How to Play Craps – Beginner’s Guide

Learn how to play Craps fast and easy. We offer a step-by-step guide for beginners, but also the game rules, odds and payouts.

Beyond the basics, this page offers insight into Craps terminology, a guide to Craps strategy, and bets with the highest and lowest house edge.

What is Craps?

Craps is a casino dice game of chance. It’s played with two dice on a large and unique Craps table, hosting over a dozen betting options. Players must use chips to wager real money.

Your goal is to predict the dice roll outcome correctly.

In Craps, every player takes a turn in throwing the dice. Whoever throws the dice is known as the Shooter.

Every round starts the same. Players must make bets on the first dice roll of the round. This first roll is known as the “Come Out roll.”

If the Come-Out roll amounts to a 7 or 11, this is known as a “Natural,” and the round ends. The same applies if the Come-Out roll lands on a 2, 3, or a 12. This is called “Craps,” and it ends the round.

If the Come-Out roll amounts to a 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10, the round continues with additional rolls. Whichever number was rolled becomes the “Point.” A puck is placed on the point number to help players navigate the table, and the shooter rolls the dice once more. The rolls continue until the shooter rolls the Point number or a 7.

Craps Table Layout

The table layout is a confusing part of learning how to play craps. But you must know the ins and outs of the Craps table, even as a complete beginner.

The table is split into multiple sections, each hosting different bet fields. Every bet you make will require knowledge of that section of the table. Rest assured, we’ll walk you through them all.

  • Pass & Don’t Pass lines

    This section contains all Pass Line bets. If you believe the shooter’s dice will amount to 7 or 11, place a bet on the Pass Line. If you think the dice will amount to 2, 3, or 12, place your chips on the Don’t Pass Bar.

  • Come & Don’t Come Bar

    These boxes offer similar wagers to the Pass and Don’t Pass lines. Come & Don’t Come bets can only be placed after Pass line bets have been made.

    If you think the Shooter will throw a dice value of 7 or 11, the Come box should be your bet. If you feel the Shooter will throw a dice value of 2 or 3, place chips on the Don’t Come box.

  • Center Section

    The Center section is where all Proposition wagers go. A single dice roll resolves all proposition bets. These bets have a high house edge and high payout.

  • The Field

    In The Field section, you make a bet if the dice will roll on a 2 or 12 with extra payouts if right. The standard numbers to wager on are 3, 4, 9, 10, or 11. The outcome for this bet is based on a single dice roll rather than multiple.

  • Big 6 and Big 8

    The Big 6 and Big 8 field represent one of the most used Craps bets. By placing your wagers in this box, you bet that the Shooter will roll a 6 or an 8 before a 7.

  • The Place

    The Place is like the Centre section. You can make a Place bet at any point, combined with other bets.

    You can wager on a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 dice roll outcome in this box before a 7 is rolled. You can do the opposite and wager on a so-called “Place To Lose” bet – by betting that a 7 will be rolled before any of the “Place” numbers.

Mastering the table layout will be crucial in understanding how to play craps for beginners. The table layouts can be different in some casinos, even online. In land casinos, two Craps table layouts are sometimes combined to accommodate more players on the table. What’s more, some Craps variants limit specific bets or remove them altogether.

Who Runs The Craps Table?

When playing Craps, you’ll run into terms like the “Box person,” “Shooter,” and “Stickman.” These table operators are not essential to online Craps rules as they are offline, except for some Craps variants available at live dealer casinos.

We explain what these roles mean and their purpose.

receive cards

The Box person

The Box person oversees the chips on the table. They monitor the base dealers to prevent mistakes and exchange chips for cash.

receive cards

The Stickman

The Stickman operates with a long wooden hook. He moves the dice around the table and announces each dice roll’s outcome.

receive cards

The Shooter

The Shooter is whoever is rolling the dice. Traditionally, players take turns rolling the dice in a clockwise manner. You have the option of passing Shooting duty.

The Shooter is the only player role, whereas the casino always decides the Box Person, Stickman, and base dealers. Therefore, the Shooter role is the only one you should know for gameplay purposes.

The Stickman and Box person are irrelevant for online play. Online, the Craps bets are governed by RNG (Random Number Generators). Live Craps games still use dice and emulate the real-world environment to a large extent.

Craps Rules, Bets, and Payouts

When it comes to Craps rules, it’s challenging to find an official rulebook. The game is complex, meaning the bets define the rules of Craps themselves.

The Pass line and Come bar are your bread and butter. Every experienced player places wagers on these bets considering their low house edge. The difference between a beginner and an advanced player is the latter knows to combine multiple bets simultaneously to maximize odds.

Pass & Don’t Pass line bets

Craps rules dictate that The Pass bet is the first bet you must make once you sit down at the table. Statistically, the most likely dice roll outcome is 7. The Pass line wager bets on 7 or 11 rolls before a 2, 3, or 12. That’s why this bet is so common and preferred.

The Don’t Pass line bet is the complete opposite. You’re wagering that a 2, 3, or 12 will roll before a 7 or an 11.

The Point

If the Come Out roll outcome is 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, whichever number is rolled becomes the Point.

Come & Don’t Come

This bet is available after a Point number has been established.

By making a Come bet, you’re betting the Shooter will roll a 7 or 11 before the Point number.

A Don’t Come bet is the opposite, like in the Don’t Pass line bet. You’re betting the Point number will be rolled before a 7 or 11.

Place Bets

Place bets are only available after the Come-Out roll. It lets you bet on 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10. If any of those numbers is rolled before a 7, you win the bet. You lose the bet if a 7 is rolled before the number you chose.

Odds Bets

Odds bets are connected to general Craps terms: laying the odds and taking the odds.

Placing an Odds bet on the Don’t Come bar means you are laying the odds.

Placing an Odds bet on the Pass line means you are taking the odds.

All Craps Payouts, Bets, and House Edge

Look at this Craps payout chart to determine the rolls with the lowest and highest house edge and payout ratios for each bet type.

These bets shouldn’t be looked at individually. In Craps, many bets can be combined, and rounds often take several rolls to resolve. This changes the game dynamic and house edge as the game goes on.

BetPayoutHouse Edge
Pass1:11.41%
Don't Pass1:11.40%
Pass Line: 6 or 86:54.76%
Pass Line: 5 or 93:24.76%
Pass Line: 4 or 102:14.76%
Don’t Pass Line: 6 or 85:64.00%
Don’t Pass Line: 5 or 92:33.23%
Don’t Pass Line: 4 or 101:22.44%
Field Bet: 2, 121:15.50%
Field Bet: 3, 4, 9, 10 or 111:15.50%
Place Bet: 6 or 87:61.52%
Place Bet: 5 or 97:54.00%
Place Bet: 4 or 109:56.70%
Hardway: 6 or 89:19.09%
Hardway: 4 or 107:111.1%
Any 74:116.9%
Any Craps7:111.1%
Craps – 2 or 1230:113.9%
Craps – 3 or 11 15:111.1%

For most bets, the payouts are not proportional to the house edge. For example, a wager on “Any 7” roll nets a 4:1 payout, yet the house edge is 11,1%. Things change when you combine bets to minimize the house edge and “protect” your main bets.

When you learn how to play craps as an intermediate or expert, you’ll find that many Craps strategies advise you to combine multiple bets simultaneously.

How to Play Craps

We guide you every step of the process in how a round of Craps is played out.

1
the pass line bet
The Pass Line bet

The game starts with the Pass line bet. You must bet on Pass (dice will roll 7 or 11) or Don’t Pass (dice will roll 2, 3, or 12).

2
wagers are pooled
Wagers are pooled

The table’s base dealers will take your and other players’ bets to the table.

3
the come out roll
The Come-Out roll

The game round begins. The designated shooter rolls the dice to reveal what is known as the Come-Out roll.

4
the dice lands
The dice lands

If dice rolls 7 or 11, Pass bets win, or if a 2, 3 or 12 is rolled, Don’t Pass bets win. Any other number becomes the Point.

5
point bets become available
Point bets become available

When a Point number is set, you can bet on either one of the Point numbers or a 7. Whichever hits first declares the winner.

6
shooter keeps rolling
Shooter keeps rolling

The Shooter will continue to roll until a 7 or a Point number lands from the dice.

7
shooter switch or stay
Shooter switch or stay

When the Shooter lands a point, they keep the Shooter role. If the Shooter rolls a 7, the next player in line (clockwise) becomes the Shooter.

Craps Betting Tips for Beginners

There is no universal strategy you can follow while learning how to play Craps. These principles will ensure you don’t lose your bankroll until you figure out the Craps rules and bets.

Craps Betting Tips for Beginners

  1. Don’t Bet on Big 6 or 8 – These bets don’t offer good odds, objectively speaking. The payouts are decent, but the risk does not match said payouts. House edge on Big 6 or 8 is a massive 9%.
  2. Stay Clear of Proposition Bets – Proposition bets are in a similar bucket to the Big 6 or 8. We don’t recommend them for inexperienced players because of the high house edge. Proposition bets can be combined as part of a Craps strategy, but these strategies are not beginner-friendly.
  3. Stick to Safer Bets – Look at our Craps payout “cheat sheet” to find the best Craps odds. Stick to bets with a house edge of around 5% or lower.
  4. Check the game payouts – Not every Craps game is the same. The rules vary between game variants. Some will take away specific bets or limit them, and some add additional elements to the Craps table. Look for the game info to find details on RTP (Return to Player) percentage, payouts, and odds per bet.
  5. Take advantage of Craps bonuses – Claiming a casino bonus for Craps can be beneficial. US casinos welcome players with generous deposit bonuses, especially for first-time deposits. You can double or triple your bankroll and play Craps with a more relaxed budget. Bonuses must be wagered and come with different terms and conditions. Apart from no deposit bonuses, these bonuses are not free money.

Craps Strategy

Once you’ve attained full knowledge of all bets and odds, you can consider employing a Craps strategy. There’s a handful of Craps strategies with varying degrees of complexity. There is no “best Craps strategy” to speak of since they depend on your playstyle and budget.

There is no Craps strategy that will increase the house edge, or make you win more. These strategies can help with money management and provide different short-term results. In the long run, the odds and payouts determine everything. Theoretically, you will win or lose the same amount of money, regardless of strategy. The best Craps strategy is to attain full knowledge of the bets, odds, and payouts. Then, stick to logically sound bets with the best odds to payout ratio.

With that said, here’s an overview of Common craps strategies.

Pass/Come strategy

This is the simplest strategy, perfect for all players. The Pass line bet has a low house edge (1,41%) and wins pay 1:1. Switch to “Come” bets once the Come-Out roll has finished.

Don’t Pass/Don’t Come strategy

The opposite of the Pass/Come strategy. With this strategy, you’ll be typically betting against other players. Online, this becomes irrelevant and won’t put you under pressure from fellow players.

3-Point Molly

The 3-point Molly strategy revolves around making multiple, low-house edge bets simultaneously. The goal is to increase your payout odds by making multiple small bets, thus minimizing losses. This strategy is recommended for advanced players. It demands an aggressive play style with a large budget, and full mastery of Craps bets and odds.

Craps Terminology & Etiquette

Look at basic Craps terminology you’ll meet when playing online or offline.

Craps Terminology

  1. Big Red: Second word for “Seven.” Many players deem it bad luck to vocalize the word Seven.
  2. Bones: Slang for dice.
  3. Box Numbers: 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10.
  4. Come Out Roll: Initial roll of every Craps round. It determines the Point.
  5. Comp: Free stuff gifted to players.
  6. Crap Numbers: 2, 3, and 12.
  7. Front Line: Second name for a Pass line wager.
  8. George: Generous tipper.
  9. Hard Way: A bet whose outcome must consist of two even rolled die, i.e., 2+2, 3+3, 4+4.
  10. Hi-Lo: Single roll wager on 2 and 12.
  11. Hi-Lo Yo: Single roll wager on 2, 11, and 12.
  12. Hop bet: Betting on a specific combination of dice i.e. 2+5, 3+4.
  13. Natural: When the Come-Out rolls a 7 or 11. Naturals end the round.
  14. Odds Bet: Extra bet can be made with a Pass line bet.
  15. Outside Numbers: 4-10 and 5-9.
  16. Point: The Point number. Determined by the Come-Out roll.
  17. Proposition: These are bets available at the center of the table.
  18. Snake Eyes: Number 2, also known as Aces
  19. Shooter: The person throwing the dice.
  20. Toke:
  21. Yo-Leven: Sometimes used instead of “eleven” to avoid confusion with “seven” on a crowded table.

The slang we outlined above is rarely met in online play but is common knowledge for land casino players. Craps has many more terms, most of which are extinct.

Craps Basic Etiquette

Craps etiquette used to mean more. As time goes on, many unwritten rules have been written off’ players’ minds. Still, Craps table etiquette does exist, and you ought to know it before sitting down at a table – especially a “live” one at a land casino.

Craps Basic Etiquette

  1. Tip your dealers – Some do it for good luck, karma, or a standard courtesy. It’s considered polite and somewhat expected to tip your dealers occasionally, especially after big wins.
  2. Wait to buy in – The dealer indicates when players can buy in. Don’t simply walk to the table and buy in whenever.
  3. Follow cash to chips exchange etiquette – Giving money “on hand” is a big no in casinos. The proper procedure is to wait between rolls and put your cash on the table. Between rolls, you can request an exchange of money for chips from the dealer.
  4. Shooter is an optional role – When it’s your turn to throw dice, you pass them to the player to your right. This is called “Passing Right.”
  5. Don’t cause hold-ups. – When it’s your turn to throw, do it rather quickly. Nobody wants interruptions of the game flow. Players frown upon extensive dice-throwing “rituals.”
  6. Familiarize yourself with Craps Terms – Going to a Craps table as a first-timer, you will hear a lot of “foreign” talk. Familiarize yourself with Hi-Lo, Yo-leven, Snake Eyes, and similar terms.
  7. Avoid Saying the Word Seven – This doesn’t apply everywhere, but it can get you odd looks. There are superstitions surrounding the vocalization of the number 7. As an alternative, try “Yo-Leven.”

Summary

Craps can be challenging but learning how to play is easy if you do it step by step. Make sure to master the odds and payouts, then stick to simple bets with a low house edge. The Pass line bet is your best friend. Once the point is declared by the Come-Out roll, proceed with “Come” and “Don’t Come” bets.

Once you develop some knowledge, try your hand with some money management strategies, though no strategy will reduce the house edge. Get started now, follow our step-by-step guide, and feel free to practice in demo mode.

FAQs

Craps is easy to learn, although it may look intimidating to beginners. The game has many bets and no clear rule set to follow. The best approach is to learn the basic bets (Pass/Come) and take it from there. Playing for free in demo mode is a great assistant to newcomers.

To play Craps at casino, you must create your free casino account and deposit real cash through the cashier. You can also play in demo mode, where you can’t win real money, but you can practice without limits.

The best strategy in Craps is making a combination of low-house edge bets and protecting them through additional multi-roll or single-roll bets. The “3-point Molly” strategy is the perfect guide for players looking to take their Craps gameplay to the next level. However, it’s meant for advanced players.

Snake eyes in dice means rolling two 1’s. The odds of this happening are 1/36, or 2.777%.

The safest bet in Craps are Come, Don’t Come, Pass and Don’t Pass. These bets have a house edge between 1-2%, and they provide beginners and experts with the safest bet option out of all Craps bets.

The payouts on a Craps table depend on the table rules and the type of bet. Craps has over a dozen bets, all of which have different odds and payouts. The lowest house edge bets are Come, Don’t Come, Pass and Don’t Pass.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~vVTVTVTVv~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~