The Basics of How to Play Craps

Learning how to play craps isn’t as difficult as you might think. People are often steer away from playing the game because they think its too complex, but the only particularly complicated aspect is all the different types of bets that can be placed. You don’t actually need to learn all of them to start playing and you can just stick to the simplest ones if you like.

You do, however, need to understand how the game is played. This article will help as we cover everything you need to know to play craps in a live casino or online. We explain the main objective of the game, the craps table, the betting layout, and the basic rules. We also introduce the different types of bets.

Game Objective

The main objective in craps is really quite straightforward. Basically you are just betting on the outcome of the roll of two dice. The goal is to correctly predict what combination of the two will be rolled. The game is pure chance since you can’t affect the outcome in any way, but you do have the choice of several wagers.

The Craps Table (Live Casino)

Craps is played on a specially-designed table that features a betting layout where players can place their wagers. In a live casino, a table would look something like this.

craps table live casino
The dice are rolled on the table by one of the participating players, referred to as the shooter. Typically, a new player will become the shooter at the end of each round, although one player may remain as the shooter for several in a row. Anyone at the table, including the shooter, can make wagers by placing their chips in the appropriate spot on the betting layout.

A craps table requires the attention of several casino employees. You’ll usually find the following people running a table.


The boxman is in charge of the chips at the table. He (or she) will exchange cash into chips for players and swap them for different denominations if required. He’s also responsible for supervising the dealers and generally ensuring that the game runs smoothly.

The stickman is in charge of the dice. He moves them around the table with the use of a stick (hence the name), passing them to the shooter at the start of each roll. He will also announce the outcome of each roll.

A craps table usually features two base dealers, one standing on either side. They are responsible for collecting losing bets and paying out winners. When requested to do so, they can also place certain bets on behalf of players.

The Craps Table (Online Casino)

The rules of craps are the same regardless of whether you are playing in a live setting or online. However, things are a lot simpler online. There’s no allocated shooter, as technically you are the shooter every time you play. The diced are rolled automatically when you press the relevant button, and you place your bets by clicking in the appropriate place on the betting layout.

The following is an example of what an online craps table looks like.

craps table online casino

Basic Rules

Each round in craps starts with what is known as the come-out roll. Most casinos will require that the shooter place a bet before making this roll on either the pass line or the don’t pass line. If the combined value of the two dice on a come-out roll equals 2, 3, or 12, then this is “crapping out” and the round is over. Players will lose pass line bets and win don’t pass bets. If the come-out roll is 7 or 11, the round is also over. Players win pass line bets and lose don’t pass bets.

If any other value is rolled on the come-out roll i.e. 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10, then a point is established, equal to the value rolled, and the round continues into the next stage. The shooter continues to roll with players betting on the outcome of each, until they roll either a 7 or the point value that has been established.

Following a roll of either 7 or the point value, the round is over and a new come-out roll is required. It’s standard practice for the shooter to pass the dice to another player if a round ends with a 7, and to stay as shooter if the round ends with the point value being rolled.

This is essentially all there is to the basic rules of craps. What makes the game more complex are all the different bets that can be placed.

Types of Craps Bets

The following is a list of the different wagers you can place when playing craps.


As you can see, there are numerous different bets in craps. Please don’t let this steer you away from playing the game as you really don’t need to learn them all. They are pretty simple overall; it just takes a little time to familiarize yourself with each one.

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