How to Play Craps: A Beginner's Guide

Are you a newcomer to the world of craps? In this guide, I will show you how to play craps online and understand one of the most fun games at online casinos. You will also learn the key rules of the game, types of bets, and strategies you can use when playing craps at online UK casinos. Let's get started!

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🃏 Getting Started: Basics of Playing Craps

Enjoying the casino game of craps involves understanding how the rules work. If you don't know the basics, there is no way that you can make the most of the game. Let's look at the gameplay.

Understanding How Craps Works

The objective of craps is to bet successfully on the outcome of a roll or series of rolls of two dice. Players win by correctly predicting the dice results. The layout includes areas for different bets, like the Pass Line or Come, and reflects the game's phases. Understanding this setup is key to mastering craps.

Understanding Craps Terms

In craps, there are specific terms and phrases that players should know. Here's a table with brief explanations of the terms:

TerminologyMeaning
Ace DeuceA roll of 3, made up of a 2 and a 1.
Big RedSlang for the number 7.
BonesSlang for the dice.
Box NumbersThe numbers that players can bet on, which are 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10.
BoxcarsSlang for a roll of double 6s (12).
Come OutThe initial roll of the dice that starts a new round in craps.
Crap Out/CrapsRolling a 2, 3, or 12 on the come-out roll, which results in a loss for Pass Line bets.
Easy WayRolling an even number (4, 6, 8, or 10) with any combination other than doubles.
Free Odds Also known as "odds," these are additional bets taken or laid behind the Pass/Come or Don't Pass/Don't Come bets. They are paid at true odds.
Hard WayA bet on 4, 6, 8, or 10 that wins only if the dice roll as pairs (e.g., both dice showing 3 for a hard 6).
Hi-LoA one-roll bet on 2 and 12.
Horn BetA divided bet on the numbers 2, 3, 11, and 12, made in multiples of four with one unit on each of the numbers.
Hot Dice (Hot Table)When players are winning consistently or a shooter is rolling many numbers without sevening out.
Inside NumbersPlace bets on the numbers 5, 6, 8, and 9.
Lay BetA bet that a 7 will be rolled before a specific number (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10) comes up.
NaturalRolling a 7 or 11 on the come-out roll.
Outside NumbersPlace bets on the numbers 4, 5, 9, and 10.
Seven OutWhen a 7 is rolled before the point, ending the shooter's turn.
Take OddsPlacing additional odds bets after a point has been established.
True OddsThe actual mathematical odds of a specific bet.
Yo Slang for the number 11.

Remember, craps has its own unique set of terms, so while some of these are common in other casino games, they may not apply to craps. You can learn more about casinos and casino lingo by reading our casino reviews.

⚖️Craps Rules

We get into the interesting part now with the rules of the game. First things first, always remember that craps is a dice game. Thus, the gameplay revolves around players betting on the outcome of a roll or series of rolls, of two dice. One player, known as the "shooter," rolls the dice, while others at the table place bets on the results.

A key concept in craps is the "Natural," which is when the shooter rolls a 7 or an 11 on the come-out roll (the first roll of a new round). This results in an immediate win for players who bet on the "Pass Line." Conversely, if the shooter rolls a 2, 3, or 12 on the come-out roll, it's called "Snake Eyes" or "Craps," and players who bet on the Pass Line lose.

Once a point is established (any number other than 2, 3, 7, 11, or 12), the shooter can continue to roll until they either get the point number again, in which case Pass Line bets win, or they roll a 7, in which case Pass Line bets lose. Each player at the table has the opportunity to be the shooter, and players can also bet on other outcomes of the dice rolls, such as specific numbers or combinations.

Understanding the rules of craps and the various betting options is key to enjoying the game. Our website also boasts a catalogue of other free games which I encourage you to check out. In the next section, I'll go deeper into the different craps bets, odds, and strategies to help you make the most of your craps experience.

✅ Craps Betting Techniques

The craps dice game offers a variety of betting options, each with its own set of rules and potential pay-outs. For beginners, understanding the basics of Pass/Don't Pass bets, Come/Don't Come options, and Prop bets can enhance the learning process and improve gameplay strategies. More on these craps betting techniques below:

Pass/Don’t Pass Bets

In craps, the Pass bet is a wager that the shooter will roll a winning number (7 or 11) on the come-out roll or establish and hit a point before rolling a 7. The Don't Pass bet is the opposite; it's a bet against the shooter, winning if the come-out roll is 2, 3, or 12, or if a 7 is rolled before the point is repeated. These bets are fundamental to the game's flow and are a starting point for predicting the shooter's success.

Come/Don’t Come

Come and Don't Come bets are similar to Pass and Don't Pass but can be made after the point is established. A Come bet wins if the shooter rolls a 7 or 11 after the point is set, and it moves to a number if another is rolled, winning if that number comes up again before a 7. The Don't Come bet wins if the shooter rolls a 2 or 3 after the point is set, or if a 7 comes before the point number is repeated.

Prop Bets

Proposition bets, or Prop bets, are high-risk, high-reward wagers with a high house edge. They are decided in a single roll and include bets like Any Craps (wins on 2, 3, or 12), Hi-Lo (wins on 2 or 12), and Hardways (wins if a pair is rolled before a 7 or a non-pair combination of the number). These bets add excitement but are riskier than other types of wagers.

Navigating the Odds: Player's Guide to Craps Pay-outs and Probabilities

I can’t stress how much understanding the odds and pay-outs in craps online is crucial for any player looking to get into the game. Here’s a guide to the common bets, their odds, and the corresponding pay-outs:

NumberCombinationOddsProbabilityPay-outBet Type
2(1,1)1 Out of 362.78%30:1Once
3(1,2) (2,1)2 Out of 365.56%15:1Once
4(1,3) (2,2) (3,1)3 Out of 368.33%9:5Wager
5(1,4) (2,3) (3,2) (4,1)4 Out of 3611.11%7:5Wager
6(1,5) (2,4) (3,3 ) (4,2) (5,1)5 Out of 3613.89%7:5Wager
7(1,6) (2,5) (3,4) (4,3) (5,2) (6,1)6 Out of 3616.67%4:1Once
8(2,6) (3,5) (4,4) (5,3) (6,2)5 Out of 3615.8%7:6Wager
9(3,6) (4,5) (5,4) (6,3)4 Out of 3611.11%7:5Wager
10(4,6) (5,5) (6,4)3 Out of 368.33%9:5Wager
11(5,6) (6,5)2 Out of 365.56%15:1Once
12(6,6)1 Out of 362.78%30:1Once

The table above shows the odds of rolling each number, the probability of that roll, and the typical pay-out you can expect. For example, rolling a 2 or 12 (known as ‘Snake Eyes’ and ‘Boxcars’, respectively) is less likely, hence the higher pay-out of 30:1. On the other hand, a 7, which is the most common number to roll, has a lower pay-out of 4:1. These odds are fundamental to understanding the potential returns on your bets and developing a strategy for playing craps. Remember, the house edge varies for different bets, so choose wisely to increase your chances of winning.

🏹 Craps Strategies

Craps is a dice game that is fast-paced. In addition, it packs numerous betting options. This structure has intrigued players for generations. While the outcome of each roll is ultimately determined by luck, many players believe in employing strategies to improve their chances of winning. However, the effectiveness of these strategies is a subject of debate among players. Some swear by them, claiming significant success, while others remain sceptical, attributing any perceived success to chance. Below are some of the most commonly discussed strategies in the world of craps:

  • Pass Line Betting Strategy: This is one of the most common and safest bets. You win if the first roll is a 7 or 11 and lose if it's a 2, 3, or 12. If another number is rolled, that number becomes the "point," and you win if the point is rolled again before a 7. The Pass Line bet is a contract bet, meaning once it’s made, it cannot be removed or reduced until it wins or loses. However, players can make additional bets, such as odds bets, once the point is established, which can increase potential winnings. This strategy is considered one of the safest bets in craps because it has a low house edge and is straightforward to follow. It allows players to get involved with the game with minimal risk while also providing the excitement of potentially winning alongside other players.
  • Don’t Pass/Don’t Come Betting Strategy: This is the opposite of the Pass Line Bet. You win if the first roll is a 2 or 3 and lose if it's a 7 or 11. A roll of 12 results in a tie. After the point is established, you win if a 7 is rolled before the point. This betting strategy is known for its low house edge, similar to the Pass Line bet, but it’s important to note that it can create a bit of tension at the table since you’re betting against the majority of the players. It’s also worth mentioning that many craps tables do not allow Don’t Pass bets after the come-out roll, so it’s a decision that must be made early in the round. The Don’t Pass/Don’t Come bets are often seen as bets for “wrong” bettors, but in reality, they are just as legitimate as any other craps bet. They offer an alternative way to play and can be part of a conservative betting strategy.
  • Come Betting Strategy: Similar to the Pass Line Bet, but it can be made any time after the point is established. You win if the next roll is 7 or 11 and lose if it's 2, 3, or 12. Any other number becomes your personal point number. The Come Betting Strategy is favoured for its flexibility and the opportunity to have multiple bets working at once. It’s a dynamic way to play, as each roll can affect multiple Come Bets in different ways.
  • Place Betting Strategy: You can bet on any point number (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10) and win if your number is rolled before a 7. The advantage you can get from this strategy is that you have the flexibility to choose which numbers to bet on and when to increase or decrease your bets. Moreover, since multiple numbers are in play, you have more opportunities to win on each roll. Nevertheless, take note that the house has an edge on place bets, but it’s lower compared to other types of craps bets.
  • Odds Betting Strategy: This is a side bet in addition to your original bet and can be made once the point is established. It pays true odds and has no house edge which is great for the player. With the ability to bet multiples of your original bet, the potential pay-out can be significant. Unfortunately for players, you can only place this bet after a point has been established, which limits the opportunities to use this strategy. Also, this strategy is for high rollers. To maximise the benefit of this bet, you need to be willing to put down more money, which might not be suitable for all players.
  • Field Betting Strategy: A one-roll bet that wins if a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12 is rolled, and loses if a 5, 6, 7, or 8 is rolled. The Field Betting Strategy is favoured by players who enjoy the excitement of quick wins and losses. It’s also used by those who prefer not to commit to the longer-term bets that stay in play for multiple rolls. However, players should be aware that despite the immediate nature of the bet and the attractive pay-outs for certain numbers, the house edge on the Field Bet is typically higher than some other bets in craps.
  • 3-Point Molly Betting Strategy: This strategy involves making a Pass Line Bet with Odds and two Come Bets with Odds to cover different numbers on the table. By covering three numbers with Odds Bets, the 3-Point Molly Strategy aims to maximise the potential for winning on the rolls before a 7 is hit. It’s a strategy that requires a larger bankroll due to the multiple bets but offers a balanced approach between risk and potential return. The key to this strategy is to have bets working on multiple numbers, as it increases the chances that one of your bets will win, and the Odds Bets help to maximise the pay-out when those numbers do hit.
  • Iron Cross Betting Strategy: A combination of bets that covers all numbers except for the 7. It involves a Field Bet, Place Bets on the 5, 6, and 8, and a small bet on the 7. By combining these bets, the Iron Cross Strategy covers every possible number except for the 7, which is the most common number to be rolled due to the number of dice combinations that result in it. The idea is to win on any roll that isn’t a 7. However, because the 7 is so prevalent, the strategy involves a higher risk, and the small bet on the 7 serves as a form of insurance to recoup some losses if a 7 is rolled. It’s important to note that while the Iron Cross Strategy can lead to frequent wins, the pay-outs are typically small, and the combined house edge on the different bets means that over time, the player is expected to lose money. The Iron Cross is best used as a short-term strategy rather than a way to consistently beat the house.

While these strategies may provide a sense of control and structure to players, it's essential to remember that craps remains a game of chance, and no strategy can guarantee consistent wins. Ultimately, I recommend players should approach craps with a combination of strategy, luck, and prudent bankroll management.

❓ Frequently Asked Questions about How to Play Craps

How to play craps step by step?

Here’s my recommended simplified guide to help you understand craps and how to play it. Start with a Pass Line bet. Roll the dice; if it's a 7 or 11, you win. If it's 2, 3, or 12, you lose. Any other number becomes the 'point'.


What is the smartest craps strategy?

The smartest strategy is to make Pass Line and Come bets, and back them with odds bets, which have no house edge.


Is craps a game of skill?

Craps is mostly a game of luck, but making strategic bets involves some skill.


What are the basic rules of craps?

Players bet on the outcome of dice rolls. The shooter's come-out roll starts the game, aiming for a 7 or 11 to win or 2, 3, or 12 to lose.


How to play craps and win?

Focus on bets with lower house edges, like Pass Line bets and avoid high-edge proposition bets. Manage your bankroll and bet wisely.


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