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How to Play Craps Beginners Guide

Iasmina Bunea
Iasmina Bunea
This guide is suitable for beginner players. Beginner Percentage of users that found this guide helpful. 100% Estimated reading time based on the average reading speed. 20 Min
How to Play Craps Beginners Guide

Do you want to learn how to play Craps but do not know where to start? Check out our complete Casino Craps guide and see how the game works and how to play it!

What is Craps?

Craps is a game played with dice in which players make bets on the outcome of a dice throw. The game has two subcategories: 

  1. Casino Craps - where you bet against a bank, which is represented by the casino and you can play on a specific table which we detail below;
  2. Street Craps - where you bet against other players and which you can play in informal settings and without the Craps table. 

Where to play Casino Craps

You may play this game in land-based casinos and on Craps online casinos. The latter also offers you the option to play for free in demo mode to exercise your skills or try out strategies or you may play Craps for real money and cash out prizes.

If you walk into a brick-and-mortar casino, you will notice that the Craps table is the loudest and most dynamic one, compared to other table games such as Blackjack or Poker, where players need to concentrate more. 

Also, you have the option to play online Casino Craps on a variety of gaming platforms. Here, you get to benefit from promotions that you can use to play for longer. 

IMPORTANT

Land-based and online Craps have the same rules and you can place the same bets, but there are also differences between them. Keep on reading and find out all about each type in the next section! 

The Casino Craps elements explained

To learn how to play Craps at a casino, you need to first know about the elements of the game both for land-based and online casinos. The most important of them all is the Craps table, but we also cover the Dice, the Puck, the Stick, and even the Crew, which you can find in gambling establishments. 

Elements

Land-based Casino Craps

Online Casino Craps

Dice

Puck

Stick

Crew

The Craps Table Layout

The Craps table layout may seem a bit too complex compared to the tables of other games. However, the quickest way to understand it is by dividing it into two sections: the center section and the side section. 

casino craps table layout

These side sections are completely identical and they come with a self-service area and the dealer’s area. 

The land-based casino Craps table may vary in size from one casino to another and it can accommodate up to 22 players.  

REMEMBER!

Since in the case of online casino Craps space is not a problem, the virtual table only comes with one of these two identical sides, as you can see in the image below. 

online casino craps table layout

Players can place the following bets in the self-service area by placing their chips in the corresponding block:

casino craps bets

We talk in detail about the different types of Craps bets in the dedicated section below.

The dealer’s area is the one that includes the six boxes with numbers from 4 to 10. These are called “point boxes”. Players are not allowed to put down and pick up bets in the dealer’s area.

Since the two side sections are identical, players are only allowed to use their side, while they are all sharing the center section.

The center section of the Craps table is handled by the stickman and contains the proposition bets. Since players cannot freely operate here, they have to get the stickman’s attention to place a bet.

The Dice, the Puck, and the Stick

The Dice and the Puck are essential elements of the Casino Craps game, while the Stick is only used in land-based casinos. Let’s see how they are used and why they are important!

casino craps dice puck and stick

The Craps Dice

If you are wondering how you play Craps with dice, the answer is very simple. The game begins with five red dice out of which the shooter must choose only two. 

The main rules of how to play Craps dice are:

  1. Both dice must be thrown with one hand;
  2. The dice must hit or bounce off the far wall of the table;
  3. In case a die is thrown off the table, the shooter may choose another from the remaining ones or they can use the same die after the staff inspects it.

These are not regular dice. They are created after strict standards and they undergo frequent inspections for any damage that may occur to them during play. This is also why they are transparent, for easier inspection. After about eight hours of usage, they are replaced with new ones. Of course, these apply to brick-and-mortar casinos only.

REMEMBER!

The online casino Craps dice are virtual and they rely on a Random Number Generator to determine the outcome of a throw. 

Craps Dice combinations and true odds

Number rolled

Dice combinations

True odds

2

1-1

35 to 1 

3

1-2, 2-1

17 to 1 

4

1-3, 3-1, 2-2

11 to 1 

5

1-4, 4-1, 3-2, 2-3

8 to 1 

6

1-5, 5-1, 2-4, 4-2, 3-3

6.2 to 1  

7

1-6, 6-1, 2-5, 5-2, 3-4, 4-3

5 to 1 

8

2-6, 6-2, 3-5, 5-3, 4-4

6.2 to 1

9

3-6, 6-3, 4-5, 5-4

8 to 1 

10

4-6, 6-4, 5-5

11 to 1  

11

5-6, 6-5

17 to 1

12

6-6

35 to 1 

As you can see in this table, there are more combinations that equal the number 7 than for the other numbers. This means that there are more chances for the shooter to roll a 7 than any other number. 

The Craps Puck

The Marker Puck in Craps resembles a hockey puck and is white on one side with the word “ON” and black on the other with the word “OFF”.

casino craps puck

When a shooter establishes a point, the dealers place a puck in the appropriate point box on their side of the table. This is very helpful when someone joins the game, as they can immediately see the shooter’s point by looking at where the pucks are.

As long as no point is established by the shooter, the pucks are located outside the point boxes and with the black (OFF) side up.

TIPS!

The Point in Craps is when the come-out roll (first dice roll of the round) results in 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10.

The Puck is also present in the online Craps and has the same function but it automatically moves to the point box when a point is established.

The Craps Stick

The Stick used in land-based casino Craps is made from flexible wood and is also known as a rattan dice stick. This is used by the Stickman to retrieve the dice after a roll and its length may vary depending on the size of the table.

This does not appear in online casino Craps, as the dice are automatically thrown and retrieved.

The Casino Craps Crew

The Craps crew is only present in brick-and-mortar casinos and it is bigger than the ones of other table games, with the following 5 members:

  • The Stickman - handles a flexible stick with which he manages the dice around the table. They control the game pace and remind players about the opportunity to make proposition bets. When a player wants to make such a bet, the Stickman handles the chips and instructs the dealers to pay off the winners of these bets.
  • Two Dealers - each collects and pays off wagers made on the two sides of the Craps table. If the players have any questions regarding the way of playing Craps at the casino, it is the dealers’ responsibility to answer them. They also place the puck in the appropriate point number. 
  • The Boxman - watches the dealers and is responsible for the casino’s bankroll. They also change chips to cash and mediate any disputes dealers may have with players using their knowledge of standard rules of play.
  • The Floorman - mostly in charge of security and they can be in charge of a single table or multiple ones. They are the ones who can approve credit for certain players and keep an eye out for any signs of cheating or unwanted conduct.  

Casino Craps bets and how they work

There is a variety of bets you can make in Casino Craps and some of them are good, while some are to be avoided. Craps bets fall into two categories: single-roll bets and multi-roll bets, as presented in the following table:

Single-roll Craps Bets

Multi-roll Craps Bets

Field 

Pass Line

2 or 12

Don’t Pass Line

3 or 11

Come

Any 7

Don’t Come

Any Craps

Free Odds/Laying the Odds

 

Place Bets

 

Buy Bets

 

Big Six and Big Eight

 

Hardways

A single-roll bet is a wager that is only available for one dice throw. If the number you have bet on is not rolled, the bet is automatically lost. These are riskier but with a generally higher payout.

Multi-roll wagers take multiple dice rolls to be resolved. This means that you have more chances to win, but payouts are lower.

Keep on reading to learn how to play Craps dice game, how each bet works, and which ones you should focus on as a beginner!

Pass Line Bet

This bet is the main one in the game of Craps and it is also known as the Front-line bet. Here are the possible outcomes of a pass-line bet: 

  • On the first roll (come-out roll) - If the come-out roll is 7 or 11, you win.  These are called Natural 7, respectively Natural 11. If the roll is 2, 3, or 12, you lose. This is known as craps. 

craps pass line bet

  • On the point rolls - If the come-out roll is a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, that number becomes the point. In this case, the next sequence of rolls is point rolls. You win if the point number is rolled again and you lose if a 7 is rolled. Rolling any other number does not affect your wager. 

Don’t Pass Line Bet

The Don’t Pass Line bet is the opposite of the Pass Line, with one slight difference. Therefore, these are its possible outcomes:

  • On the first roll (come-out roll) - If the come-out roll is 2 or 3, you win even money. If the roll is 7 or 11, you lose. If the roll is 12, it is a tie, also known as “Push”,  which means you do not win nor lose.

craps don't pass line bet

  • On the point rolls - you bet that 7 will be rolled before the point number. If that happens, you win. If the shooter rolls the point, you lose. 

At the start of a new round, in order to shoot the dice, you must first place a bet on the Pass Line or the Don’t Pass Line. 95% of the Craps players choose the Pass Line bet and they are called Rightside, Lightside, Right, or Do players. 

You are not allowed to remove your Pass Line bet once a point has been established. However, most casinos allow you to place this wager after a point has been established, mainly to allow latecomers to join the game at any moment.

Other Craps bets

There is a variety of Craps bets you can make, such as: 

  • Come - the rules of this bet are the same as for the Pass Line, but you can only place this wager after the point has been established. If you place the Come bet, you are betting that the shooter rolls a 7 or 11 before the point;
  • Don’t come - this is the opposite of the previous wager, and you bet that the shooter rolls a 2 or a 3 before a 7 or 11. If they roll a 12, it is a tie and your bet remains available;
  • Free Odds/Laying the Odds - by placing this wager, you bet that the shooter rolls a 7 before a specific point number. You can only place this after a Pass or Come bet.
  • Field Bets - in the case of this bet, you win if the shooter rolls a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 12. The payout for the 2 and 12 is 2 to 1, while the other numbers pay even money. If the result of the roll is 5, 6, 7, or 8, you lose.
  • Place Bets - after a point number has been established, you can place this bet and you win if that number is rolled before a 7. You may place this at any moment during the game.
  • Hardways - when you place this wager, you bet that a specific number is rolled before a 7, with the condition that both dice show the same number. For example, you win a Hard 6 bet, both dice must show the number 3. 
  • 2 or 12 - this bet is a winner if the shooter rolls a 2 or a 12. The wager is only available for one dice throw. If any other number is rolled, you lose.
  • 3 or 11 - this bet is identical to the one above, but for the numbers 3 or 11. 
  • Buy Bets - this is similar to a Place bet, with the only difference that the casino takes a commission consisting of 5% of the winnings. 
  • Big Six and Big Eight - this is a very simple bet, and you win it if the shooter rolls a 6 or a 8 before a 7. You can place this at any moment during the game as well. 
  • Any 7 - this bet is a winner if the shooter rolls a 7, but the payout is lower since 7 is the most likely number to be rolled.
  • Any Craps - you win this bet if the shooter rolls a 2, 3, or 12 on the next roll. 
  • Horn Bet - another single-roll bet which you can win if the shooter rolls a 2, 3, 11, or 12. Any other number means your bet is lost. The condition for this wager is that you must place an even sum of money divisible by four. This way, you have equal amounts bet on each of the four possible outcomes.

Proposition Bets

Proposition bets in Casino Craps are mostly single-roll wagers with a high house edge. You may place these at any moment in the game. 

Any Craps, Any 7, Hardways, and Horn Bets are also part of this category and we have explained them in the previous section. Here are the other proposition bets you can make:

Bet name

Bet win criteria

Snake Eyes

The result of the next roll is 2

Ace Deuce

Next roll is 3

Hi-Lo on 2 and 12

Next roll results in a 2 or a 12

Whirl Bet

Any of the following rolls are a 2, 3, 11, 12, or a 7 

Boxcars

Next roll is a 12 in the form of a 6-6

Yo-Leven

Next roll is 11

BE AWARE! 

These wagers are generally considered to be risky and inexperienced players often steer away from them due to their high house edge.

How to play Craps online

If you want to play Craps online with friends, here you can do it. You can either play for free in demo mode or sign up on an online casino and play for real money. Basically, the steps you need to follow are:

  1. Start by placing a Pass bet, hoping the dice throw results are 7 or 11.
  2. Roll the dice. If the roll result is 2, 3 or 12, you lose your bet. If it is 7 or 11, you win this round.
  3. If a point is rolled, the puck moves automatically to the area designated to the point you have established, with the ON side up.
  4. After establishing a point, you get to roll again until either you roll that point number or you roll a 7 and you lose your bet.

online craps guide step by step

How to play Craps online for free

You can play Craps for free in the demo version right here, on CasinoFreak.com! Select the game you prefer and you can play for fun or use it to learn how the game works before wagering your hard-earned money. 

Let’s take for example our players’ favorite Craps game created by BetSoft. The user interface is very clean and intuitive, just the perfect game for a new player. Here is how it works: 

  • Use the “+” and “-” buttons at the bottom center of the screen to change your chips’ value;

online craps select bet buttons

  • Place your wager by clicking on the desired bet area. Only the available areas will be highlighted as you hover your mouse cursor over them;

online craps available bets highlight

  • One click places one chip on the selected area. Adjust the next chip’s value as desired by using the buttons mentioned above. If you change your mind about a bet, press the arrow button to undo it before rolling the dice;

online craps place bet and undo buttons

  • When you have placed your bets, click the bottom right button with the dice symbols to roll the dice once. 

online craps roll the dice button

online craps dice roll outcome

For the game settings, rules, odds, and payouts, click the three vertical dots at the bottom left of the game’s screen. 

online craps info button

Play Craps online for real money

Can you play Craps online for real money? The answer is definitely YES and you can do so by following these simple steps:

  • Check out our selection of Craps online casinos and pick the one you find suitable;
  • Create an account and verify it;
  • Make your first deposit and claim any promotion you like from the casino;
  • Choose a Craps game from the gaming site’s collection and start playing!

When it comes to casino promotions, if the platform you have chosen comes with a no deposit bonus, we strongly recommend you take and use that. These allow you to try their Craps games without making a payment and you may even score some winnings and build a casino balance for later use. 

These casino bonuses are totally free, so you might as well take advantage of them and further improve your Craps skills. 

REMEMBER!

Always read the Terms and Conditions as well as Promotional Rules before claiming any casino bonus!

5 Tips to maximize your odds in Craps

If you are ready to learn how to play winning Craps, here are the top 5 tips to improve your gaming session as well as your chances of success:

  1. Take your time to learn the Craps rules – we cover all the game basics and show you how to play Craps for beginners, so that you can have a good start. However, hands-on learning is the most important so you should start with the free version and pay close attention to how the game and its bets work.
  2. Set a budget – you may want to learn how to play Craps and win every time, but this is a game of chance so always take into consideration that you might also lose some of your funds. Since you are new to the game, it is better to start with small bets and increase them as you gain more experience. Set a budget before starting your gaming session and do not go over it. Make sure you decide on an amount of money you can afford to lose in case it is not your lucky day.
  3. Use strategies – experienced players have developed strategies for almost any casino game there is. You can learn about Craps strategies and try to apply them yourself. We all want to know how to play Craps and win every time, but not even the best strategy can guarantee that. However, some may increase your chances.
  4. Use a casino promotion – claiming a casino deal increases your balance, thus offering you more chances to hit a win. And even if that does not happen, you get to extend your gaming session and learn more about the game using your bonus funds.
  5. Make simple bets with a low house edge – there is a wide variety of bets you can make in a game of Craps. You will learn more about them as you continue to play and by doing more research. However, the ones we explained are the most common for new players because they are easy to understand and actually offer you a good chance of success. Start by placing bets such as Pass Line, Don’t Pass Line, Come, or Don’t Come.

You can discover 13 more tips for craps from professional dice influencer Bill Collins. You will surely enjoy them, especially if you want to take your game to the next level!

Now that you know the basics of how to play Craps and win, you can find the perfect online casino for you and start playing. Use the information we gave you in this article to make the most out of your gaming session and have fun in a responsible way!

The history of Craps

Craps is a very popular casino game that has been around since ancient times. 

According to historical records, the Etruscans, a civilization that lasted from 800 BC to 80 BC used it to determine a virgin’s fate in religious ceremonies. She had to roll an 8 or a 9 to become a priestess. For a 6 or a 7 she was banned from any religious activities and she was drowned in the sea if she rolled 5 or less. 

It is unclear who invented Craps. However, the game creation is commonly attributed to Sir William of Tyre in 1125 and its name was initially “Hazarth” or “Asart”. Later on, it was known as “Hazard”.

In the 17th Century, this game was extremely popular in French taverns. Its informal version called Street Craps required only a pair of dice, allowing players to enjoy the game anywhere, crouched over a sidewalk or a floor. 

It is believed that the game’s name is derived from the French word “crapaud”, which means “toad”, referring to the players’ crouched position. 

Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville was the one who brought the American version of the game to New Orleans. 

However, the Craps as we know it today appeared thanks to John H. Winn, an American dice maker who later became known as the father of modern Craps. He was the one who introduced the Don’t Pass bet in the 19th Century, in order to stop players from exploiting the casino. 

Now you know all the basics of this fun casino game so you can use this guide to learn how to play Craps yourself. Play for free and exercise your skills and then try your luck at an online casino playing for real money! Do not forget to start slow and place small, individual bets, to get used to each wager and how much it pays!

Craps for Beginners FAQs

Who runs the Craps table?
Two dealers, a Stickman, and a Boxman run the Craps game in land-based casinos. The Stickman and the dealers are in charge of the game while the Boxman is in charge of the casino bank.
What does it mean to buy a number in Craps?
To buy a number in Craps means to place a Buy bet on a number. This is similar to the Place bet with the only difference that you pay a 5% commission on the wagered amount which will be deducted from your win.
Can you be good at Craps?
You can be good at playing this game if you learn the basics, the rules, and the strategies. However, keep in mind that it is a game of chance, so knowledge and skill can only help you so much.
Can you beat the Craps game?
No, the game cannot be beaten either online or in a real casino. Online Craps relies on a Random Number Generator to create dice combinations while in real life, as experienced as one is, it is impossible to have total control over a dice throw. 
Is Craps easy to learn?
Yes, Craps is a very easy-to-learn game, as it does not have complicated rules. The complex part is getting used to the Craps table and knowing the different types of bets you can make. Playing the game for free in the beginning can help you learn faster and with zero risks.
Why is it called Craps?
There is no exact answer to why the game is called Craps. However, there are a few theories around. One is that it is derived from the French word “crapaud”, meaning “toad”, and being related to the crouched position the players had during a game of Street Craps. Another one is that the Snake Eyes roll (each of the two dice showing the number 2), was called “crabs” in the Hazard lingo.

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