Craps is one of the most well-known and well-loved online casino games out there. It’s certainly among the most iconic games to play, dating back centuries as an evolution of the French game hazard. It became popular in the mid 20thcentury, when Rat Pack legend Dean Martin was a craps dealer.
Some players make the mistake of assuming the game is too complicated. While it does seem, at a glance, like there’s a lot going on – in reality you can get your head around the game fairly quickly. And when you do, you’ll be rewarded, as the game has a low house edge – so you’ve got more chance of winning big in this game compared to others. In fact, it’s the only casino game that has a bet with a house edge of zero.
Here we’ll take you through the basics of how craps works and how to play it.
How do I play craps?
Rule one of craps is pay attention. If you’re distracted, you’ll quickly lose track of what’s going on and even get kicked off the tableif you’re seen to be not taking the game seriously. The following five steps illustrate how craps is played, before it comes to betting:
- In one corner of the table you’ll notice a puck. If it’s white side up, the game is on – if it’s black side up, the game hasn’t started yet.
- The shooter is the person playing – they’re the ones holding the dice. Everyone else at the table is betting either for or against the shooter’s dice roll. You play craps with two six-sided dice. Each roll, of course, will produce a number with a maximum value of 12.
- The game starts with what’s known as the come out roll. If the shooter gets a seven or an 11, that’s an automatic win. A two, three or 12, however, means an automatic loss. These are called craps. Any other number is called a point and the puck is flipped, kicking off a further stage of play.
- The puck will be placed on the number on the table corresponding with the number on the dice. So if the shooter rolled an eight, that’s where the puck goes and that becomes the point.
- The shooter then begins rolling and keeps going until a seven or the point is rolled. If the point comes out first the shooter wins, but if the seven shows up first the shooter loses and the dice go to the next player.
But before you even arrive at the table, make sure you read up on craps strategy first. It could make all the difference in you leaving the table a loser or a winner.
What bets can I make on craps?
On the table, you’ll notice there are many potential bets to place on the outcome of the rolling of the dice. As a beginner, you only really know how to place a few bets, and in fact the more complicated ones tend to have a higher house edge.
As we’ve seen, the mechanics of craps are actually pretty straightforward – in essence it boils down to rolling the dice and seeing what numbers come up. It’s the betting that can make it seem complicated (and lead to silly mistakes) because there are so many different possibilities.
In a physical casino, bets are made both by the shooter and the spectators – though only the shooter actually has to make one. You’re betting either for or against any possible outcome of the dice roll.
You can make a general bet – ‘win’ or ‘lose’, or make specific bets with names like ‘craps’, ‘snake eyes’ and ‘ace deuce’.
The specific bets have bigger payouts, while general bets usually pay out even. As you’d expect, however, on the specific bets the house edge is high and the odds are against you. Here are some of the most common specific bets:
- Pass line bet or don’t pass line bet. With this one, you’re betting on whether there will be a seven or 11 on the come out roll. You win or lose based on whether a seven or 11, or a two three or 12 come out. If the point’s rolled the bet stays in place. Then you win or lose depending on whether the shooter rolls the point before the seven.
- Come line bet or don’t come line bet. This bet is played after a point is established and is more or less the same as the ‘pass line bet’, with the difference that you can set multiple points.
- Odds bet. This can be made after the point is set and you can bet on whether the point will be rolled before the seven. This is a good bet because the casino will pay correct odds with no house edge. Casinos specify the maximum amount of the odds bet according to the pass line bet. So, 2X odds would mean that players can go up to double the amount of the pass line bet.
Should I play craps at a land-based or online casino or online?
The game is essentially the same whether you’re playing in a bricks and mortar casino or online. The mechanics are the same, there are just a few things to keep in mind.
At online casinos:
- It’s easier for beginners. You can get to grips with the table layout without pressure from other players watching you.
- It’s faster. You don’t have to wait around for people to place bets or for the dealer to calculate payouts. On the flip side, because no-one else is around you’re not in any rush to bet either, so you can take your time and figure out what to do.
- It’s engaging. The best online casinos offer an engaging user experience, with high-quality audio and visual streams bringing an immersive online casino into your living room – or wherever you are, through a mobile device.
At land-based casinos:
- It’s authentic. At online casinos, you don’t actually have to roll the dice. For some people this is a shame – they miss the physicality of holding the dice and making them tumble out across the table. On the flip side, in a physical casino you have to make sure the dice bounce off the edge of the table and some people find this nerve wracking.
- It’s atmospheric. Craps is one of the more social casino games and often generates a good atmosphere. It’s widely available at land-based casinos across the world – from stunning Vegas establishments like the Venetian to emerging gambling meccas in Macau and East Asia.
All in all, craps in a physical casino can be more exciting than online, but playing from the comfort of your own home allows you to really learn the game well and consider what you’re doing without pressure from other players.
Now you know how to play craps, hit the tables online and play. It’s one of the best casino games out there – having stood the test of time all these years – and if you’re a social player, could easily become your favourite.