We may receive a commission if you make a purchase.

How to Play Craps – Basics

Las Vegas Craps Basics

Walk into almost any casino and the noisiest largest crowd is usually standing around the Craps Table. Craps or Dice is both the most popular and often the most misunderstood game in the casino. This is because it can be played in a simple straight forward manner, or made very complicated with all sorts of betting arrangements. If you learn the simple playing strategy presented here you will be playing pretty close to even money or sometimes better than even with the casino. These techniques also apply to online casinos.

Craps Table Layout

Las Vegas Dice Craps Table Layout

The best and often most profitable way to play craps is in a simple straight manner, avoiding the many exotic craps table bets. Looking at the Craps Layout above you will see a section marked Pass and another Don’t Pass. Betting on either one gives you close to a fifty-fifty chance of winning. It cuts the house advantage down to less than 1.5% and is one of the best odds in all of Vegas. If you learn nothing else and stop reading here, you will do fine at the game.

Craps – Basic Play and Making Your Point

I would now like to explain the rules of the game as it is played online and in almost every casino. Keep in mind that you do not have to be the shooter to bet. Let’s say the shooter or you bet pass. This is done by putting a chip on the pass line (see above chart). If a seven or eleven comes up the shooter automatically wins. If a 2, 3, or 12 comes up the shooter loses.  A little trivia: rolling a two is called snake eyes because of the two little dots that are showing, and a twelve is called boxcars, you have to use your imagination for this one.

Aside from the numbers we have accounted for – 2, 3, 12, 7 and 11, the shooter may roll a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10. If he rolls any of these numbers they become his Point. At this time the shooter wins if he can roll his point number before rolling a seven. This leads to some unfortunate confusion and it shouldn’t.

If you roll a seven or eleven on the first roll you win. If you roll a point number – 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 on the first roll, you then must roll that number again before a seven comes up.

Betting don’t pass means the shooter must roll a 2, 3 or 12 (most casinos consider 12 a tie and there is no winner) on the first roll, or fail to make his point number by rolling a 7 before hitting their point, in order for you to win. You will usually find more pass bets then don’t pass, since players in general don’t like to bet against another person, but both have the exact same odds.

These are the rules of the game. If you just play pass or don’t pass, or one other type of bet that I will illustrate, you will be getting some of the best odds possible in any casino. You will have limited the house advantage to approx. 1.4%. These are excellent odds especially when you consider that in many other games such as roulette, the odds can be between 5% and 10%, or more favoring the house.

Craps – Come / Don’t Come Betting Proposition

Vegas Dice Come and Don't Come Bets

Before describing some of the betting propositions on the craps layout, I would like to show you one other bet that also has the same odds as pass and don’t pass. Near the pass or don’t pass area is a section called come or don’t come.

It may take a while for the shooter to either make his point or seven out. If you are anxious to get a bet down to try your luck, or just want a quick game, you can put your bet on the come or don’t come section without waiting for the shooter to finish his play.

This means the very next roll by the shooter is considered as the first roll of the dice as far as your bet is concerned. All the rules and odds that apply to pass or don’t pass apply to your come or don’t come bet. It offers some nice side betting action with great odds.

Craps – Advanced Betting Proposition

The layout of the crap table is not as complicated as it looks at first glance. Each end of the table is a mirror image of the other.

High-Odds Dice Bets

craps 5 for1 | 10 for 1 | 30 for 1| 15 for 1 bets

In the center are various bets that are best to stay away from.

They are bets that pay high odds if certain dice combinations come up. The problem is the odds are never high enough to compensate you for how unlikely the bets really are. In general, the higher the payout, the worse the odds. For example, rolling a 3 pays 15 times your bet, which sounds great, but there are only 2 ways out of 36 possible outcomes to get it, giving you about a 5% chance. If you bet $1 on each try for 100 rolls, you will on average lose $95 just to make $75 back.

Of course you could get lucky do well, but realize the odds are stacked against you on these high payout bets. You are far better off with simple pass / don’t pass bets.

Big 6 and Big 8 Bets

Vegas craps big 6 and big 8 bets dice

A lot of the bets shown on the craps layout are nothing more than sucker bets. Here is an example. On the layout there are Big 6 and Big 8 bets. If you bet and hit the Big 6 or 8 before a seven comes up, it pays even money – a dollar for a dollar bet. It actually should pay higher odds, because a 7 turning up is a more likely outcome. There are many other craps betting propositions on the layout that you should look at very suspiciously. 

Keep in mind, all of these attractive looking bets have a casino advantage greater than the 1.4% the house has in Pass, Don’t Pass, Come or Don’t Come bets. Often it is the person trying to show off for the crowd, by making fancy betting moves, using these attractive looking bets, who loses the most money.

Craps Table Etiquette

Craps Dice

 Just a word or two about dice table etiquette. When you walk up to the table always stack your chips in the rack in front of you. When it is your turn to shoot the dice, try to hold them loosely so at least one die is visible at all times. When you throw them, be sure and hit the back wall of the table so they bounce off into play. Yes, it is Okay to blow on them like in the movies, but don’t go too crazy.

If you do not want to be a shooter, just pass the dice to the person next to you. When a shooter is working on a point, wait until he picks up the dice before putting down a come or don’t come bet. Tipping the stickman or playing a chip for him can sometimes save you money in the long run as he will tend to look out for your best interest. As an example, when a chip is accidentally left on the table he might remind you.

Vegas Gambling Guides