How to Play Casino Craps (Beginner’s Guide)

How to Play Casino Craps

5 minutes

Last Updated: April 16, 2024

If you have ever been on a live casino floor, you have probably passed by a Craps table surrounded by dozens of players and railbirds, all cheering on the shooter and causing a bit of a ruckus. To enjoy all that, let's learn how to play casino Craps.

Indeed, Craps is one of the most exciting games in a casino, but one that many recreational gamblers simply don’t know how to play and may be too afraid to step too close to. 

If you are looking to learn how to play Craps at a casino, you have come to the right place, as this beginner’s guide will teach you everything you need to know. 

We will cover all elements of casino Craps, from the personnel you will be rubbing shoulders with on the casino floor to the betting options you have and some basic strategy. Let’s start with the former and work our way to the more complex things. 

Casino Craps Dealers and Personnel

Before you can learn how to play Craps at a casino, you need to understand what’s going on at a Craps table, and the truth is it can be a bit confusing. 

As you approach a Craps table, there will be a whole bunch of people surrounding it. Some of these will be players, but quite a few will also be casino personnel.

Who is the Boxman?

First of all, the Boxman will be standing next to the table, supervising the entire game and all other casino personnel in the game. The Boxman also handles chips and settles any disputes that may arise between players and the Dealers during the game. 

Who is the Stickman?

Opposite the Boxman will be the Stickman, a Dealer who uses a long stick with a hook to move the dice around the table, pass them to the shooter, and collect them after a roll. 

Who are the Dealers?

On either side of the Boxman, you will find the two Dealers, each of whom is in charge of handing players on their side of the table. 

As you learn how to play casino Craps, don’t be intimidated by all these people, as they are all there to help you and make the game run smoother. 

If you have any questions during a game, don’t hesitate to ask the Dealers, the Boxman, or the Stickman, and they will either give you your answer or point you in the right direction. 

How Casino Craps Works

Now that you are familiar with all the staff in charge of handling a casino Craps table, we should talk about the goal of the game and the basic Craps rules.

As you come to a Craps table, note that you will not be the one rolling the dice all the time, as all the players in the game get their turn at doing that. 

However, you can still bet on every single roll if you so choose, or you can decide to stick around and enjoy the game until your time to roll the dice comes around. 

The most basic betting in casino Craps revolves around the “come out roll” which is the first roll a shooter takes when they start their rolling. 

A “pass line” is set, and the dealer must either roll a 7 or 11 to immediately pass, 2, 3, or 12 to lose, or any other number to set a “point.”

If a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 is rolled, the number is marked by “pucks” and becomes the “point.” Once a point is set, the shooter must roll this number again before shooting a seven in order for the Pass Line bets to win. 

However, while casino Craps does revolve around this simple bet, there are many other betting options you can take on every roll of the dice, and all of them give you a new chance to win, although some Craps bets come with extremely unfavorable odds. 

Casino Craps Bets & Strategy

In learning how to play casino Craps, you must also learn about the basic betting options in the game and when to use them, formulating the best possible Craps strategy.

These are some of the most common bets in casino Craps: 

  • Pass Line Bet: A Pass Line Bet is a multi-roll bet. This bet wins instantly if the shooter rolls 7 or 11 on the come out roll and loses instantly if they roll 2, 3, or 12. If the shooter sets a point, the Pass Line Bet wins if they roll the point before they roll a 7. 
  • Don’t Pass Line Bet: A Don’t Pass Line Bet is exactly the opposite of the Pass Line Bet. You lose if the shooter rolls 7 or 11, win if they roll 2, or 3, push if they roll a 12, and in all other cases wait for the shooter to roll a 7 before rolling the point. 
  • Come Bet: Once a point is set, you may place a Come Bet, which is essentially the same as the Pass Line Bet, only without the come out roll. 
  • Don’t Come Bet: The exact opposite of the Come Bet, and with the same parameters as the Don’t Pass Line Bet. 
  • Field Bet: A bet placed on the Field is a winner if the shooter rolls one of the Field numbers on the exact roll the bet is made on. This is a one-roll bet. 
  • Prop Bets: Other proposition bets can be made, as you bet on a specific number that will be rolled on a specific roll. 

When playing Craps at the casino, it is incredibly important to keep in mind that only the Pass/Don’t Pass bets come with favorable betting odds, while some of the prop bets in the game give the casino a massive edge. 

If you want to play casino Craps the right way, stick to betting on the Pass/Don’t Pass Lines and enjoy the free drinks and the atmosphere as you wait for your bets to be settled. 

Related article: Craps on a Budget: The Best Low-Risk Strategy

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