The game of Craps is one of the most exciting of casino games. This is the one that is featured in movies where people are throwing dice down a long oval table. Craps is so popular it is often played on the street. All you need is a pair of dice and a marked up board and you are ready to go.
Craps is the “shooter’s game” where the crowd goes wild when the shooter (the player throwing the dice) gets a 7 or 11 (in movies and television shows). In reality, people get excited when the dice go their ways regardless of what the numbers are. Here is a free Craps game you can use to practice for real money play. We’ll cover a few of the basic rules of the game below.
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Basic Rules of Craps
The game of craps is played in two rounds per shooter. The shooter is the player who has the dice and gets to throw them.
The board layout may be confusing but beginners can start by deciding whether to bet on the PASS LINE or the DON’T PASS LINE. The PASS LINE is betting on the shooter’s rolls. The DON’T PASS LINE is betting against the shooter’s rolls.
The first round in Craps is the “Come Out” round. In the come out round the shooter and anyone who has bet on the PASS LINE want the shooter to roll 7 or 11. The three numbers the shooter and PASS LINE bettors do not want to see are 2, 3, and 12. When the shooter rolls any of these three numbers in the Come Out round he is said to “crap out”.
So when you hear the croupier (aka dealer) say, “Craps! You lose!” that means the shooter rolled a 2, 3, or 12.
When the shooter rolls any other number (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10) the Come Out round ends.
The second round in Craps is the “Point” round. The Point is the number the shooter rolled to end the Come Out round. During the Point round the shooter and Pass Line Bettors want any number except a 7. The Don’t Pass Line bettors want a 7.
However, in PASS LINE bets the only time the players win is if the shooter rolls his Point again. All other numbers do nothing. We say that the shooter is “throwing numbers” and “on a roll” when he is not throwing either the Point or the 7.
The Point round ends when the shooter finally rolls a 7.
When a Point round ends the shooter passes the dice to the next player.
What Is the On/Off Marker in Craps?
You’ll see the croupier turn a little hockey puck-like marker over every now and then. The marker says “ON” on one side and “OFF” on the other side. The “OFF” signifies the start of a Come Out round. The dealer should also say “Coming out!” when he flips the marker to “OFF”.
You’ll see a rectangular box marked out on the table with some numbers in it: “4”, “5”, “SIX”, “8”, “NINE”, and “10”. When the shooter rolls a point (one of those six numbers) the croupier flips the marker to “ON” and sets it next to the point number.
If you are not sure whether it is safe to bet on 7, try remembering this: Point OFF, 7 GOOD. Point ON, 7 BAD.
Playing the ODDS in Craps
During the Point round after you place a bet on the PASS LINE you have the option of making an additional bet on the ODDS. Place your second bet just outside the PASS LINE area behind your PASS LINE bet. This shows you are playing the ODDS.
When the shooter rolls the Point number again you are paid on both bets and your chips are cleared from the table. You can bet again before the shooter rolls again.
You need to check what the ODDS rules are in the casino and/or for that table. The casinos set limits on ODDS bets to limit their losses. Betting the ODDS reduces the casino’s edge (percentage take of the handle, or total wagers).
A Single Odds bet is equal to the amount of your Pass Line bet. A Double Odds bet is double the amount of your Pass Line bet. How much the odds pay is marked out on the table in another rectangular box. A seven pays 4 to 1, 4 and 10 pay 7 to 1, 6 and 8 pay 9 to 1, 3 and 11 pay 15 to 1, and 2 or 12 pay 30 to 1.
The odds are dictated by how many permutations of the dice can produce the same number. The fewer permutations the longer (higher) the odds because those types of throws should occur less often.
How to Play a Come Bet in Craps
If you are ready to place a more complicated bet then you’ll want to try a Come bet. You can only make Come bets in the Point round.
When the shooter establishes his point place a bet in the area of the table marked “COME”.
If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11 you win.
If the shooter Craps Out (rolls a 2, 3, or 12) you lose.
When the shooter rolls any number other than 2, 3, 7, 11, or 12 you establish what is called a “Come Point” and your bet is moved to the number in the point rectangle.
You can place an Odds bet on your Come Point bet just as with the Pass Line bet.
You can make another Come bet after you win as long as the shooter remains in his Point round.
Basic Strategy in Craps
Now that you know about Pass Line, Odds, and Come Bets you’re ready to play with a little bit of basic strategy. This is the way all beginners are advised to learn the game.
Make a Pass Line bet in any round. Always replace your Pass Line bet. These bets should be conservative, such as the minimum required bet or something close to it.
Always play the Odds on your Pass Line bet in the Point round (you cannot do this in the Come round). Some experts advise that you only make a minimum Odds bet on your Pass Line.
Play a Come bet. Once you make your Come Point bet the table maximum on the Odds for your Come Bet.