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How to Play Craps: Learn Craps Rules in Minutes

Want to learn how to play craps? You’ve come to the right place. Our guide to craps rules is written by experts who have been playing for years. They know the game inside out, and in a few minutes you will too!

Craps may seem complicated at first, as there is a multitude of different bets available. However, learning the rules of craps is actually quite simple once you understand the rules, bets, and terminology. Check out our guide on how to play craps for beginners and intermediate players today.

How to play Craps

Winning at Craps – The Main Objective

The aim of craps is to correctly predict the outcome of dice rolls. You won’t roll any of the dice yourself. If you play craps at land casinos, then you’ll be betting on the results of rolls from the ‘shooter’. If you predict the outcome correctly, you win!

Craps Rules

Craps starts with a pass line bet, and then various betting options are available from there. The basic structure of craps breaks down as follows:

  • The game starts by making a pass line bet
  • The shooter rolls the come out roll
  • A 7 or 11 (natural roll) is an instant win for pass bettors, and a 2, 3, or 12 (craps) is an instant loss
  • Any other number becomes the point, and the shooter rolls again
  • At this point, numerous other bet types become available
  • If the shooter rolls the point number again (or any additional point numbers that are rolled) they win. If they roll a 7, they lose
  • If the shooter makes the point, they roll a new come out roll
  • If the shooter loses (rolls a 7 before they reroll the point) they lose, and the dice rotate to the next shooter

Offline vs. Online Craps

Not sure whether to play craps online or at a land casino? There are advantages and disadvantages to both ways of playing. It mostly boils down to preference, but beginners tend to prefer online play because it’s an easier environment to learn and practice in. There are four main differences between online and brick-and-mortar casinos.

Offline Craps

  • At a land-based casino, there is a camaraderie around the table, with the energy picking up during hot streaks, and there is the opportunity to make jokes and have fun with the other players.
  • When you throw a dice, the outcome isn’t quite random. A die has imperfections to it, and the way you throw may also affect the outcome.
  • You are unlikely to find a brick-and-mortar casino offering the chance to play for free. As soon as you start playing, even as a beginner, you are immediately playing with money.
  • Unless you’re a high roller, the chances are you won’t be offered any bonuses or other perks from land-based casinos. You can bet with the money you came with, and anything you win, nothing more.

Online Craps

  • You are alone in a quiet environment. Without the pressure of any eyes on you, and the distractions created by a potentially noisy environment, you can focus on the right bets to make.
  • Online craps games use a random number generator when simulating the dice throw. These means that the outcomes are 100% random.
  • Online craps allows the opportunity for free play games. This allows you the chance to learn how to play craps and get comfortable with the rules before laying any money down.
  • Almost all online casinos offer a welcome bonus and sporadic bonuses for existing customers. Some casinos offer these bonuses for craps. It’s worth staying aware of wagering requirements here.

Glossary of Craps Terms

As with most table games, knowing how to play craps at the casino includes getting to grips with the jargon. There are numerous terms that are individual to craps, and others that are general terms for casino games, which need to be understood in order to play the game with as much focus as you can.

  • Come Bet – Betting with the shooter after the come out roll (the opposite of a Don’t Come bet)
  • Come Out Roll – The first roll of the dice that results in either a win (7 or 11), a loss (2, 3, or 12), or a point number being established (any other number)
  • Crap Out – Rolling a 2, 3, or 12 on the come out bet, resulting in an immediate loss for the player and for Pass Line bettors
  • Hardway – A result made from two matching numbers on the dice (a hard 8 is an 8 made of two 4s, for example). A Hardway bet is a high-risk bet on such a result
  • Hi-Lo – A bet on a 2 or a 12
  • Hot Streak – A shooter who has thrown several winning rolls in a row
  • House Edge – The advantage the casino has over the player, normally shown as a percentage
  • Natural – A roll of 7 or 11 on the come out roll, resulting in an instant win for the player and Pass Line bettors
  • Parlay – Keeping winnings in place to repeat your bet on the next roll
  • Pass Line – The part of the table used to make Pass Line bets, also known as the Front Line
  • Pass Line Bet – Betting along with the shooter, you win if they win (the opposite of a Don’t Pass bet)
  • Place Numbers – The numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10
  • Point – A target number established on the come out roll, this can be 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10. To win, the shooter must roll the point again before rolling a 7
  • Seven Out – Rolling a seven after establishing a point, but before the repeating the point, resulting in a loss and the dice moving to the next shooter
  • Snake Eyes – Rolling a 2 (1 and 1)
  • Shooter – The player rolling the dice
  • Stickman – Employee at the table responsible for returning the dice to the shooter, calling the results of dice rolls, placing certain bets on the table, and upselling riskier bets
  • Wrong Bettor – Someone betting against the shooter using Don’t Pass or Don’t Come bets

Basic Bets in Craps

There are numerous bets that can be made in craps. Some are simple, and others a little more complex. Here is a breakdown of the available bets in craps.

Multi-Roll Bets

  • Pass Bets Vs. Don’t Pass Bets

    Betting with or against the dealer on the come out roll. A Pass Bet will win instantly for a natural outcome, lose instantly if the shooter craps out, and follow the player if a point number is established. Don’t Pass Bets are the exact opposite.

  • Come Bets Vs. Don’t Come Bets

    A Come Bet is to bet with the player after the come out roll, once a point number is established. If they lose, you lose and if they win, you win. Don’t Come Bets are bets against the shooter from the same point.

  • Free Odds

    Free Odds are bets that have no house edge. These bets can only be played in conjunction with other bets such as Pass or Come bets. For example, if you bet on a 4 on the next roll, there are three ways to roll a 4, so if that is the outcome, the payoff is 2:1. Most casinos have limits on these bets of around 5x the Pass Line bet.

  • Lay Odds

    Laying the Odds is to bet against the point after a Don’t Pass bet. This is another bet with no house edge. Laying the Odds against a point of 4, to follow the above example, pays off 1:2.

  • Place Bets

    Place Bets are bets made on prospective point numbers, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10. These bets can be made at any time, including on the come out roll. If the number(s) you bet on land before a 7, you win. These bets can be increased, decreased, or removed at any stage.

  • Buy Bets

    Buy Bets are similar to Place Bets. The differences are that Buy Bets have a significantly reduced house edge, and that Buy Bets can only be placed on one prospective point number. These bets must be ‘bought’ with a 5% commission before being laid.

  • Hardways

    Hardways are bets on a single dice roll resulting in a hard number, meaning a number made up of matching numbers on the two dice, such as a hard 8 (an 8 made up of a four on each dice). This is a high-risk bet and is not advisable.

One-Roll Bets/Proposition Bets

  • The Field

    Betting on The Field is to bet that the next roll of the dice will show 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12. If any of these numbers shows on the next roll, you win.

  • 2 or 12

    2 or 12, also known as a Hi-Lo Bet, is to bet on 2 (snake eyes) and 12 (boxcar) for the next roll. If either of these numbers shows on the next roll, you win.

  • Any 7

    Any 7 is a one-roll bet that pays off if any combination resulting in 7 appears on the dice. The possible combinations are 1-6, 2-5, and 3-4.

  • Any Craps

    Any Craps is also known as a Three Way bet and is a bet on the shooter rolling a 2, 3, or 12 (crapping out) on the come out roll.

  • Craps and 11

    Also known as C + E, this is a combination bet. Here, you are playing the Any Craps bet and combining it with the Yo bet (a bet on eleven) to expand your chances of winning slightly.

  • Hop Bets

    Hop Bets are similar to Hardway bets, in that this is a bet on a specific combination. However, these bets are on non-matching combinations. For example, a 4+2 bet would be on an outcome of 6 made up of a 4 and a 2 on the dice.

  • Boxcars

    The Boxcars Bet has numerous other names such as Cornrows, Midnight, and Twelve Craps, and is simply a bet placed on an outcome of 12 on the next dice roll.

  • Horn

    The Horn Bet is the same as the Craps and 11 Bet, except made after the come out roll. At this point, you are betting on 2, 3, 11, or 12 to be rolled as a point number.

  • Horn High

    Horn High is a Horn bet with a double bet on one number, for example, $1 on the 2, 3, and 11, and $2 on the 12. These bets work in increments of $5.

  • World or Whirl

    Known as both the Whirl and World bet depending on casino preference, this is a combination bet. The Whirl bet combines both the Horn Bet and the Any 7 Bet.

  • Ace Deuce

    Ace Deuce is a bet on an outcome of 3 on the dice, made up of a 1 (Ace) and a 2 (Deuce) on the dice. This bet is also known as Three Craps.

Best Beginner Craps Bets

If you are just starting out learning how to play craps, it’s best to first stick to bets that are easy to understand and make when you play. These are some of the best bets for beginners:

  • Pass/Don’t Pass – An easy, low risk bet with good odds that is the starting point for all craps players.
  • Come/Don’t Come – These bets are essentially the same as Pass and Don’t Pass, just made later in the game. They add variety without making anything more complicated. Pass and Come bets are the most popular bets for most craps players.
  • Field Bet – If you want to try a one-roll bet, the Field Bet is a good start. The wide range of winning outcomes lowers the risk.
  • Lay Odds – This bet lets you step up the complexity slightly, while still maintaining a relatively low house edge.
  • Horn – Another bet with a decent spread of possible winning outcomes. This tends to be a more accepted bet at craps tables than C + E because it isn’t a ‘wrong’ bet.
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Top Tips for Playing Craps

When learning how to play craps, there are some tips to keep in mind to ensure you get the most from the game.

Start Easy

Don’t rush into complex bets straight away. Stick with Pass and Come bets for as long as is necessary to get your bearings.

Pick a Strategy

There are numerous craps strategies out there. Some work great for beginners, while others are more suited for high rollers. While no strategy guarantees a win, they can be helpful for getting you used to the game.

Avoid Proposition Bets

The stickman at the craps table will try to tempt you into proposition bets. They do this because these bets have the highest house edge. Resist the temptation.

Beware of the Gambler’s Fallacy

The Gambler’s Fallacy is the belief that a roll of the dice is affected by previous rolls. There is no such thing as a hot streak (except for by sheer coincidence). Don’t get over-excited after a few winning rolls.

Collect Your Winnings

If you don’t collect your winnings after each roll, they will be parlayed into the next roll.

Know Your Budget

Play at tables with a table minimum you can afford. Never bet money you can’t afford to lose.

Play Craps for Free at VegasSlotsOnline

Now that you know how to play craps, it’s time to put your newfound knowledge to good use. The stuff that’ve we’ve written for you in our guide will really stick once you start playing and practicing what you’ve learnt. The good news is that you don’t need to throw yourself right in the deep end. Free play craps is a no-risk way to hone your skills and get familiar with the craps table layout and the different types of bets you can make.

Play Craps for Real Money at Our Best-Rated Casinos

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How to Play Craps FAQ

To learn how to play craps, including the basic rules, betting types, and everything else you need to know, check out our complete guide on how to play craps. Our guide has all the info you need to start playing and familiarize yourself with craps rules, no matter whether you want to play online or at land casinos.

In terms of house edge, laying off on a Don’t Pass or Don’t Come 6 and 8 bet is the best option. However, this isn’t a definitive answer. The best you can make it going to depend highly on your budget and your choice of craps strategy.

There is no surefire way to win at craps. At the end of the day, you need to keep in mind that craps, like all casino games, are determined by chance. However, sticking with low risk bets with the best odds and building slowly tends to be the most sensible strategy.

At VegasSlotsOnline, we rank the best online casinos for playing craps and numerous other table and casino games. We select our top-rated casinos based on several criteria including their license, security practices, bonus offers and mobile experience. But of course, the quality of the craps games available is high on that list.

Some people do make a living playing craps. However, as a game of chance, winning is never guaranteed, it takes a lot of luck. Before changing career paths, stick to craps as a hobby and keep your risks low. To even consider going pro, you’ll have to have a lot of experience under your belt.

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