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Craps - Online Casino Gems

Craps is a casino table game that is played using a pair of dice. It’s the most popular dice game, especially in the United States, so much so that nearly every Hollywood gambling film features a group of joyous revelers surrounding a craps table.

In a game of craps, the players wage bets on the outcome of a roll or a set of rolls of a pair of dice. Unlike blackjack or baccarat where the croupier does much of the work, craps has one player designated to throw the dice. This is called a crapshooter or just shooter.

If you are a newbie in the world of craps, the dice game might appear to be difficult and complicated. There are myriad rules to adhere to, and many bets running concurrently. Don’t let this bog you down; craps is one of the easiest and the most fun games to learn and play.

Even though you can start playing craps with the knowledge of a few bets, you can take things to the next level by knowing the ins and outs of the game.

If you want to quench your thirst for knowledge of craps rules, gameplay, bets, betting systems, winning tips, and much more, then you have come to the right place. We’ve rounded up one of the most extensive guides to craps you will ever want to read.

Brief History of Craps

The history of craps dates as far back as the 12th-13th century Crusades. The modern game of craps was fashioned from Hazard, a popular European game that was imported to the US around 1807. The credits go to one young Louisiana landowner by the name of Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville.

Unlike today’s craps, the hazard shooter had the choice of picking the main number from 5 through 9. De Marigny made the game simple by ensuring the main number is always 7.

Unfortunately, the people of the upper-class didn’t hold de Marigny and his new-found game in high esteem. That’s why he introduced his new game to the underclass in the area. Soon, deckhands and others plying the waters took the game upstream on the Mississippi River.

The game caught up with residents along the Mississippi, so much so that hundreds of craps variants were developed. Interestingly, the moniker “craps” was a funny mispronunciation of “crabs.”

A century after its inception, craps was being misused by casinos using “rigged” and compromised dice. To correct this, John H. Winn, a dice maker based in Philadelphia introduced a setup that allowed players to wager on both Pass and Don’t Pass bets. This layout is still used across land-based and online casinos.

How to Play Craps - The Basics

The first step in a craps game is to pick the shooter, which is a fancy name for the person who will roll the dice. Once the shooter has been designated, the first roll of the new betting round is made. In craps lingo, this what’s known as the come-out roll.

A come-out roll happens when the shooter makes a Pass Line bet first, take a pair of dice, and throw them on the surface of the craps table. If you’re playing online craps, you can do this by simply clicking on the “roll” button.

The outcome of each roll is determined by the total face-up value of the dice pair. For example, if dice #1 and dice #2 have face-up values of 2 and 7 respectively, then we say you threw a 9.

There are 3 possible outcomes for every roll:

Natural - This is the best possible outcome you can get. It’s when you roll an 11 or a 7. If you land a natural, you win and the shooter will roll the dice again.

Craps - It’s the opposite of a Natural roll, which means it’s a losing outcome. It happens when you roll a 12, 3 or 2. Even though you’ve lost, you will be given another chance to roll.

Point - This happens when you roll any other number apart from a Natural or a Craps -- i.e. 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10. The next thing that’ll happen is that the croupier will mark the Point.

If you rolled a 9, for instance, the marker will be placed on the number nine on the table.

For online craps, you will roll the dice again. The same applies to the live dealer and physical craps: the shooter will roll once more.

The best possible outcome is to roll the same outcome. In this case, if you roll a 9, you win a helluva lot of money!

Unlike in the come-out roll, rolling a 7 is the worst outcome, which will subsequently end the betting round. This is known as sevening-out.

The come-out roll ends here; other outcomes will be covered in the betting options section.

How to Play Craps - Betting Options

(a) Popular Bets

Although there are numerous craps bets to select, only a few of them will interest you once you learn the nitty-gritty of the game. Here are the most popular craps bets you need to know:

Pass Line bet: this is perhaps the easiest bet in craps to learn and wager on. When you make a pass line bet, you are wagering that the outcome of the come-out roll (the first roll of a new betting round) will be either 11 or 7. If the crapshooter rolls either number and you have made a Pass Line bet, you will see your money doubled.

If the come-out roll delivers a 12, 3 or 2, you will lose your Pass Line bet, but you’ll get to roll the dice again.

As mentioned, if the come-out roll results in a 10, 9, 8, 6, 5 or 4, the Point is marked by the dealer. This is where things get really interesting.

The dice is rolled repeatedly until one of two things occurs: i) a 7 is rolled, or ii) the Point number is rolled again. For instance, if you rolled an 8 in the come-out roll, you will win a Pass Line bet if an 8 comes before a 7, which signifies a loss for you.

Don't Pass Line bet: This is the opposite of the Pass Line bet, which means that you’re wagering against the crapshooter. If the shooter rolls a 12, 3 or 2, you win a Don’t Pass Line bet. In craps lingo, we say the crapshooter crapped out. Of course, you will lose if the shooter rolls a 7 or 11.

If a Point is marked (the shooter rolls a 4,5,6,8,9 or 10), then your aim when you make a Don’t Pass Line bet is to have the shooter hit a 7 before rolling the Point number.

Come Bet: This is much like a Pass Line bet, however, you can make it any time after the point has been established. In other words, a Come bet wins if the shooter rolls an 11 or 7 after the come-out bet. Similarly, if the shooter rolls a 12, 3 or 2 after a come-out roll is rolled, the Come bet will also lose.

If the shooter rolls a 4,5,6, 8, 9 or 10 any time after a come-out roll, then you establish your own Point. If that number comes up before the shooter rolls a 7, then you win. The opposite is also true, and they both pay 2 to 1.                         

Don't Come Bets: This is the direct opposite of the Come bet. You can make a Don’t Come bet at any moment after the point number has been established. You don’t come bet will lose if the shooter rolls a 7. If the shooter rolls a 2 or 3, you win. A tie is established if the shooter rolls a 12.

If a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 is rolled, the number becomes your point. The shooter must roll a 7 before the Point number for your Don’t Come bet to win.

Odds Bets: An odd bet is what’s called a side bet. It can only be made once you have already wagered a Come/Don’t Come bet or a Pass/Don’t Pass bet. In a land-based casino, you can make an odds bet by placing desired chips behind your initial bet.

In craps, you can lay odds if you’ve made a negative bet - i.e. Don’t Come or Don’t Pass bet. On the flip side, you can take odds if you’ve made a positive bet - i.e. Come or Pass bet.

When it comes to odds bet, you are wagering on whether a 7 or the Point number will appear first. For instance, if you wagered a Pass bet and you take odds, you will win only if the shooter rolls the point number before a 7.

Note, however, that odds bets can be limited to 2x or 3x the original amount of the bet. The good news is that you take or lay odds at any time, remove them at any point or reduce or increase the bet amount at any time.

Laying or taking odds pays 3 to 2 for number points 9 and 2, double for points 10 or 4, and 6 to 5 for points 8 or 6.

(b) Single-Roll Bets

Single-roll bets are designed to be wagered at any time during a betting round. All you have to do is look for the relevant dice combination on the craps table. However, these single-roll bets have low return to player payout percentages, giving the house a large edge. These are ideal for players who just want to have fun and get some thrill from low-value bets.

(c) Proposition Bets

Proposition bets are a series of single-roll bets situated together on a craps table. Like single-roll bets, they come with unfavorable house edges, so craps experts don’t recommend proposition bets. They may help spice up your gambling experience, however, as you wait for your main bets to come up.

Any Craps: This is a 3-way single-roll bet that wins if the shooter rolls any craps (namely numbers 12, 3 or 2). It pays 7:1.

Three: Also called Ace Deuce, this pays 15 to 1 if the shooter rolls a 3.

Big Red: Also known as Any 7, this pays 4 to 1 if the shooter rolls a 7.

Snake Eyes: It’s a nickname for Aces or Two Craps. That means you will get paid a whopping 30 to 1 if the shooter rolls a 2.

Twelve Craps: It’s sometimes referred to as Midnight or Boxcars, and it pays 30 to 1 if the shooter hits a 12.

Eleven: Also called Yo, it’s what it sounds like - you win when the shooter hits an 11, and it pays 15:1.

(d) Craps & Eleven (C&E)

When you look at the craps table, there’s a section with 16 boxes marked with the initials C & E besides the proposition bets. This adds 11 to any Craps bet, which means that you will win if the shooter rolls a 2, 3, 12 or 11. This bet pays 30:1.

Please note that you will lose 50% of your original bet because half of your wager is on Any Craps, and the other half is on Eleven. This brings the house edge to 11.11 percent.

(e) Horn Bet

Horn bets are found right beside the proposition bets in the middle of the craps table. By placing your wager on the Horn bets, you are betting that 12, 11, 3 or 2 will come up in the next dice roll. Your wager is divided amongst the numbers.

For instance, if you bet a total of $240 on Horns bets, then $60 will be wagered on each number. If 12 or 2 is rolled, this pays 30 to 1, which means you will get $7,200. Numbers 11 and 3 pay half of that (15 to 1).

(f) Horn High Bets

When you make a horn bet, the wager amount is apportioned equally among the four numbers. However, you can make one of them a Horn High number by doubling your bet on the said number.

For instance, if you make 12 your Horn High number, and place a $10 bet, $4 will be put on 12, and $2 each on 2, 3 and 11. If 12 is rolled you will get paid 2x the payout amount minus the $2 on the 11 losing bets. As you might expect, you will have to show which number you desire to be your Horn High number. If one of the other 3 numbers is hit, and not your designated high number, you will get paid for the winning wager minus $8.

(g) World Bets

This is sometimes referred to as the Whirl Bet. This is a combo that allows you to bet on Any Seven and Horn bets, bringing your total individual bets to 5. As such, your bet can be wagered in multiples of $5, quite like the Horn High bets.

If a 7 is rolled by the shooter, for instance, then Any Seven bet wins and the other 4 Horn bets lose. Any Seven bet pays at 4 to 1, while Horn bet pays as shown above.

(h) Hardways

When you wager on a hard number, you bet that it will be rolled as a double. A hard 6, for instance, is a double of 3. So if 6 is rolled as a double of 3, it’s said to have been rolled the hard way.

Hardways bets are very straightforward, and winning the bet depends on the hard double being hit before a 7. That means that you can wager on a hard 10, a hard 8, a hard 6 and a hard 4. The payout depends on the hard number you have wagered on. Hard numbers 8 or 6 pay better at 9 to 1, while hard numbers 10 or 4 pays 7 to 1.

(i) Field Bets

When you place a Field bet, you are wagering that either a 12, 11, 10, 9, 4, 3 or 2 will be rolled in the next dice throw. The betting section for Field bets sits sandwiched above the Don’t Pass Bar and Come Bar.

If the shooter rolls a 12 or a 2, the payout is 2:1, while a roll of 11, 10, 9, 4 or 3 pays 1:1 (evens).

(j) Big 8 and Big 6

These are pretty obvious, and both bets pay 1:1 if you win. A big 8 bet will win if the shooter rolls any 8 before a 7. The same goes for big 6.

(k) Hop Bets

Hop bets are like proposition bets in that you can make them at any time during a betting round. What’s more exciting about hop bets is that you can select any dice combo you want, and bet on the outcome of the following dice throw. You must keep in mind that not all casinos give this betting option, so you must check the marking on the craps table.

(l) Lay/Buy Bets

These are some of the most popular multi-roll craps bets. A buy bet is a wager on any of the following numbers: 10, 9, 8, 6, 5 or 4. You are betting that your number will be rolled before a 7 at any time of a betting round. If this happens, you will be paid your true odds, which means that the casino will pay you back at an equal chance of the number being rolled.

Note, however, that the casino will deduct 5% from your winning before payout. A lay bet works oppositely because you are betting against the shooter. In other words, you can wager on this bet at any moment of the game, and you’re betting that the shooter will roll a 7 before your number comes up. Similarly, the casino will pay a regular payout but deduct 5 percent of your payout.

(m) Place Win and Place Lose Bets

Place win and place lose bets work precisely like lay/buy bets. However, the casino will not pay you true odds. A Place Win bet means you can bet at any moment of the game that one of the following will come up before a 7 is rolled: 10, 9, 8, 6, 5 or 4. If your chosen number is rolled before a seven, your Place Win bet will win. A Place Lose bet works the other way around.

Tips for Winning at Craps

Craps can be a great or awful table game to play, depending on how you go about the game. Here are some tried and true tips that will help you boost your chances of winning at craps:

Tip #1: Always opt for the Come Bet

With an RTP of 98.59%, the Come Bet has one of the lowest house edges. That means your probability of beating the house are theoretically very high.

Tip #2: Opt for the Pass Line Bet

Just like the Come Bet, a Pass Line bet has a house edge of 1.41%. This is a premier bet because you can technically lose $1.41 with a bankroll of $100.

Tip #3: Don’t hesitate to make an Odds Bet

Did you know that Odds bets have a house edge of zero? That’s nada, zip, nothing! Of course, there is a small catch. The good news is that you can add more to your wagering without worrying about boosting the house edge.

Tip #4: Don’t get caught up in the motion of the game

Craps is a highly charged and adrenaline-packed game, especially when played at a brick-and-mortar casino. Because it’s some sort of a riotous game, it is easy for your judgment to be clouded causing you to make the wrong calls. Stick to Any Sevens and bets above that, and don’t give a hoot about others.

Tip #5: Bankroll management is key

Don’t forget about the good old bankroll management strategy. Set a win-loss limit, and stick to it. When your losing streak persists, don’t try to chase your losses