Craps FAQ

Welcome to the Craps FAQ section, where the most common craps-related questions are answered. This comprehensive craps FAQ will guide you through the general questions that most casino players have about this popular dice game. Read the i-depth answers, as well as get taken to pages with more details about the topics that you prefer to learn about.

What is Craps?

CrapsCraps is considered a competitor to roulette in regards to the most exciting game in a casino. Often a casino floor’s excitement level is dictated by the atmosphere at the craps tables. Craps is truly a team game where everyone plays against the house and shoots for glory. The roll of the dice flows across the felt like a wave filled with anticipation as players try to strike it rich.

Craps was brought to the US by a Frenchman, and the common belief is the game is a streamlined version of the game Hazard. It grew in popularity through the mid-1900’s as players squared off against each other in street games. Craps in Las Vegas caught on and since then the game has boomed worldwide.

Craps is a high-energy game that’s lots of fun and for some, extremely confusing. The game is built on the premise of people, known as shooters, rolling the dice in order to hit certain numbers that can result in a win. You’ll find different stages of the game when players will want different numbers to be rolled in order to win.

The numbers 2, 3, 7, 11, and 12 are the most important numbers initially. After the point has been established (any number other than 2, 3 7, 11, or 12), the player can make an odds bet. Then the point becomes the number that everyone wants – and nobody wants a 7.

Generally, players are all betting together in craps, unless some rogues are playing the dark side. We’ll cover the dark side later. This is why you’ll often hear massive cheers, see huge high fives, and even hugs, coming from the craps table in a casino.

While some of this experience is lost when playing online, the excitement of the game still remains. Craps is unlike any other casino game when it comes to swings, except maybe no limit Texas Holdem. You can win and lose a lot very quickly. However, if you manage to choose a hot table with a roller who’s just smashing out points, then you can cash in big time. As with all casino games, it’s all about choosing the best time to finish your session.

How Do I Play Craps?

Craps dice controlAlthough craps can look very intimidating at first, it’s quite simple to play when you know the basics. You can make one of two main bets when you first start out before you move into more of the complex betting options. These two bets are the pass line bet and the odds bet.

The basic method to craps is that a shooter, who is a player gambling at the table, will roll two six-sided die. If they roll a 7 or 11, then everyone who bets on the pass line wins, and everyone who bets on the don’t pass line loses.

This bet is paid at one to one, or even money. If they roll a 2, 3, or 12, this is known as craps and everyone loses unless players had made a bet on the don’t pass line. If the shooter rolls a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, then this number will become the point, and the dealer will indicate this by placing a large white disc on this number on the table layout.

At this point, you have the option to make an odds bet. This bet is placed behind the pass line bet, which remains in place for now, and it’s paid out at true odds if the shooter hits this number again before crapping out by rolling a 7. The odds bet is one of the best you’ll find in the casino as it has no house edge. Craps is pretty basic at first if you stick to those two bets, and even down the road when you become more advanced with craps, these simple wagers are still the best to make.

The come and don’t come bets are similar to a pass or don’t pass bet and they’re played independently with each roll. These allow players to enter the game and bet even after the point has been established. The casinos don’t want players waiting to place bets, so they design ways to bet on every roll. It also allows active players to hedge their current bets, which is rarely a good idea when playing craps.

The don’t pass line is the opposite of the pass line and gets paid out in reverse. This is generally not played often as people see it as playing against other players instead of teaming up against the house.

After this, there are many more bets that can be made on a craps table. However, the shooting and game rounds stay the same. If a player craps out by rolling a 7 when they’re shooting for the point the game is over and the next player on the table will be the new shooter and commence action with a come out roll.

If the shooter hits the point, then the game restarts and they continue as the shooter for another round. A shooter will also continue rolling until they hit a point initially, even if they win before establishing a point, or crap out on the come out roll.

So in summary:

Buy in. You would exchange your money for chips at the craps table. If playing online craps, you would simply make a deposit.
Wait for a new round, or make single roll bets.
Place a bet on the pass line, which will be paid at even money.

When a point is established make an odds bet, which is paid at:

  • 2 to 1 for 4 and 10
  • 3 to 2 for 5 and 9
  • 6 to 5 for 6 and 8
Hope for the shooter to roll the point.
Repeat the process.

It’s that simple; now you never need be intimidated by a craps table again.

What is the House Edge in Craps?

Due to the complicated nature of betting in craps, the house edge varies drastically depending on which bets you make. The table also has different versions of house edge percentages due to the fact some bets stay in place for multiple rolls. To make things simple, the house edges listed here will be based purely on the end result of the bet.

The standard pass line bet, which most beginners should stick with, has a house edge of 1.41%. The don’t pass is slightly less at 1.36%. The odds bet you can place after the pass line or don’t pass bet has no house edge at all, meaning it’s the best table game wager you can make in a casino.

Furthermore, if you’re planning to bet it all on one round, then you should bet the right amount on the pass line so that you can then load up as much as possible on the odds bet according to the table rules. Some casinos will have 2x odds bet maximums, and some will have 1000x, with the average being somewhere between 3-5x. The come and don’t come bets have the same percentages as the pass line and don’t pass line.

After the pass line, come, and odds bet, the house edge generally increases. However, the payoff could be huge if you hit one of these bets, so once again it is risk versus possible rewards. We’ve listed most of the possible bets you can make in craps below, and the corresponding house edge on that bet.

What are the Types of Craps Bets?

You’ll find a huge number of bet options on a craps table layout. As we’ve already touched on, there are the basic pass line, don’t pass line, odds, come, and don’t come bet options. These are labeled quite clearly on a craps table and are the simplest bets to play. The one exception is the odds bet. It isn’t shown anywhere on the table. You have to place your odds bet out and say you want the odds.

After these bets, you’ll have the following options:


Place Bets

Place bets, which are made after a point has been established. 6 and 8 pay at 7 to 6 odds and the house edge is 1.52%.


Place Bets for 5 & 9

Place bets for 5 and 9 pay at 7 to 5 odds and the house edge is 4%.


Place Bets for 4 & 10

Place bets for 4 and 10 pay at 9 to 5 odds and the house edge is 6.67%.


Place to Lose Bets

Place to lose bets, which are available only in some countries, are the opposite of place bets. For 6 and 8 they pay out at 4 to 5 odds and the edge is 1.82%. For 5 and 9 the payout is 5 to 8 odds with a 2.5% house edge. Finally, 4 and 10 payout at 5 to 11 odds and the edge is 3.03%.


Buy Bets

Buy bets are similar to odds bets, however, you’ll need to pay a commission to make these in some casinos as they give you better odds without having made a pass line bet. As the commission varies, we’ve listed the odds here without factoring this in. The house edge on 6 and 8 is 4.76%, 5 and 9 is 4.76% and 4 and 10 is 4.76%. The payout is the same as an odds bet.


Lay Bets

Lay bets give the player the option of betting on the same numbers as a place to lose, or an odds bet. You’ll be charged a commission on the win amount, though this ensures that the payout amount is the same as an odds bet. The house edge is 4% for 6 and 8, 3.23% for 5 and 9, and 2.44% for 4 and 10.


Big 6 & 8

Big 6 and 8 are straight up bets on a 6 or 8 being rolled. These are sucker bets as they’re paid at even money. You can bet on the same numbers and get paid out at 7 to 6 with a place bet. The house edge on these is quite high at 9.09%.


Hard Way Bets

Hard way bets give the player the option of betting on certain numbers coming up in a specific way on the dice. These are available on a 4 by getting 2 and 2 on the dice, 6 by getting 3 and 3, 8 by getting 4 and 4, and 10 by getting 5 and 5. The hard 6 and 8 payout is 9 to 1 with a house edge of 9.09%, and the 4 and 10 pay 7 to 1 with an 11.11% house edge.


Put Bet

A put bet is a bet on the pass or come after the point has been established. These bets carry a high house edge and should be avoided.


Field Bets

Field bets are wagers placed on one role of the dice only. A player can bet on the field coming up which includes 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12. These are paid at even money, except the 2 which is paid at 2 to 1 and the 12 which is 3 to 1. The house edge is 5.56%.


Proposition Bets

Finally, there are proposition bets which are considered sucker bets due to the huge house edge. These bets are made on specific outcomes of the next roll only and should be avoided.

Is it Possible to Win at Craps?

In the long term, no, you can’t win at craps. This is due to the insurmountable house edge on every single bet that is placed on the table, except the odds. However, the 0% house edge of the odds bet and the fact you must have made a previous bet to the odds, which will have a house edge, still means you can’t win in the long term.

You can certainly have a winning session on a craps table, though. It’s all about choosing when to walk away. If there is an amazing shooter who is hitting point after point, then you should take advantage of this and stay at the table.

Once this shooter craps out, though, perhaps you should consider leaving. Unfortunately, there’s no strategy that can give you a positive return and therefore, in the long run, you’ll always theoretically lose.

What are Some Good Craps Strategies?

Live Dealer craps gameYou’ll be able to find many craps strategies online and in craps books. However, the most effective betting method in craps is quite simple and doesn’t require you to study 400 pages of craps theory.

The way a player can reduce the house edge the most is by betting on the don’t pass line or don’t come, and then making a maximum odds bet. This is called the dark side of craps though and generally isn’t followed by players. The next best method is the pass line, or come, and once again making the maximum possible odds bet behind it.

This is the most common method of betting in craps and the most accepted which is followed by most players. If you stick to these two betting methods in craps, you can’t go wrong and you’re lowering the house edge as much as possible.

One theory on how to win at craps is craps dice control. This theory states that if you throw the dice exactly the same way each time, the dice will land in the same or very similar ways. This is just a theory, with many players believe it to be true, while others call it a scam.

How does Craps Compare to Other Casino Games?

By using the optimal betting method in craps, a player can lower the house edge to 1.36%. This is decent when compared to some other table games. Blackjack with the best possible rules has a house edge of 0.28% while baccarat is 1.06%, and roulette is 2.7% if you play on a single 0 table.

House edge isn’t everything, though. The excitement levels at a real live casino craps table is always higher than any other table game. Playing online will give a different experience but it can still be fun. Craps is a very exciting game and a simple one in essence. This makes it highly desirable for many players.

Do I have to Shoot in Craps?

No, you don’t. Although shooting is one of the most exciting parts of craps, it can be quite daunting. If you don’t like that kind of pressure, you don’t have to shoot.

Keep in mind that rolling the dice is all luck. Although some craps players think they have a magic roll, and probably practice hour after hour at home on their own personalized craps table, it’s pure luck. So don’t feel too bad if you crap out early, and similarly, don’t feel like you’re a superhero if you have a magical run. Just roll with it and enjoy the game.

Is It Bad to Bet on Don’t Pass Line & Use Dark Side Approach?

This is a tough one. The majority of craps players play on the pass line or come and then make an odds bet. Very few will bet on the don’t pass line or don’t come, as it’s seen by many as playing against the shooter and other players on the table. This is quite strange and unique to craps, especially given the house edge is slightly lower when following the dark side approach.

Ultimately, it’s always up to you and you can make whatever bet you’d like. It might be easier to follow the dark side approach when playing online as there is minimal, if any, interaction with other players. If you’re playing in a live casino environment though you may get some interesting looks, and at worst some questions as to why you’re betting against the rest of the table, and in particular, the shooter. This shouldn’t dissuade you, though, as it’s your money so you can wager it however you like.

That being said, if you want the camaraderie and fun that comes along with an exciting table, you should definitely not play the dark side.

Are there Any Craps Variations?

The main variations in craps are seen in different countries where slightly different payout rates and different bets are available. In Australia, a hard way bet will be paid out at a slightly higher rate, thus dropping the house edge on that bet.

On top of these small differences, there’s also a cards version of craps available in some areas as forced by legislation against dice determining an outcome of a bet. In this form of craps, cards are drawn to determine numbers as opposed to dice to being rolled. A few places that use cards let the players roll the dice, but they don’t count the same way. Ask the casino personnel running the table how the cards and dice work before placing your first bet so you don’t make a mistake.

On many casino floors, you’ll now also find automatic craps games with computer terminals where players sit and make their bets. This game is sometimes known as Shoot to Win craps. The game has two large dice encased in glass in the middle of the computer terminals which players can shoot by pressing a large button that makes the dice jump high in the air before landing and rolling to their final numbers. This version of craps can be great for players who want to play the game at lower stakes and with less interaction. You can also sit down while you play which may appeal to some.

Be wary and do your research on strange craps variations available in online casinos as quite often they’ll have an attractive jackpot or top prize, but a much higher house edge than a normal craps game.

Craps Variants

About the Author
Neil White

Neil White - Editor in Chief

His drive and passion for casinos and the most popular games keep him in touch with the latest news and interests to provide the best for his readers.