How to Play Online Craps
Craps has an image problem – people just do not understand the basic bets. Admittedly, the most fundamental bets in craps are complex compared to those in a game like sic bo, but they aren’t as intimidating as people make out.
The best way to learn how to play craps is to play it online. With no pressure from other players to place the right bets and no need to focus on the etiquette of craps while you are simply trying to learn the game rules, online craps is very welcoming compared to a live craps table. Its a game riddled with superstitions, which can add to the fun for experienced players, but it tends to make beginners at a live casino uncomfortable when they don’t know why they just got a dirty look for talking about the number 7.
With this guide and some practical play online at a place like Cherry Red Casino or Golden Casino, you will quickly learn about the most fundamental craps bets to make, as well as those you should avoid.
How is craps played?
Craps is played in rounds, with every round requiring at least one person to bet on the Pass Line bet or Don’t Pass bet. The first roll of a round is called the come out roll. In this roll, the Pass Line players win if a 7 or 11 is rolled, but they will lose if a 2, 3 or 12 is rolled. Any other result establishes ‘the point’. This is the second stage of craps, and it ends when the dice have rolled the point again or else have rolled a 7. For example, if the point is 5, the dice need to roll a 5 again or a 7 for the round to be resolved. Once a round has been completed, the next roll is a new come out roll and the start of a new round.
What bets can be made when playing online craps?
The following is a list of the common bet types in online craps, broken up into categories of those bets that centre on the Pass Line bet, those that are simply resolved over multiple rolls, and those bets that are based on a single roll of the dice.
Pass Line Based Bets
Pass Line Bet – This bet can only be made when a new round begins. On the come out roll, the bet is on the dice rolling a 7 or an 11, but not a 2, 3 or 12. If the dice roll a 7 or 11, the bet wins. Pass Line bets lose if the shooter ‘craps out’ – that is, the dice roll 2, 3 or 12 on the come out roll.
If none of those results come up on the come out roll, then the number that was rolled becomes ‘the point’. This is the number that Pass Line bettors want to see again before a 7 is rolled. If the point is rolled before a 7, then the Pass Line bet wins. If a 7 is rolled before the point, then the Pass Line bet loses. Once either result occurs, the current round is resolved, and the next roll will be a new come out roll.
The Pass Line bet pays even money on a win. It has a house edge of only 1.41%.
Don’t Pass Bet – This is essentially the opposite of the Pass Line bet. It can only be made at the start of a new round, and the initial bet is on the dice rolling 2 or 3, but not 7 or 11. If the dice roll a 12, then the bet is pushed, or it rides into the next round depending on the rules of the casino being played at. On a come out roll of 2 or 3, the Don’t Pass bet wins, but it loses on a come out roll of 7 or 11.
Any result that does not resolve the round on the come out roll becomes ‘the point’. Unlike the Pass Line bet, the Don’t Pass bettor wants a 7 to be rolled before the point is rolled again. If this happens, the Don’t Pass bet wins. It loses if the point is rolled again before a 7.
The Don’t Pass bet pays even money on a win, and it has a house edge of 1.36%. Players in live casinos frown upon people making Don’t Pass bets, so be aware of this if you decide to dabble in some live casino action outside of your online craps play.
Taking the Odds – This is a bet that may be placed on the Pass Line bet after the come out roll. The odds paid on it depend on the number of the point, but they will be true odds. This means that there is no house edge on Taking the Odds, though you must make a Pass Line bet first. This bet is made in multiples of the initial Pass Line bet, and limits of 3 to 5 times that bet are normally imposed on Taking the Odds. Placing a minimum Pass Line bet and Taking the Odds to the full amount is one of the best ways to minimize the house advantage.
Laying the Odds – This bet is the Don’t Pass equivalent of Taking the Odds. You need to make a Don’t Pass bet before making this bet, and Laying the Odds bets are made in multiples of the Don’t Pass bet that has been placed. The bet is essentially on a 7 being rolled before the point, with no initial come out roll round. Making a minimum Don’t Pass bet while Laying the Odds to the maximum amount should result in the lowest possible house edge.
Come – This bet is essentially the same as the Pass Line bet with one difference: it can be made on any roll other than a come out roll. This has the same 1.41% house edge of the Pass Line bet and essentially works just the same. The difference is that when you Take the Odds on a Come bet, they are inactive on come out rolls made for the Pass Line bet. The Come bet can still win or lose on these come out rolls, as they are not come out rolls for the Come bet. Odds taken on the Come bet just will not be effective for that round, getting pushed if the Come bet is resolved, and reactivating on the next normal roll if the Come bet has not been resolved.
Don’t Come – This bet is a Don’t Pass bet that can be made before any roll other than a come out roll. The house edge is still 1.36%, just like a Don’t Pass bet, and the only difference is in Laying the Odds. When Laying the Odds on a Don’t Come bet, they are inactive for Pass Line come out rolls. The Don’t Come bet can still be resolved on these come out rolls, but if it is resolved, then any bets placed on Laying the Odds for that Don’t Come bet are simply pushed. If no outcome is decided, they reactivate on the next normal roll.
Multiple Roll Based Bets
Hard Way – This is a bet on a specific value being rolled as doubles before it is rolled in any other way, and before a 7 is rolled. For example, a Hard Way 4 is a bet that two 2s will be rolled before any other kind of 4 is rolled, and before a 7 is rolled. The odds of winning the various Hard Way bets are 9.09% for a Hard Way 6 or Hard Way 8, and 11.11% for a Hard Way 4 or Hard Way 10.
Place – This is essentially choosing a point value to bet on being rolled before a 7. Place bets are paid at 9 to 5 odds for points 4 or 10, at 7 to 5 odds for points 5 or 9, and at 7:6 odds for points 6 or 8.
Buy – This bet is the same as the Place bet in that you choose a point value to bet on being rolled before a 7. The difference is that true odds are paid, with a 5% commission charged on wins. This makes the house edge on all Buy bets 4.76%.
Big 6/8 – The Big 6 and Big 8 bets are some of the worst in craps, as they are simply a poor mimic of better bets. Big 6 and Big 8 are essentially Place bets on a 6 or 8, but with only an even money payout. It’s a clear sign that someone does not know how to play craps if they bet on Big 6 or 8.
Lay – The opposite of the Buy bet, this is a bet on a 7 being rolled before the chosen point. Wins are paid at the true odds, but a 5% commission is charged. Sometimes the commissions of Lay bets can be lowered, which can even lead to instances where the player has an advantage, though such an arrangement is never going to last for long.
Single Roll Bets or Proposition Bets
Snake Eyes – This is a bet on a 2 being rolled on the next throw. It pays 30:1, with a house edge of 13.89%.
Ace-Deuce – This is a bet on a 3 being rolled on the next throw. It pays 15:1, with a house edge of 11.11%
Box Cars – This is a bet on a 12 being rolled on the next throw. It pays 30:1, with a house edge of 13.89%.
Yo – This is a roll on an 11 being rolled on the next throw. It pays 15:1, with a house edge of 11.11%.
Big Red – This is a bet on a 7 being rolled on the next throw, and it is the worst bet in craps. It pays 4:1, with a 16.67% house edge.
Hi-Lo – This is a bet on a 2 or 12 being rolled on the next throw. It pays 15:1, with a house edge of 11.11%.
Any Craps – This is a bet on a 2, 3 or 12 being rolled on the next throw. It pays 7:1, with a house edge of 11.11%.
Craps & Eleven – Half the bet is placed on Any Craps, and the other half on Yo. It pays 3:1 overall when Any Craps wins and 7:1 overall when Yo wins. The overall house edge is 11.11%.
Field – This is a bet that a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12 will be rolled on the next throw. It usually pays 2:1 if a 2 or 12 are rolled and even money on any other result. Sometimes a 12 will pay 3:1. If the 12 pays 2:1, then the house edge is 5.56%. If it pays 3:1, then the house edge is only 2.78%.
The Horn – This bet is actually 4 equal wagers: 1 unit each on 2, 3, 11 and 12. On a 2 or 12 win, it pays 27:4 overall. On a 3 or 11 win, it pays 3:1 overall. The combined house edge is 12.5%.
The World or Whirl – This is actually 5 bets of equal value. 4 of the bets go towards The Horn, and the other bet is placed on Big Red. Whirl pays 26:5 on a 2 or 12 win, 11:5 on a 3 or 11 win, and it is effectively a push on a Big Red win, as the winnings simply cover the other lost bets. The overall house edge is 13.33%.
On the Hop – This is a bet that two specific numbers will appear in combination on the dice in the next roll. For example, 4 and 2 On the Hop would win if one die shows 4 on the next roll and the other die shows 2. This is paid at 15:1 and has a house edge of 11.11%. Sometimes doubles are also available, and these pay 30:1 when both dice show the correct result, for a house edge of 13.89%.
What is the best strategy for craps?
The optimal strategy in craps to minimize the house edge is to play the lowest Don’t Pass bet and then Lay the Odds on it to the table maximum. This is technically the best strategy, but the real optimum strategy is to just figure out which bets are the most fun to play. Craps is a game of suspense, as waiting for the shooter to hit the point or seven-out can be very exciting. Once you have worked out the bets that really get you excited, you can look forward to many years having a great time playing craps.