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In Las Vegas casinos, it is invariably the craps players who make the most noise. They would often cheer, shout, and laugh boisterously, as if they were at a major party or celebration. This comes as no surprise, as craps is indeed one of the most exciting and entertaining games you can play in a casino. 

At first glance, craps looks daunting. There are numerous bets that you can make, and some of the terminology sounds rather complicated. This is probably why the popularity of craps has waned over recent years. But the effort it takes to learn the game is worth it, considering all the excitement you can have once you understand the basic concepts.  


The Dice

The game of craps revolves around rolling a pair of dice. The person who rolls the dice is referred to as the shooter. The shooter is always one of the players, and each player is given a chance to be the shooter if they stay at a table long enough. 

Since the game uses two dice, a shooter can roll any number between 2 and 12. Statistically, certain numbers are more likely to come up than others. For example, there are 6 different ways to roll a 7, giving it a roughly 16.6% chance of coming up on any given roll. On the other hand, there is only one way to roll a 2 or a 12, and the chance of rolling either is less than 3%.  

The following chart gives you an idea of which numbers occur most frequently. There are 36 possible outcomes for each roll.

Number Rolled Dice Combinations % Chance
2 1/1 2.77%
3 1/2, 2/1 5.55%
4 1/3, 2/2, 3/1 8.33%
5 1/4, 2/3, 3/2, 4/1 11.11%
6 1/5, 2/4, 3/3, 4/2, 5/1 13.88%
7 1/6, 2/5, 3/4, 4/3, 5/2, 6/1 16.66%
8 2/6, 3/5, 4/4, 5/3, 6/2 13.88%
9 3/6, 4/5, 5/4, 6/3 11.11%
10 4/6, 5/5, 6/4 8.33%
11 5/6, 6/5 5.55%
12 6/6 2.77%

Since 7 is the most frequently rolled number, much of the game revolves around rolling this number. 


The Layout

The following typical craps layout is used by the Cyber Sportsbook and Casino.

craps.gif (25725 bytes)

The layout above is actually only half of a full craps layout.  If you play craps at a live casino, the left portion of the layout is duplicated on the right, allowing more players to gather around the table and place bets.


The Rules

The shooter rolls the dice to begin play. This initial roll is called the come-out roll, and a shooter must continue making come-out rolls until something other than a 2, 3, 7, 11, or 12 shows up. When this happens, the number rolled is called the point. So, if a shooter rolls a 2, 7, and then an 8, the 8 becomes the point. 

Next, the shooter continues to roll the dice until the point repeats itself, or until a 7 is rolled. When either of these things happen, that particular round of play ends, and the shooter makes a new come-out roll.

The game is tracked using a plastic puck. The puck is black on one side, and white on the other.  If the puck is turned black side up, it simply means that the shooter is making a come-out roll.  After the shooter makes a point, the puck is flipped over, with the white side up, and placed in a box that corresponds to the point.


Basic Betting - Pass Line and Don't Pass    

Prior to the come-out roll, players can make one of two bets, by placing chips on either the pass line or the don't pass bar. You are not required to make this bet, but almost everybody does. By far, the more popular bet to make is the pass line bet. However, both pass line and don't pass bets give you about the same odds. 

The pass line bettor is betting with the dice, and is often called the right bettor. The don't pass bettor is betting against the dice, and is called the wrong bettor. The difference between the two bets is described below.


The Pass Line Bet

When you bet on the pass line, one of the following will occur:

  • The next roll will be a 7 or 11, in which case you immediately win even money (1:1).

  • The next roll will be a 2, 3, or 12, in which case you lose. 

  • Any other number becomes the point. If the shooter repeats the point on a subsequent roll, you win and receive even money. If a seven shows up before the point repeats itself, you lose the bet. 


The Don't Pass Bet

When you bet on the don't pass bar, one of the following will occur:

  • The next roll will be a 2 or 3, in which case you immediately win even money.

  • The next roll will be a 7 or 11, in which case you lose.

  • If the shooter rolls a 12, you push, neither winning nor losing

  • Any other number becomes the point. The don't pass bet wins even money if the shooter rolls a seven before repeating the point. The bet loses if the point repeats itself first.

Basically, the pass and don't pass bets are opposites of each other. 


Odds Bets

Once the shooter makes a point, you can place another bet called an odds bet, or free odds bet. An odds bet is an additional bet that compliments your pass or don't pass wager. Odds bets are the best bets you can make in a casino because the house will pay you true odds. This means the house has absolutely no edge on these bets. 

In a real casino, you would make a pass line odds bet by placing chips behind your original pass line bet. If you are a don't pass bettor, you can make a don't pass odds bet by placing chips on top but a little to the side of your original bet.

The odds bet will pay off if you win your original bet. So if your original bet was a pass line bet, and you make an additional odds bet, both bets win if the shooter repeats the point. If your original bet was a don't pass bet, and you bet odds, both bets win when a seven comes up before the point.

While your original pass or don't pass bets only pay you even money when you win, the odds bet will pay whatever the true odds are for the bet you are making. For example, if you are a pass line bettor, and the point is 4, you will receive a 2:1 payment on your odds bet. The amount you win depends on what the point is, and how difficult it is to repeat that point.

Generally, right bettors can bet up to twice their original bet on a pass line odds bet.  For wrong bettors, the amount you can bet on the odds bets depends on the value of the point. By all means, you should bet the maximum possible on odds bets because they are the most favorable bets you can possibly make in a casino.

The following chart will give you an idea of what the odds bets pay:

If you are a pass line odds bettor:
The payout is... ...if the point is
2 to 1 4 or 10
3 to 2 5 or 9
6 to 5 6 or 8
If you are a don't pass odds bettor:
The payout is... ...if the point is
1 to 2 4 or 10
2 to 3 5 or 9
5 to 6 6 or 8

Now you know the basic bets that you can make in craps. But there are plenty of other bets you can make.  Click here to continue to the next craps page

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