Although the table design for the game may look complex to some players, the rules are fairly easy to follow – so you should be ready to play in no time. Part of the reason why craps may look a little bit complicated is that there’s much more detail on the table layout compared to other casino table games.
However, the table is actually mirrored: Both the left and right sides of the table are identical. Once punters realize this, playing the game online becomes a lot less complicated and it gets easier as you settle in.
These are the basic rules for the game:
- The game is played with a pair of dice.
- Rounds of play are conducted with rolls of the dice.
- Players at the table take turns (going anticlockwise) to roll the dice.
- The player who rolls the dice is called the “shooter.”
- Everyone at the table can wager on the outcome of that single roll of the dice.
- The outcome of the dice roll is what you get when you add up the face-up pip values of both dice (so it will be anything from a double one or “2,” up to a double six or “12.”)
How to play
Okay, so that’s the basics covered, but now let’s dig a little deeper into the game by taking a look at some of the main features.
Let’s take a look at the various dice rolls in craps below.
Come out roll
Every starting round in the game begins with a “Come Out Roll,” where players who wish to place a bet must wager a “Pass Line” or the “Don’t Pass Line” bet. These are the only options available at this stage. Here, the shooter will aim at rolling either a 7 or 11 and if they manage it, all players who wagered on the Pass Line will win their bet. If the outcome is a 2, 3 or 12, the Don’t Pass wagers will win.
If none of the abovementioned numbers is rolled, the game moves on to the second phase, which involves establishing the “Point.” Once a shooter rolls a 7, the round is over and the next shooter takes their turn.
The Point is any number that the shooter rolls other than a 2, 3, 7, 11 or 12 (so that’s a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10.) In this roll – where again, those at the table place their bets before it happens – the shooter will need to establish (or “land”) the Point number before rolling a 7. The wagers on the Pass Line result in a win if they manage to do this. However, if a 7 is rolled before the Point is established, then the Don’t Pass Line wagers win.
Types of bets
The Come Out and Point rolls are the most important features of the game. However, there are also several types of bets that can be made.
This is a bet made on the Pass Line on the Come Out roll. This is the most popular of all bets as it has the lowest house edge and pays even money. If a 7 or 11 is rolled, it results in a win, but you’ll lose your Pass bet if the Come Out is 2, 3 or 12.
This wager works the same way as the Pass Line bet in that it results in a win if a 7 or 11 is rolled in the Come Out, and a loss if a 2, 3 or 12 is the outcome. The only difference is that the Come bet is only made after the Point number has been established.
The Don’t Pass is the opposite of the Pass bet and is made on the Come Out roll. This bet wins if a 2, 3 or 12 (in some games) is rolled by the shooter – and loses if the outcome is a 7 or 11. Here, the Point is “established” if any other number besides the ones mentioned is rolled and before that, the shooter will continue to roll with the hopes of getting a 7.
This bet works contrary to the Come bet, except that it can be made at any time after the Point has been established. Here, if the numbers 2 or 3 are rolled, it results in a win, while a 12 results in a tie. A 7 needs to have been rolled before the Point is established and the Point becomes any other number that is rolled (4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10.)
Place 6 and Place 8
This bet involves simply placing a wager on the number 6 or 8 being rolled before a 7 comes up. Players can find these types of bets on either end of the table.
This bet is usually made in the center of the table. Hardways consist of four numbers: 4, 6, 8 and 10. Punters must roll an exact pair to roll a hardway. Other combinations that add up to one of these values – such as a 2 and a 4 for a 6 – are considered “soft.” A soft, or easy, number results in a loss.
Odds of winning at craps
Defining the house advantage in the game is not simple as it consists of many bets, each with its own expected returns. More so, the house edge also varies per casino, both online and in brick-and-mortar establishments. For instance, bets at some casinos can have a house advantage of up to 14%.
Other bets on the table, such as the Big 6 and Big 8 wagers – which pay even money and are located in the corners – and the Hardways are among those with the “worst odds.” They have a 9.1% house edge. By contrast, the Field bet (see our glossary section) has 5.56% going to the house. Such wagers can do a lot of damage to your bankroll if you play recklessly (which, we sincerely advise against doing.)
A good player will make bets that have the lowest house edge. The best bets you can make in the game are the Don’t Pass/Don’t Come bets – with a house edge as low as 1.36% – and the Pass/Come bets, with a 1.41% house advantage.
Different craps variants
There are plenty of variations of this game that players can try out in casinos, both online and offline, with “bank craps” being the most popular one.
Each variant follows its own set of rules, betting options and casino odds, while also providing great entertainment for those playing. Here’s a quick look at some of the variations.
On a list of casino games, this is the most popular variation of craps and it’s available to players online as well as at brick-and-mortar casinos. The game is played using a special table with a unique layout. Players in this variation place their stake on an appropriate section on the table – real or virtual – before the dice are rolled.
As you might guess from its name, this is a simple variant of the game. Here, the shooter only rolls the dice once. If the outcome is a 2, 3, 4, 10, 11 or 12, then it results in a win, whereas if a 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 is rolled out, then it results in a loss. This variant has a decent house advantage of 2.8%, way better than other games at some online casinos.
Also known as a “bastard,” “never ever” or “ruse,” this is another exciting and popular craps variant that’s available to play at online casinos. The game was invented years ago in an attempt to create a variation where players wouldn’t lose if a 2, 3 or 12 is rolled out on the Pass Line bet. This variation is very popular in states such as Mississippi.
Not everyone who gambles wants to wager high stakes, at least not all the time, and low-limit games are perfect for these kinds of players. They allow you to enjoy the game with the lowest possible pay-ins, so you don’t have to worry about risking your bankroll in one game. Not all land-based casinos will feature a low-limit table, but players can enjoy this variation at many casinos online. Several sites will also offer free-to-play low-limit games, meaning you can play without paying a cent until you’re ready to play for money. This is a great way of getting to know the ins and outs of online craps!
High Limit is suitable for both standard players and high-rollers. These are tables with higher limits on how much you’re allowed to bet on each dice roll. Usually, the minimum bet on this variation will start at $1 with an upper limit that sometimes exceeds $1,000. So, the low-stakes punter can still play low stakes, while the high-roller can stake higher.
New York Craps
As the name suggests, this variation hails from the Big Apple. Played on a unique craps table known as a “double-end dealer,” this exciting game features Come, Don’t Come and Place bets. What makes this game different is that punters will wager on what are called “box numbers” – 4 through 7, 9 or 10. While it pays true odds to players, the casino gets a 5% commission for all winnings.
This does not imply any “get rich or die trying”’ ethos. Instead, this variation only features just one die. This is a much easier game for novice players who are still learning how to play as it’s simple to grasp. The number 6 denotes a win, while the number 1 is an instant loss. The other numbers in this variation are used to establish the Point. Usually, the shooter will have three rolls before a 1 is rolled. If not, the die will get passed to the next player and another round begins.
This is another simple version of the game which also follows different rules. Here, when the shooter happens to roll a 2 or 3 on their first roll, the dice are returned and thrown again. However, if an 11 or 12 is rolled, then it’s an automatic win. The other numbers establish the Point and the shooter has to roll an outcome higher than the established Point to win. The house advantage on a High Point game is 2.35%, which is higher than the standard game.
This variation does not feature any Come or Don’t Come bets. Also, the house gets no commission on the right bets. Invented by gambling expert John Scarne, this is the least popular variation. It’s fun to play and is very rewarding, but is only available at selected casinos.
Best strategies and tips to win
Just as with any other dice game such as Sic Bo and Lightning Dice, there’s no right or wrong way to play craps. You don’t need to formulate any special strategies to play these types of casino games as they’re purely based on luck and the relative probabilities of certain combinations popping up on the dice. Once you place your wager in the game, the roll determines everything and it’s over in a flash. The outcome of the dice cannot be influenced in any way. That said, we have put together some helpful tips and basic strategies to help improve your experience of the game.
Set a budget
Just like in online poker and live dealer casino games where the excitement is high, it’s important to set a gaming budget before you play – and not go over it. This will help keep your finances in check and ensure you don’t spend all your money on gambling.
Check the minimum and maximum bet limits
These limits can affect the longevity of your craps strategy. Therefore, it’s important to check your bankroll against these limits and be prepared to walk away if it does not suit your gameplay.
Play sober and be in a good mood
Playing online casino games, such as online slots, or gambling at a land-based casino while you’ve had a couple too many drinks is not a good idea, ever. You are far less likely to make good decisions and you could end up spending more than your bankroll. The same goes for gambling when you’ve had a bad day or are in a bad mood. You’re more likely to play out of frustration, which could worsen your situation. Our advice is to walk away and do something else – because you can always come back another day when you have a sunnier disposition.
Choose a simple variation
Playing a game you don’t understand is never much fun. So, it’s better to choose a variation that you find easy to learn, then further your research and try it out on demo mode before you start playing for real.
Try different bets
Craps offers gamblers many different betting opportunities. While some have a decent house edge, some have the worst odds. However, this should not stop you from trying out all of the different kinds of unique bets you can make in this game. After all, the bets with the worst odds actually pay out the most if you’re lucky enough to land the right outcome!
Set a win limit
Knowing when to cash out is as important as setting your gaming budget. This will prevent you from trying to keep a winning streak going until you run out of luck.
Here is a simple glossary of some of the main terms used in craps:
- Ace – a die showing the value of 1.
- Betting right/right bettor – refers to wagering on the Pass Line. The term is used as most players bet on the Pass Line and so it usually means betting with the rest of the table.
- Betting wrong/wrong bettor – wagering on the Don’t Pass Line. This is the opposite of the betting right.
- Bones – another word for dice.
- Boys – dealers or game hosts.
- Centerfield – refers to a 9 because it’s near the “center of the field” on the craps table.
- Crapping out – the action of throwing a 2, 3 or 12 on the Come Out Roll.
- Crap numbers (or just “craps”) – 2, 3 and 12.
- Field bet – a one-off bet that 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12 will appear on the very next dice roll.
- Hard number – any pair; for example, two 4s form a “hard 8.”
- Insurance – wager placed to protect against another wager losing.
- Natural – a roll of a 7 or 11 on the Come Out Roll.
- Seven out – rolling a 7 before establishing the Point number.
- Snake eyes – your dice would be showing a pair of 1s.
- Working bets – wagers that are in play for the next roll.
Play the best online casino games at BetMGM
Craps is one of the many casino dice games available online and you can play right here at BetMGM. All you need is to memorize the different types of bets and remember that the table layout is mirrored.
Register at BetMGM and discover craps along with some of the best slots to play at a casino, various casino table games, video poker, scratchcards and keno. For added convenience, you can download our user-friendly casino games app or play games instantly from your browser.