How to Win at Craps

If you don’t know how the game works, craps can seem like little more than random chance: someone throws a pair of dice (preferably while dressed like they just left the set of Guys and Dolls) on a huge board with a bunch of numbers on it while someone at the other end yells out phrases like “snake eyes”. There’s a lot to keep track of and it’s understandable that people who don’t know the game feel a little intimidated. The truth is craps is just like anything else that’s confusing at first. Once you break it down and know what’s going on you’ll not only be able to play, you’ll be able to win.

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How the Game is Played

  • There are four people involved in each game of craps: two dealers (one for each side of the table), the boxman in the middle of the table that keeps an eye on everything, and the stickman who controls the pace of the game by pushing the dice to the player.
  • The player makes a Pass Line bet
  • When all bets are down, the player selects their dice and rolls by banking the dice off the far end of the table.
  • If 7 or 11 is rolled on the come-out roll, that’s call a natural and the player wins the amount they bet on the Pass Line.
  • If the player rolls 2,3, or 12 on the come-out roll, that’s called craps and the player loses their Pass Line bet, which ends the round.
  • If the player rolls 4,5,6,8,9, or 10 then that number becomes the player’s point and they continue to shoot until they roll 7. If their point number is rolled, the Pass Line bettors win and the Don’t Pass Line bettors lose. If 7 is rolled then that is reversed.

So that’s the basics in how the game is played. Now let’s break down some of that new terminology:

Come-out Roll

  • The first roll of each shooter. Prior to this is when line bets (Pass or Don’t Pass) are made.

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Pass Line and Don’t Pass Line

  • The Pass Line bet is considered the safest bet in craps. Betting on the Pass Line means that the bettor wins if the come-out roll is 7 or 11.
  • When the come-out roll is 7 or 11, the Pass Line bettor doubles their money. If 4,5,6,8,9, or 10 is rolled, a point is established. The bettor wants that number to be rolled again before 7 is rolled. If this happens, the Pass Line bettor doubles their money.
  • The Don’t Pass Line reverses the situation. The Don’t Pass Line bettor wants the shooter to roll 2,3, or 12 on the come-out roll.
  • If 4,5,6,8,9, or 10 is rolled on the come-out roll then the Don’t Pass Line bettor wants the shooter to roll 7 before the shooter’s point number comes up again.

With the basics in hand, you can now make a variety of bets. Some with better chances than others:

  • Come bets – Similar to the Pass Line bet, Come Bets can be made after the point number is established. If the shooter rolls 7 or 11 after the bet is made then the Come Bet wins. If 2, 3, or 12 is rolled, they lose.
  • Don’t Come bets – Reverse of the Come Bet. If 2 or 3 is rolled after the point number is established then the bettor wins while rolling 12 results in a tie.
  • Odd bets – Odd bets are made by placing the new bet behind the initial bet and what they need to win depends on their earlier bet; they are either taking or laying odds hence the name. If the original bet wins then the odd bet wins.

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And finally, how to make up for the edge the casino has and go from betting to winning:

Winning for the Win

  • Take Pass bets – Pass bets are the safest and easiest bet in craps. They also have the smallest house edge and the payout is even money. If you put $5 in, you win $5 on top of it.
  • Playing the odds – If you’ve won a Pass bet, you can use the winnings and place an Odd bet behind your winning Pass bet so that you are rewarded doubly if the next roll is in your favor.
  • Place multiple Come bets – You can put down more than one bet and doing this gives you more than just one number in play.
  • Know when to walk away – The only way you get to enjoy any money you win is if you’re smart enough to stop when you’re ahead.

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