Online craps may not always be as glamorous as the dice game depicted in Hollywood or on Broadway, but there is a lot of strategy to the betting and a tremendous rush of adrenaline when those virtual dice are tumbling! And the winnings can be substantial if Lady Luck is on your side and you know how to play the angles.
How to Play
The rules of craps are simple. There are up to two rounds, both involving “shooting” a pair of dice. In the Come Out round, you try to either roll the most likely dice combo of all – 7 – or the much less likely 11. If you roll either, you win your Pass Line bet. If you roll 2 (1+1 or “snake eyes”), 3 (2+1), or 12 (6+6 or “boxcars”), you ‘crap out’, losing your Pass Line bet.
If your dice comes up as something other than automatic winners or losers — 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 — you advance to the Series round. There your goal is to shoot the same number you rolled in the Come Out round. This is your Point number. In this round, shooting 7 (‘seven-out’) causes you to lose your Pass Line wager and any additional Odds bet you may have made at the beginning of the round. Otherwise, you keep shooting. After either rolling a Seven-Out or hitting your Point number, the game may start again with a new Come Out roll.
Step by Step Guide
- Place your minimum Pass Line Bet and shoot the dice.
- If the game continues to the Series round, place your Odds Bet or other bets.
- Shoot the dice to try and match the indicated Point number.
- If you Seven Out, you lose. If you hit your Point, you win. Either way, the round ends.
- In the Come Out round, the shooter must bet the minimum listed on the ‘Pass Line.’ This is the Pass Line Bet. You win it with 7 or 11. You lose it if you crap out.
- In the Series round, you may make an Odds Bet of any amount between the minimum and maximum. If you roll your Point, you win Pass Line and Odds bets.
- Don’t Pass Bets: If you place your bet in the “Don’t Pass Bar” are of the craps table layout, you wager that the Come Out bet will be 2, 3 or 12 – the “losing” numbers in a Pass Line bet. Casinos usually only allow only two of the three numbers to pay off, while one (typically 2 or 12) is a “push” returning you your opening bet but not winning. After a Point has been set, a Don’t Pass Line bet will be a winner if a 7 comes up before a point does.
- Come Bets can be made after a point is set in the Come Out roll. For the first roll after a Come bet, the bet wins if the roll comes up 7 or 11, and loses with 2, 3 or 12. If the shooter tosses another number, that becomes the “come point.” If that number comes up before a 7, the come bet pays even money. If a 7 is rolled before the come point, you lose the bet.
- Don’t Come Bets are the opposite. After a point is set in Come Out, this Bet may be placed on the “Don’t Come Bar”. It wins if the shooter next throws a 3 or a 12 and loses if the shooter is a 7 or 11. If the shooter throws a 2, the bet is a “push” and returned to the player. If the shooter rolls 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10, that number becomes the “Come Point.” The Don’t Come bet then moves to the box of the Come Point. Don’t come bets win even money if a 7 comes up. They lose if the Come Point is rolled.
- Place Win Bets are made hoping that 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 will come up before 7, while Place Lose Bets are made hoping that 7 will come up before 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10.
- There are also Buy Bets, Lay Bets, Field Bets, Horn Bets, Hardway Bets as well as Any 7, Any 11, or Any Craps Bets. Don’t get overwhelmed by the betting options. You can play the game without them, though you can read this in-depth article if you want to know more.
Odds and the House Edge
Odds bets are paid without a house edge, while Pass Line bets give the house a 1.4% edge. If the shooter sevens out, you lose both Pass Line and Odds bets. Although Pass Line bets can be increased before a throw, you cannot remove them. Odds bets may be removed or changed between throws in the Series round. More on odds and the house edge here.
Smart preparation and discipline can cut the house edge, already low in craps relative to other games, down to a minimum.
- Set a loss limit: decide in advance when to walk away if things don’t go your way.
- Focus your wagers on Pass Line and Come Bets backed by Odds bets and bet on 6 or 8. There are a ton of bets available on a craps table, but only several have a reasonable house edge. Odds bets reduce the house edge on Pass Line and Come bets.
- Hit and run. When you firmly grasp the advanced wagers available in craps, and your aim is to win big and fast, bet the long odds. You may lose quickly of course, but if you hit it bigtime, be prepared to walk away as soon as you have made your killing.
- Seek out variations with a lower than standard house edge.
Casino game designers have come with new variations that innovate on the standard game.
- In Crapless Craps: a player can’t lose a Pass Line Bet by shooting 2, 3 and 12. This variation gives the player better odds because the casino edge is greatest on Come Out rolls. Because the odds are so favourable, this variation is rarely found online.
- In Simplified Craps there is only one dice roll and no Pass and Don’t Pass Line bets. There are no Craps or Point numbers. 2, 3, 4, 10, 11 or 12 are winners, while 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 are losers. Beginners like the simplicity and the house edge is just 2.8%.
- In High Point Craps, the numbers 2 and 3 are ignored if thrown in the come-out roll. The player wins with an 11 or 12. Any other total becomes the point number and the player must roll a total larger than the point. The house edge is a modest 2.35%.
Try free play on these variations and feel comfortable before you risk real money.
Craps is a fascinating game with a rich legacy and a learning curve to master the game. Try free play before wagering real money on the game or variation of your choice. Once you feel confident, you should jump into the exciting action. The casinos recommended here are pre-vetted for fair play, welcome bonuses, and other benefits.