Craps Rules: A Beginners Guide to Winning Strategies
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Craps Rules: A Beginners Guide to Winning Strategies

Craps Rules: A Beginners Guide to Winning Strategies

Craps rules refer to a set of strategies, etiquette, and basic guidelines that you need to keep in mind to successfully play and win at the popular casino dice game of craps.

You might be intimidated by craps with its glamour, glitz, and land-based casino aura, but behind its flashy exterior lies an easy and exciting game for bettors of all styles and experiences. With craps, there’s little skill involved, there are only 3 possible results of each round, and it all boils down to the roll of two dice.

Whereas craps is a highly loved game in land-based casinos, it isn’t exactly a top favorite of online bettors. Some are confused by craps rules and concepts like lay odds, snake eyes, come-out roll, betting on the pass line, and odds bets, which is why they tend to skip it.

Some online players, particularly newbies, believe craps rules are complicated, and that the game itself doesn’t match the essence of internet gambling. Thankfully, they’re terribly wrong, and we are here to clear the air.

Craps is a casino game that’s fun and uber-easy, especially when you play it at one of the best online casinos.

Previously, we have provided you with a rundown on how to play craps and how to score the best table games bonuses while at it. In this installment, however, we’ve focused our attention on craps rules, as well as clever strategies, tricks, and tips you can leverage to boost your chances of winning at this amazing game of dice.


What is Craps?

What is Craps

Craps is a madly popular casino game that involves rolling of two 6-sided dice and the players bet on the result of the roll or a sequence of rolls. At the very basic, craps is a casino table game, which means it offers better odds than slots, video poker, etc.

The craps table somewhat looks like a bathtub and come in different sizes, depending on the casino and variant. In land-based casinos, players bet using chips, which may also be known as plaques, tokens, or checks. Craps are usually part of live dealer games at an online casino.

It’s a chosen player, and not the dealer, who throws the pair of dice. This player who rolls the dice is known as ‘the shooter.’ And the sum of the pair of dice thrown tells whether bets on the Pass Line or Don’t Pass Line win.

The shooter’s first throw of each round of craps is called the come-out roll. If 7 and 11 (also called Natural numbers) are rolled, all Pass Line bets win. On the other hand, if any of 2, 3 and 12 — better known as craps numbers — is rolled, then bettors on the Pass Line lose. The opposite is true for Don’t Pass Line bets.

Other in-between numbers, namely 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10, are neither winners nor losers on the come-out roll. If any of these numbers is rolled, the shooter establishes the so-called point, and the game goes on to the next stage of play.

In the next phase, the shooter rolls the dice until the point number or 7 is rolled. If a 7 comes up first, all pass-line bets lose, but they win if the point number is rolled first. For example, if the shooter rolled an 8 in the come-out roll, pass-line bets win if an 8 is rolled before a 7.

Remember that don’t-pass-line bets win when the opposite happens. As you can see, seven can be a blessing or a curse, which is the essence of betting on craps. Importantly, there is a myriad of other bets you can make besides the pass line and don’t pass line bets.


Why do they call it Craps?

Why do they call it Craps

Originally, craps was actually known as Hazard, a game that dates as far back as the Crusades. It’s thought to have been invented by an English noble called Sir William of Tyre, but scholarly texts show that Roman soldiers may be responsible for creating craps. Perhaps you are asking yourself: why do they call the dice game craps?

The name Craps is derived from the French word ‘crapaud’ which loosely translates to ‘toad’ in English. It’s also the name of the famous Prince Edward Island in Canada. The reference to a toad may be due to the fact that early players of the game would crouch down or squat down to roll dice in alleys and streets.

You see, in the bygone era, craps tables weren’t there, meaning that the game would be played on the streets (some form of street dice still is). The player would actually shoot the dice directly on the floor.

The current design and layout of the craps table you find in online and land-based casinos were invented at around 1907 by John H. Winn, a well-known American dice maker. He also played a crucial role in popularizing craps in the early 20th century.


Most Common Bets in a Craps Game

Most Common Bets in a Craps Game

Don’t let the simple and easygoing nature of the game fool you; Craps provides bettors with a vast array of betting options. The vast majority of these bets are pretty simple and straightforward, too.

Pass Line/ Don’t Pass Line Bets

Pass line and don’t pass line are hands down the most popular, and equally the simplest types of craps bets. In most brick-and-mortar casinos, you may be required to place at least one of these bets before you make other bets. To become a shooter, you must make a pass line bet before you move on to the come-out roll.

When you make a pass line bet, you are betting that the outcome of the come-out roll will be a 7 or 11 (Natural numbers). As such, if a craps number (2, 3 or 12) is rolled, you lose. A point is established if you roll neither a Natural nor Craps number. A pass line bet wins if the point is rolled again, and loses if a 7 comes up before the point.

A don’t pass line bet, on the other hand, loses if the come-out roll is a 7 or 11. If it’s a 2 or 3, you win. Rolling a 12 on the come-out roll means that the bet will be pushed, and you neither lose nor win. Once the point has been established, you win if a 7 is rolled before the point, and vice versa. They pay 1:1.

Come/Don’t Come Bets

Also very common, come and don’t come bets are much akin to pass line/don’t pass bets. The key difference is that they can be placed once the point has been established, and not before the come-out roll. This makes them a bit complicated, but they are pretty straightforward if you pay attention.

It all depends on when you place your come/don’t come bet. If the next roll after you make a come bet is a Natural number (7 or 11), then you win your bet. If it’s a craps number (2, 3 or 12), then you lose your come bet.

Your come bet point is established if neither a craps nor natural number is rolled – that’s when 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 is rolled. For instance, if a 6 is rolled, then six becomes your point, and the croupier places a marker on the number.

If the point (in this case a 6) is rolled again, your come bet wins and loses if a 7 or an 11 is rolled. In some way, you can think of a come bet as your personalized pass-line bet.

A don’t come bet works the other way around. You lose if a natural number comes up, and win if a craps number is rolled after you’ve placed a don’t come bet. After a point has been established, rolling a 7 or 11 before the point number will result in a win, and vice versa. Both come and don’t come bets pay evens.

Odds Bets

These can be thought of as side bets that you can place once the point has been established. There are fundamentally 4 types of odds bets you can make in a game of craps: pass line odds, don’t pass odds, come odds, and don’t come odds bets.

Odds bets are placed to complement your earlier wager. A pass line odds bet, for instance, is placed to complement your pass line bet once the point has been established. That means your odds bet wins if the point is rolled before a 7, and loses if a seven is rolled first.

The same applies for don’t pass odds bets which complement an original don’t pass line wager. In this case, you will win if a 7 is rolled before the point number, and lose if the point comes up first. If you roll a 5 in a come-out roll, the Don’t Pass odds bet wins if a 7 is rolled before a 5.

The beauty of odds bets is that they have no house edge and pay at true odds which vary depending on the point position. Pass line odds and come odds bets pay at 2:1, 3:2, and 6:5 when the point is 4 or 10, 5 or 9, and 6 or 8 respectively.

On the other hand, don’t pass odds and don’t come odds bets pay at 1:2, 2:3, and 5:6 when the point is 4 or 10, 5 or 9, and 6 or 8 respectively. Usually, you can stake up to 3x the original bet on an odds wager.

Place Win/Place Lose Bets

A place win bet is usually placed after a point is established. They only apply to point numbers, namely 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10. Despite how they might sound, place win bets are quite easy to understand and make.

You win if the selected number comes up before a seven, and you lose if a 7 is rolled first. The payout for a place win bet varies depending on what the point is. If you choose 6 or 8, the place win pays at 7:6 if it wins. 5 or 9 and 4 or 10 pays out at 7:5 and 9:5 respectively.

Place lose bets are the exact opposite of place win bets, and similarly can only be placed on 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10. You lose if the chosen number is rolled before a 7, and win when a seven comes up first. The payouts vary depending on the point picked.

If you pick 6 or 8 to lose, for instance, you will be paid at 4:5 if a 7 is rolled first. For points 5 or 9 and 4 or 10, the payouts are 5:8 and 5:11 respectively.

Proposition Bets

Pass-line and come bets usually last more than one roll, especially when a point is established. However, there are single-roll wagers you can make, as well. This type of bets applies to the one roll but may be placed at any stage of play.

Collectively called proposition bets, the most common wagers you can place at an online casino include:

Any Craps – This is the most common proposition bet which wins if any craps number (2, 3 or 12) is rolled. It pays 7:1.

Any Seven – It’s what it sounds like: a one-roll bet on 7. It pays 4:1 if a seven is rolled.

Yo-leven – This quirky-named bet wins if an 11 is rolled. It pays a whopping 15 to 1.

Aces – Popularly called Snake Eyes, it wins if 2 is rolled. As the most lucrative bet, it pays 30 to 1 if it wins.

Craps & Eleven – It wins if a 2, 3, 11 or a 12 is rolled. It pays 15:1 on 11 and 7:1 on 2, 3 and 12.

Three Caps – Also known as Ace-Deuce, this bet wins if a 3 is rolled. It pays 15 to 1.

Boxcars – This straight-up wager pays 30:1 if a 12 is rolled.

Hard Ways

Hard ways are special proposition bets that go on beyond a single roll. It’s simple: you win a Hard Way bet if a 4, 6, 8 or 10 results from a roll with a pair of similar numbers. The payout differs depending on which number pair is rolled.

At most gambling sites, rolling 2 & 2 (4) will pay at 7:1, while 3 & 3 (6), 4 & 4 (8), and 5 & 5 (10) pay at 9:1, 9:1, and 7:1 respectively.

Buy/Lay Bets

Buy bets are similar in nearly all aspects to Place Win bets, but the main difference is the higher payouts and 5 percent commission. Like place win bets, buy wagers pays out when a chosen number is rolled before a seven.

In most online casinos, you pay the commission before the roll commences. However, a few casinos deduct the 5-percent commission when you win. If you choose a 6 or 8, the payout is 6:5, while 5 or 9 and 4 or 10 pays out at 3 to 2 and 2 to 1 respectively.

Lay bets are the opposite of buy wagers and resemble place lose bets in every regard except the 5-percent commission and higher payouts. This bet pays out when a seven is rolled before the point number. The payouts are 1:2, 2:3, and 5:6 for numbers 4 or 10, 5 or 9, and 6 or 8 respectively.

Field Bets

Field bets are typically settled on the following roll from when you place them. You win if a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or a twelve is rolled. However, if a 5, 6, 7, or an 8 is rolled, you lose.

It pays even money (1:1) except for when a 2 or a twelve is rolled. In the latter case, the payout is 2:1 (also known as doubles).

Big 6/Big 8 Bets

These craps wagers are pretty straightforward. Big 6 bet wins if a 6 is rolled before a seven. Similarly, a Big 8 bet wins if 8 rolls out before a 7, and loses if a seven comes up first. Both wagers pay even money.

These are the most common bets you can wager at an online or land-based casino. However, some brick-and-mortar casinos offer many more options. It’s all about mastering the respective craps rules and finding the right strategy to win. (This takes us to the next subject: craps strategy.


Best Strategies to Win at Craps

Best Strategies to Win at Craps

Choosing the Right Casino

Perhaps the most overlooked strategy is picking the right online casino to play craps. Not all gambling sites are cut from the same cloth, which is why due diligence can make a massive difference right off the bat.

As a general rule of thumb, choose a safe and reputable casino with an established track record for being player-friendly and fair. Ultimately, this means sticking to well-known online casinos with valid gambling licenses from trustworthy authorities. Good thing, we have comprehensive coverage of casino news, including when new online casinos are launched.

Don’t forget to check out its craps games variety, and house edge. The higher the house edge, the less likely that you will win at the casino.

Stick to the Best Bets

The next strategy is to pick bets with the highest possible player odds. Depending on the craps rules specified by the casino, the optimal wagers include placing pass line/don’t pass and come/ don’t come bets. These bets have an average house edge of 1.40 percent.

The next best bets besides pass and come bets are Field 2, Field 12, Place 6, and Place 8 wagers. These are the bets that provide you with the best likelihood of walking away with decent wins.

Betting the Right Way – The Pass Line and Come Bets

Undoubtedly the most common of all wagers on the game craps, the pass line bet boasts a delightfully low house edge of 1.41 percent. After all, the only way to lose a pass line bet is if a craps number is rolled on the come-out roll.

Very much similar to the pass line, the come bet allows you to enjoy a low house edge once the point has been established. Similarly, you can only lose if a 2, 3 or 12 are rolled before a seven or eleven.

If you stick to pass line and come bets, you are more likely to win and stretch your bankroll the farthest.

Going Against the Grain – Don’t Pass and Don’t Come Bets

Betting the wrong way or placing don’t pass and don’t come bets, can be the right craps strategy. It’s all about going against the grain.

Take don’t pass bet, for instance. This come-out roll bet wins if a 2 or a 3 is rolled. You can only lose if a seven or 11 rolls out. If a 12 is rolled, the bet is pushed. The big advantage of making don’t pass bets is that the house edge is very favorable at 1.36 percent.

On the same note, don’t come bet which is the direct opposite of come bet has a low house edge of 1.41 percent, and pay even money.

Don’t Be Afraid to Take and Lay Odds

Although little-known, odds bets are deliciously favorable to craps players. That’s because they come with literally zero house edge. Laying odds means that you are placing an odds bet after making a wager on the Pass Line or Come bet in the come-out roll. By laying odds, you are betting that the point rolls out before a seven.

You can also take odds on previously made don’t pass and don’t come bets. By taking odds, you are hoping that a 7 will be rolled before the point. The more odds you take or lay, the lower the house edge for the original bet.

Know when to place Field Bets

Field bets are an excellent choice for inpatient bettors who prefer to get in on single-roll bets. These bets combine the convenience of one-roll bets with the lower house edge and higher odds of pass line/don’t pass wagers.

They are certainly better than position bets because they offer a fairly low house advantage of around 5.56 percent, but worse than come/don’t come bets. Ideally, the best field numbers to wager on are 2 and 12 which pay 2:1 or 3:1 depending on the casino.

Betting Strategy 6/8

If you must absolutely place a bet on numbers 6 or 8, it’s best to avoid Big 6 and Big 8 bets which have a high house advantage of roughly 9 percent. Instead, go for 6 and 8 directly, essentially reducing the house edge to a favorable 1.52 percent.

5-Count Strategy

Even though it won’t reduce the house edge or change craps rules, the so-called five-count craps strategy help you play in a simpler and a more composed manner. This method will help you prevent impulsive bets and minimize overall losses at the table.

Counting to 5 points before making your first bet is the essence of the 5-count strategy. It helps you avoid wasting your bankroll on bad shooters. In online casinos, it helps you figure out with types of craps will most likely pay out well.

Leverage Casino Bonuses

An increasing number of gambling sites offer all sorts of casino bonuses that you can take advantage of to take your craps strategy to a whole new level. There are plenty to choose from, including welcome bonuses, no-deposit bonuses, deposit match bonuses, new casino bonuses, and cashbacks. Essentially, these bonuses will help you bolster your bankroll and try out new craps games without risking your real money.

Practice before you Play

As general advice, it’s often crucial to practice any casino game before playing using real money. The good news is that most online casinos and gambling sites have a plethora of free craps games. Alternatively, you can use the free-play mode of the game.



Craps is a popular dice game that continues to rock the world of online and land-based casinos. Craps rules, design, and gameplay are easy to master, making the game hassle-free to play. Besides, it offers some of the best odds and the lowest house edges in the gambling arena.

Even still, it’s important to understand craps rules, especially betting options available to you. Ideally, you should stick to pass/don’t pass and come/don’t come bets that pay even money and have a low house advantage of approximately 1.40 percent.

You can also try your luck on Field bets and odds bets. They too have reasonably lower bets than proposition bets like Any Craps, Any Seven, Horns, Any 11, Aces, Boxcar, and Ace Deuce bets.

If you are looking for a more aggressive and equally rewarding craps strategy, you can opt for Big 6, Big 8, and Hard Ways. Unfortunately, they come with a very high house advantage.

When all’s said and done, there are several strategies and tricks that you can employ to increase your odds and chances of winning at craps. These include:

  Always play pass/don’t pass and come/don’t come bets to maintain your bankroll

  Exercise prudent bankroll management which involves setting win & loss limits – and sticking to them.

  Choose a safe and reputable online casino with a variety of craps variants

  Practice using free-play mode and free games to hone your craps skills

  Don’t hesitate to take odds or lay odds because odds bets have no house edge

  Use the 5-count craps method to not only minimize your losses but also play the game in a calm and collected manner.

Ultimately, it’s important to check out the paytable to make sure that you stick to bets that come with a low, player-friendly house edge.


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