Casino Craps (or Bank Craps), a dice game, is one of the most exciting casino games. It is common to hear yelling and shouting at a craps table. It is played on a purpose-built table and two dice are used. The dice are made after very strict standards and are routinely inspected for any damage. As a matter of course, the dice are replaced with new ones after about eight hours of use, and casinos have implemented rules in the way a player handles them.
BasicsWhen you are rolling the dice you are the "shooter". Your first toss in a round of Craps is called the Come Out roll. If you roll a 7 or 11, you win and the round is over before it started. If you roll a 2, 3, or 12 that's a Craps and you lose: again, it's over before it started. Any other number becomes the Point. The purpose of the Come Out roll is to set the Point, which can be any of 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10. The Dealer places a puck marked "On" above the Point number printed on the table.
ObjectiveThe basic objective in Craps is for the shooter to win by tossing the Point again before he tosses a 7. That 7 is called Out 7 to differentiate it from the 7 on the Come Out roll. If the Point is tossed, the shooter and his fellow bettors win and the round is over. If the shooter tosses Out 7, they lose and the round is over. If the toss is neither the Point nor Out 7, the round continues and the dice keep rolling.
Game PlayTo begin, the Shooter (one of the players) must bet at least the table minimum on either the Pass Line or the Don't Pass Line (sometimes called 'win' or 'right' bets and 'don’t win' or 'wrong' bets). The shooter is presented with multiple dice (normally five) by the Stickman, and must choose two to roll with. The remaining dice are returned to the Stickman's Bowl and are not used.
The shooter must handle the dice with one hand only when throwing and the dice must hit the walls on the opposite end of the table. In the event that one or both dice are thrown off the table, they must be inspected (usually by the stickman) before putting them back into play.
The craps table can accommodate up to about 20 players, who each get a round of throws or at 'shooting' the dice. If you don't want to throw the dice, you can bet on the thrower. Several types of bets can be made on the table action. The casino crew consist of a Stickman, Boxman and two Dealers.
The game is played in rounds, with the right to roll the dice by each player moving clockwise around the craps table at the end of each round. A player may choose not to roll but can continue to bet.
Each round has two phases: Come Out and Point. To start a round, the shooter makes one or more Come Out rolls. A Come Out roll of 2, 3 or 12 (called Craps, the shooter is said to 'crap out') ends the round with players losing their Pass Line bets. A Come Out roll of 7 or 11 (a Natural) results in a win for Pass Line bets. The shooter continues to make Come Out rolls until he rolls 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, which number becomes the Point. The dealer then moves an On button to the point number signifying the second phase of the round. If the shooter rolls the point number, the result is a win for bets on the Pass Line. If the shooter rolls a seven (a Seven-out), the pass line loses and the round ends.
The first roll of the dice in a betting round is the Come Out roll - a new game in Craps begins with the Come Out roll. A Come Out roll can be made only when the previous shooter fails to make a winning roll, that is, fails to make the Point or makes a Seven-out (rolls a seven).
A new game then begins with a new shooter. If the current shooter does make his Point, the dice are returned to him and he then begins the new Come Out roll. This is a continuation of that shooter's roll, although technically, the Come Out roll identifies a new game about to begin.
When the shooter fails to make his or her Point, the dice are then offered to the next player for a new Come Out roll and the game continues in the same manner. The new shooter will be the person directly next to the left of the previous shooter - so the game moves in a clockwise fashion around the craps table.
The dice are rolled across the craps table layout. The layout is divided into three areas - two side areas separated by a center one. Each side area is the mirror reflection of the other and contains the following: Pass and Don't Pass line bets, Come and Don't Come bets, Odds bet, Place bets and Field bets. The center area is shared by both side areas and contains the Proposition bets.
Pass bets win when the come out roll is 7 or 11, while pass bets lose when the come out roll is 2, 3, or 12. Don't bets lose when the come out roll is 7 or 11, and don't bets win when the come out roll is 2 or 3. Don't bets tie when the come out roll is 12 (2 in some casinos; the 'Bar' roll on the layout indicates which roll is treated as a tie).
A player joining a game and wishing to play craps without being the shooter should approach the craps table and first check to see if the dealer's 'On' button is on any of the point numbers. If the point number is Off then the table is in the Come Out round. If the dealer's button is 'On', the table is in the Point round where most casinos will allow a Pass Line bet to be placed. All single or multi roll 'Proposition bets' may be placed in either of the two rounds.
Between dice rolls there is a period for the dealers to make payouts and collect the losing bets, after which players can place new bets. The stickman monitors the action at the table and decides when to give the shooter the dice, after which no more betting is allowed.
Below is a list of the various bets you can make at craps.
Fire Bet: Before the shooter begins, some casinos will allow a bet known as a fire bet to be placed. A fire bet is a bet for between 1-5 dollars in the hopes that the next shooter will have a hot streak of setting and getting many points of different values. As points are made by the shooter they will be marked on the craps layout with a fire symbol. The first three points will not pay out on the fire bet, but the fourth, fifth and sixth will pay out at increasing odds.
The fourth point pays at 25-1 (a maximum of $125), the fifth point pays at 250-1 (a maximum of $1250) and the 6th point pays at 1000-1 (a maximum of $5000). Note that the points must all be different numbers for them to count towards the fire bet. A shooter who successfully hits a point of 10 twice will only garner credit for the first one on the fire bet.
Craps Line bets: The shooter is required to make either a Pass Line bet or a Don’t Pass bet if he wants to shoot. Line bets are based around points.
Pass line: The fundamental bet in craps is the pass line bet, also called the win line in some countries. A pass line bet is won if the come-out roll is a 7 or 11. If the come-out roll is 2, 3 or 12, the bet loses. If instead the come-out roll establishes a point, and that point is rolled again, the bet wins. If a point is established and a 7 is rolled before the point is re-rolled, the bet loses.
Don’t pass: The opposite of the pass line bet is the don’t pass bet. The don’t pass bet is opposite in that it loses if the come-out roll is 7 or 11 and wins if the come-out roll is 2 or 3. 12 will draw, (this depends on the casino), either way a player cannot lose if 12 is rolled. A draw (the word “BAR”, printed on the Craps layout, means “Standoff”), on 12 is done to ensure the casino maintains a house edge regardless of if players are betting pass or don’t pass. If a point is established and that point is rolled again, the don’t pass bet loses. If a 7 is rolled instead of the point being re-rolled, the don’t pass bet wins. Many craps players consider don’t pass bets to be in poor taste, or even taboo, because they are betting opposite to how the game is conventionally considered to play.
Pass odds: If a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 is thrown on the come-out roll (i.e., if a point is set), most casinos allow pass line bettors to take odds by placing from one to five times (and at some casinos, up to 100 times) the pass line bet behind the pass line. This additional bet wins if the point is rolled again before a 7 is rolled (the point is made) and pays at the true odds of 2-to-1 if 4 or 10 is the point, 3-to-2 if 5 or 9 is the point, and 6-to-5 if 6 or 8 is the point.
Don’t pass odds: If a player is playing don’t pass instead of pass, they may also take odds by placing chips behind the don’t pass line. If a 7 comes instead of the point coming, the odds pay at true odds of 1-to-2 if 4 or 10 is the point, 2-to-3 if 5 or 9 is the point, 5-to-6 if 6 or 8 is the point. For most players the perceived disadvantage of putting up the long side of the bet makes the don’t pass odds less desirable, however putting up the long side reduces variance.
Come bet: The rules for the come wagers are the same as for the pass line except that they can only be made after the come-out roll. If the roll the come bet is made on is a 7 or 11 it wins, if it is a 2, 3 or 12 it loses, just like a pass bet. If instead the roll is 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10 then the come bet will be moved by the base dealer onto a box representing that number. If the number is rolled again before a seven, the bet wins. If the seven comes before the number (the come-bet), the bet loses. Odds can also be placed on a come-bet just like a normal pass point; in this case the dealer (not the player) places the odds bet on top of the bet in the box, because of limited space, slightly offset to signify that it is an odds bet and not part of the original come bet.
Because of the come bet, if the shooter makes their point, a player can find themselves in the situation where they have a come bet (possibly with odds on it) and the next roll is a come-out roll. In this situation odds bets on the come wagers are presumed to be not working for the come-out roll. That means that if the shooter rolls a 7 on the come-out roll, any players with active come bets waiting for a come-point lose their initial wager but will have their odds money returned to them, if the come-point is rolled the odds do not win but the come bet does and the odds are returned.
The player can tell the dealer that they want their odds working, such that if the shooter rolls a number that matches the come point, the odds bet will win along with the come bet, and if a seven is rolled both lose.
Don’t come: There is also a don’t come box which is the opposite of a come bet in that the player is betting that craps will come on the next roll instead of 7 or 11, or that if a come point is made, that value won’t be rolled again before a 7. It pays just as don’t pass and also has odds in the same way.
Craps Single roll betsSingle Roll bets have a result in a single shooter roll. They include:
Yo: Wins if the shooter rolls 11.
3 (ace-deuce): Wins if the shooter rolls a 3.
2 (snake eyes): Wins if shooter rolls a 2.
12 (box cars): Wins if shooter rolls a 12.
2 or 12 (hi-lo): Wins if shooter rolls a 2 or 12. The stickman places this bet on the line dividing the 2 and 12 bets.
Craps: Wins if the shooter rolls 2, 3 or 12.
C & E: A combined bet, a player is betting half their bet on craps and the other half on yo (11). One of the two bets will always lose, the other may win.
Any seven: Wins if the shooter rolls a 7. This bet is also nicknamed Big Red, since the 7 on its betting space on the layout is usually large and red.
Field: This bet is a wager that one of the numbers 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12 will appear on the next roll of the dice. This bet typically pays more 2:1 or 3:1 if 2 or 12 is rolled, and 1:1 if 3, 4, 9, 10 or 11 is rolled. Unlike the other proposition bets which are handled by the dealers or stickman, the field bet is placed directly by the player.
The Horn: This is a bet that involves betting on 1 unit each for 2, 3, 11 and 12 at the same time for the next roll. The bet is actually four separate bets, and pays off depending on which number is actually rolled, minus three units for the other three losing bets. Most players do a "Horn High" bet which involves betting an additional $1 on one of the 4 choices, with the most frequent being a $5 "horn high yo" bet (which means $2 on the 11, $1 each on 2, 3 & 12).
Whirl or World: bet is a five-unit bet that is a combination of a horn and any-seven bet, with the idea that if a seven is rolled the bet is a push, because the money won on the seven is lost on the horn portions of the bet.
Multi roll betsThese are bets that may not be settled on the first roll and may need any number of subsequent rolls before an outcome is determined.
Hard way: You may bet that the shooter will throw a specific hard way (either 4, 6, 8 or 10), before he throws a seven or the corresponding easy way. A hard way is when both dice show identical values, so 2 2 is hard way 4.
Easy way: Opposite of hard way is a bet that the shooter will throw a specific easy way (either 4, 6, 8 or 10), before he throws a seven. An easy way is a value that does not have two dice identical, so 3 1 is easy way 4.
Big 6 and Big 8: These wagers are considered by craps players as sucker bets because they pay even money while a player can bet on the same proposition (that the number will be rolled before a 7) by making place/buy bets on the 6 or the 8, which pay more money. Veteran craps players avoid these bets, and some casinos do not even offer them. The bets are located in the corners behind the pass line, and bets are placed directly by players.
Place and buy: Players can buy or place certain individual numbers (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10) by placing their wager in the come area and telling the dealer, "place the 6" or "buy the 8". Both place and buy bets are bets that the number bet on will be rolled before a 7 is rolled. Place bets are paid at odds worse than the true odds, while buy bets are paid at true odds, but a 5% commission is charged. Traditionally, the buy bet commission is paid no matter what, but in recent years a number of casinos have changed their policy to charge the commission only when the buy bet wins. Most casinos usually charge only $1 for a $25 green-chip bet (4% commission), or $2 for $50 (two green chips), reducing the house advantage a bit more. Where commission is charged only on wins, the commission is sometimes deducted from the winning payoff — a winning $25 buy bet on the 10 would pay $49, for instance.
Lay: A lay bet is the opposite of a buy/place bet, where a player bets on a 7 to roll before the number that is laid. The lay bets pay true odds, but a 5% commission is charged. In some casinos the commission is only charged if the bet wins. Like the buy bet the commission is adjusted to suit the betting unit such that fraction of a dollar payouts are not needed.