Craps Rules – How to Play Craps Game and Win More Often
Last Updated: October 4, 2023
Checked by: Zvonimir Potocki
If you have ever been to any major brick and mortar casino in the world, you have probably seen many tables where people are gambling not just on Blackjack or other popular games, but even more exotic options.
The loudest table with the biggest commotion in the room is almost certainly the craps table.
Played by many people simultaneously, the craps game is one of the most entertaining forms of gambling around.
Craps may seem a bit overwhelming at first to newcomers, but the game is quite simple once you get the hang of it. Since I really love paying craps whenever I visit a casino, I wanted to share the basics with you.
Whether you have never played it in your life and are looking to learn how to play craps or have some experience with the game, this guide will probably help you learn something new.
Before we get into anything too specific, let's go over craps basics, such as the table's layout, the bets you can make, and how to play when you are rolling and when you are not.
Craps Rules and The Basics
Each roll is made by one of the players at the tables, while everyone else around it can place bets on the outcome.
The first roll a player makes is called the comeout roll.
During this roll, players can make the simple pass/don’t pass bet, which is the most common bet in craps.
The comeout roll can have three different outcomes:
- If the player rolls 7 or 11 during comeout, the pass bets win.
- If the player rolls 2, 3, or 12 during comeout, the don't pass bets win.
- If the player rolls any other number, that number becomes the point.
If the player did not roll one of the numbers that end the roll, they would keep rolling the dice. If they roll 7 on one of their rolls, the pass bets will lose.
If they roll any number other than the point, they keep rolling. If they roll the point, the pass bets are paid out at even money.
I reference the pass bet so much, as this is the most popular bet that players usually make. While there are many other bets you can make, most of them come with longer odds and are not as popular.
Once the point has been set, the come bet comes into play. This bet is essentially the same as pass, but it only becomes available on subsequent rolls after the comeout roll.
Craps Game Glossary
- Shooter – a player who is rolling the dice.
- Bets – one of many options where you can wager your money trying to guess the roll's outcome.
- Point – a specific number decided by the roll, which becomes a basing point of the further game, and the shooter plays until he hits the “point” number or a 7.
Craps Rules: Multi-Roll Bets Explained
The pass and come bets are multi-roll bets, meaning that you may wait for a few rolls before these bets being decided. Other bets can be made on each specific roll, and I will go into these a bit later.
First, let’s talk more about each particular multi-roll bet.
The pass bet is the simplest of all bets in the craps dice game, and it is the one that most players will bet on.
When you bet on pass, the house retains an edge of 1.41% over you.
I already touched on the pass bet a little but let’s get more specific. First of all, the pass bet is only available during the comeout roll.
All players at the table can bet on the pass, not just the player who is shooting craps dice.
The pass bet is only settled during the comeout roll in two cases. If the shooter rolls 7 or 11, all pass bets are winners. If they roll 2, 3, or 12, all pass bets are losers.
If the shooter rolls 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, they will keep on rolling, and this number will become the point.
Pass bets will win if they can roll the point number before they roll 7. All other rolls won't affect the pass bets outcome.
The come bet is nearly identical to the pass bet, except that it can only be placed after the comeout roll.
If the point is already set, you can bet on the come.
For the purposes of the come bet, the first roll after you place your bet will be treated as a new comeout.
This means a new point may be set for you, and your sequence is only just starting.
You will need the shooter to roll your new point before they roll a 7 to win.
If they rolled a 7 or 11 on the exact roll when you placed your bet, you will instantly win. If they roll 2, 3, or 12, you instantly lose.
The come bet has the same 1.41% house edge as the pass bet and is basically made for players getting involved halfway through a rolling sequence.
Don’t Pass and Don’t Come
The don’t pass and don’t come bets are pretty much the exact opposites of the pass and come bets.
However, due to the game's math, these bets give the house a slightly lower, 1.36% edge.
This means that if you were to bet correctly in the craps game, you should bet on these instead of the pass and come.
However, some shooters may consider this as you betting against them, which is completely untrue.
The don't pass and don't come bets win instantly if the shooter rolls 2, 3, or 12 and lose if he rolls 7. If a point is set, you will want the shooter to roll 7 before rolling their point.
The bets are fairly simple, and they can often take many rolls to be settled, just like the pass and come bets, which is what puts them in the category of multi-roll bets.
Waiting for the roller to set a point is just an option. Instead, you may want to choose your own point and simply start betting on it right away.
To do this, you will need to make a place bet.
A place bet can be made on any of the point numbers, meaning 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10.
If you decide to make a place bet, you will be betting that the roller will roll your number before they roll 7. All other rolls will leave your bet undecided and sitting there for the next roll.
The thing with place bets is that they are not favorable for the player. The house edge on place bets are as follows:
- 52% house edge on 6 or 8
- 4% house edge on 5 or 9
- 67% house edge on 4 or 10
The increased house edge comes as a product of some numbers being more difficult to roll and the player not having the chance to win the bet on the comeout roll.
For this reason, a pass bet is favorable to place bets at all times.
The one amazing thing about craps rules is that there is a chance to get actual fair odds on a bet, and this is the free odds bet.
The free odds bet only becomes available if you place a pass bet first.
Once a point is established, you can make additional bets on that point being made before a 7.
If you make this bet, you will be getting paid at true odds when you win, and the house has no edge.
The true odds mean that you will get a 6/5 payout on 6 or 8, a 3/2 payout on 5 or 9, and 3/1 on 4 or 10.
These are the real chances of rolling these numbers, and this is why there is no house edge associated with the free odds bets.
If you will ever make a bet or gamble, this is the time to do it. This is one of the rare occasions that a casino will let you bet without any edge, so go for it.
Of all the multi-roll bets you can possibly make, betting on hardways is the least favorable. These bets come with a massive premium, as the house retains a 9.09% or 11.11% edge, which is massive.
Betting on hardways means that you are betting on a particular number being rolled but in a very specific way.
- A hard 4 means that both dice will show 2.
- A hard 6 means that both dice will show 3.
- A hard 8 means that both dice will show 4.
- A hard 10 means that both dice will show 5.
In order to win a hardway bet, the roller must roll this exact combination before they roll a 7.
The payouts are 9/1 for a hard 6 or 8 and 7/1 for a hard 4 or 10. If you are going to bet on hardways, at least remember to bet on 6 or 8 and not a 4 or 10.
Rules of Craps: Single Roll Bets Explained
I have covered all the craps bets that are settled once the entire roller's streak is completed. However, punters can bet on each individual roll, and single roll bets are settled after the current roll every time.
There are several single roll bets within the craps rules.
Single roll bets often come with very unfavorable odds and are only preferred by true gamblers.
While I don't suggest making too many single roll bets, you may want to try making a few when playing for fun if you feel particularly lucky.
Here are some of the most common single roll bets that you may want to try the next time you are shooting dice.
The field bet is one of the most popular single roll bets that revolves around betting on the roll's many different potential outcomes.
For the purposes of the field bet, only the current roll is looked at, and the decision is made immediately after the roll is complete.
For you to win, the roller must roll 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12.
The winner of the field bet is paid at even money for most fields, with a couple of exceptions:
- If the roll comes in at 2 points, the winner is paid 2/1,
- If it comes exactly 12 points, you are paid 3/1.
If the bets are paid as just described, the house edge on the field bet is 2.78%. On the other hand, some casinos pay 2/1 on both ‘2” and “12”, making the house edge 5.56%.
Other Single Roll Bets
Apart from the field, players can make even more specific bets that offer even higher payouts. The “any craps” bet is quite popular, and the winner is paid if the player rolls 2, 3, or 12.
The payout for any craps is 7/1, and the house edge is 11.11%.
A couple of other options:
- The rules of craps also allow for an “any 7” bet, which wins if the shooter rolls a seven in any way. This bet is paid at 4/1 and gives the house an edge of 16.67%.
- You can also make a bet such as “2 or 12”, which pays 30/1 and gives the house a 13.89% edge
- Or you can bet on a “3 or 11”, which pays 15/1 and gives the house an 11.11% edge.
Finally, a “hop bet” allows you to pick the exact two numbers that the shooter will roll. For instance, you can announce 4 2 on the hop, and you will need the dice to show a 4 and a 2 exactly.
The hop bets are paid 15/1 if they are soft hops (2 different numbers) and 30/1 if they are hard hops (2 identical numbers).
How To Play Craps Game: Understanding Table Layout
We have covered all the main bets you can make in the game of craps, but you still may not know how to actually make them, so this section will clear any doubts you have left.
Looking at a standard craps table layout should be helpful in that sense, but it’s important to know what exactly each part of the table represents.
The easiest way to understand the craps table layout is by splitting it into smaller segments.
The one interesting thing you will notice is that the worst odds bets are placed in positions that attract attention.
The main betting area, the pass line, is located in a way that wraps around the entire table. This makes it easy for all players to make their pass bets, regardless of their position relative to the table.
The sides of the table include the field bets and the place bets. One dealer is assigned to each side of the table to track those and make sure the payouts are in order.
Whichever side of the table you are at, you may end up being attracted by the middle section, which contains the prop bets.
The prop bets in the middle of the table offer some big payouts, with numbers such as 15 to 1 and 30 to 1 being thrown around.
However, it is very important to remember that these numbers are not very favorable, as the odds of hitting prop bets are not very high.
All in all, the table layout of a craps table is not too complex. You will make your main pass/don’t pass bets on the lines on the sides of the table and mostly avoid the middle section altogether.
If you decide to ignore our advice and go for those props in the middle, at least remember to bet smaller than you are betting on the pass and other reasonable bets and have some fun the cheaper way.
How To Play Craps: Tips & Tricks
Whether you want to play online craps or try this game at brick and mortar casino, now you know how to play craps dice game. Therefore, it is time I brought attention to a few strategy tips.
Whether you are playing online or offline, these tricks will help you have better results and more entertainment value.
Let’s get straight to it and see the top five tips on how to play dice:
#1: Think of the odds!
Like any other game in the casino, the craps game is all about the odds. Each bet you make has certain odds to be a winner, and the payouts are usually slightly unfair.
There is a big difference in the house edge between the different bets you can make.
The pass/don’t pass bets are reasonable to bet on and only give the casino a small edge.
On the other hand, some of the single roll bets, for example, give the house an edge of over 10%.
This is a huge disadvantage for the player and a reason to avoid these bets altogether.
Of course, when you play craps game, you want to have fun too. Making a small bet at long odds to try and get lucky can be reasonable. Just remember to keep the odds and payouts in the back of your head at all times.
#2: Use the free odds!
Once the point has been set, and you are betting on the pass line, you will have the chance to take some free odds on the point number being rolled before the seven.
The great thing about this bet is that it comes with no house edge, which is a rarity in gambling.
For that reason, these bets should always be used.
In essence, making this bet reduces the house edge of the original bet because it now adds a fair chance for you to make more profit. For that reason, the overall house edge diminishes.
Free odds are a great way to make money in the craps dice game when you are having a lucky night, and I highly recommend making the best of it.
#3: Practice Craps online!
If you don’t yet know how to play craps, you should probably play online first. Online craps tables give you more time to decide what to bet on and less pressure than live casinos.
In a live casino, the craps table will usually have a lot of players around it. Players are announcing bets, and chips are flying around, which can be somewhat intimidating to novice players.
Online craps, on the other hand, can be a great way to get started.
Learn all about the possible bets and the craps game dynamics and get accustomed to what you can expect.
What's even more, online casinos will give you bonus money on top of your deposit to play craps with.
This means you can get even more action, learn the game by heart, and only then go to a live casino.
If you don't even want to risk any money learning how to play dice, the demo versions of the online craps game will allow you to play for free.
#4: Mind the etiquette!
If you ever play craps in a live casino setting, you will want to be careful not to antagonize other players, the shooter, or the casino staff.
Everyone is here to have some fun, but remember that people are also betting and sometimes losing good chunks of money.
You have every right to celebrate your wins and be a part of the game as anyone else. However, you also don't get to rub it in people's faces, so don’t act like a fool!
What's even more, don't take note of what other players are betting on. Other bets will not impact yours in any way, so if you bet on the pass and another player bets on don't pass, they aren't doing you any harm!
It is quite common for craps players to get upset about such minor things, and I suggest letting it go and not minding it at all.
#5: Enjoy craps game!
The best part about the game of craps is that it is just so damn fun and adrenaline-infused. When you play craps, you will certainly feel the rush on every roll, especially when you are the shooter.
For this reason, remember not to think of the money you are betting too much and try to enjoy the game more.
You should only bet the money you can afford to lose and be conservative with your betting bankroll. This way, you will never lose too much, as craps is a low house edge game.
If you can make small bets the whole night, enjoy your drinks with your friends, and not lose big, then the game is totally worth playing.