Craps is one of those games that everyone knows is a lot of fun – all you have to do is look at a crowd around a craps table, and you can see that the players are having a blast. But if you’ve never played before, one look at the action can be enough to scare you away.
There is money flying all around the table, with dozens of different bets being made at the same time. The dice are rolled, the players cheer, and more bets are made. There’s hardly time to ask a question, let alone figure out what’s going on.
If that’s your experience with craps – fear not! The basics of craps are fairly simple, and in a rare trait for a casino game, the simplest bets are actually the best ones for the player. If you simply take the time to understand the bare bones version of craps, you can gain access to some of the best odds in the casino.
Craps is a game played with two six-sided dice. The game begins with a player, known as the shooter, throwing the two dice down the table. The total of the two dice is used to determine the result of each roll; for some bets, the exact composition of the two dice is also important (in other words, a 4-4 can be different than a 5-3).
The most important bet in craps is known as the pass line bet. Craps begins with the shooter making a “come out” roll. If that roll results in a 7 or 11, then all pass line bets win even money. If the come out roll is a 2, 3 or 12, all pass line bets lose.
On any other result, the number rolled becomes the “point.” The goal for the shooter is now to roll the point a second time before rolling a seven. If the point is rolled again, all pass line bets win even money; if the shooter rolls a seven first, then all pass line bets lose.
Once a point is established, the players also have a chance to wager additional money by “taking the odds” behind the pass line. This is one of the best bets in the casino (we’ll explain just how good it is below), and as such, you’ll see most players making this bet at every opportunity. The amount a player may wager behind the pass line varies between casinos, and can range from twice the amount of the pass line bet to as much as 100 times that bet in some locations!
The odds bet pays out if the shooter rolls the point before rolling a seven. The payouts for this bet vary depending on the point in question, as follows:
If you only understand what we’ve talked about so far, you know enough to play craps. However, there are dozens of other bets you might see other players making during the course of play, and it’s probably helpful to have a basic understanding of these wagers. You may even start mixing a few of them into your play as you get more familiar with the game!
Don’t Pass: This bet is the opposite of the pass line bet – on the come out roll, it wins on a 2 or 3, loses on a 7 or 11, and pushes on a 12. Otherwise, you’ll be rooting for the shooter to roll a 7 before rolling the point a second time. This is often referred to as betting “the wrong way,” since you’ll usually be winning when the rest of the table loses. In addition, you can also “lay the odds,” which is the opposite of taking the odds behind the pass line. Laying the odds offers the inverse odds, however, since you’re now playing with the advantage:
This is essentially a pass line bet, but one that can be made at any time. Similarly, the “don’t come” bet is a don’t pass bet that can be made at any time.
These bets allow you to bet on any of the potential point numbers at any time; if that number is rolled before a 7, your bet is a winner. However, these bets do not offer quite the same odds that you’ll get when taking the odds behind the pass line; as such, they have a higher house edge.
Buy bets are very similar to place bets, though they offer slightly different odds. In general, place bets tend to offer better odds on points of 6 or 8, while buy bets are better on points of 4 and 10; the specific rules will determine which is better on points of 5 and 9.
These bets allow you to wager that a certain pair will be rolled before a seven or having that number be rolled in a different way. For instance, betting on “four the hard way” is a wager that the dice pair 2-2 will be rolled before any seven or other four (such as 3-1). Hard ways of 6 or 8 typically pay 9-1, while 4 and 10 pay 7-1.
This bet wins if the very next roll is a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12. Typically, this bet pays even money for most winning numbers, 2-1 if a 2 is rolled, and 3-1 if a 12 is rolled.
Prop Bets: There are a number of different proposition bets that pay off based on the next roll. These bets allow you to bet on a variety of different dice combinations, as well as whether the next roll will be a “craps” (2, 3 or 12) or a seven.
If you’d like to play real money online craps at an online casino, we recommend trying the craps game at Royal Vegas. Royal Vegas Casino offers 3x odds behind the pass line, giving the player a great chance to win big at the table. All of your favourite wagers are available on the table, with many of them offering better odds than you’d typically see in a real world casino.
There are two very similar strategies that will give you excellent results while playing craps. The most common one is to play the pass line bet, and then take the maximum amount of odds behind the pass line at every opportunity. This is because the odds bet actually has no house edge at all – it’s a perfectly fair wager between you and the casino, something you won’t often find! The entirety of the house edge comes from the initial pass line bet.
Similarly, you can get ever-so-slightly better odds by making the don’t pass bet and laying the maximum odds behind. The advantage you get by doing this is almost imperceptible compared to just playing the pass line bet; while you might like shaving a couple hundredths of a percent off the house edge while playing online, in live play, this strategy will pit you against the rest of the table – so it may not be worth the one bet you’ll save every 2,000 rolls or so.
The house edge on the pass line bet is a very fair 1.41%, one of the lower figures you’ll see in the casino. However, the real deal is when you take the odds behind the pass line; as we mentioned earlier, this bet has absolutely no house edge. If you make the full 3x odds bet, the combined house edge of the two bets is just 0.47%!
The don’t pass bet has a very slightly lower house edge of 1.36%, with laying the odds similarly lowering the combined house edge (to about .34%), as that bet also carries no advantage for the casino.
Other bets tend to carry higher house edges. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most popular bets on the craps table, with their associated house edges: