If you think of boxcars and snake eyes when you think of gambling, then there is a good chance you are familiar with the game of Craps. Yes, Craps is the game where everyone crowds around the table while one player blows on the dice for luck. And yes, it’s also the game where catchy gambling slang apparently comes from. In brick ‘n mortar casinos, the Craps table is often the most exciting place to be, with yells, cheers and groans being heard from the table as everyone gathered reacts to the dice throw – A reaction that is largely due to the fact that everyone surrounding the table gets to bet, and not just the person throwing the dice. At the craps table everyone either wins or loses, depending on the outcome.
The online version of craps is, of course, not nearly as exciting as the brick ‘n mortar game (although this could very well change with further advancements in live dealer online casinos). But what the internet has to offer that a land-based casino does not is an undeniable convenience factor, and the perfect training ground for newbie Craps players, not to mention more seasoned gamblers looking to put Craps strategy to the test. But first, the rules:
Craps can be an intimidating game to the unfamiliar onlooker. Many players are actually overwhelmed the first time they step up to a craps table at a land based casino, as it is usually crowded, loud and not the type of place where a newcomer feels comfortable asking questions. However, you shouldn’t feel this way, as the craps table has plenty of attendants, known as boxmen, watching the action and ready to exchange chips or answer questions.
Once the general objective is understood (see below), grasping the rules essentially amounts to memorizing the various types of bets offered at the craps table. The bigger challenge is knowing how to run various bets on the Craps table at once. With consistent practice (again, the internet is a good place to start), this can be easily mastered.
A game of Craps begins with the roll of the dice – the bettor doing so referred to as the shooter. The shooter’s first dice toss is called the “come out roll.” This is also when other players place the first bet, namely the Pass/Don’t Pass bet. Both bets return roughly the same House Edge, albeit the Don’t Pass wager offers a slightly lower edge.
If the shooter rolls a 2 (snake eyes), 3 or 12 (boxcars) on the come out roll, then the roll is deemed a “craps” and all Pass Line bets lose. If the shooter rolls a 7 or an 11, all Pass bets win. If the shooter rolls a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 on the come-out roll, the corresponding “point” will be set. In order for the Pass Line bet to win at this stage, the shooter must roll the “point” again before rolling a seven. Otherwise, the rolling of a 7 will clear the table.
If you play Craps at a real world casino, it’s important to remember that the “Don’t Pass” bet means you’re actually betting for the shooter to lose. In other words, pay mind to keep your wins to yourself (no open celebrations) while betting against the table. However, when you play online, you can bet either way without worrying about table manners. Celebrate and yell all you want.
After the point has been established and throughout the remaining process, players can also make a number of supplemental and side bets, which are as follows:
Taking the Odds – This is the act of increasing one’s pass line bet (limited by a certain denomination) after the point has been established. Simply place chips behind the pass line bet. Payout is 2:1 for a 4 or 10, it is 3:2 for a 5 or 9, and 6:5 on a winning 6 or 8 point.
Laying the Odds – The opposite of taking the odds, this is the act of increasing one’s don’t pass line bet after the point has been established. Both laying and taking odds bring the House Edge down to 0%.
Come/Don’t Come – A wager that is permitted after the point has been established, and which acts exactly like the Pass/Don’t Pass line bet.
Place/Place to Lose – Similar to the odds bets, place and place to lose do not require a pass line bet to have already been made. On any roll after the come-out, a place or place to lose can be made on the Place numbers 4,5,6,8,9,10, and will pay slightly less than regular odds bets.
Buy Bets – Acting in the same manner as place bets, buy bets offer slightly worse odds (due to a 5% commission), except on the 4 and 10 (a piece of strategy for you).
Lay Bets – Acting in the same manner as laying the odds or place to lose, lay bets also come with a 5% commission, thus resulting in slightly worse odds except on the 4 and 10.
Big 6 & Big 8 – A wager that a 6 or 8 will be rolled before a 7 (after the come-out). Since it only pays 1:1, experienced craps players avoid it altogether and instead make place bets on the 6 or 8, which pays 7:6.
Proposition Bets – These bets are determined with a single dice roll after the come-out and include the Field Bets, as well as the Any Seven and Any Craps bets (and all bets located in this box for that matter). Proposition bets range in odds, but provide the highest House Edge on the craps table.
If you’re playing craps for real money, you’ll want to keep the odds of the various bets in mind. A Pass or Don’t Pass bet offers decent odds, returning a 1.4% House Edge. This is similar to betting an even money inside bet on the roulette table. On the other hand, betting that the shooter will roll a specific combination – such as a proposition bet – gives you tougher odds, but a larger payout. What makes for the lowest edge possible at Craps (0%) is taking/laying the odds after a pass/don’t pass wager.