Craps Lessons


How to Play Craps In a Nutshell. That is the basics of how to play craps. The shooter rolls dice to get a point. After they establish the point, they want to roll that point again before a 7. If they do, they win and start again. If not, the next person in line gets to shoot. That’s how you play craps. Craps is the most popular dice table game played in casinos One can also play craps online or play street craps. Of these craps games, casino craps, where the players bet against the casino (house) – is the most widely known.

Craps Strategy

Strategy for craps can be a little mind numbing when you first start to learn. We can guarantee you aren't going to remember everything from this strategy guide on the first read. It is always best for you to read the most important parts over to ascertain the simple aspects that you definitely need to know. While mathematics can be hard to grasp just remember once you learn it the strategy works for you.

In any game you want to wager on the better odds for you. This means you should stay with the pass, don't pass, come, and don't come bets. They have a smaller house edge and make winning a little better. You shouldn't play based on superstition in this game. In other words blowing on the dice is not a strategy.

Betting Options

Craps Lessons Las Vegas

The Pass bet typically has a probability of 1.41 percent on the house advantage. The Don't pass is about 1.40 percent. The line bets can also be a winner, but keep in mind the lower the house advantage the better chance you have of winning.

  1. The Field= 5.6%.
  2. Big 6 or 8= 9.1%.
  3. Horn= 12.5%.
  4. Craps 2 or 12= 13.9%
  5. Any 7= 16.7%.

As you can see in our above statements the any seven or craps bet has the highest percentage meaning the house is going to win more often than you ever would. While you get a great payout with the higher percentage you probably lose that or more just trying to win.

The Come or Don't Come bets are also a great thing to wager on as they are similar to the Pass bets. This means you have about the same house edge.

Improve Your Bets

Just because a bet is going to be the best think for advantage against the house, doesn't mean there aren't other things to consider. You should also look at the odds. The odds are either in the 'right' or 'wrong'. You can place the odds bets along with the Don't Come or Come bets. In other words it is like a cover bet in Roulette in which you are trying to earn at least a little something on a side bet. The odds are going to offer zero percent for the house edge. The odds bets allow you to bet on the dice not against the house.

You may not read about these odds bets. They are marked on the table, but if you don't know the game you might not realize what you are looking at. The casinos in Vegas are there to make a bit of money off of you. This means they won't teach you the game, unless you are a high roller, and even then it is to their advantage over yours.

Placing Odds Bet

To make the odds bet you need to place a second amount on the table after the come out roll. This is in addition to the don't pass or pass bet you have made. You need to place the money in the line area. You may also find that single odds are the only ones available in the land casinos.
With online casinos you have the ability to double the bet. It is double odds. In other words you get to make more from the online craps then in a regular casino. The edge on this bet is 1.4 percent.

Buying Odds

This means you are taking away the pass bet and placing a 'right bet' in its place. The point will determine your winnings. Check out the table below for more information to help you. The table is based on a Pass bet of five dollars.

Buying Double Odds ($10)



Pays (Win)

4 or 10


$30 ($20)

5 or 9


Gold bullion dealers. $25 ($15)

6 or 8


$22 ($12)

In this table you are seeing the odds, not the actual total of winnings. This is just to help you get an idea of what you could do if you decide to play the odds over some of your other options.

Laying Odds

For this option you are playing in place of the Don't Pass Bet. Again this is based on the five dollar wager.

Laying Double Odds ($10)



Pays (Win)

4 or 10


$15 ($5)

5 or 9


$16 ($6)

6 or 8


$18 ($8)

In other words the table is showing you that if a come out roll is 10 you will get 25 dollars for a wager of five dollars.


For Craps tables you can bet as little as a dollar. In some casinos that may change, and they don't always advertise that amount because they want the higher paying customers at the table. You can place odds on a dollar that will help you to win a pretty good amount. For example on 3 to 2 or 6 to 5 you can lose a small amount of the dollar rather than the whole amount. On a point of 5 or 9 you will lose 67 cents. This is not a great deal of loss, and is a nice little trick to getting a bet win. We are going to offer an example below.

You place a wrong bet of six dollars. You can double your odds to 12 dollars. In the table below you will see the payout and the win for this example. You will also only lose a small amount of your wager during this play.

Laying Double Odds ($12)



Pays (Win)

4 or 10


$18 ($6)

5 or 9


$20 ($8)

6 or 8


$22 ($10)

Test the Strategy

Players who have been in this game a long time are going to bet the odds. The purpose of this game is to actually win so you might want to consider what you can win at. The smaller the odds or house edge you are playing against the more you will be able to take home. You need to look at the tables above as well as the information to determine how you want to play the tables. You can take a small wager at first to test out the craps table. Most of the individuals playing craps will not play wrong or lay odds. They will buy odds and play right.

With online casinos you are going to find that Don't Pass bets and therefore the play wrong and lay odds options are going to be more useful in getting a lot more winnings. You can also double odds online which land casinos rarely allow.
The probability of a roll is also very important. In other words look at the different ways you can get a 4 or 10. Then look at how to get a 5 or 9 and 6 or 8. There are four ways to get the 5 or 9 and 6 or 8, three for the 4 or 10, and the seven has 6 ways. The point I am trying to make is the likelihood of you getting a specific roll can be seen in the probabilities of getting the number. The more chance you have of getting a certain number the more frequent that number may appear. You should then bet on that option over the other options. It is about chance in some respect so don't forget that as a factor, but if you follow some of the strategy we have talked about you should have some success overall in your playing.

Lesson One

The Basics of the Game
~Click on images to enlarge~

My purpose with these lessons is to provide the reader with simple explanations of how the game is played. The lessons will represent craps instruction for basic play. Once you have thoroughly studied the lessons, you should be able to go to a casino and comfortably play a game of dice. The lessons take you through the game, start to finish, play by play and bet by bet. One of my goals is to instill confidence by eliminating trepidation and intimidation. Knowledge is power. The most important goal for you is to be empowered with a knowledgeable approach to the game.

Craps Lessons Vegas

Craps Table Layout

When you stand at a craps table for the first time, you may feel overwhelmed by the excitement and seemingly quick pace of the game. You may experience confusion as other players call out bets and toss around chips to the dealers, who are expertly booking the bets. With all of this going on, the stickman is calling out orders like a carnival barker, demanding players to “place their bets!” Adding to your confusion could be the unfamiliar vocabulary. There is one thing you may understand; everyone but you seems to know what the hell is going on.

To the novice player, all of this commotion and excitement makes the game seem complicated if not downright scary! There is a solution for you. All you have to do is spend a little time reading through the lessons for How to Play Dice. Are you ready to get going? Good, let’s get started with the Lesson One.

Kind of vulgar, isn’t it?

First, what is a craps game? It is a series of events, involving two dice, with players making bets and having specific rules of play. Craps is also a zero sum game, “somebody is going to lose.”

Next, I’ll answer the question about the name. There are a few different explanations for how the game became known as craps. Here’s my short version. The roll 1/1 was called crabs as in crab’s eyes. “Crab’s eyes” changed to just crabs, over time. As the game expanded into other cultures, players who were hard of hearing or lacked a command of the English language, pronounced the 1/1 roll, craps. The rest is history, but this is a dice lesson, not a history lesson.

The dice lessons you are about to learn are a totally different and unique in approach to understanding how to play craps. There are around forty ways of losing your money in a craps game. Let’s call them bets. I will address the basics of preferred bets and bash the bets to avoid, by the end of these lessons. After all, you do want to be a winner, right?

Craps versus Dice

Dice or Craps, what’s the difference? There are really two parts to the game. Part one is called craps and part two is called dice. Each part will be explained so you will know the difference.

In the beginning, in the first part of the game, you are playing craps. You are playing “craps” only during a Come Out roll. “The dice are coming out”, is announced by the dealer, and tells the players that the “game” is about to begin. A Come Out roll designates the beginning of a new game.

On a Come Out roll the following numbers are “live”: 2, 3, 12, 7 and 11. Collectively, these numbers are known as “Naturals”. When any of these numbers roll on a Come Out you can win or lose money, depending upon your bet. The various plays and bets made during a Come Out roll will be covered individually in the lessons that follow.

When any of the other possible numbers roll during a Come Out, (4-5-6-8-9-10), the game shifts from craps mode to dice mode. Rolling (4-5-6-8-9-10) sets a point. The dice game is on with an established point number. The dealer will then mark the point by placing the puck on the box number with the ON side of the puck up. Once establishing a point that is (4-5-6-8-9-10) the follow numbers are no longer live, 2, 3, 11, and 12. Only the 7 is still live and can influence the outcome of the game.

Both Sides of the Puck

In craps mode, a seven on the Come Out is a winning roll for a Pass Line bet. However, in dice mode, the seven’s influence is a huge negative for most of the bets. In dice mode, a seven roll causes a dice game to end. The seven has the most possible combinations on a pair of dice. (six) This is how the casino maintains an advantage over the players’ bets. Since there are more ways to roll a 7 than for any of the box numbers, (4-5-6-8-9-10) theoretical probability predicts that a 7 will roll before the point. Thus, once in dice mode, the casino has a distinct advantage over bets made on (4-5-6-8-9-10). There are a few other bets that will also lose, but I’m keeping it to the basics here. More on other bets and high risk bets in later lessons.

It may seem silly to differentiate between craps and dice. In general the two terms are frequently used synonymous. I feel the need for the explanation, as the terms actually define different times during the game, and thus, slightly different rules. Now you know the meaning of craps and dice terms and when they actually apply in a game.

Okay, time out, let’s do a quick review.

There are two phases to the game, craps mode and dice mode. Together the two phases blend together to make up a craps game. A craps game begins with a Come Out roll, 2, 3, 12, 7, and 11 are Naturals, live numbers. Winning or losing can occur when any of these numbers roll on a Come Out. A point is established during a Come Out when (4-5-6-8-9-10) is rolled. Once a point of (4-5-6-8-9-10) is established, the 2, 3, 11, and 12 are neutral (unless you make a one roll bet on these numbers) and only a 7 still has influence in the game’s outcome. In dice mode, the 7 ends the game.

Next, in Lesson Two, you will meet the crew and follow the game in action.
Get ready, the dice are coming out!

Copyright © 2006-2015 Michael Vernon – Playing 4 Keeps®

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