Craps is a much easier game to learn than most people think. The basic premise is simple: you are betting on the outcome of the roll of two dice. The only thing that makes the game confusing is all the different types of bets you can place.
Most of these bets are straightforward, but it’s just the fact that there are so many of them that make the game a little complicated. You don’t need to know how each one works to enjoy playing the game, so it’s not like you have to learn them all before you start playing.
The bets we would say you absolutely must understand are the pass line and don’t pass wagers, the come and don’t come wagers, and the odds bets. We explain these in detail below, and also provide information on all the types of bets.
Pass Line & Don’t Pass Wagers
The pass line and don’t pass wagers are the most commonly placed bets in craps and also the most straightforward. A shooter will usually have to place one of them before making their come-out roll; and in some casinos, players must make one of them if they also want to place other wagers. These bets have to be placed before the come-out roll, and they both pay out at even money (1:1) when they win.
A pass line bet wins if the value of the come-out roll is 7 or 11 and loses if it’s 2, 3, or 12. If it’s any other value, then a point is established at that value, and the pass line wager remains on the table until the point is rolled again or 7 is rolled. If the point is rolled, the wager wins; if 7 is rolled, the wager loses.
A don’t pass wager wins if the value of the come-out roll is 2 or 3 and loses if it is 7 or 11. If the value is 12, then the bet is pushed, neither winning nor losing. Just like the pass line bet, it remains on the table if a point is established. The don’t pass wager loses if the point is rolled again and wins if a 7 is rolled.
Come & Don’t Come Bets
These wagers are very similar to the pass line and don’t pass bets, the main difference being that they are placed after the point is established rather than before. They can be a little confusing, so please make sure you fully understand the concept before placing them.
If the first roll after you have placed a come bet is a 7 or 11, then you win your wager. If a 2, 3, or 12 is rolled, then you lose. If any other number is rolled, this is the point for your come wager. So if a 5 is rolled, for example, then 5 becomes your point. Your wager stays in place and will win if a 5 is rolled again, and lose if a 7 is rolled. A come bet may be thought of as a personalized pass line bet, where the point number is established on the first roll after it has been placed.
By the same token, a don’t come bet is like a personalized don’t pass bet. It will lose if a 7 or 11 comes up on the first roll after you place it, and win if a 2 or 3 is rolled. Any other number establishes the point for your don’t come wager, which will then stay in place until it either wins or loses. It will win if a 7 is rolled, and lose if the point is rolled.
Both of these bets are paid out at even money (1:1) when they win.
Odds bets are a bit like side bets that can be made after a point is established. They are essentially extensions of each of the four bets mentioned above. There are four different types:
You would place a pass line odds bet to complement your pass line bet following a point being established. It pays if the point is then rolled before a seven, and loses if a seven is rolled. The big advantage of this type of bet is that it’s paid out at true odds when it wins i.e. there’s no house edge. The payouts vary, depending on what the point is.
When you place a pass line odds bet, you are said to be “taking the odds.” Because there’s no house edge, the amount you can stake is limited. Typically, you can stake up to three times the amount on your original pass line wager, but some casinos allow more.
A don’t pass odds bet is placed to complement a don’t pass bet. It pays if a seven is rolled before the point, and loses if the point is rolled first. Bets of this type are also paid out at true odds with no house edge and, again, the payouts vary depending on what the point is.
You are said to be “laying the odds” if you place a don’t pass odds bet. The amount you can stake is limited in the same way as a pass line odds bet. Come odds and don’t come odds bets are based on exactly the same principle. They just use the point that is established following a come or don’t come bet.
Place win bets can be made after a come-out roll when a point has been established. They can be on any of the numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10, and they win if the number chosen is rolled before a 7. The payouts vary depending on which number you have chosen.
These are basically the opposite of place win bets. They can be on the same choice of numbers (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10), but with a place lose, you win if a 7 is rolled before the number you have chosen. The payouts again vary depending on which number is chosen.
A buy bet is largely the same as a place win in that you are betting on a specific number to be rolled before a 7. The difference is that the payouts are higher, with the trade-off that you have to pay a 5% commission. At some casinos, this commission is payable when you place your stake, and at others it’s only payable if you win. The payouts once again vary based on which number has been chosen.
A lay bet is the opposite of a buy bet, and also comes with a 5% commission. With this wager, you are betting on a 7 being rolled before a specific number, in the same way as a place lose. It offers higher payouts than a place lose, which vary depending on the number chosen.
Big 6 and Big 8
These bets are very straightforward, and both pay even money (1:1) if successful. A big 6 wins if any 6 is thrown before a 7, and a big 8 wins if any 8 is thrown before a 7.
When a number is rolled as a double, it’s said to have been rolled the hard way. A hard 8, for example, is a double 4. That is how wagers of this type get their names. They are pretty simple and are based on certain doubles being rolled before a 7.
You can bet on any of a hard 4, a hard 6, a hard 8, or a hard 10. If the relevant hard number is rolled before a 7, you win the bet. As with some other wagers, the payouts are determined by the number bet on.
A field bet is always settled on the next roll. It will win if a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12 is rolled and lose if 5, 6, 7, or 8 is rolled. It pays 1:1 unless a 2 or 12 is rolled, in which case it pays double (2:1).
There are several different proposition bets available in craps, all of which are settled on the next roll. We explain each of these below.
It’s worth mentioning that proposition bets come with higher payouts than previously mentioned options. The house edge is also higher, however, and players are generally advised to avoid them for this reason. However, there’s nothing wrong with using them if you’re willing to accept more risk in exchange for potentially bigger rewards.