Everything You Need to Know About Playing Craps Online
Craps is a dice game during which players can wager on what the shooter rolls or does not roll. It has a long history that dates back centuries. The dice game hazard has been around since at least the 14th century where it is mentioned in Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. By the 1700s, the English had developed a slightly different version of the game known as crabs. In the early 1800s, the game was brought to America by French aristocrat Bernard de Marigny.
The upper class of New Orleans society did not take to de Marigny’s new game so he took it to the lower class residents of the city. This is where it first took hold in the U.S. and where the name morphed into “craps”, a New Orleans mispronunciation of “crabs”. The worldwide explosion of the game came during World War II when Allied soldiers from all social classes mingled and played the game together. By the 1960s, craps tables would start popping up in casinos around the globe. In the early 2000s, they became a staple of online casinos.
The reasons for the game’s global popularity come from a combination of a few factors. The game itself is incredibly simple to play, only involving a roll of two dice, but there are also a huge number of betting options that make gameplay very strategic. Throw in the fact that everyone at the table is betting on the same roll instead of an individual card hand, as happens in other popular games such as blackjack or poker, and you have the most social game in the casino. Craps can be intimidating to learn but once you do, it can be the most fun game to play. Here is everything you need to know about playing craps.
The Basics of Craps: How to Play
The game of craps is played by placing bets on the outcome of the roll of a pair of dice. It is played on a special craps table, whether it is a physical or virtual table, that has sections for all the different bets you can make on a given roll.
Each game starts with the come-out roll and during this roll, the shooter is required to make a “pass” or “don’t pass” bet. There are three outcomes on the come-out roll.
- Shooter rolls 2,3, or 12 – don’t pass bets win, pass bets lose, round is over
- Shooter rolls 7 or 11 - don’t pass bets lose, pass bets win, round is over
- Shooter rolls 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10 – round continues, the number rolled is the “point”
If a player rolls the point, the game continues. The round goes on until the shooter either rolls a 7 or the point number. Players around the table, including the shooter, can bet on each roll. In a physical casino or live dealer craps, it is customary for the shooter to pass the dice if they end the round with a 7 and keep the roll if they end the round with the point.
One of the reasons craps can seem intimidating is that there are 22 different main bets you can make on each roll. These bets are:
- Any 7
- Any 11
- Any Craps
- Any Deuce
- Big 6
- Big 8
- Come Odds
- Don’t Come
- Don’t Come Odds
- Don’t Pass
- Don’t Pass Odds
- Hard ways
- Pass Line
- Pass line Odds
- Place Lose
- Place Win
After the point number is established, the pass line bets are moved to the point number. For the following rolls, players can make come bets‒which are essentially the same as pass line bets but are only available after the point has been established.
After a roll that continues the round, you may put odds on your original pass or come bet. This means that you back up your original bet with a multiplier bet to allow yourself to win more money if the point is rolled. Most casinos allow up to double or triple odds.
So, Which Are the Best Craps Bets to Make?
With all the options available in craps betting, some bets are better than others. There are bets that give solid payouts with good odds and a small house advantage and other “sucker bets” that offer big payouts but where the house usually takes you. Here are the bets with the best odds for the player and for the house.
Best odds for the player
The best odds in craps are the pass or don’t pass line and the come or don’t come bets. These plays offer some of the lowest house advantages not only in craps but in the entire casino. The house advantage in 3 of these is 1.4% and for the don’t pass, it is 1.36%. Any successful craps strategy will revolve around making these pass and come-based bets.
Best odds for the house
Any of the one roll propositions bets offer big odds but also a big house advantage. Betting on bets like hard ways, snake eyes, or any 7 or 11, is tempting because you can hit it big with odds from 5 to 1 all the way up to 30 to 1. The house advantage here though ranges from around 11% to 16% so you might want to stay away. Same with Big 6 or 8. They have a 9% house edge but only payout 1 to 1.
What Craps Betting System Should I Use?
There is not one single betting system that all craps players rely on, but there are a few that are popular and that many claims can make you the most money. Here are a few of the top craps betting systems.
Pass and come with odds
This is the easiest, most straight forward and most reliable betting strategy in craps. When you bet on the pass or come lines, you are giving yourself the best chance to win money. This is the strategy that is recommended, especially to beginner players. Giving yourself odds is even better because they are true odds without any house advantage. To really give yourself the best chance of walking or clicking away from the craps table with money, you should put down odds anytime you can.
On a side note, you can play the inverse of this strategy and bet on the don’t pass or don’t come lines. This has roughly the same (and even slightly better for the player) house advantage. The issue here is that you are basically betting against the table which can make other players think you are a jerk! Peer pressure makes this hard to do in person and a little easier to execute online.
6 and 8
This strategy is based on making place bets on 6 and 8. Other than a 7, there are more ways to make these two numbers than any other on the board. Also, betting these two numbers, with 7 to 6 odds, have the second smallest house advantage – after pass and come – at 1.52%.
To use this betting pattern as a strategy, you need to use a negative progression plan. This means, each time you lose a 6 or 8 bet, you double your stake. This is a strategy that will work out long term most of the time but you also need a good size bankroll to do it because a few bad rolls strung together can quickly clean you out.
This is an intermediate strategy that is the next step up from the simple pass and comes with odds strategy. Often, it is paired with that strategy for craps players who can handle a little more action throughout the game.
This is a strategy where you have to risk more, but you can win on anything but a 7. It became well-known as the last bet that gamblers would make when leaving the casino so that as long as anything BUT a 7 came up, they would at least walk away with a win. The strategy involves betting on the field as well as putting place bets for 5, 6, and 8.
The field means betting on 3, 4, 9, 10, or 11. 5 pays out 7 to 5 and 6 and 8, as discussed above, pays out 7 to 6. To implement the Iron Cross, you want to put a $5 bet on both the field and 5 and two $6 bets 6 and 8 for a total of $22 in bets. You can adjust these numbers to fit your preferred betting units or table minimums.
With the Iron Cross, you win on anything but a 7. Here is what you will win with different rolls on your 4 $22 bets:
- 2 – At 2 to 1 on your $5 field bet, you win $10 and can keep your initial $22
- 3, 4, 9, 10 or 11 – You win $5 on your field bet and keep your initial $22
- 5, 6 or 8 – You win $7 and keep $17 in initial place bets but lose the $5 field bet.
Overall, the Iron Cross can be a very smart and lucrative strategy. The one downside is that you can lose it all if a 7 comes up early. You also need to be able to cover the four minimum bets with your bankroll.
What about hedge bets and lay bets?
Other than pass, come, field or place bets, you will also hear about hedge and lay bets. While these bets may make sense in theory or even in practice, they are not bets that most craps players make.
This is when you hedge your main bet with a prop bet that has better odds. It is most common on the come out roll. Here you will bet $5 on the pass and hedge that with a $1 bet on Any Craps (2,3, or 12) at 7 to 1. The idea is that a 7 or 11 will win you $4 ($5 win -$1 loss) and the other 3 will win you $2 ($7 win - $5 loss). The problem is, the other 7 numbers will lose you your hedge bet while also not winning you your pass bet.
You can also hedge on place bets by betting Any 7. This pays out 4 to 1. It is a one-roll bet, though, so it may not help you hedge for many rolls. Overall, the math works out to where you are much better off taking your wins and losses straight up than trying to hedge in the long-term.
These are bets that bet against the shooter rolling a particular number. They have good odds but you have to pay a 5% commission to the house in order to get them. For example, a Lay 6 bet would be betting in a 7 to be rolled before a 6. While the house advantage is relatively low, these bets are similar to the don’t come or don’t pass lines where you are betting for an outcome that is disadvantageous to the majority of the table.
Is there a strategy to how you roll the dice?
When you are playing craps in person at a casino table, you can play and make bets without rolling the dice. However, your turn will come and it can be anywhere from the most fun to the most anxiety-riddled action in the casino.
To roll the dice, you have to select your two dice and throw them down to the end of the table so that they hit and bounce off the opposite wall. This ensures that a shooter cannot throw the dice with a level of control that will ensure certain numbers come out.
The basic fact is that rolling dice is a true “roll of the dice”. That is where that saying originated! This is because no one can truly control the outcome of a roll of the dice every time. Many people believe that with the right amount of force, rhythm, release, setup, and of course practice, you can give yourself a better chance of getting the outcome you want.
The rhythm, release, and feel from the dice all come from practice. The setup though works to give you an edge on the roll outcome. There are multiple setups to use depending on what numbers you want to throw. There are setups that are good for come out rolls, for 7s, and for place numbers, but the most popular is the 3 V set.
This set entails holding the dice so the two 3’s are facing away from each other to form a V. This ensures that the outside of the dice all from either 6s or 8s. If executed correctly, it can help you roll these popular place numbers and avoid the dreaded 7.
Dice control is very, very hard to master but with enough practice. But, with it, you can give yourself a small advantage in craps–or at least a psychological edge!
Does anything change when playing craps online?
The game of craps is basically the same, whether you play online or at a physical casino. The dice are still rolled, the pass line is still the pass line, and most times you want to stay away from 7s. You will find a few minor differences between the two experiences of playing the games, however.
Online Craps Advantages
In online craps, there are a few elements to really like. First, you are always the shooter in video craps. You do not have to be at the mercy of what the shooter is doing and you can play at your own pace. Also, in online casinos in general, you will find a ton of casino bonuses and promotions that can allow you to play for free at ties or win cashback on top of your winning. You can also play from anywhere at any time which is always great.
In-person Craps Advantages
What you miss during the online experience is the social aspect. Craps is the most social game at a casino and there is nothing better than standing around with a big group and a hot shooter cheering every roll. Also, many people feel as though they have more control over the rolls when they are physically picking up the dice and rolling them.
Random Numbers Generators vs Rolling Dice
When playing online, video craps uses random number generators (RNGs) to control what numbers come up on the dice. In reputable online casinos, these RNGs are checked and certified by licensing bodies to make sure the odds and house advantage are the same as they would be in a land-based casino. When the RNGs are tweaked, it can be like playing with weighted dice so make sure to read reviews and gather info about the RNGs at online casinos.
Live Dealer Craps
The “best of both worlds” scenario is a game that is offered by many online casinos: live dealer craps. This is where you have a virtual seat at a real table online and you bet on a game where real dice are rolled and people can chat and cheer together no matter where they are located.
This option is the closest you will get to a real casino feel online while still giving you the benefits of being able to play craps without an expensive trip to Vegas. Live dealer casinos are great fun and really replicate the in-house experience right from your laptop, desktop, or mobile phone.
Next time you are strolling through a casino and hear the cheers from the craps table or are scrolling an online casino and see a video or live dealer craps game, don’t be intimidated! Now that you have the basics of craps, all that is left to do is play. It is one of the best games in the casino and with a little knowledge and practice, you can become a proficient craps player in no time.