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Craps Overview


Although the dice game of craps has its roots in early Europe, it is extremely popular in the United States today. Whether played at casinos around the world or online, craps is always an appealing option because the sheer simplicity of the game’s rules, the pure luck element and the excitement that is always found around the unique craps table.

Players can usually recognize a craps table on the casino floor from the rowdy, boisterous crowds mingling around although despite the façade of mayhem, there is actually quite a strict code of conduct where certain etiquette must be preserved at all times. Online craps has removed the need to adhere to the stricter rules, although a general sense of etiquette is obviously encouraged for all types of gambling pastimes.


Although nobody can pinpoint exactly when craps was invented, one of the most popular theories is that the game, then known as Hazard, was created during the time of the Crusades by Sir William of Tyre and his knights. The game became part of the cultural landscape of Medieval England, even being cited in the works of the famous author, Geoffrey Chaucer.

In the 1600s and 1700s, Hazard moved to the luxury gambling halls of England, where it was introduced to French nobility. The French embraced the game so enthusiastically that they even took the liberty of renaming the game Crabes. The game was transported across the oceans to North America by the French, although some argue that it was the English who introduced the game to that continent. In all events, by the 19th Century, craps was a popular pastime among African-Americans, who spread the popularity of the game up and down the Mississippi.

John H. Winn revolutionized craps at the turn of the 20th century by introducing hard and fast rules and other changes. The game reached Nevada gambling houses in the 1930s and soon earned itself an honored place in the list of top games found on a casino floor. Online gambling has also contributed remarkably to the success and popularity of craps, with millions of players from around the globe enjoying this simple yet exciting pastime.


The objective of craps is to correctly predict if the two dice thrown will present a winning combination. Another objective is for the shooter (ie. the person who is throwing the two dice) to get a specific total in a single roll, before reaching a total of seven. The shooter, as well as players around the table, can place bets on the action.


Aces: The next roll will equal two.
Any craps: The next roll will be 2, 3, or 12.
Any seven: The next roll will be 7
Back Line: The Don’t Pass Line
Betting Right: The throw will win on Pass Line and Come bets
Betting Wrong: The throw won’t pass on Don’t Pass Line and Don’t Come Bets
Big Eight: Eight will be rolled before a seven
Big Six: Six will be rolled before a seven
Big Red: A bet on any seven
Come out Roll: First roll of the dice; determines the point for Pass and Don’t Pass Line bets.
Don’t Pass Bet: Bet against the dice before a come out roll
Field Bet: Bet on 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 and 12
Line Bet: Bet on the Pass Line or Don’t Pass Line
Outside Numbers: 4, 5, 9 and 10
Pass Line Bet: A bet that the dice will win or pass
Place Bet: A place number will be thrown before a seven comes out
Place Numbers: 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10
Point: Number established on the come out roll
Wrong Bettor: Betting the dice won’t pass

How to Play/Game Rules

While craps is a simple enough game to play, the player should gain a firm understanding of the betting options and table layout before proceeding with the game. Read on to learn the basics of how to play craps.

The Craps Table

Around twenty players can stand around a custom created craps table, with each player being given the chance to be the crapshooter – the one to throw the two dice. Besides the players, there are several croupiers around the table, including the boxman, the stickman, dealers and the floorman – each with a specific job.

The craps table is divided into three areas: The left side, the center and the right side. Each side is a mirror image of the other side and each side includes the following sections: Field bets, place bets, odds bets, come and don’t come bets, and pass and don’t pass line bets.
Both sides share the center, which also holds the proposition bets.

Game Format

 Playing craps essentially entails betting that the crapshooter (the person who rolls the dice) will get the numbers he or she needs to win.
 Players place the basic bet called the Pass Line Bet (used here as an example).
 The come out roll (first roll in the series) is thrown.
 The series ends if seven or eleven are thrown, as these are automatic Pass Line Bet winners.
 The series also ends if two, three or twelve (aka craps) are thrown, as these are automatic Pass Line Bet losers.
 The series continues if four, five, six, eight, nine or ten are thrown. Any of these numbers thrown become the crapshooter’s Point.
 The series continues with the shooter rolling the dice and the aim of the game at this point is for the shooter to roll the Point again before a seven is rolled.
 The shooter rolls again if anything but a seven or the Point is rolled.
 Pass Line bets win and the series ends if the Point is rolled.
 Pass Line bets lose and the series ends if a seven is rolled.

Betting Options

One of the most confusing aspects of craps is the wide range of betting options available. Players should familiarize themselves with the more common bets in order to get ahead in the game. We have outlined the Pass Line Bet in the Game Format section above. Following are several other examples of bets that can be placed at the craps table.

 Don’t Pass Line Bet: Works opposite to Pass Line Bet. Can only be placed at the beginning of the game. If the Come Out roll produces a seven or 11, the bet is lost. If the Come Out roll is a 3, the bet is won. Any other number becomes the Point and the bet is moved to the relevant number on the table. The bet loses if the Point is rolled before a seven or 11. The bet wins if a 7 or 11 is rolled before the Point.
 Come Bet: Can be placed any time during the game. If a seven or 11 is produced on the Come Out roll, the bet wins. If 2, 3 or 12 are rolled after the bet is made, it is lost. Any other number becomes the Point. If the Point is rolled again before a 7 or 11, the bet wins. If seven or 11 is produced before the Point, the bet loses.
 Place Bet: Can be made anytime during the game once the Point has been determined. Chips are placed on the numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 betting boxes. If the selected number is rolled before a seven, the bet wins. If a seven is rolled before the number, the bet loses.

Tips and Strategies

 Know the house edge on certain bets. You will soon realize that there are ‘good bets’ and ‘bad bets’, and you should wager accordingly. Examples of good bets are Pass Line Bets with a house edge of only 1.41%, Don’t Come Bets with a house edge of 1.40% and so forth. In comparison, the Field Bet has a house edge of 5.6% and Hard Bets with a house edge of a whopping 12.5%.
 In the same vein, stay away from Proposition Bets! They have the worst house edge in the game and unless you are a freeroller with money to throw away, we suggest you place your money on more player-friendly bets.
 Accept that craps is a game of chance. It has not been proven that one particular strategy can change the house edge for you.
 Budget your bankroll well. This is especially true because craps is a game of chance and it becomes easy to become ‘caught up in the moment’. Set yourself limits and stick to them!


At first glance, craps may give the impression of a rowdy, confusing game and players may despair that they will never understand the lingo, bets and process. However, a closer look reveals an exciting, simple to play game with excellent odds if money is placed on the right bets.

See our Craps Resources page for further links to useful craps sites and pages.








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