The Greatest Gambling Game Guide to Craps

Craps is one of the most exciting, action-packed casino games available. The high-energy craps tables are typically some of the loudest on the casino floor, turning heads and drawing crowds. At the craps table, players will find groups of enthusiastic players standing around the table participating in active betting. Craps is straightforward: throw the dice and guess the outcome. The rules go far deeper though:

Craps: Rules of the Road

Playing craps online versus at a physical casino is a fun and simple alternative offering stronger odds than the land-based casinos. However, before doing so, and before entering a physical casino to roll the dice, it’s important to know the who’s who at the craps tables.

  • The Boxman: This is the big boss. The boxman sits behind the center of the table, and exists to inspect and monitor everything that transpires over the course of a craps game.
  • The Dealers: There are two dealers, one on either side of the boxman. They are responsible for catering to players on their respective sides of the playing table. Their main job us to pay winners and withdraw chips from those who end up losing.
  • The Stickman: This is the man with the stick, in charge of the dice. When all bets have been placed, the stickman grabs the sets of dice and directs them to the shooter. The player can then decide which set of dice to use, and will then be prepared for play. The player then rolls the dice across the table and must hit the wall on the opposite side.

One of the strongest table games regarding house edge is by far craps. The house edge in craps on average is 1.4%. This is triple that of the average single-pocket bet on an American roulette table, and considerably better than most casino slot machines, both land based or online.

In land-based (at an actual casino) and online (at a casino played on software on your computer or mobile device, gamblers place wagers on the outcome of the roll of a pair of dice. The dice used in game are two of the standard six-sided die found in most gaming locations and board games. The player who throws the dice in the craps round is referred to as the shooter. If you play at a live casino, each player at the table has the chance to roll. The dice are passed counterclockwise after each new round is played.

The Process of a Round of Craps: Before the Come Out Roll

When a brand-new round of craps starts, the following processes take place:

  • First, the shooter selects two dice to roll from an array of dice options.
  • Then, the shooter places a Pass Line bet (a bet either on the pass or don’t pass lines, which will be covered shortly).
  • After the shooter places their bet, other players at the table place their bets.
  • The shooter begins the round by rolling their two chosen dice off the opposite wall of the craps table. This first roll is referred to as the “come out roll”.

The Process of a Round of Craps: After the Come Out Roll

Before the come out roll, the shooter has made a pass bet or a don’t pass bet. If the come out roll is a seven or an 11, the pass bet wins and the don’t pass bet loses. This roll scenario will end the round. If the come out roll is a two, three or 12 (which is also known as the namesake “craps”), the pass line loses and the don’t pass line either wins, or in some casinos a 12 will result in a tie. Rolling these numbers will also end the round.

If the come out roll is any of the remaining numbers (four, five, six, eight, nine, or ten), that specific number becomes the “player’s point”. The table dealers then place a puck or coin on top of that number on the playing surface. The shooter then continues to roll the dice until they roll the point number (seven). If the point number is rolled, bettors who bet on the pass like win, and bettors who bet on the don’t pass line lose. If a seven is rolled, pass line bets lose and don’t pass line bets win.

Popular Betting Types in Craps Gambling

Although craps comes with many betting options, once players have obtained the necessary knowledge on how to play craps, popular bets are second nature, and players can begin playing and earning real winnings almost immediately.

Pass Line Craps Bets

Bets on the pass line are by far the simplest craps bets to make. When a player wagers on a pass line bet, they are betting that either a seven or an 11 will be the result of the above detailed come out roll. If the shooter rills the seven or 11 on the come out roll, the bettors who bet on the pass line double their money.

If the shooter instead rolls a four, five, six, eight, nine or ten, a point is given. When players bet the pass line, they want the point number to be rolled again, before the shooter rolls a seven. If the shooter hits the number before rolling a seven, again the player’s pass line bet is doubled.

Additionally, if the shooter rolls a two, three or 12 (craps) on the come out roll, the players who bet the pass line lose their bet. If a point is established and a seven is rolled by the shooter before that point value, the players who bet the pass line also lose their bets.

Don’t Pass Line Craps Bet

Bets by players on the Don’t Pass line are the opposite of the above pass line bets. When a player places a don’t pass bet, they as basically betting against the shooter of the dice. Those players want the shooter to roll craps (a two, three or 12) on the come out roll. If a point is made on the come out roll, the goal as a don’t pass bettor is to have the shooter roll a seven before hitting the established number.

Come Craps Bet

The come bet is like a pass line bet, however it can be made at any point after the initial point has been made. If a shooter rolls a seven or 11 after a come bet is made in a craps round, the player(s) making the come bet win. If the shooter instead rolls a two, three or 12 (or a craps roll) after the come bet has been made, the come bet loses.

If the shooter rolls any number that is not mentioned above, that number becomes the bettor’s point number. If that number is rolled before the shooter rolls a seven, the come bet wins. If the seven is rolled before the point number, the come bet loses. This bet pays even money when a winning selection.

Don’t Come Craps Bet

A don’t come craps bet is the opposite of the come bet in craps. The don’t come bet is made at any point after the shooter point has been made. The don’t come bet wins if a shooter rolls a two or a three after a point has been established (as rolling a 12 results in a tie for all bettors). If any other number is rolled, that result becomes the player’s point number. At which point, a seven must be rolled before that number is repeated for the don’t come bettors to win that round.

Odds Craps Bet

An odds craps bet is a side bet that can be placed online once an individual player has already placed one of the four above bets: pass, don’t pass, come, or don’t come. This is not a marked betting type on a craps table. Instead, it is made by placing chips directly behind an original bet. Players take odds when they have already made a pass or come bet, and players lay odds when they have made a don’t pass or don’t come bet.

Dependent on what the player’s original bet was, they are taking or laying odds on whether the seven or point number will be rolled before the other. So, for example, if the player has placed a pass bet, and then takes odds, the player wins the bet amount if the point number is rolled before the seven is rolled by the shooter. If the original bet wins, the odds bet also wins. The odds bet can be made at any point in time, can be removed at any point in time, and can be increased or decreased in value at any point during the game.

Additionally, there is a limit for bets, typically in the range of two to three times the original bet. If the player has made a $50 bet on the don’t come bet, they can lay odds up to $100 for twice the original bet, or $150 for three times the original bet. This is dependent on the casino or website being played on.

These odds pay two to one for points four and ten, three to two for points two and nine, and six to five for points six and eight.

Single-Roll Bets in Craps

Single-roll craps bets can be made at any point during a round. The bets are placed on the table layout where the dice combinations are listed. Keep in mind that these bets offer a strong house edge, and are not recommended by professionals of the game. By learning how to utilize single-roll bets to the players’ advantage, they can use them at will for a little added adventure.

Proposition Craps Bets: The More Common

Proposition bets are a group of single-roll bets located together on the table. They tend to have a strong house edge, so players should only play them occasionally, when looking for some action while waiting for standing bets to be called. Here are the odds:

  • Three (sometimes referred to as Ace Deuce): The player placing this bet wins if the shooter rolls a three and pays 15 to one.
  • Any seven (sometimes referred to as Big Red): The player placing this bet wins if the shooter rolls a seven and pays four to one.
  • Any Craps (Three way): The player placing this bet wins if the shooter rolls a two, three or 12 and pays seven to one for each number.
  • Two Craps or Aces (sometimes referred to as Snake Eyes): The player placing this bet wins if the shooter rolls a two and pays 30 to one.
  • Twelve Craps (sometimes referred to as Boxcars or Midnight): The player placing this bet wins if the shooter rolls a 12 and pays 30 to one.
  • Eleven (sometimes referred to as Yo): Wins if shooter rolls an 11 and pays 15 to one. This is called a “yo” instead of eleven to avoid confusion, as “eleven” sounds a lot like “seven”.

Proposition Craps Bets: The Less Common

Craps and Eleven: The craps and eleven bet is marked typically on the side of the proposition bet boxes on the table as the acronym “C&E”. There are sixteen circles that are marked with a C or an E to fit all sixteen players that would fill a craps table. The craps and eleven bet adds the eleven to any craps bet. Players win if an eleven is rolled, or if any of the craps numbers are rolled. The payout for a craps and eleven bet is seven to one if any craps numbers 12, three, or two are rolled, and fifteen to one if the eleven is rolled. The overall house edge on this bet is 11.11%, which makes it very much advantageous to the house and disadvantageous to the players betting.

Horn (two, three, 11 and 12) Bets: The horn bet wagers on either the two, three, 11 or 12 being rolled on the next roll of the dice. This bet is found in the middle of the table with the rest of the proposition bets. Wagers are split between each number. For example, if a player was to wager $16, then four dollars will go on each number. If one of the numbers is rolled then the two and 12 pay thirty to one, and then three and 11 pay fifteen to one. The only real difference between the horn craps bet and the craps and eleven bet is that all numbers have their own distinct payoffs. Any craps numbers have a combined payout of seven to one.

Horn High Bets: Players can double their bet on one of the horn betting numbers by selecting one of the horn numbers to be a “high horn” number. When players place bets in five dollar multiples, it makes the bet simpler, so the player can designate one unit for each number and an extra unit on one of them. So, for example, if a player places a horn high on the eleven, two dollars will be placed on the eleven, and one dollar each on the two, three and twelve. If the eleven is rolled, the player gets paid twice the payout minus three dollars of losing bets. Players indicate which number they want as the high number when placing the horn bet. If one of the other numbers is rolled, and not the high number the player selected, the player will be paid the single payout minus the four dollars.

World Bet (or Whirl Bet): Players won’t find this bet on the craps table. However, many players prefer to place this bet. The world bet or whirl bet is a combination of the horn bet and any seven bet, making it five individual bets. This bet is made in multiples of five dollars, like the horn high bet to make things more simple. If the shooter rolls a seven, for example, that bet wins, and the other four bets lose. The payout for rolling a seven is four to one, and the payout for the others mirrors the horn craps bet.

Field Craps Bet

In a field craps bet, players bet that either a two, three, four, nine, ten, 11, or 12 will be rolled with the next roll of the dice. The bets for the field bet are placed in the large marked section of the playing table, below the come bar and above the don’t pass bar. The three, four, nine, ten, and 11 pay even money (one to one), and the two and 12 pay two to one odds.

Hop Craps Bet

Hop craps bets can be made at any point throughout the game, much like proposition bets. What’s interesting about this bet is that players can select any combination of dice they would like, and the wager is places on the outcome of the next roll of the dice. Not all casinos (both land based and online variants) offer the hop bet, so it is best to check before placing. Some craps table variants have the hop bet marked, while others do not.

Multiple-Roll Bets in Craps

In addition to the common bets and single-roll bets above, there are several multiple-roll bet options available for players throughout the course of a craps game. These bets include buy and lay bets, place wins and place lose bets, big six and big eight bets, and hardways bets.

Buy and Lay Craps Bets

When a player places a buy bet, they choose any of the following numbers: four, five, six, eight, nine or ten. These numbers are wagered at any point during the game. If the value comes before the shooter rolls a seven, the house must pay the players true odds. This means the player’s payback is equivalent to the actual chance of winning. However, for the house to obtain an advantage, five percent of the player’s winnings are deducted before payout (much like games of Baccarat).

Lay craps bets work in the opposite manner. A lay bet is like a don’t pass and don’t come bet, as they play against the shooter’s roll. This bet is placed at any point, and it wagers that the shooter rolls a seven before the point the bettor chooses. The payout also offers true odds, meaning the player’s payback is equivalent to the actual chance of winning. However, for the house to obtain an advantage, five percent of the player’s winnings are deducted before payout (much like games of Baccarat).

Place Win and Place Lose Craps Bets

Place win and place lose craps bet work just like buy and lay bets. The difference lies in the house not offering true odds. Players bet on four, five, six, eight, nine, and ten. If the player’s chosen number comes up in the shooter’s rolls before seven, the place win bets are winners. If the player’s chosen number does not come up in the shooter’s rolls before seven, the place lose bets are winners.

Big Six and Big Eight Craps Bets

Players will find this bet marked on the corners of the craps tables. Players win the big six or big eight when the six or eight is rolled before the seven, and pays even money. Place bets have far better payoffs for the same betting type though.

Hardways Craps Bets

Craps players can bet that the “hard way” outcome of the dice, resulting in a ten, eight, six, or four, will be rolled before the “easy way”, which is a seven. The hard way outcome is when both dice have the same number. A four-four is a hardways eight, a five-five is a hardways ten, and so on. The hardways bets are positioned in the proposition bets area on the craps table.

Any other dice combinations resulting in a ten, eight, six or four are considered an “easy way” bet. For example, there are four non-pair combinations for a six: one-five, four-two, five-one, and two-four. These pair combinations are called the hard way, as there is only one way to make a combination of pairs. There are more ways to achieve this, when different numbers on the dice are rolled. This makes all other non-pair combinations the easy way.

When a player makes their bet and the dice are rolled, the following four things can occur:

  • A number besides the seven and the number betted on appears, and the player does not win or lose, and the bet continues to stand until the next roll.
  • A seven is rolled, in which case the player loses the bet.
  • An easy way of the player’s number is rolled, in which case the player loses the bet.
  • The hard way pair combination of the player’s number is rolled and the player wins the bet:
    • A hard way ten will win if a five-five is rolled before a seven, or an easy way combination of a six-four or four-six.
    • A hard way eight will win if a four-four is rolled before a seven, or an easy way combination of two-six, six-two, three-five, and five-three.
    • A hard way six will win if a three-three is rolled before a seven, or an easy way combination of five-one, one-five, two-four, and four-two.
    • A hard way four will win if a two-two is rolled before a seven, or an easy way combination of one-three and three-one.

There is a plethora of craps bets available. It’s incredible to see everything that can be changed with just the roll of two dice at a playing table.

Odds Strategy in Craps: Taking Odds and Laying Odds

There is an incredibly uncommon bet offered in craps. This bet has zero house advantage. This wager is called “laying odds” if the player has already placed bets on the pass or come bet. After a point has been thrown by the shooter, players have the option of betting up to some multiple of the pass line bet on the odds.

This multiple can vary, but the most common is usually two to three times the initial wager. By placing the laying odds bet, the player is hoping that the point will be rolled yet again before the appearance of a seven. Players can also take odds on the don’t pass and don’t come bets.

The most attractive piece of this bet is that it pays true odds. The player’s chance of winning is the same as what is being paid out. From this, the house only has an edge on the initial pass line bet, and the more players can bet on the odds, the lower the total advantage becomes. Always try to put down the maximum odds bet.

The Field Bet: When to Play, and When to Stay

Field bets are wonderful options for players who can’t resist the temptation of a single roll bet, but are looking for slightly stronger odds, as well as a lower house edge. Field bets have an average house edge of 5.56 percent. This is higher than some other types of bets, but lower than all proposition bets.

This process is an easy bet to remember. Place a bet on two, three, four, nine, ten, 11 and 12. The nest numbers to play of these are the two and 12, as they pay two to one. As stated, some casinos pay three to one.

Place Six and Place Eight

Although the place six and place eight bets are not the best overall craps bets, they are a solid option if the player wishes to bet on a six or bet on an eight. With the place six and place eight, the house edge is 1.52 percent. The similar and above-explained big six and big eight bets have a house edge of 9.09 percent.

Avoiding Bad Betting Opportunities

There are some bets in craps with impressively high payouts. However, the house edge is equally high. This makes these bets a hit or miss type of opportunity. If players miss, they stand to lose immense amounts of money. Avoid the big six and big eight bets. As stated above, the house edge is a whopping 9.09 percent. The payout is a low one to one as well. The place six or place eight bets are far more advantageous, with a house edge of 1.52 percent and a payout of seven to six.

Another betting set to be avoided are the hardways four, six, eight, and ten nets. They have a house edge hovering around an average of ten percent. This percentage is dependent on the hardways number being bet on, as well as the type of land based or online casino being played.

As enticing as they may seem, players should also completely ignore all proposition bets. This is the situation, unless the player has the bankroll to risk a good portion of money for one roll of the dice. Payouts on proposition bets can increase as high as thirty to one, but the house edge is incredibly high. Steer clear of: any craps bets, any seven bet, any eleven bet, craps eleven, any two or twelve bet, and any three bet.

Betting Odds and Payouts of Craps Bets

Before diving into the complex world of payouts for different types of craps bets, it is always smart thinking to understand probabilities that specific numbers will be rolled. This rings especially true for table games such as craps, where players bet on the outcome of a random roll of a dice.

Payouts are also determined by the probability of specific combinations of numbers being rolled, or specific individual numbers being rolled. If players are serious about their craps game, having a strong understanding of what their chances are will assist in determining which bets they want to make, as well as the risks involved in taking them.

# on Dice Dice Combinations # of Ways
2 1-1 1
3 1-2, 2-1 2
4 1-3, 2-2, 3-1 3
5 1-4, 2-3, 3-2, 4-1 4
6 1-5, 2-4, 3-3, 4-2, 5-1 5
7 1-6, 2-5, 3-4, 4-3, 5-2, 6-1 6
8 2-6, 3-5, 4-4, 5-3, 6-2 5
9 3-6, 4-5, 5-4, 6-3 4
10 4-6, 5-5, 6-4 3
11 5-6, 6-5 2
12 6-6 1

Realizing the outcome probabilities on the dice, in tandem with the plethora of payouts and house edges of each bet, will put players at a very strong advantage when managing craps bankrolls and making determinations on which bets to play.

Specific Bets Payout House Edge
Pass 1 to 1 1.41%
Come 1 to 1 1.41%
Taking Odds on Pass/Come 6 or 8 6 to 5 0%
Taking Odds on Pass/Come 5 or 9 3 to 2 0%
Taking Odds on Pass/Come 4 or 10 2 to 1 0%
Don’t Pass 1 to 1 1.36%
Don’t Come 1 to 1 1.41%
Laying Odds on Don’t Pass/Don’t Come 6 and 8 5 to 6 0%
Laying Odds on Don’t Pass/Don’t Come 5 and 9 2 to 3 0%
Laying Odds on Don’t Pass/Don’t Come 4 and 10 1 to 2 0%
Place 4 or 10 9 to 5 6.67%
Place 5 or 9 7 to 5 4.00%
Place 6 or 8 7 to 6 1.52%
Big 6 and 8 1 to 1 9.09%
Field 3,4,9,10 or 11 1 to 1 5.56%
Field 2, 12 2 to 1 5.56%
Lay 6 and 8 19 to 25 4.00%
Lay 5 and 9 19 to 31 3.23%
Lay 4 and 10 19 to 41 2.45%
Buy 6 and 8 23 to 21 4.76%
Buy 5 and 9 29 to 21 4.76%
Buy 4 and 10 39 to 21 4.76%
Hardways 6 and 8 10 to 1 9.09%
Hardways 4 and 10 8 to 1 11.11%
Various Proposition Bets
Any Craps (2,3 or 12) 8 to 1 11.11%
Any Seven 5 to 1 16.8%
Any Eleven 16 to 1 11.11%
Ace Deuce (3) 16 to 1 11.11%
Aces (2) 30 to 1 13.9%
Boxcars (12) 30 to 1 13.9%
Horn 3 or 11 15 to 1 12.5%
Horn 2 or 12 15 to 1 12.5%

Alternative Strategies for Craps: Five-Count Craps Methods

The five-count craps method is not a craps method made for those players who are looking to feel their adrenaline in the heat of the moment. This strategy is a simple one to not only make the game easier for players, but also to ensure that the players play in a cool, collected fashion, placing the strongest bets and the correct times. The five-count method will assist in minimizing losses at the table, however the house advantage on the bets remain similar.

The goal of the five-count craps method is to stop players from losing money from their bankroll on bad shooters who roll sevens like its nothing. Instead, the goal is to cash in on shooter demonstrating worth by counting to five points before beginning betting. Here is how to count:

  • Count Zero: This is the come out roll. The shooter’s first roll of the dice is count zero.
  • Count One: The count remains at zero until the shooter rolls a point number (four, five, six, eight, nine, or ten). At this point, the count goes to one. With a two, three, seven, eleven and twelve, the count remains at zero.
  • Counts Two, Three, and Four: Players should count one point for each roll of the dice after the point number has been established, until the shooter reaches count four, regardless of what number is rolled.
  • Count Five: Once a player has hit count four, the shooter needs to roll a point number (four, five, six, eight, nine, or ten) again to add the fifth point. Players remain at the four count with any other number.

Now that five points has been reached, players may place a bet on the table. Stick with the pass or come bets, or don’t pass or don’t come bets, as well as laying odds or taking odds. Remember, always avoid the proposition bets. The house odds are not worth the investment of your bankroll.

Concluding the Greatest Gambling Game Guide: Craps

Craps is a high stakes, high impact game. There are strategies to gain an advantage over those not using them, but in the end, the house is meant to always win. Regardless, workarounds exist to attempt to put the odds in the favor of the player for standard craps games.

In this guide, we explained the rules and processes for a round of craps, both before and after the come out roll. We went through many of the most popular craps betting types, including the pass line, don’t pass line, come bet, don’t come bet, and odds bets.

We also went into many of the single roll craps bets, touching on both proposition bets and non-proposition bets. We went into the multiple roll bets as well, including the buy bet, lay bet, place win bet, place lose bet, big six bet, big eight bet, and hardways bets.

We explained odds strategies, including taking odds and laying odds. We explained the field bet, and when to play and when to stay. We touched on the play six and play eight bets, and how to avoid bad betting opportunities. We explained the odds and payouts in various bets, as well as going in depth on the five-count method for strategic craps play. We also went into some of the most frequently asked questions regarding craps.

Craps is a monster of a table game. Regardless, we are highly confident that if you’ve read this full guide, you have a strong amount of information to get started in the wild world of craps. Whether real world, live online, or simple online craps gameplay, you have the tactics and tricks to come out the other side with some winnings. Happy playing!

Strategy Guides