Craps is one of the most entertaining games in the casino. It is one of the few dice games played in the casino, and the theater of the dice shaking and rolling and being pulled back by the dealer makes it perfect entertainment. People are drawn to the craps tables because of the game’s unique wagering and decision system, and because it is one of the better-known casino games on any floor.
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How to Play Craps
Craps is, like many other games, easy to learn but difficult to master. You can learn the rules of craps in just a few minutes, but understanding all the different wagers will take a few rounds, some game experience, and maybe even some reading.
The most intimidating part of the game is the "bottom", the betting surface on the game table where bets are placed and the dice are rolled. Live craps games can be confusing. A craps table offers so many betting options that the table almost looks like a page from a dictionary.
But craps is worth learning. It offers some of the best odds in the casino. It also offers some of the worst odds in the casino, so it’s worth doing some studying before playing, so you’ll know which craps bets to avoid.
Craps Bets Explained
Here’s a brief description of the most common craps bets here will help you get familiar with the game.
Of all the bets in craps, place bets offer some of the best odds. There are further categories of place bets that you’ll learn over time, but for now it is enough to know that place bets are best made on any of the “point” numbers: 4,5,6,8,9, and 10. You make place bets at any point of a round of craps.
A place bet is a wager on a specific number being rolled before the next roll of 7.
Here’s another of the better bets in a craps game. Come bets are identical to the pass line bets, except that a come bet can be laid down on each toss of the dice after the point is determined. You place a come bet by stacking chips in the section of the craps bottom that’s labeled “Come.”
Don’t Come Bet
Similar to come bets, don’t come bets can be wagered on each toss of the dice after the establishment of the point. When you place a don’t come bet, the next toss of the dice is the new come-out roll for your bet. That means if the craps shooter rolls a 2 or 3, you are a winner.
Hard Way Bets
Hard way bets are named after how hard it is to win by placing them. In craps, a hard number is a number that’s rolled in two smaller identical totals. A “hard 8” is when both dice show 4, for example. Hard way bets are wagers that a specific hard number will come up. The potential profits are high but so are the risks.
A horn bet is not really a single bet, but four bets stacked together, combining 2, 3, 11, and 12. All horn bet amounts must be divisible by four, and they only pay off on one win at a time.
The pass bet is almost the best bet at the craps table. Almost every craps shooter will bet on the pass line. A pass line bet is the most fundamental craps bet. Pass line bets are even money bets that pay off if a player rolls either a total of 7 or 11 on the come-out roll. They also pay off for throws of 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 on the come-out roll when you repeat that number before another 7 appears. Pass line bets always lose on come-out rolls of 2,3, or 12, known as “craps.”
Don’t Pass Bets
Most bets in craps have an opposing bet. In the case of pass bets, the opposing wager is a “don’t pass” bet. If a pass bet is a wager that the shooter will win, a don’t pass bet is a bet against the shooter. All don't pass line bets win if the shooter throws a craps of 2 or 3, but not a craps of 12 on the come-out roll. These bets also win if the shooter rolls a 7 before repeating the point number. When do don’t pass bets lose? If the come-out roll is a total of 7 or 11, or if the shooter repeats his point number before rolling another 7.
The payout percentage for the don’t pass bet is actually slightly better than the payout percentage for the pass bet, but most craps players prefer to root for the player throwing the dice, rather than rooting against him, and they’re willing to give up a few tenths of a percent in the sake of good sportsmanship and gamesmanship.
If you’re unfamiliar with craps but want to play on your next casino trip, log on to any online casino gambling site and play a couple of rounds for play money. As long as you stick with the play money games, you won’t lose anything, and you may just become familiar enough with craps to make a bundle on your next gambling adventure.
The History of Craps
Craps is based on a British game called Hazard, which was altered a little by French gamblers and which then made its way to New Orleans in the 18th century. The first hint at the name “craps” comes from French descriptions of the game as “crapaud,” which is French for “toad.” That name referred to the way gamblers huddled around the game like toads on their haunches.
Craps has stayed essentially the same as the version brought to America by French traders and noblemen, with the addition of a couple of rules along the way to make the game fair. Street versions of craps, usually just called dice or street dice, simplify the complex betting rules for craps and concentrate on the dice rolling aspect of the game. Street craps is illegal in many jurisdictions worldwide.