Have you ever wondered what’s that popular dice game everyone’s playing at a casino? It’s called craps and is a game played with two dices in which players wager on the outcome of the roll. The game requires no special equipment and can be played in a casino or on the street.

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In fact, craps was incredibly popular and played on streets on a sheet of cloth long before it found its way to casinos.

Craps is one of the oldest casino games, being played between soldiers and travelers since the Crusaders.

How Do You Play Craps?

The rules of craps and the available bets vary from casino to casino. But there’s a general rule set all casinos follow. The player who rolls the two dices is called the shooter. He must place wagers on the Pass and/or Don’t Pass bets.

This bets on the outcome of the round. That can also be found under the terms Right and Wrong or Win and Don’t Win. The bets are placed by putting chips in the appropriately marked field. The player can do that himself. He can also let the dealer or stickman do that.

Roll the dices

The Shooter Rolls

The shooter always rolls two dices who he picks from a pile of 5 presented by the stickman. Both need to be rolled in one throw and both need to hit the back wall of the table.

The game has two phases– the come-out roll and point. The come-out roll is the player’s first roll and depending on the numbers. Bets placed on Pass or Don’t Pass win or lose. If the come-out roll is 2, 3 or 12 (also known as craps), the bets on Pass lose. Those placed on Don’t Pass win if the roll is 2 or 3 and tie if the come-out roll is 12. This ends the round before a new one begins. A roll of 11 in this phase of the game is known as a natural.

If a player rolls a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10, that number is marked by the dealer at the table and becomes the player’s point. In this phase of the game, the shooters continue rolling the dice. It ends if they get a 7. In that case the Don’t Pass line wins and the Pass line loses. In case the player rolls his point number, the Pass line wins and the Don’t Pass line loses.

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How Do You Roll The Dices?

As we already mentioned, the dices must be thrown on one roll and with one hand only. There are certain rules when it comes to the rolling. They’re set by the casino which prevent controlled shots and dice switching that was common in the past.

When it comes to the outcome of the dice, all numbers have slang calls usually made by the stickman. The slang used in craps originated from New Orleans, so it uses terms which are closely associated with New Orleans and American culture in general.

For example, a come-out roll of two is called Snake Eyes, while a hard four is called Little Joe from Kokomo. A hard 4 is also known as tutu (as its two-two) or a ballerina. If the player rolls a seven as a 6-1, the slang term is up pops the Devil or six-ace. A roll of 9 is known as Jesse James due to the fact that the famous outlaw was killed by a .45 pistol. Or Old Mike, in reference to legendary NBA player Michael Jordan. He wore the number 45 at one point of his career.

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Craps Table

The craps table originally invented by John H. Winn is still in use in casinos today. The green felt layout comes in different sizes and shapes, with the most common one resembling a bathtub.

The table features all the side bets in the center as well as the Pass and Don’t Pass fields. The table is usually operated by 4 casino employees. A boxman, who supervises the dealers and manages the chips. A stickman who sits opposite the boxman and announces the results and settles the bets. And two dealers on opposite sides of the table who collect and pay bets to players in their halves.

craps table
Craps table layout

Due to the quick pace of the game, mistakes are common in craps. So the 4 casino employees double checks all decisions and corrects possible mistakes made by his colleagues. This kind of table layout is used in big casinos. Smaller casinos usually decide to use a so-called “mini-craps” table where everything is appropriately adjusted.

When it comes to street craps, there’s obviously no table layout. The dice are rolled against some kind of backstop. The rules and bets are usually self-produced by the players themselves.

Frequently Asked Craps Questions

There are many variants available nowadays, but the following usually rank among the most popular: Crapless Craps, High Point Craps, Simplified Craps, Die Rich and New York Craps.

No, it isn’t necessary to be the shooter if you don’t feel comfortable with that kind of pressure. While it is a completely haphazard outcome, some players may get upset over it. On the other hand, this part enables players to directly interact with the gameplay, so it may turn out to be something you will miss out.

Players at each casino game can improve their odds to some extent by applied tested and proven betting strategies. Some include different bet sizes, while others a combination of bets, as is the case with the top recommendable craps strategy. Players are encouraged to go with the Don’t Pass or Don’t Come bet, and then make a maximum odds bet.

The latter has a 0% house edge, which is why it is also found in the second-best craps betting strategy – Pass bet and max odds.

There is no correct way to do this, but the practice is admittedly tricky and is best done after getting some guidance. Most players like to place a bet on behalf of the dealers and tip them in that manner; however, the bet most often used for this purpose at the craps table is usually low on payout.

Pass bets are also not recommendable, which is why players are most often advised to give the tip straight up instead of betting it for them. One way to do this is to put the tip before them and inform them it’s “for the dealers”.

As for the matter of splitting the bet, none of the four members of casino personnel at the craps table is obliged to share any further profits with the colleagues. If you want, you can point out the tip, make a gift to the dealer in a cash-like form (gift card per say), as long as you make your intentions clear.

Yes, there are quite a few terms regarding bets you can make at the craps table, including any craps, any seven, hard way, hop bet and horn bet, among others. The first refers to betting that the next roll will give an outcome of 2, 3 or 12, while any seven – that the next roll will be 7.

The hard way is a bet on 4, 6, 8 or 10 (the dice have to show the same face to win it). The hop bet expects the next roll to result in a specific combination of numbers (e.g. 2-2; 3-5; 3-3; 4-4) and the horn bet is one made when the next roll is expected to be 2, 3, 11 or 12 made in multiples of 4.

Types of Craps Bets

Whenever a shooter wants to play, he’s required to place a wager on the Pass and/or Don’t Pass bet. These are the two main bets in craps, but there are many others that make the game even more exciting.

The Come bet is essentially the same as the Pass bet. Except for the fact that it can be made after a point has been made. In case the shooter rolls a 7 or 11, the bet wins.

If he rolls a 2, 3 or 12 after the Come bet is already made, the bet loses. On the other hand, the Don’t come bet wins if a shooter rolls a 2 or 3 after the point has been established, while a roll of 12 results in a tie (push). If the shooter rolls any other number that becomes his point number. he must roll a 7 in order for the bet to win.

The odds bets can be made after making a Pass, Don’t Pass, Come or Don’t Come bet – you “Take Odds” after winning a Pass or Don’t Pass Bet and “Lay Odds” after a Come or Don’t Come bet.

These bets are optional and not feature on the layout. They are placed by putting down your chips behind the original bet. The odds bets are taking or laying odds on whether the number 7 will be rolled first. And are usually limited to 2-3 times the original bet. These bets pay 2:1 for numbers 4 and 10; 3:2 for a roll of 2 or 9; and 6:5 for a roll of 6 or 8.

Besides the main and side bets, there are a whole lot of other different craps bets players can wager on. Proposition bets are quite popular, just like Place, Big 6, Big 8, and single roll bets.

Thanks to the high number of bets and the frantic pace of the game, craps is one of the most exciting games you can find in a casino. Before you play it in Vegas or online casino, however, we suggest practicing it and learning the rules before you lose all your money on a few rolls.

The History of Craps

Historians think that craps probably developed as a version of the popular European game Hazard, which was played in Europe as early as the Crusades. At the beginning of the XIX century, a young aristocrat and avid gambler Bernard de Marigny brought Hazard from Europe (London) to New Orleans. de Marigny also simplified the game by making 7 the main number, unlike previously, when numbers from 5 to 9 were considered main numbers. Seven was the optimal choice in Hazard and with this simplification of the game, de Marigny essentially invented craps.

The new game became a real hit with American gamblers of the lower classes. Deckhands carried the game to new territories, while field workers introduced it to their friends. de Marigny celebrated his new invention by naming a street in his New Orleans real estate development after the game.

The origins of the name of the game are still not clear. Some historians think it’s a New Orleans mispronunciation of the word crabs (an English epithet for the numbers 2 and 3, which are losing numbers on Pass in Hazard). Nearly a century after the invention of craps, it moved from the streets to casinos, where it was abused with the use of unfair dice. It was a major problem at the beginning of the XX century, so in order to level the field for players, a gambler named John H. Winn introduced a layout featuring all the bets players can wager on in craps, giving birth to the version we know and play today.

During The War

During World War II, soldiers played craps on a blanket in the streets as a way of passing time. This made it even more popular, especially after the war ended when craps became the most dominant game in Las Vegas casinos. Nowadays, craps is still popular in land-based casinos, but it’s also very popular in online casinos thanks to the dozens of variations which make the game even more exciting. Live craps is all the rage these days, allowing players to enjoy a game of casino craps right from the comfort of their own home.

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