How to Play Craps for Beginners
Craps may look complicated, but it's as easy as rolling the dice. Our guide will teach bettors everything they need to learn how to play craps, including rules, the best craps bets to make, and free craps games to test their skills.
What is Craps?
Craps is a casino table game played with two dice, a board, and chips to place bets. A game of craps is conducted in rounds, with up to 20 players taking turns being the shooter and rolling the dice. The aim of craps is to correctly guess what dice value the shooter will roll.
The game begins with players making bets on the first roll of the dice, known as the 'come-out roll'. In this round, players must decide whether the dice will land on a 7 or 11 (Pass Bet) or 2, 3, or 12 (Don't Pass Bet). The round ends if the total dice value is 7 or 11 (known as a 'natural') or 2, 3, or 12 (also called 'craps').
If the total dice value rolled is a four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, or 10, then that number becomes the 'Point' and starts the next stage of the craps game. The base dealer will place a puck on the point number on the craps table to help players follow the game and will then collect additional bets. The shooter rolls the dice again. This repeats until the shooter rolls a seven or the point number, which ends the craps game.
Learn How to Play Craps Online
Craps is a popular casino game for beginner players as the rules are simple to learn and it's fun to play. Whether you play craps online or in a Vegas casino, the rules of this dice table game remain the same:
All craps games begin with a pass line bet. A craps player must choose whether they think the dice will land on a combined 7 or 11 to win ('pass the line') or lose by landing on a 2, 3 or 12.
The base dealers take all pass bets and add them to the craps table.
The shooter starts the craps game with the first roll of the dice, known as the 'comeout roll'.
If the dice land on 7 or 11, pass line bettors win their wager. Alternately, if the dice land on a combined 2, 3 or 12, don't pass bettors win. Any other numbers the dice land on establishes a 'point' on the craps table, and the game continues.
Once a point (4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10) is set on the craps table, craps players can bet on the dice landing the point, landing on different numbers, or losing completely by landing on 7.
The shooter rolls the dice until they land a 7 or the point.
If the shooter lands the point, they remain as the shooter in the next craps game. If they roll a 7, the shooter 'sevens out' and a new craps player becomes the shooter.
The rules to craps are easy to follow. What makes the game trickier to understand are the variety of bets players can make. Beginner craps players can make simple bets on single numbers and win or lose with each roll. As you play craps more often however, you'll find more advanced bets such as laying the odds essential to any winning craps strategy.
Basic Craps Rules
Craps is a fast-paced game, so it can be tricky to learn the rules by simply watching. Luckily, most rules in craps are around the shooter and bets, so they are easy to learn and implement. Remember to follow these rules the next time you join a craps game at a casino:
Wait for a space at a craps table
Up to 20 players can join a game of craps, and there's a chips shelf for each one. The dealers use these shelves to keep track of bets, so wait until one becomes available to join a game.
Follow shooter etiquette
In craps, if the shooter lands the point to end the game, they remain shooter in the next game. Only when the shooter lands a seven does the position pass to a new player.
Do not bet on separate die
Craps bets are based on the combined value of the two dice. Dealers will not accept bets on individual die in a game.
Be aware that you can win and lose bets when you're not the shooter
Some players think their bets only count when they're the ones rolling the dice. In craps, players are in the game if their chips are on the table.
Make bets only when the dealers are taking them
In every round of craps, the dealers will announce when bets are being taken. No one likes a player stalling the excitement of the craps table, so get yours in when the dealers go around the table.
Craps Table Layout
Along with placing bets, all beginner craps players should learn the craps table layout. While casino craps is fast-paced many dealers will happily explain different bets to players. By not learning how to play a craps table however, players limit themselves on the variety of bets they can make, which can be costly to their winnings. Let's look at the layout of a craps table:
A regular craps table contains two sides with the same pattern on the left and right. There's no difference in gameplay between the two sides; rather, it's designed this way to make it easier for more bettors to join in a single game of craps on one table. That way, two dealers can manage bets on a craps table when the game gets busy.
The Pass Line & Don't Pass Bar
Pass line bets are placed in this section of the craps table. If a player thinks the shooter will land a combined 7 or 11 on the dice, the dealer will place these wagers in the pass line box. If the craps player thinks the shooter will land a 2,3 or 12, these are 'don't pass bets' and the dealer will place these in the 'don't pass bar' box.
Big Six & Big Eight
The 'Big 6' and 'Big 8' on the craps table are one of the most popular bets players make. Essentially, bettors place wagers on this section of the craps table if they think the shooter will land a 6 or 8 before landing a 7.
In this section of the craps table, players can bet on whether the shooter lands a 3, 4, 9, 10 or 11 on a single roll of the dice. This type of bet is called The Field. Players can potentially double or even triple their money on this section of the craps table if they place a wager on the dice landing on 2 or 12.
Come & Don't Come
The Come and Don't Come sections on a craps table layout operates in a similar manner to the pass line bets. However, these bets can only be made after the pass line bet in a craps game. Essentially, if a player thinks the shooter will land a 7 or 11 on their next roll, they add their chips to the Come box. Alternately, if a player thinks the shooter will land a 2 or 3 on their next roll, they add their bet to the Don't Come box.
Many casino players think The Field is a good bet to make it craps because it contains several numbers. Statistically speaking however, it's more likely 5, 6, 7 or 8 will land in craps. Check the craps strategy page to learn about odds and the best craps bets to make.
On the craps table, The Place is located close to the boxman and is one of the most fast-paced bets in a craps game. Players can bet 'Place To Win' wagers on the shooter landing a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10 before they land a 7. These bets are added in The Place and can be made at any time in the game. If a player thinks the shooter will land a 7 before any of the aforementioned numbers, then they are making a 'Place to Lose' bet. This is also added to The Place on the craps table.
The middle of the craps table is shared by all players in a craps game. Here, players can add their proposition bets. These are single-roll bets made on the odds of dice faces landing on a specific pattern.
Players should note, a craps table layout can differ slightly depending on whether it's a half-table or a regular table. No matter which table a player chooses however, they can make the same bets in a craps game.
Most of the action on a craps table revolves around the bets. Players don't need to memorize every side bet to join a craps game but knowing the most basic bets in craps will make it more enjoyable. Here are the most common craps bets players will find in a casino:
Pass Line Bet & Don't Pass Bet
Players can join a craps game using only this bet. When making a pass line bet, players are wagering that the shooter is more likely to roll a dice value of seven or 11 before they roll a two, three, or 12. Seven is statistically the number likely to land the most in craps, which is why so many players bet on the pass line.
The Don't Pass Bet is simply a reversal of the Pass Line Bet. Players wager on a two or three landing before a seven or 11. If a 12 is rolled then the bet is a push, and the dealer returns the player's money.
Come Bet & Don't Come Bet
This bet can only be wagered after a point number has been rolled. Essentially, a player makes a Come bet if they think the shooter will land a dice value of seven or 11 before landing the point number.
Like the Don't Pass Bet, the Don't Come bet is just the reverse. When a player makes a Don't Come Bet, they're wagering on the shooter landing the point number on the dice value before landing a seven or 11.
Craps Betting Tips
For new players looking to play craps online, check out the following tips. We'll help you choose the right casino site and gameplay for your bankroll, and common pitfalls to avoid when playing craps online.
Decide on your Bankroll
When playing any casino games, players should decide how much of their bankroll they can commit across multiple sessions. Once you know how much you can afford to lose without decimating your funds, do not deviate.
Find a Craps Game that Matches your Gameplay Needs
Online casinos offer several varieties of craps games, such as Vegas craps or Bank craps. Always check you understand any rules or odds that may differ in these games before playing. The best online casinos will usually feature a 'Help' page or paytable that lists this information.
Check the Betting Limits
Most online casinos will let players adjust the betting limits in a craps game. These can be changed for low stakes or high stakes players, but make sure this is done before the game starts. Otherwise, you could lose money rapidly in an online craps game.
Check the RTP Percentage of the Craps Game
The standard RTP for craps games at most online casinos is 98.64%. If a casino site is offering a lower RTP for its online craps games, choose a different casino.
Take Advantage of Welcome Bonuses
Online casinos offer welcome bonuses to new players. While wagering requirements should be considered, players can use these bonuses to extend their gameplay. Learn which casino bonuses are the best to find, and then use casino reviews to find the best sites that offer these perks.
Play Free Craps Games Online
Now that you know the rules and the different bets to make, and the craps table layout, it's time to practice. Use our collection of free games below, with no download required, to improve your skills before moving on to real money craps.
Free craps games are essential for any beginner craps player that wants to improve. Players can practice betting strategies or test their knowledge, without risking any of their own funds. In any online craps game or casino craps table, simple errors can result in costly mistakes, so players should practice on free games until their confident gambling for real money in craps.
Players will find the same bets and rules in casino craps and online craps games, but the gameplay may differ slightly. Our experts highlight the main differences to watch out for below so you can continue playing craps for fun.
Playing Craps at a Casino
When learning how to play craps at a casino compared to online crap games, the main differences are the presence of staff and the shooter. In casino craps, a craps table is operated by the following people:
This person oversees the chips and exchanges cash for players. They also supervise the dealers to ensure no bets are missed.
Always accompanied by a long hook, the Stickman moves the dice to the shooter and announces the outcome of each roll.
Each craps table usually has two base dealers. These people collect bets and pay out winnings and can place bets on behalf of players.
Craps games are fast paced, so the Boxman, Stickman and Base Dealers work quickly to collect bets and pay out winnings before the next roll of the dice. To help players keep track of the game, they also arrange the craps puck on the table. This puck is placed over specific bets, like the point. This helps players know when they can place certain bets in a craps game.
In online craps games, these casino staff are usually not present, except for live dealer games. Not only that, but in land-based casino craps, players can bet on a game without being the shooter. In online craps, you must be the shooter in every round.
However, the biggest difference between playing craps online and in a land-based casino is the use of the random number generator. Casino sites use this device to generate thousands, even millions of potential 'answers' for an online craps game every second. The game will randomly choose one of these and randomly convert it into a roll of the dice in a craps game online. This system recreates the same randomness as a regular craps game.
Always check an online casino is licensed and regulated by an independent regulatory body. This means the casino's random number generators are inspected often to ensure they are truly random and fair to players.
How to Win at Craps
Many casino sites claim players can employ dice control to win at craps every time.
What is dice control? This controversial theory claims that with practice, players can throw the dice in a way to land the numbers they want. If players learn to throw the dice at the correct angle and reduce rotations, they can control the outcome to land in their favor.
It's an enticing prospect for beginner craps players, but the reality is there are many outside factors that can influence this technique that even after hours of practice it can easily fail. In a craps game, the dice must bounce off the side of the table. This directly reduces any potential influence dice control may offer. Not only that, but dice control is impossible to deploy in online craps games.
If beginner players want to win at craps, the best tried-and-tested method is to learn the odds, payouts and house edge for all craps bets. Once you know the craps bets with the biggest payouts or best odds of landing on the dice, you can begin deploying betting strategies in a game. We've provided easy-to-read charts with this information for beginner players to use in online craps games, as well as some craps strategies to potentially improve the odds of landing a win.
For beginners learning how to play craps, the lingo used in the game can be confusing. Most of it revolves around the different bets players can make however, and once you know these by heart the terminology is easier to understand. Check out some of the common terms used in craps games below so you don't end up 'crapping out'.
- Ace a die showing the face value of one.
- Big Red a roll of seven.
- Box Numbers another term for the place bet numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10.
- Crap Numbers the numbers 2, 3 or 12.
- Crap Out losing on the comeout roll with a dice value of 2, 3 or 12.
- Easy Way rolls of 4, 6, 8 or 10 made without the double.
- Edge an abbreviation of the house edge.
- Front another name for the pass line.
- George a player that tips well.
- Hard Number any number that the dice roll as a pair, i.e. a combined 4 made up of two 2 faces on the dice.
- Hard Way a bet on 4, 6, 8 or 10 that wins if the dice land as pairs.
- Hi-Lo a one-roll bet on 2 and 12.
- Inside Numbers these are place bets on the numbers 5-6 and 8-9.
- Little Joe a slang term for a roll of four on the dice.
- Little Phoebe a term for a roll of five.
- Marker/Puck the disc used on a craps table to label the point number.
- Natural Numbers a roll of 7 or 11 on the dice.
- Outside Numbers place bets on the 4-10 or 5-9.
- Puppy Paws a slang term for a roll of 10 on the dice.
- Right Bettor these are players betting on the pass line.
- Snake Eyes this is slang for a 2, when each die face shows a single dot.
- Working Bets these are bets in play for the next roll.
- Wrong Bettor this refers to a player betting against the shooter.
What is the best bet in craps?
Pass bet is the best wager to make in craps because it has one of the lowest house edges, at 1.40%. It's an easy bet for beginner craps players to make, and experienced bettors can layer their odds to reduce the house advantage further.
How do you play the dice in craps?
Every craps game has a shooter, who is responsible for rolling the dice. The stickman will give the shooter five identical dice to choose from. After taking two from the lot, the shooter will wait until the dealer gives the signal, and then roll the dice. The stickman will announce the outcome, wait for payouts and bets to be made, and then let the shooter roll again, until the game ends.
Are online craps games rigged?
Online craps games operate on a random number generator (RNG), which recreates the randomness of regular craps games to maintain fair gameplay for bettors. Only play with online casinos regulated by an independent regulatory body; they conduct frequent checks on casino sites to ensure there are no inconsistencies in their RNGs.
How do you win at craps every time?
While it is impossible to correctly guess every roll of the dice in craps, players can take several steps to improve their potential payout. Keep initial bets at the craps table low, and instead increase your intended bets with odds. That way, the house edge will take a smaller percentage of the player's funds in the game.
Is there any skill in craps?
Craps is largely a game of chance, but there is some statistical skill involved. By understanding the chances of specific numbers landing on the dice, players can make educated bets and improve their chances of winning bets in craps.
Can you consistently win in craps?
Craps is a table dice game of randomness, meaning it's impossible to correctly predict every time what numbers the dice will land on. To win consistently in craps, learn which casino bets have the best odds, and the lowest house advantage. This gives players the best chance of winning in craps.