Craps is a dice game played with two six-sided standard dice. It originated as a street game in Louisiana, USA but is today played in many casinos world wide.
There are a lot of different bets available to the craps player, and the gambling situation can seem complex and disheartening for the novice, but if you just start out by making pass line bets you will soon get the hang of it and can then gradually explore other bet options. Generally speaking, most of the “fancy” bets are sucker bets anyway and is avoided by the skilled craps players, so you aren’t missing out on great odds by sticking to pass line bets during your initial forays into craps.
Betting on Pass Line
This is a bet that can only be made before the dice are thrown for the first time during a around of craps.
To make a bet on pass line, place your chips at the designated area on the craps table. This area is marked PASS LINE.
When all the players have placed their wagers, the dice will be thrown for the first time. This is called come-out. After the come-out, one of three things will happen to your pass line wager:
- IF the sum of the two dice is 2, 3 or 12 you lose your pass line wager.
- IF the sum of the two dice is 7 or 11 you win on your pass line wager and is paid 1:1. This means that if you made a $10 wager, you are paid $10 and now have a total of $20.
- IF the sum of the two dice is 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 a point is formed. Your wager is now in a type of limbo. You haven’t lost it, put you haven’t won anything either – the outcome is still to be decided. Your wager will remain in the game as it proceeds. You can read more about the next steps below.
What happens when a point has formed?
A point is formed when the result of the come-out throw is 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10.
The result will be the point.
Example: The result of the come-out throw is four on one dice and five on the other = nine. The point is now nine.
All bets on pass line will remain on the craps table.
All players that have made a bet on pass line will have the option of now betting on pass odds, if they want to. Players that didn’t make a bet on pass line are not allowed to bet on pass odds. You can read more about the pass odds bet further down on this page.
Both dice will be thrown again. This will be repeated until the result is 7 or the point (in this case, 9).
- If the result is 7, all bets on pass line are lost.
- If the result is point, all bets on pass line win and are paid 1:1.
Betting on Pass Odds
This is not a bet that you can do at the start of the round. This is a bet that is only available once a point has been established by the come-out throw. Also, only players that have made an initial pass line bet are allowed to follow up with a pass odds bet. If you elect to make a pass odds bet, this wager is placed behind your pass line wager on the craps table.
As mentioned above, the dice will be thrown again following the establishment of a point, and they will be thrown until the result is either 7 or the point.
- If the result is 7, all bets on pass odds are lost.
- If the result is point, all bets on pass odds win. How much you win on your pass odds bet depends on the point.
As you can see, it is possible to win more on a pass odds bet than on a pass line bet. This makes the pass odds bet a very popular bet, and most players that are eligible for this bet chose to make it.
Since it is such a beneficial bet for the player, most casinos have a rule that says that your pass odds bet can not be larger than three times your pass line bet. Example: You made a $10 wager on pass line. A point is established and you wish to bet on pass odds. Your pass odds bet can not be larger than 3 x $10 = $30.
Betting “against the table” – why you should dare to bet on Don’t pass line & Don’t pass odds
Once you get a hang on how pass line bets and pass odds bets work, the next natural step is to explore the don’t pass line bet and the don’t pass odds bet. These bets are the opposite of the pass line bet and the pass odds bet, respectively. So, when the pass line bet loses, the don’t pass line bet wins. When the pass odds bet loses, the don’t pass bet wins.
These “don’t” bets are actually a bit more beneficial to player than pass line and pass odds bets, if we look at it mathematically. Despite this fact, they tend to be unpopular among craps players. The reason is probably psychological – people are simply reluctant to bet “against the table”, i.e. make a bet that goes against what most other people are betting. With a don’t pass line or a don’t pass odds bet, you will win when the conventional players lose and vice versa.
As said above, the craps table offers a lot of different bets and you can adjust your chance of winning by adjusting which bets you do. Some bets are high risk – high reward, while others have a pretty high chance of winning accordingly a lower pay when you win. The whole span is available.
If you are bored with pass line, don’t pass line, pass odds and don’t pass odds and wish to try something else, you can go for one of the many proposition bets. On a standard craps table, the area for placing proposition bets are found in the central part of the table. There are plenty of proposition bets to chose among, such as one + one, two + two, three + three, four + four, five + five, six + six, one + two, and five + six.
The house edge is high for proposition bets compared to the house edge for pass line, don’t pass line, pass odds and don’t pass bets.
Big 6 & Big 8 – bets for suckers
There is never any reason to make a Big 6 or Big 8 bet on the craps table. Make a standard place bet on 6 or on 8 instead, where the house edge is much lower. The house edge for Big 6 and Big 8 is a whopping 5%. On a place bet on 6 or on 8, the house edge is just 1.52%.
- Craps has it roots in an old European dice game called hazard. The rules for hazard are more complex than the rules for craps, making craps an easier game to learn for the novice.
- Craps developed in Louisiana, USA where it was played in the streets. Its origin as a street game rather than a casino game explains why players are allowed to throw the dice in craps. The idea of having a designated craps dealer wasn’t introduced until craps moved indoors, to casinos and gambling halls.
- In Louisiana, craps is still known under its French Creole name crapaud. Crapaud means toad.
- If you get the chance to throw the dice in craps, it is important that you never touch the dice. Only touch the container.
- When someone else is rolling the dice, do not keep your hands where the dice might touch them.
- When a shooter is rolling well (i.e. when players win on pass line and pass odds bets), it is considered bad form to speak to the shooter.
- According to craps superstition, one should avoid saying the number “seven” out loud at the craps table.
- Another piece of craps superstition states that first-time female players bring luck to the table, while a first-time male player brings misfortune to the table.