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How to Play Craps

If you want to learn how to play craps correctly, then you should know that in this context less is more. This means that you don’t have to know all the bets, since most of them are really bad. Yes, your winnings might be bigger should you win, but the chance of winning is minuscule so it’s not really worth it. Instead, we will focus on the important bets – those are the ones that grant you a bigger chance to win; those are the ones where the house’s statistical edge is lower; those are the ones you should know. But let’s begin with the very basics.

What to Look for at a Craps Table

The first thing you should look for at a Craps table is the table minimums. These are the smallest monetary values you can play with ($3 is the standard but it may vary). After that, check “the Odds Bets”. Most casinos offer a standard of X3, X4 and X5, although some may go to X100. The higher the Odds Bets opportunities are, the better.


“Come Out Roll Betting”

OK, now that you’ve checked that, what’s next? Well, first, the best decision you can make is start betting on a “Come Out Roll”. This would usually be announced by the Dealers and it means that the Shooter has rolled a 7 and it’s time for the game to start again. Now is your time to shine. It’s a new game, so place your bet on the Pass Line (look at the picture for reference). This means that you are placing a bet for the Come Out Roll and you are betting with the Shooter.


If he throws a 7 or 11, you win, and a chip with a value equal to your bet will be placed next to your original chip. By default, it is assumed that you want to bet again. If so, collect your winnings and leave your original chip on the Pass Line for the next round. This is the common practice and what most people tend to do. I feel obligated to warn you to watch your chips carefully. Since Craps is such an exciting game, people tend to have divided attention in their emotional moments, and some dishonest individuals try to use those opportunities and liberate you from some of your winnings.

But back to the game. If the Shooters rolls a 2,3 or 12, you will lose your bet and it will be collected by the Dealer. You will know when that happens, because most people will lose with you and they will be collectively disappointed. Game over. You lost. Time to place another bet on the Pass Line for the next round and hope that this time you will be more lucky.

If the Shooter hits 4,5,6,8,9, or 10, then the rolled number become the Point. A white puck will be placed on that number on the board as to make sure that no one forgets it and the second stage of the game will begin. You haven’t lost your bet in this phase, but you haven’t won either. At this stage, you have two options. The first one is to wait and see what happens. Either the Shooter will throw the Point and then the 7 and you will win, or he will throw 7 first and you will lose.

Odds Bets in Craps

The second option is to place Odds Bets. This is where the game gets really interesting. Odds Bets are additional bets you can make. They are bets you place right behind your initial bet and they are your chance of making some real money. It is a higher risk, because if you lose, you lose more, but the reward is much higher, as well, not to mention the unique thrill of collecting your winnings.

Like I said, Odds Bets usually follow a pattern and it is displayed near the table. The X3, X4, X5 are the most common Odds Bets you will see in Vegas, although in London, for example, the standard is X1. The number you see behind the X is the number of times your Odds Bet can be bigger than your initial bet. If you bet $10 and the Odds Bet is X1, then the maximum amount you can bet as Odds Bet is $10. The standard X3, X4, X5, though, is as follows:

For a Point of 4 or 10, the Odds Bet is X3 which means you can place up to 3 times your initial bet;
For a Point of 5 or 9, the Odds Bet is X4, which means you can place up to 4 times your initial bet;
For a Point of 6 or 8, he Odds Bet is X5, which means you can place up to 5 times your initial bet;

Usually, you want to go for the maximum Odds Bet the table permits. This way, if you win, you win big. Based on the statistical probability of hitting the same number again before rolling 7, you can get paid back as follows:

For 4 or 10 as the Point, you will get paid 2-1 on your Odds Bet if you win because the chance of hitting 4 or 10 again before 7 is 2-1 against;
For 5 or 9 as the Point, you will get paid 3-2 on your Odds Bet if you win because the chance of hitting 5 or 9 again before 7 is 3-2 against;
For 6 or 8 as the Point, you will get paid 6-5 on your Odds Bet if you win because the chance of hitting 6 or 8 again before 7 is 6-5 against;

Most bets in Craps can be changed during the course of the game. However, once you place a Line Bet for the Come-Out Roll, that bet stays there until the end of the game and you can’t alter it in any way, shape or form.

More Articles Covering Craps

Craps Basics
Craps Table Layout
How to Play Craps
Playing Best Odds in Craps
Craps Bets
Craps Strategy

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