Craps is a game of dice and excitement. There are not too many places in a
casino where you will hear more roar and cheer than at a craps table. Of course
this leads people to come watch the action. At first glace you might see a table
that is moving fast with people throwing money everywhere and lots of different
bets on a table that is very confusing. This leads most people to feel
intimidated about the game and not play because they do not want to “”seem
stupid””. Well craps is a very easy game once you get some basics down.
First the Table:
The craps table may look confusing but if you look at the diagram below you
will see its really 2 tables joined in the center, making it only half as
confusing as you might think.
The table is a mirror image of each side because people stand around the
table to play. This means that everyone standing at the table is able to face
the pass line (the Pass Line is also the most common bet). The table staff will
be arrange around the table as follows:
The Stick man will be located at the bottom middle (of our picture) near the
ANY CRAPS bet, this allows him to control the bets going in and out of the
center and Horn area. The stick man calls the dice and uses a hook like stick to
move the dice from one end of the table to the other. The stick man may also
call “”Foul”” or “”No Roll”” when the dice fail to go the entire
length of the table and hit the opposite end, this must occur for the roll to be
The Dealers are located at the top of the table over the large numbers
(4,5,6,8,9,10) these are the main payers and takers of bets. You may see someone
throw a bet on the table and say something, the dealer will then move the bet to
the right spot. The dealer is also there to help so if you do not know, feel
free to ask. Especially with odds and payout questions. Do not get excited if
you have a bet on the table that has not been paid, bets are paid in a certain
order, they will get around to everyone. But once the payout is finished to not
be afraid to raise your voice about a bet you were not paid out on. In between
the dealers is the box man, you may notice he does very little, his job is to
watch. He watches the dealers and confirms the dice read by the stick man. He is
looking for cheaters, not really the player cheating but the dealers and stick man running a crooked game.
(Quick Note) This is casino etiquette, Never hand money to a dealer of any
kind, place the money or chips on the table and tell the dealer what you wish to
do with it. This is for security and to prevent impropriety on the part of the
dealer or player and so that the cameras can see all the money moving
The Game: Craps is played with two dice, the sum of the dice are used to
determine the number. The first roll is the Come Out roll, the purpose of the
first roll is to get 7 or 11 (win), 2,3,12 which is called craps (loose) or set
a point (4,5,6,8,9,10). On the first roll if a 7 or 11 are rolled, everyone
betting on the pass line wins. If on the first roll the numbers are 2, 3, or 12,
everyone betting on the pass line looses. There can be a long series of Come Out
rolls being winning or loosing without setting a point. This can happen, if 7 or
11 are coming up people will tend to be happy because they are winning. If craps
come up, you will see a table clear out very fast.
If a point is rolled, the dealers on each side will move and flip over a
button “”Off”” to “”On”” over the resulting point. Lets say 5 is
the point, the button would be moved to number 5 showing it was the point to be
This is very important, the game now continues until 5 comes up (winner) or a
seven (7) comes up (looser). Remember that after the point 7 will end the game
and everyone betting on the pass line looses. Once the point is rolled or seven
comes up the game starts all over. Games can last roll after roll, I personally
have seen over 20 rolls before 7 came up to end the game.
Bets: There are a lot of different bets in the game. The most common and
easiest to make is the Pass Line bet.
Lets look at this part of the pass line, the white and red dots represent chips.
The first bet to make is right on the pass line, make sure its clearly in the
middle of the lines that outline the pass line. This bet is made before the
first roll (The come out roll). Quick review, first roll is a 7 or 11 you win
even money, first roll is a 2,3,or 12 you loose.
Now lets say that the first roll made a point. 5 for example. Now you place
your Odds bet (the chips behind the pass line) The odds bet is your way to make
more money, some casinos have different amounts you can bet behind the pass
line, some its 10x and others 100x (this means that for a 5 dollar bet on the
pass line on a 10x table you can bet up to 50 dollars as your odds bet) Should
you always bet the odds? I think No. The good odds bets are 6 and 8 the next
most frequent numbers besides 7. So it pays the worst odds, but is also the
safest bet. 5 and 9, pays better odds. 4 and 10 pays the best odds at 2 to 1,
but these are bets that carry the most risk, so bet these only when you are head
so you do not hurt your bankroll too much.
The field: This is a section of the table (above the pass line) it has a
series of numbers 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 12. This is a one roll bet, the next roll
must read one of these numbers for your bet in the field to pay out. Notice that
the 2 and 12 read “”double”” this means that if you are betting the
field and 2 or 12 come up, you win double your bet, otherwise it pays even
money. Some people like the field others do not, I tend to bet the field on
hunches or when the feeling hits.
The come bet, this is a more complex bet that I am not going to go into
because as you become proficient you will understand the Come bet.
The numbers: you can bet the numbers just as you bet anything else. the 4 and
10 pay the best. The 5 and 9 pay close to even and the 6 and 8 are the standard
bets. Put six dollars on 6 and six dollars on 8. This means that every time a 6
or 8 come up you win, six dollars pays seven dollars. Your original bet stays on
the numbers until you ask to take it off or a seven is rolled ending the game.
Note: At anytime on a craps table before the dice are rolled you can call all
your bets off, and pick them up and walk away. Once the dice are in the air the
bets are solid.
The middle of the table bets:
The Hard ways: These are simple, bet on these when a hard
six (3 , 3) or hard eight (4, 4) come up you win 10 to 1 odds. The 10 (5, 5) and
4 (2, 2) pay out 8 to 1. These are nice bets to
lay 1 dollar each on, if the point is one of these numbers, especially 6 and 8.
But they have high odds because they do not come up allot. These bets stay until
a seven comes up ending the game or the easy way comes up (6 , 4) to make 10. If
a non-hard way is the point, and you are betting the hard way, you will notice
that when the point comes up the dealer will ask you if you want your hard ways
working on the come out roll, this means do you want them “”on”” for the
first roll. This is a bad idea, but many people do have their hard ways working
since its just as likely that a hard way is rolled.
The Horn: There are several different bets in this one
area. you can bet the 2, 3, 11, or 12 straight up (money right on the number)
and this will pay the odds listed (ex. 2 pays 30 to 1) You can also bet Horn hi,
or Horn Low, this means that with a 5 dollar bet the extra dollar goes to 12
(hi) or 2 (low). Horn bets are for the next roll only.
Hope this helps, just remember don’t be afraid of the game and ask the
dealers if you have a question they are more than happy to help.