May 8, 2020
May 8, 2020

How to play Craps: The ultimate guide

Craps rules

Craps bets

Craps terminology

How does the Craps table work?

How to play Craps: The ultimate guide

Craps is a dice game popular at casinos which may appear complex at first glance, but is exciting and fast-paced to play once you become familiar with the rules and bets involved. Here is a straightforward guide on how to play Craps, including the bets you can make, how they are settled and terms that are useful to know.

Craps rules

In Craps, players take turns to serve as the shooter and throw two six-sided dice across the Craps table. The primary objective of the game is to place a successful bet on the outcome of these rolls, either on the next roll or a specified outcome to take place before the round has ended.

Rounds of Craps are divided into two sections: the come-out and the point. The come-out roll is the initial dice throw of the round. If this is a seven or 11, this is known as a natural and if this is a two, three or 12, this is known as crapping out. On both occasions, the round ends here.

If any other number is rolled (four, five, six, eight, nine or 10) this becomes the point. In this instance, the round continues until either the point or a seven is rolled. If neither of these are rolled on a throw, the shooter must roll again until they have rolled the point or a seven.

To signify which stage the round is at, a counter is placed on the table. Before the come-out roll, this will say Off. After a point has been established, the counter will move next to the relevant number on the table and turned over to say On.

A player serves as the shooter until they lose a round. In the come-out roll, a player wins the round if they get a natural and lose if they crap out. On point rolls, a player wins if they roll the point and lose if they roll a seven, known as seven out. The next shooter is the player to the previous shooter’s left.

Below is an example of a standard Craps table. To place a bet, chips must be placed in the specified section of the table.

Craps table layout

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Common Craps bets

There are numerous bets that can be placed on a round of Craps. These are the common Craps bets which will likely be placed by at least the majority of players in most rounds. As you will see, certain bets can be removed from the table (meaning the chips are returned to the player) or reduced during a round – note they cannot be restored or increased once this has happened.

Pass line bet

This is essentially a bet that the shooter will win the round. The current shooter is required to place either a Pass line bet or Don’t pass bet (explained below) on each round. For all other players, this bet is optional.

Pass line bets are placed by putting chips in the section of the table marked Pass Line. They can only be placed before the come-out roll and have a payout of 1:1.

Pass line bets play out as follows depending on the come-out roll:

  • If it is a seven or 11 (natural), the bet wins.
  • If it is a two, three or 12 (crapping out), the bet loses.
  • If it is any other number (four, five, six, eight, nine or 10) and a point is established, the bet wins if the point is rolled again and loses if a seven is rolled.

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Don’t pass bet

This is the inverse of the pass line bet, or a bet on the shooter to lose the round. A shooter must place a Don’t pass bet if they don’t want to place a pass line bet. For all other players, this bet is optional.

Don’t pass bets are placed by putting chips in the section of the table marked Don’t Pass Bar. They can only be placed before the come-out roll and have a payout of 1:1.

Don’t pass bets play out as follows depending on the come-out roll:

  • If it is a two or three, the bet wins.
  • If it is a seven or 11, the bet loses.
  • If it is a 12, there is a push, meaning the bet is neither won nor lost and it is returned to the player.
  • If it is any other number (four, five, six, eight, nine or 10) and a point is established, the bet wins if a seven is rolled and loses if the point is rolled again.

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If a point has been established, Don’t pass bets can be removed from the table or reduced. Placing a Don’t pass bet is referred to as “playing the dark side” and is generally socially frowned upon by the other players at casinos.

Pass odds bet

If a point has been established, a player can make a Pass odds bet that the point will be rolled again before a seven. This has a payout of 2:1 if the point is four or 10, 3:2 if it is five or nine and 6:5 if it is six or eight.

Pass odds bets can be only be placed if the player has also placed a Pass line bet. Pass odds bets sometimes have an enforced limit of three times the Pass line bet made if the point is four or 10, four times the Pass line bet made if the point is five or nine, and five times the Pass line bet made if the point is six or eight.

Pass odds bets are placed by putting chips behind the section marked Pass Line. They can be removed from the table or reduced, and can also be declared ‘off’ by the player – if the outcome is settled while the bet is ‘off’, its value is returned to the player.

Don’t pass odds bet

This is the inverse of a Pass odds bet, whereby you are betting on a seven to be rolled before the point. Don’t pass odds bets can be only be placed if the player has also placed a Don’t pass bet and often have a maximum value specified by the table. The payouts are 0.5:1 for four and 10, 0.66:1 for five and nine and 0.83:1 for six and eight.

Don’t pass odds bets are placed by putting chips behind the section marked Don’t Pass Bar. Similarly to Pass odds bets, they can be removed from the table or reduced and declared ‘off’ by the player. Don’t pass odds bets are also considered a social taboo at casinos.

Come bet

Come bets are bets made after a point has been established and treated as Pass line bets. This means that on any roll after the come-out roll, a Come bet wins if it is a seven or 11, loses if it is a two, three or 12 and enters its own point if it is any other number, known as a come point. In this instance, Come odds bets can be made in the same manner as Pass odds bets. Come bets have a payout of 1:1.

With Come bets, situations can arise whereby the shooter’s round finishes but the outcome of the come point is yet to be settled. For instance, on a point roll the shooter may roll an eight when the shooter’s point is eight and the come point is five.

When this happens, any Come bets carry over to the next round and remain in play until the next shooter (or indeed any shooter after them if required) rolls the come point or a seven.

Come odds bets also carry over to the next round, although they are declared ‘off’ for the next shooter’s come-out roll, meaning if they roll the come point or a seven, the Come odds bet is returned to the player. If the next shooter rolls any other value, the Come odds bet comes into play again.

Come bets are placed by putting chips in the section of the table marked Come. If a come point is established, the dealer moves the chips onto the box representing the number and if a Come odds bet is placed, any chips are placed on top of the come bet pile slightly off centre. Come bets can be removed from the table or reduced and declared ‘off’ by the player.

Don’t come bet

This is the inverse of a Come bet, meaning that on any roll after the come-out roll, a Don’t come bet wins if it is a seven or 11, loses if it is a two or three, pushes if it is a 12 and enters its own point if it is any other number, known as a don’t come point. In this instance, Don’t come odds bets can be made in the same manner as Don’t pass odds bets. Don’t come bets have a payout of 1:1.

Don’t come bets are placed by putting chips in the section of the table marked Don’t Come Bar. If a don’t come point is established, the dealer moves the chips onto the box representing the number and if a Don’t come odds bet is placed, any chips are placed on top of the don’t come bet pile slightly off centre. Don’t come bets can be removed from the table or reduced but cannot be declared ‘off’ by the player.

Multi-roll Craps bets

Place bet

This is a bet that a specific point number (four, five, six, eight, nine or ten) will be rolled before a seven. This usually has a payout of 9:5 for four and ten, 7:5 for five and nine and 7:6 for six and eight.

A Place bet can generally only be made after the come-out roll, after which it is considered active for the entire round and will continue to pay out every time the shooter rolls the specified number until they finish their round.

Place bets are placed by placing chips in the section of the table marked Come and informing the dealer of which number(s) you want to bet on. Place bets can be removed from the table or reduced but cannot be declared ‘off’ by the player.

There are also specific types of Place bets that can be made. A Hard way bet is a bet on a four, six, eight or 10 to be rolled via two dice of the same value before a seven or any other combination that results in the specified number. For instance, a hard way bet on eight would require two fours to be rolled before a seven or any other combination that makes eight (six and two or five and three).

Hard way bets can be generally be placed at any point in the round including before the come-out roll and usually have a payout of 9:1 for four and 10 and 7:1 for six and eight.

Big 6 and Big 8 bets are another specific Place bet placed on the shooter rolling a six or eight before a seven. These can be generally be placed at any point in the round including before the come-out roll and usually have a payout of 1:1. Big 6 and Big 8 bets are placed by putting chips in the section of the table marked Big 6 and Big 8.

Buy bet

A buy bet is a Place bet whereby the player pays a 5% commission on top of the value staked to make a Place bet for which any winnings are paid out at true odds. Essentially, the player pays the commission to receive better payouts should they win the bet. As a result, the payouts for a Buy bet are 2:1 for four and 10, 3:2 for five and nine and 6:5 for six and eight.

Similarly to Place bets, Buy bets can only be made after the come-out roll, after which it is considered active for the entire round, and can be removed from the table or reduced but cannot be declared ‘off’ by the player.

Lay bet

A lay bet is the inverse of a Buy bet, whereby a player bets on a seven to be rolled before a specified point number(s). Again, the player must pay a 5% commission on top of the value staked for winnings to be paid out at true odds, meaning the payouts are 1.5:1 for four and 10, 1.66:1 for five and nine and 1.83:1 for six and eight.

Unlike Place and Buy bets, Lay bets can be made before the come-out roll. They are considered active for the entire round and can be removed from the table or reduced but cannot be declared ‘off’ by the player.

Single roll Craps bets

These are bets on the outcome of the very next roll by the shooter. Often, the requirements for these bets and their payouts are specified on the table and the player must place chips on the relevant area to make the bet:

Craps roll payouts

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Other single roll bets available include:

Field

This is a bet that the next roll will be one of the numbers in the ‘field’ (two, three, four, nine, 10, 11 or 12). This usually has a payout of 2:1 if the roll gets two or 12, and 1:1 for any of the other numbers. Field bets are made by placing chips in the section of the table marked Field.

C&E

This is a bet whereby the player bets half the stake on the next roll getting Craps (two, three or 12) and the other half on it being 11. This usually has a payout of 3:1 for Craps and 7:1 for 11. C&E bets are placed by placing two sets of chips of equal value in adjacent circles marked C and E.

Horn

This is a bet whereby the player bets four equal units on the next roll being two, three, 11 and 12. This usually has a payout of 27:4 for two and 12 and 3:1 for three and 11.

Players can also make a Horn High bet involving a fifth unit of equal value to the other four that is also bet on one of the specific numbers. For instance, a €5 Horn High bet may involve betting €1 on two, three and 12 and €2 on 11.

Whirl / World

This is a Horn bet involving a fifth unit made on the next roll being a seven, which is essentially an insurance bet whereby the player receives a push with the full value of the bet returned to them if a seven is rolled. This usually has a payout of 26:5 for two and 12 and 11:5 for three and 11.

Hop bets / On the Hop / Hopping

This is a bet on both the total of the next roll and the manner in which it is achieved. Hop bets are divided into ‘soft hops’ (whereby the two individual numbers on the dice are different) and ‘hard hops’ (when both numbers are the same).

For instance, a hop bet on a soft 10 means you are betting on the two dice to get six and four, whereas a hop bet on a hard 10 requires two fives. Soft hop bets usually have a payout of 15:1 and hard hop bets usually have a payout of 30:1.

Craps terminology

You will notice as you are playing Craps that dice rolls are not traditionally referred to by their usual values and numbers. Instead, many individual rolls are given specific names that the dealer will call them by. It is important to become accustomed with these so that you can follow the round as it being played, particularly as several of these will refer to the outcome of certain bets.

Craps number nicknames: dice rolls

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Learn more about Craps

To develop your knowledge about the probabilities and strategy involved in Craps, you can read about Craps odds and strategy. If you want to learn more about Craps beyond how to play the game, you can read about the history of Craps.

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