How To Play Craps
This page gives you everything you could possibly need to learn how to play craps. Though this dice game is simple, the game of craps can be confusing to play. We have everything you need from basic craps rules to expert strategies from professionals. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned player, we can help you learn the ins and outs of the game while developing your craps strategy. Learn about all of the various bets you can make in this fun casino game. Familiarize yourself with which bets are good to make and which ones should be avoided most of the time.
Be sure to check out our index of articles and podcasts about the game of craps. We have strategies written by craps experts as well as podcasts to help you become a better player.
- Audio Podcast – Everything you ever wanted to know about craps with Frank Scoblete
- Audio Podcast – Playing craps with Larry Edell
The basics - how to play craps
Craps can be quite a hectic game and seem very complicated until you’ve learned how the game works. Many things are happening simultaneously in craps while bets can be made at any time during a round. Although you can play craps knowing the basics, it is much more entertaining when you know:
- What betting possibilities are available to you
- How to place your bets
- When to place your bets
When playing craps online, bets are made on the outcome of the dice roll. According to craps rules, two six-sided dice are to be used in a game of craps. In a live casino, each player can have a chance at rolling the dice, however, when playing online craps, there is a “shooter” who rolls the dice. When the dice are passed, they go counter-clockwise.
In a round of craps, the shooter must select the dice they wish to roll and make a Pass Line Bet. This bet is made either on the ‘Pass’ or ‘Don’t Pass’ line. The other players also make bets. The shooter then proceeds to roll the dice off of the table’s wall.
Craps come-out roll
A round of craps starts with the come-out roll. This is the shooter’s first roll of the dice or the first roll after the previous round finished.
There are three possible outcomes that can happen once the dice are rolled.
- If the come-out roll is a 7 or 11, the Pass bet wins. This is referred to as a ‘Natural.’
- If the come-out roll is a 2, 3, or 12, this is known as ‘Craps,’ and the Don’t Pass line wins. In some particular online casinos, 12 would result in a tie.
- If the come-out roll is a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, that respective number becomes that player’s point. A puck would be placed on that number on the table and the shooter continues to roll the dice.
The shooter rolls once again in hopes of hitting the same number. If you roll the same sum as you rolled before, you win. The shooter will continue to roll until they roll the same number again, or they roll a 7 instead. If they roll a 7 in this case, they lose.
Craps rules - popular bets
- Pass line bets - When you bet on the pass line, you are betting that a 7 or 11 will come out of the come-out roll. If the shooter happens to roll a 7 or 11 on this, your money doubles. However, if the shooter instead rolls a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, then the sum revealed is the point. When you bet on the Pass line, you want this number to be rolled again. If the shooter rolls this number again, your Pass line doubles, however, if the shooter rolls a 7, it ends up being a lost Pass line bet. If the shooter rolls a 2, 3, or 12 - also known as ‘craps’ - you lose the Pass line bet.
- Don’t Pass line bets - Don’t Pass bets are the opposite of Pass line bets. Choosing to bet on the Don’t Pass line means you are betting against the shooter. On the come-out roll, you want the shooter to roll a 2,3, or 12 - in other words, to ‘crap out.’ If a point is established, then you want the shooter to roll a 7 before they roll their established point number again.
- Come bets - These are similar to Pass line bets however Come bets can be placed at any time after the point has been made. The Come bet wins if the shooter rolls a 7 or 11 after the Come bet is made. The Come bet loses if the shooter rolls a 2, 3, or 12 instead. Should the shooter happen to roll any other number, that number becomes your point. Just like the Pass line, if the shooter rolls your point number before they roll a 7, the Come bet wins. If the shooter rolls a 7 first, the Come bet loses. This bet pays out even money.
- Don’t Come bets - This works in the opposite way as the Come bet and similar to the Don’t Pass line bet. If the shooter rolls a 2 or a 3, you are in luck. 12 results in a tie. If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11, you are not in luck. Once the point is made, you can hope for a 7 before the shooter rolls the point again.
- Odds bets - This is a side bet and side bets can only be placed once you have made a Pass, Don’t Pass, Come, or Don’t Come bet. This bet is made by placing chips on the table directly behind your original bet. If you have made a Pass or Come bet, you ‘take odds.’ If you have made a Don’t Pass or Don’t Come bet, you ‘lay odds.’ You are taking odds or laying odds based on whether or not the point number will be rolled before the 7. Odds bets can be made and removed at any time. You can change the amount of the odds bet at any time throughout the game. For example, let’s say you have placed a Pass bet and you are taking odds. If the point number is rolled before a 7, you win. If your first bet wins, your odds bet will also win.
Once you get the hang of playing craps, there are various other wagers that you can play around with. It is important to understand the odds of the bets you choose, in order to properly formulate your craps strategy.
When learning how to play craps, it is important to learn these single-roll bets for some added excitement. These bets should only be used sparingly however as each of these offer a large house edge and are usually not recommended.
Ace Deuce: This bet wins only if the shooter rolls a 3. It pays 15 to 1.
Any Seven (Big Red): This bet wins if the shooter rolls a 7. It pays 4 to 1.
Any Craps: This bet wins if the shooter rolls a 2, 3, or 12. It pays 7 to 1 for each number.
Aces or Two Craps: This bet wins if the shooter rolls a 2. It pays 30 to 1.
Twelve Craps or Boxcars: This bet wins if the shooter rolls a 12. It pays 30 to 1.
Horn: This bet wins if the shooter rolls a 2, 3, 11, or 12. Wagers are split evenly between numbers.
For example, If you wager $16, then $4 will go on each number. 2 and 12 pay 30 to 1, while 3 and 11 pay 15 to 1.
Eleven (Yo): This bet wins if the shooter rolls an 11. It pays 15 to 1.
Craps and Eleven (C&E): You will see 16 circles with a C or E on the craps table. That is where you would mark this bet. This bet wins if an eleven is rolled or if one of the ‘Any Craps’ numbers are rolled. It pays 7 to 1 if the ‘Any Craps’ numbers are rolled. It pays 15 to 1 if the 11 is rolled.
Horn High Bets: This allows you to double your bet on one of the Horn bet numbers. You must indicate which of the four numbers you wish to claim as your high number.
For example, if you place a Horn High on the 12, $2 will be placed on the 12 and $1 will be placed on the 2, 3, and 11. If a 12 is rolled, you get paid double the payout, subtracting three dollars of the losing numbers. If one of the other Horn numbers is rolled instead of your high number, you will receive the single payout minus the $4.
World or Whirl Bet: This bet is a combination of the Horn bet and the Any Seven bet. It is five bets made in multiples of $5. If the shooter rolls a 7, that bet wins and the other four lose. This bet 4 to 1 for the seven and the payouts for the other numbers are the same as the Horn bet.
A field bet is a bet that either a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10 or 11 will be rolled next. There is a marked section on the craps table between the Come line and above the Don’t Pass line, where field bets are placed. The payout is 2 to 1 for a 2 or a 12. The 3, 4, 9, 10, and 11 will pay out even money.
These bets can be made any time throughout the game. Hop bets allow you to pick any dice combination while wagering on the outcome of the next roll being your personalized combination. Not all craps tables have this bet indicated on the table.
Multi-roll bets can also be played throughout a game of craps. These are slightly more complicated and if played correctly, can really bring you huge winnings.
Buy/Lay bets: This bet allows you to pick any of the following numbers to bet on at any time throughout the game: 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10. Should this number appear before the shooter rolls a 7, you will be paid ‘true odds.’ This means that your payback will be the same as the actual chance of winning. 5% of your winnings will go to the casino, however.
A Lay bet works in the opposite way, similar to the Don’t Pass and Don’t Come bets. When you make this bet, you are betting on the shooter to roll a 7 before the point that you choose. If you win this bet, you will be paid true odds, with 5% going to the casino.
Place Win/Place Lose bets: These bets are just the same as Buy and Lay bets, however, they do not offer true odds. Place win bets win when the 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 is rolled before the 7. Place Lose bets win if the 7 is rolled first.
Big 6/Big 8 bets: This bet wins if the 6 or 8 is rolled before the 7. It pays even money. You can find this bet marked around the corners of the craps table.
Hardway bets: The ‘hard way’ outcome refers to both dice having the same number. This bet refers to the ‘hard way’ outcome of the dice resulting in the number of your choice before a 7 is rolled. Hardways can bet on the outcome of the dice resulting in a 4, 6, 8, or 10.
For example, you could bet on a 5-5 for Hardways 10, meaning the dice will both show 5’s, adding to the sum of your number 10.
Other dice combinations adding to 4, 6, 8, or 10 are considered an ‘easy way.’
For example, the combinations resulting in 6 are as follows:
- 1 and 5
- 4 and 2
- 5 and 1
- 2 and 4
When you make a Hardways bet there are many outcomes that could happen.
You lose the bet if:
- A 7 is rolled
- An ‘easy way’ of your number is rolled
You win the bet if the ‘hard way’ combination of your number is rolled before a 7 or an easy way combination of your number.
The bet stands until the next roll if a number apart from either a 7 or your number appears.
Easy Way bets: This bet is the exact opposite of the Hardway bet, in that you are betting on the shooter rolling an ‘easy way’ combination of your number (4, 6, 8, or 10) before a 7 is rolled or the ‘hard way’ combination of your number.