Basic Craps Rules and Bets

Craps is a simple gambling game, where two dice are rolled and players win or lose their bets according to the number both dice show. Read how the basic betting at craps works and also go over examples of the most advantageous bets.

A Craps Table

A Craps table is run by four dealers. One of them seats at the head of the table, holds the bank and supervises the game. This dealer is called the boxman. The second dealer stands on the opposite side of the table and grabs dice and bets in the end of each throw with a help of a long wooden stick. This dealer is called the stickman. Two other dealers stand by each side of the table, supervise their sides and pay out winnings to the players on their side.The player who throws the dice is called the shooter. The shooter must throw the dice not higher than the eye level of his sides dealer the way the dice will hit the opposite wall of the table before falling. Each time the shooter rolls 7, he is replaced by the next player in clockwise direction. The shooter bets in the same manner as all other players and do not have any advantage.

How to Bet

While the game itself is quite simple, the betting scheme of craps is a bit complex. There are many different bets that follow different rules and provide different odds. Pass line and come bets, automatically followed by free odds bet in the case of winning, are the most advantageous bets in craps. Therefore most players only place these bets and do not touch any others. Here we give you descriptions of some of craps bets, recommending you to use only pass line or come options.

  • Pass line bets are placed on a sequence of rolls. Each such sequence begins after the shooter rolls 7 and a new shooter enters or the previous sequence ends in the favor of the players. If the first roll of the sequence shows 7 or 11, all players who bet on pass line automatically win. If 2, 3 or 12 come out on the first roll, all pass line bettors lose. Otherwise, the number shown on the first roll is called point number. If point number comes out again before the shooter rolls 7, pass line bettors win, otherwise they lose. An opposite bet, which is won if the point number does not appear before 7 is called Dont Pass bet.
  • Come bet is the same as pass bet, but can be started at any roll. In other words, come bet starts its own sequence, when pass line sequence is in progress.
  • The Free odds bet is given to pass line and come bettors if they make a point. Such roll is paid in real odds and lowers the house edge of pass line and come bets. The maximum size of the free odds bet is a certain multiplication of the size of the initial bet that led to it. The number of times the bet can be multiplied is determined by the casino. The larger this number is, the lower is the house edge in the game. In most cases, pass line and come bets followed by the free odds bet generate about 1.4 percent house edge.
  • Seven and Eleven are one-roll bets. If 7 or 11 comes out on the nest roll Seven or Eleven bets win accordingly. These bets are paid 4 to 1, while actual odds are 5 to 1 (house edge: 16.66 percent)
  • Place and Buy bets are paid if the placed or the bought number comes out on the next roll. Placing 4 or 10 pays 9 to 5 while actual odds are 10 to 5 (house edge 6.66 percent). Placing 5 and 9 pays 7 to 5 while true odds are 7.5 to 5 (house edge 4 percent), and 6 and 8 pay 7 to 6 with real odds of 6 to 5 (house edge 1.51 percent). Buying a number pays at real odds, but 5 percent vigorish is charged from the winner.
  • Craps is paid if 2, 3 or 12 come out on the next roll. Craps is paid 7 to 1 (house edge 11.1 percent)
  • The Horn bet is actually four bets placed on 2, 3, 12 and 11. If 2 or 12 come out, the player is paid 30 to 1, while actual odds are 35 to 1. 3 and 11 are paid 15 to 1 with actual odds of 17 to 1. Total house edge on all four bets is 16.66 percent.

More odds exist in craps, but describing them is not necessary because they are disadvantageous. Knowing how the pass line bet works is enough to play craps successfully.

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