don't come bets, after they've been moved to the point's box. They aren't always available but be sure to take advantage of them when they are!

A winning bet pays: 2 to 1 on a roll of 4 or 10, 3 to 2 on a roll of 5 or 9, and 6 to 5 on a roll of 6 or 8. These bets also have an extremely low house edge attached to them.

Field Bets

A field bet bets that the next roll of the dice will be a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12. To place a field bet place your chips in the Field bar.

If a 2 or 12 is rolled, you win with odds of 2 to 1. If a 3, 4, 9, 10 or 11 is rolled, you get paid even money (1 to 1). You lose the bet if a 5, 6, 7 or 8 is rolled.

Big 6 and Big 8 Bets

Place your chips in the box marked Big 6 or Big 8. If the number you select is rolled before a 7, you win even money (1 to 1).

Place Bets

Place bets are made on numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10. To place these bets click on the box underneath the corresponding numbers.

You win a place bet if the number you selected is rolled before a seven. Winning place bets are paid: 7 to 6 on numbers 6 and 8, 7 to 5 on numbers 5, and 9, and 9 to 5 on numbers 4 and 10.

Buy Bets

A buy bet is similar as a place bet with the exception being the payout.

When winning a buy bet, a 5% commission (vigorish) is charged. Your winnings are paid at true odds: 6 to 5 on numbers 6 and 8, 3 to 2 on numbers 5 and 9, and 2 to 1 on numbers 4 and 10.

Lay Bets

A lay bet is the opposite of a buy bet. It bets that a 7 will be rolled before whichever number you select (must be 4, 6, 8, 9 or 10).

A 5% commission (vigorish) is charged on winning lay bets. Lay bet winnings are paid at true odds: 5 to 6 on numbers 6 and 8, 2 to 3 on numbers 5 and 9, and 1 to 2 on numbers 4 and 10.

Any 7 Bets

Place your chips in the area "Seven". You win this bet if a 7 is rolled on the next roll of the dice. This bet pays 4 to 1.

Any 11 Bets

Click on the box that shows two dice that add up to 11. You win this bet if an 11 is rolled in the next toss of the dice. If you win, you're in for a prize of 15 times your bet.

Any Craps Bets

In any craps bet, you win if one of the craps numbers (2, 3 or 12) is rolled in the next roll of the dice. This bet pays 7 to 1.

C & E Bets

The letters C and E represent two different bets:

C bet:
This is the same as placing a bet on the "Any Craps" betting area. Click on the letter C to place your chips in the "Any Craps" betting area.
E bet:
This is the same as placing a bet on the Any 11 bet. Click on the letter E to place your chips in the "Any 11" betting area.

Horn Bets

Click on the box where the two dice add up to 2, 3, 11 or 12. The horn bet will win if the shooter rolls a 2, 3, 11 or 12 on the next toss of the dice.

A winning horn bet pays 15 to 1 on the numbers 3 and 11 and 30 to 1 on numbers 2 and 12.

Hardway Bets

A hardway bet wins if a 4, 6, 8 or 10 is rolled as doubles (2+2, 3+3, 4+4, or 5+5) before a 7 is. The hardway bet is placed in the box on the craps table that contains the two dice that correspond to the number the doubles.

Rolling a number by doubles is said to be rolling the number "the hard way". A winning hardway bet pays 7 to 1 on numbers 4 and 10 and 9 to 1 on numbers 6 and 8.