How to Play Craps

Last Updated on April 13, 2023

The Ultimate Guide to Playing Craps

Introduction Master the Game & Boost Your Odds with Expert Advice

People Playing and Learning CrapsCraps is an exciting and fast-paced dice game that has gained immense popularity in both land-based and online casinos. With its seemingly complex rules and multiple betting options, the game can be quite intimidating for beginners. However, once you learn the basics, craps becomes an incredibly fun and engaging experience. In this easy-to-understand guide, we will walk you through the fundamentals of craps, explain the various types of bets, and provide expert advice to help you become a proficient player. Let’s jump right in and learn how to play craps like a pro!

Craps for Beginners

The Basics of Craps

Craps is played with two standard six-sided dice, and the objective is to predict the outcome of the dice rolls. The game is played in rounds, with each round consisting of a come-out roll and a series of subsequent rolls until a specific outcome is achieved. Here are the key components of craps:

  1. The Come-Out Roll: The come-out roll is the first roll of a new round. The player rolling the dice is called the “shooter.” The goal of the come-out roll is to establish a point, which occurs when the shooter rolls a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10. If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11, it’s called a “natural,” and all “pass line” bets win. If the shooter rolls a 2, 3, or 12 (known as “craps”), all pass line bets lose.
  2. The Point: If the shooter establishes a point on the come-out roll, the game moves to the next phase. The objective now is for the shooter to roll the point number again before rolling a 7. If the shooter rolls the point number, all pass line bets win, and a new round begins with the same shooter. If the shooter rolls a 7 before the point number (called a “seven-out”), all pass line bets lose, and the dice move to the next shooter.

Below is Example of  Online Casino Craps Table:

Craps Table


Types of Bets in Craps

There are numerous bets available in craps, each with its own odds and payouts. Understanding these bets is crucial to mastering the game. Here are the most common bets you’ll encounter:

Pass Line Bet: This is the most basic bet in craps, placed before the come-out roll. If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11, the bet wins; if they roll a 2, 3, or 12, the bet loses. If a point is established, the bet wins if the point is rolled again before a 7, and loses if a 7 is rolled first.

How to make the Pass Line bet:

Showing how to make a pass line bet on Craps table

Showing where to put your Pass Line Bet

Familiarize yourself with the Pass Line Bet, a key component of craps. This straightforward bet enables you to participate in a full night of gaming with just one type of wager, and at the same time it has one of the best odds for the player. To make a Pass Line Bet, position your chips on the section of the table labeled “Pass Line.”

A Pass Line Bet is made during the initial roll of the dice, known as the come-out roll. This is indicated by an “off” marker on the table. When you see this marker, you know it’s the right time to place your bet.

When the come-out roll is a 7 or 11, you receive a one-to-one payout. Conversely, you lose if the come-out roll results in a 2, 3, or 12. If the come-out roll yields any other number, that number becomes the “target,” and the shooter keeps rolling until they roll a 7 or the target number again. If the target number reappears before a 7, you win; if a 7 appears first, you lose.

A one-to-one payout means that if you wager one dollar, you win one dollar.

Refrain from placing a Pass Line Bet after the come-out roll, as doing so reduces your likelihood of winning.

Don’t Pass Bet: This bet is the opposite of the pass line bet. If the come-out roll is a 2 or 3, the bet wins; if it’s a 7 or 11, the bet loses. If a point is established, the bet wins if a 7 is rolled before the point, and loses if the point is rolled first.

Come Bet: This bet can be placed after the come-out roll and works similarly to the pass line bet. If the next roll is a 7 or 11, the bet wins; if it’s a 2, 3, or 12, the bet loses. If any other number is rolled, that number becomes the “come point,” and the bet wins if the come point is rolled again before a 7.

How to make the Come Bet:

Showing where to make the Come Bet in Craps

Arrow showing where to make the Come Bet

Don’t Come Bet: The opposite of the come bet, this wager wins if the next roll is a 2 or 3, and loses if it’s a 7 or 11. If any other number is rolled, that becomes the “come point,” and the bet wins if a 7 is rolled before the come point, and loses if the come point is rolled first.

Place Bets: These bets are made after a point is established, and involve wagering on a specific number (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10) being rolled before a 7. The odds and payouts for place bets vary depending on the number chosen.

Field Bets: A field bet is a one-roll wager on the outcome of the next roll. If the shooter rolls a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12, the bet wins. The payouts differ depending on the number rolled, with 2 and 12 usually paying double or triple the wager.

Proposition Bets: These are one-roll bets placed in the center of the table, with various outcomes such as specific numbers, combinations of numbers, or the appearance of craps (2, 3, or 12). Proposition bets generally have high payouts but also high house edges, making them less favorable for players.

Nick Gough’s Expert Tips for Craps Beginners

  1. Learn the Table Layout: Familiarize yourself with the craps table layout, as this will help you understand where to place your bets and how the game flows. Most craps tables have a similar layout, with areas designated for pass line, don’t pass, come, don’t come, and other bets.
  2. Keep It Simple: Craps can be an overwhelming game, but as a beginner, it’s important to keep it simple. Focus on the basic bets and gradually incorporate more advanced bets as you become more comfortable with the game.  As a beginner, focus on mastering the pass line and don’t pass bets, as they have the lowest house edges and are the foundation of the game. Once you’re comfortable with these bets, you can explore more advanced betting options.
  3. Avoid high house edge bets: While proposition bets may offer tempting payouts, they also come with high house edges. Stick to bets with lower house edges to maximize your chances of winning in the long run.
  4. Manage your bankroll: Set a budget for your craps session and stick to it. Avoid chasing losses or making impulsive bets, and remember that craps should be a fun and enjoyable experience.
  5. Observe and learn: Watch other players and learn from their strategies and betting patterns. Experienced craps players can provide valuable insights and help you improve your gameplay.
  6. Practice online: Many online casinos offer free craps games, allowing you to practice and familiarize yourself with the rules and betting options without risking real money. Use this opportunity to hone your skills before playing for real money.
  7. Ask for Help: Don’t be afraid to ask the dealer or other players for help or clarification. Most people are happy to assist newcomers and share their knowledge of the game.
  8. Play Responsibly: As with any form of gambling, it’s crucial to play responsibly and within your limits. Set a budget, stick to it, and remember that the primary goal of playing craps is to have fun.

How to win at Craps

Throwing dices on a craps tableWinning at craps is mainly a matter of luck, as it is a game of chance based on the roll of the dice. However, you can improve your chances of winning by employing smart strategies, making informed bets, and managing your bankroll effectively. Here are some tips to increase your chances of winning at craps:

  • Stick to bets with low house edges: Some craps bets have lower house edges than others, which means that the casino has a smaller advantage over the player. Focus on bets such as pass line, don’t pass, come, and don’t come, which have house edges of around 1.36% to 1.41%. These bets give you the best odds of winning in the long run.
  • Utilize odds bets: Odds bets are unique in that they have no house edge, making them the most favorable bets for players. They can be placed in conjunction with pass line, don’t pass, come, and don’t come bets after a point is established. The more you back up your original bet with odds bets, the lower the overall house edge becomes.
  • Adopt a betting strategy: Adopting a betting strategy can help you make more informed decisions and manage your bankroll effectively. Some popular craps betting strategies include the Iron Cross, the Martingale, and the Paroli system. Research these strategies, practice them in free craps games, and choose one that aligns with your playing style and risk tolerance.
  • Manage your bankroll: Set a budget for your craps session and stick to it. Divide your bankroll into smaller units to help you manage your bets and avoid making impulsive decisions. Knowing when to walk away and accepting losses as part of the game are essential for a responsible and enjoyable gambling experience.
  • Stay disciplined and focused: Maintain a clear head and stay disciplined while playing craps. Avoid making impulsive bets, chasing losses, or getting caught up in the excitement of the game. Stick to your strategy, manage your bankroll, and make informed decisions.
  • Practice, practice, practice: The more you play craps, the better you will become at understanding the game, recognizing patterns, and making smart bets.

See our a list of the top real money casinos to play at

The Pros and Cons Associated With Playing Craps:


  • Social Interaction: Craps is a highly social game, with players cheering for each other and celebrating wins together. This camaraderie can make the game a fun and engaging experience, whether you’re playing at a land-based casino or participating in live dealer craps online.
  • Low House Edge: Craps offers some bets with a low house edge, such as pass line, don’t pass, come, and don’t come bets. By sticking to these bets, players can increase their chances of winning and enjoy a more favorable game in the long run.
  • Multiple Betting Options: The variety of bets available in craps allows players to tailor their gaming experience to their preferences and risk tolerance. With options ranging from simple, low-risk bets to high-risk, high-reward wagers, craps caters to a wide range of players and playing styles.
  • Excitement and Pace: The fast-paced nature of craps, combined with the anticipation of each roll, creates an adrenaline-pumping atmosphere that many players find thrilling and enjoyable.
  • Potential for Large Wins: Craps offers the opportunity for substantial payouts, particularly with certain proposition bets and multi-roll bets. While these bets come with higher house edges, they can lead to significant winnings if you get lucky.


  • Complexity: Craps can be intimidating for beginners due to its seemingly complex rules and variety of bets. This can be a barrier to entry for new players, although learning the basics and focusing on simpler bets can help ease the learning curve.
  • High House Edge on Some Bets: While craps has bets with low house edges, there are also bets with high house edges that can be detrimental to a player’s bankroll. Players need to be cautious and avoid falling into the trap of making high-risk bets with poor odds.
  • Fast Paced: The rapid pace of craps can be both a pro and a con. While it adds excitement to the game, it can also lead to players making impulsive decisions and placing bets without fully understanding the odds and payouts.
  • Bankroll Management: Craps can be a fast-paced game with the potential for large wins and losses. Managing your bankroll effectively is essential to avoid losing money quickly and to ensure a responsible and enjoyable gaming experience.
  • Noise and Distractions: At land-based casinos, craps tables can be quite noisy, with players cheering and the constant clatter of dice. This may be overwhelming or distracting for some players, making it difficult to concentrate and make informed betting decisions.

By weighing the pros and cons of playing craps, you can decide if the game aligns with your preferences and interests. If you do decide to give craps a try, remember to play responsibly, learn the rules and betting options, and manage your bankroll effectively.

What are the Odds in Craps?

In craps, the odds and house edge vary depending on the type of bet you make. Below is a list of common craps bets along with their respective odds and house edges:

  • Pass Line and Come Bets:
    Odds: 251 to 244 (assuming you take full odds bet)
    House Edge: 1.41%
  • Don’t Pass and Don’t Come Bets:
    Odds: 976 to 949 (assuming you lay full odds bet)
    House Edge: 1.36%
  • Taking Odds Bets (in conjunction with Pass Line or Come bets):
    Odds: True odds, meaning there is no house edge
    4 or 10: 2 to 1
    5 or 9: 3 to 2
    6 or 8: 6 to 5
    House Edge: 0% (for the odds bet)
    Laying Odds Bets (in conjunction with Don’t Pass or Don’t Come bets):
    Odds: True odds, meaning there is no house edge
    4 or 10: 1 to 2
    5 or 9: 2 to 3
    6 or 8: 5 to 6
    House Edge: 0% (for the odds bet)
  • Place Bets:
    4 or 10: Odds 2 to 1, House Edge 6.67%
    5 or 9: Odds 3 to 2, House Edge 4.00%
    6 or 8: Odds 6 to 5, House Edge 1.52%
  • Field Bets:
    Odds: Varies depending on the number rolled (2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12)
    House Edge: 5.56% (assuming 2 pays double and 12 pays triple)
  • Proposition Bets:
    Any Craps (2, 3, or 12): Odds 8 to 1, House Edge 11.11%
    Any 7: Odds 5 to 1, House Edge 16.67%
    2 or 12: Odds 35 to 1, House Edge 13.89%
    3 or 11: Odds 17 to 1, House Edge 11.11%
    Hard 4 or 10: Odds 8 to 1, House Edge 11.11%
    Hard 6 or 8: Odds 10 to 1, House Edge 9.09%
    It’s essential to understand the odds and house edges of the different craps bets, as this will help you make more informed decisions about which bets to place. Generally, it’s best to stick to bets with lower house edges, such as pass line, don’t pass, come, don’t come, and place bets on 6 or 8, to improve your chances of winning.

What Makes Craps Stand out Comparing to other Casino Table Games

Craps stands out among other table games for several reasons:

  1. Excitement and energy: Craps is known for its high energy and excitement levels. Players often gather around the table, cheering and shouting as the dice roll. The communal aspect of the game creates a unique atmosphere that is hard to find in other table games.
  2. Complexity and variety: Craps offers a wide variety of bets, providing numerous options for players. This complexity attracts both beginners and experienced players, as they can choose bets that suit their risk tolerance and level of understanding.
  3. House edge: Some craps bets, such as Pass Line and Don’t Pass Line, have a relatively low house edge, which is appealing to players looking for better odds. Additionally, odds bets, which are placed in conjunction with Pass Line or Don’t Pass Line bets, have no house edge at all.
  4. Fast-paced gameplay: Craps is a fast-paced game, with rounds often lasting only a few minutes. This rapid turnover creates an adrenaline rush for players and keeps the game engaging and exciting.
  5. Social interaction: Unlike some other table games, craps encourages interaction between players. Since most players bet with the shooter, they often cheer for the same outcomes, creating a sense of camaraderie and shared excitement.
  6. Unique gaming experience: Craps is one of the few games that use dice instead of cards or a wheel, making it stand out among other casino table games. This adds a different dynamic to the game, which some players find more engaging and enjoyable.
  7. Involvement of players: In craps, players take turns being the shooter, meaning they have an active role in determining the outcome of the game. This added level of involvement can make the game more thrilling and immersive.

These factors make craps a distinctive and popular table game, setting it apart from other casino games like blackjack, roulette, and poker.


  1. Can I Play on my Mobile Device? – Yes, you can play on your smartphone and tablet.
  2. Is it possible to play for free before playing for real money? -Yes, you can play free on most online casinos. However, at land-based casinos, this usually is not possible.


Craps is an exhilarating casino game that provides countless opportunities for fun and profit. By understanding the rules, mastering the various types of bets, and following expert advice, you can significantly enhance your gaming experience and boost your odds of success. As with any form of gambling, it’s essential to play responsibly and within your limits. Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge to conquer the craps table, it’s time to roll the dice and enjoy the thrill of this classic casino game.

About the Author, Nick Gough has been playing craps and other gambling games for over 20 years and has colossal knowledge of each game.

References: –  A Mathematical Analysis of a Game of Craps – craps on land-bases casinos in Canada
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