If you take a look at the craps table layout, you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s one of the most challenging online casino games due to its complex rules. However, if you know your way around the table (both in real life and virtually on-screen), you can beat the game and work the odds in your favor.
All you need to do is understand the basics and take it from there!Online craps have been played on casino sites for many years. It’s based – of course – on the popular dice game, which has a rich history. Craps is said by some to originate from a game called “Hazard”, which was played as far back as the Crusades (we’ll talk more about this further on).
How the game works online
Craps is a casino game with one of the lowest house edges. This means there is a higher chance of placing a winning bet than in other games. As we mentioned already, many new players often find the game intimidating because of the table layout. However, once you get the hang of it, your gameplay should run smoothly.
Of course, this is a game of chance, meaning it does not require any skill or complex strategies to play. To learn how to play, all you need to do is familiarize yourself with the dice game’s table layout and the types of bets you can place. This is important if you’re looking to play and win. More so, the online game uses a random number generator (often just called an “RNG”) to ensure gaming is fair and that there’s no predetermined outcome.
The basic rules
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 play.
Below are the basic rules for the game:
- The game is played with a pair of dice.
- The rounds of play in the game are conducted with rolls of the dice.
- Players at the table take turns 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, but now let’s dig a little deeper into the game.
Come Out roll
Every starting round in the game begins with a “Come Out Roll,” where players who wish to place a bet need to wager on either the “Pass Line” or the “Don’t Pass Line” bet. These are the only options available at this phase. 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 can 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
Although the Come Out and Point rolls are the most important bets for players to know, many other different types of bets can be made and they’re as follows:
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 it pays even money. If a 7 or 11 is rolled, it results in a win, but you lose your 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 opposite of the Pass bet. This bet wins if a 2, 3, (and 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 out, 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 the same value, such as a 2 and a 4, are considered “soft.” A soft or easy number results in a loss.
Defining the house advantage in the game is not simple, as it consists of many different bets with a lot of 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 (previously mentioned) Hardways are among the bets 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.
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.
A look at craps variants
There are plenty of variations of this game that players can try out in casinos, with “bank craps” being the most popular one. Here, the players play against the bank, as opposed to betting only among one another, as you would in a street game (which we’ll also touch on later).
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:
This is the most popular variation 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 we’ve discussed above.
This is a simple variant of the game. Here, the shooter only throws one roll of dice. 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 casino sites. 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 or moments. 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, but players can enjoy this variation at many casinos online. Several sites will also offer a low limit for free, meaning you can play the game without paying a cent until you are 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 is allowed to stake higher.
New York Craps
As the name may already suggest, this variation hails from NY. This exciting game is played on a unique craps table known as a double-end dealer. It 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 is a variant played on the streets, both in the US and beyond. However, gamblers can also organize their street games online and make bets between themselves. This is illegal, as you may already know. Everyone needs a gambling license to run any real-money gambling operations.
This version of the game usually takes place on a homemade table, where there’ll be a win line as well as a lose line, along the numbers 4 through 6, and 8 through 10.
To start, the shooter will need to place a bet in the center of the playing area and then the other players get to cover a part of (or the full) initial wager by placing their wagers too. This is called the fading phase, and once the Come Out has been made, the game plays out the same way as standard games. If the shooter throws a “natural”, he takes all the money. If “craps” are thrown (i.e., 2, 3, or 12, also see our glossary), then players’ bets are returned and the shooter’s wager is split among them.
This does not imply any “get rich or die trying”’ ethos. Instead, this variation uses an unusual take on the standard game by only featuring one die. This is a much easier game for novice players who are still learning how to play, as it is 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 dice 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 out, then it’s automatically a 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. This is the least popular variation and was invented by gambling expert John Scarne, hence the name. It’s fun to play and is very rewarding but is only available at selected casinos.
Another variation of craps that’s worthy of mention is the “bubble machines.” These are the latest electronic versions found at some land-based casinos. In bubble machines, glass (or plastic) is used as a dome to house a big pair of dice. Sometimes the machine is used to play the game of Sic Bo, which uses 3 dice. Up to 6 players can sit around the unit and bet on the outcomes of the dice. Currently, the main suppliers of bubble machines are Interblock, which calls its game “Organic Craps,” and Aruze Gaming, whose creation is named “Shoot To Win Craps.”
Best strategies and tips to win
Just as with any other casino dice games such as Sic Bo and lightning dice, there’s no right or wrong way to play the game. There are also no special strategies required to play these types of online casino games, as they’re purely based on luck. 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. However, we have put together some helpful tips and basic strategies to help improve your experience of the game.
Set a budget
It’s important that you set a gaming budget before you play any game, and not go over it. This will help keep your finances in check and ensure you don’t spend all your money on gambling.
Play sober and in a good mood
It goes without saying that playing online casino games for real money or gambling at a land-based casino while intoxicated is not a good idea at all. This is because you are far less likely to make good decisions and you could end up spending even more money. 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, and this often does not help but rather worsens your situation.
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 cash. It really is vital to learn and understand the basic rules of a game, the overall gameplay, and ways to win before you start.
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 payout 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 for too long until you run out of luck.
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 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 is near the ‘center of the field’ on the craps table
Crap 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 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.
History of craps
The origins of this famous dice game apparently date back as far as the 12th century, when English soldiers were fighting in the Crusades. The soldiers used to play a very popular dice game known as “Hazard,” which was far more complex before it evolved into what it is today. When Hazard eventually reached France, the locals began to play and enjoy the game too.
Thereafter, French sailors took the game across the pond to New Orleans, and that’s how it was introduced to North America. It further gained popularity as it traveled upcountry via the bustling Mississippi River trade route. The sailors called the game “crabs” – which is how the current name was invented.
Another source, however, claims that the son of a wealthy colonial family in Louisiana brought the game from London to New Orleans. His name was Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville, and it’s said that he simplified the main number to just 7, where in the previous game, you could choose any number from 5 to 9.
According to this source, the term “crabs” referred to the name the English gave to the numbers 2 and 3. Others still believe the term “craps” comes from the French word for toad, or crapaud, as the people who played it in the streets used to crouch and look like toads!
Regardless of the true origin of the name, there’s no hiding the fact this game became extremely popular in the US during the Second World War when American men from all over the country joined the military. This led to its meteoric rise in popularity in post-war Las Vegas and in the Caribbean.
Over the years, the game has been modified and become a lot easier to play – and it’s gone digital! That’s right! Players from all around the world can enjoy this dice game online, along with its many variations.
Play real casino games online at BetMGM
Craps is one of the many dice-based games available online. Unlike some gambling games that need some planning ahead with complicated strategies, you could potentially make some serious money playing the game from the first time you start playing.
All you need is to remember that the table layout is mirrored and to memorize the different types of bets. Some games play out amazingly fast, so be careful not to place too many bets at the same time! At BetMGM, you can learn how to play for beginners with our demo games and try out different strategies to win. For added convenience, you can play this game on our user-friendly app or instantly from your browser.
We also feature some of the best casino games, including classics that provide a lot of fun, such as progressive slots, classic table games, video poker, scratchcards, bingo, and keno. Also, be sure to check out our sports betting page to place your bets on your favorite teams and tournaments. To explore what fun we have to offer on our site, all you have to do is register at BetMGM.