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Craps

: Game Rules & Strategy
Object: The object of craps is to repeatedly make winning rolls. Most commonly, this is done by either rolling a 7 or 11 on your initial roll, or duplicating a point roll (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10) before rolling a 7.

Table Layout

craps table layout

Overview: There are many different ways and many different strategies for playing craps. I'll describe a simple, easy, and exciting way to minimize the house edge in craps.

  1. Make a Pass bet, and roll the dice. This bet will either:
    1. Win: If you roll a 7 (aka 'a natural') or an 11 (aka 'yo').
    2. Lose: If you roll a 2, 3, or 12 -- all known as 'craps'.
    3. Establish a Point: If you roll a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, you have established a 'point'.
  2. If you have established a point, make an Odds bet on your Pass bet; to do this, place your Odds bet directly behind your Pass bet. The house will often allow you to make an Odds bet twice as much as the Pass bet, with some houses offering up to 10 times Odds bets. This is one of the best bets in the casino, as it pays off at the true odds of you making the point before rolling a 7; this means that there is NO HOUSE ADVANTAGE on this type of bet.

    Once you have made your Odds bet, roll the dice. You will either:
    1. Win: If and only if you roll your point.
    2. Lose: If and only if you roll a 7.
    3. Continue rolling: If you roll anything other than the point or a 7, you continue rolling until you do so.

At its most basic, that's all there is to craps. Make a roll and win on 7,11, lose on 2,3,12, and try to duplicate any other roll before rolling a 7.

But, having only one number in play -- your point -- is not that exciting. That's where the Come bet comes into play. The Come bet is the same as the Pass bet except that the roll that starts the Come bet is the next roll that is made; this way you can have a Pass bet with a point, and then make Come bets that establish more points for you to hit and win. Odds bets can be made on the Come bet in the same way as they are made on the Pass bet; after the dealer moves your Come bet to the number on the table corresponding to your point, place the Odds bet in the Come area of the table and tell the dealer "Odds". Of course, making additional bets increases your risk, but also increases the excitement of the game! 

Let's look at an example:

  1. Make a 5 Pass bet, and roll the dice. The roll is a 7, so the Pass bet wins.
  2. Make a 5 Pass bet, and roll the dice. The roll is a 2, so the Pass bet loses.
  3. Make a 5 Pass bet, and roll the dice. The roll is a 6, so we have established 6 as our point.
    1. Make a 10 Odds bet on the Pass point of 6, make a 5 Come bet, and roll the dice. The roll is a 9, so we have established 9 as our point for our Come bet. (Note that nothing happens yet with our original Pass bet because the roll was not a 6 or a 7.)
    2. Make a 10 Odds bet on the Come point of 9, and roll the dice. The roll is an 11, so nothing happens to either the Pass bet or the Come bet.
    3. Roll the dice. The roll is a 9, so we win our Come bet and the Odds bet that went with it. Note that our Pass bet and associated Odds bet is still in play.
    4. Roll the dice. The roll is a 7, so we lose the Pass bet and the Odds bet that went with it.

So to summarize, make only Pass and Come bets, with Odds on each.

Seem a little confusing? It can be at first. Dealers are more than happy to help you when the table is not TOO busy -- just ask!!!

Strategy

  • My basic strategy: Do NOT make any of the other bets on the craps table other then the Pass, Come, and Odds Bets; ALL of the other bets on the craps table besides these have a house advantage that is too high for my taste. 
  • Do not make more than two Come bets (with associated Odds bets); having two Come bets and a Pass bet (all with Odds) is plenty of action. OK -- if you get a hot shooter, maybe bump this up to three Come bets (with Odds)... but don't get carried away.
  • ALWAYS make Odds bets up to the maximum that the house will allow. Note that this can get tricky if you have a small bankroll -- choose a smaller-stakes table over a higher one if it means that you can comfortably make the maximum Odds bets at the lower stakes.
  • As a general rule, make sure that your bankroll is at least 50x the table minimum in order to withstand the win/loss fluctuations that can happen fairly quickly at a craps table. For example, when playing at a $5 table, be sure that you start out with at least $250.

Online Play: There are many online sites that offer Craps. You can try Craps risk-free by utilizing the free, no-deposit welcome bonuses that are offered at many sites; if you decide to play for real, then be sure to play at a site that offers an initial deposit bonus of at least 100%.

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