Craps is an exciting, fast-paced casino game that is played with only two dice and a table. Craps is both the name of the game and the term for a losing throw.
The exact origin of Craps is debatable; one story says that Roman soldiers invented the game, but instead of playing with dice they played with pigs’ knuckles and shields. Yet another story traces Craps back to the Middle Ages, when Sir William of Tyre invented the game as a form of entertainment for his knights during the Crusades.
Modern Craps has a much tamer history; it was brought to Louisiana by Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville, a French landowner. Just like Baccarat and Blackjack, it flourished in the United States in the 20th century, but its real popularity boomed during World War II, when soldiers played the game on army blankets as a way to pass the time.
Casino Craps was developed during the same time by John H. Winn. He made some changes to the original game, including “Right” or “Wrong” betting, “Don’t Pass bets” and the now-classic rule in which players can bet with or against the shooter.
Casinos in Nevada quickly adopted Craps and it became a favorite of players. Craps has further grown in popularity with the explosion of online gambling in the 21st century. However, because Craps is a very social game, the online version has experienced less success than its Poker, Blackjack and Video Poker counterparts. However, this is just a challenge to software developers – how to make Craps a more exciting computer game!
Craps is a colorful game; as such, it has a rich vocabulary that players should familiarize themselves with. For example, all numbers have nicknames. Below are some of the most important terms for Craps that you should know:
Aces: A wager that the next roll will equal a total value of 2.
Any Craps: A wager that the next roll will equal a total value of 2, 3 or 12.
Any Seven: A wager that the next roll will equal a total value of 7.
Boxcars: A wager that the next roll will equal a total value of 12.
C & E: A wager that the next roll will equal a total value of craps (2, 3 or 12) or 11.
Come Out Roll: The first roll in any betting round. This roll sets the point for Pass Line bets and Don’t Pass Line bets.
Don’t Come Bet: A wager that the 7 will appear before the point is established again.
Don’t Pass Bet: A wager that the shooter will roll craps or 7 instead of making the point.
Easy Way: A roll of 4, 6, 8 or 10 in which the two dice have different numbers (as in, they don’t come out in pairs).
Field Bet: A wager on numbers 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12.
Hardway: A wager on a 4, 6, 8 or 10 being thrown as pairs (for example, 2/2, 3/3, etc. – before the appearance of a 7 or Easy Way.
Hi-Lo: A wager that the next roll will be 12 or 2 (highest and lowest).
Natural: A Come Out Roll of 7 or 11.
Odds Bet: A wager made in addition to the Pass Line bet.
Off: A wager that is inactive for the next roll.
On: A wager that is active for the next roll.
Place Bet: A wager that a specific number will be rolled before a 7 is rolled.
Pass Line Bet: A wager on a Pass Line or a Come Out Roll.
Point: A number determined by the Come Out Roll.
The game starts with the shooter placing at least a minimum bet on the Pass Line or Don’t Pass Line. The shooter then rolls the two dice, which have to hit the far walls of the table before landing (in Online Craps or Mobile Craps, these actions are simulated on the screen). The shooter is one of the players, and the title alternates clockwise around the table after each round.
Each round has two parts: Come Out and Point. A round begins with the Come Out Roll. If this roll “craps out” (equals 2, 3 or 12), all the players lose their Pass Line bets. If the roll is a “natural’ (7 or 11), all of the players win their Pass Line Bets. If the roll comes out to any other number (4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10), that number becomes the “point” and the round moves on to phase two. If the shooter rolls the point again, all Pass Line bets win. If the shooter gets a “seven-out,” all Pass Line bets lose and the next round ensues.
There are three areas of a Craps table. The center area is where all of the proposition bets are placed (these are hardway bets and one-roll bets in which the House has a big advantage). The two side areas are where the Pass bets, Don’t Pass bets, Come and Don’t Come bets, Place bets, Odds bets and Field bets are placed.
While there are many complex and sophisticated strategies for Craps, new players must first master the basics. For someone just becoming familiar with the game of Craps, it’s important to learn some basic strategies while only betting small amounts.
The Pass Line bet is the most fundamental bet one can make in. This bet is made during the first half of each round. After the bet is placed, there are three possible outcomes: the player can win money on a natural (7 or 11), lose on a crap out (2, 3, or 12) or win money if the roll hits the point (all other numbers) and hits the point again before hitting 7.
Many players employ the strategy of making the Pass Line bet, and then following it with a series of Come Line Bbets. The sequence is as follows: 1. Pass Line bet; 2. Shooter rolls; 3. Player makes bet with single or double odds; 4. Player makes a Come Line bet. 5. Shooter rolls again. 6. Repeat steps 3-4. 7. Shooter rolls.
- Keep in mind that the House always has an advantage. Pass Line bets give the House a 1.41% advantage, while other bets give the House a bigger advantage. The upside of taking the risk? Bigger payouts.
- Practice on a free version of Craps that you find online before putting any money down! This will increase your experience while minimizing your losses. When you feel confident in your skills, you can move on to playing for money.
- For players just starting out, it is best to stick to low-risk bets, which are the Pass Line bet and Come Line bet. Only once you feel comfortable and confident should you consider making higher-risk bets.
- Remember that you are playing against the House. It can be easy to forget because Craps is a very social game, and in real casinos there will usually be other players at your table, and it can be easy to get distracted. Stay focused, be nice to other players, but remember, they have absolutely no impact on your chances of winning.