Explaining the Craps Table For Beginners
It might look like just a roll of the dice — but learning how to play at the craps table can be one of the most intimidating things for beginners to deal with at the casino. Don’t sweat it, though. If you want to shoot dice with the best of them, we’ve got you covered with this full rundown of the craps table and what it all means. This guide will give you a better sense of the rules and how to execute basic strategies.
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Craps Table: Understanding the Basics
The first thing to learn in Craps 101 is that the game is based around simply betting on the outcome of the roll of two dice, but there are lots of ways the dice can fall. Each bet comes with specific odds, explaining why the craps table has so many different fields for betting.
The other thing you'll notice (at a physical casino) is the staff around the table. There's the boxman, who is essentially the game supervisor and cash handler. Standing opposite the boxman is the stickman, who pushes the dice, calls results and determines how fast a game plays out.
There can be as many as eight players at the craps table, and each player can bet on every roll. Each player gets a chance at rolling the dice (known as the shooter). A player’s first roll at the table is known as the come-out roll. This initial roll has three possible outcomes:
A come-out roll that lands a 7 or 11 is a winner and is known as a natural. Any bets that were placed on the “pass line” for this roll will win, and any on the “don’t pass line” will lose. Whenever a natural is rolled, you’ll get another chance at shooting the dice.
When players get a 2, 3 or 12 during a come-out roll, any bets placed on the pass line will lose. Bets on the don’t pass line will win, although the 12 or 2 may be a push depending on the casino’s rules for the craps table. The upside of shooting craps is that you’ll get another shot at rolling the dice.
When your initial roll is one of the “place numbers (4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10), the dealer marks it as a point on the table. You’ll then have to roll that number before a 7 for any pass bets to win and bets on the don’t pass line to lose, plus you’ll get to roll again. Rolling a 7 before the point will have the opposite effect.
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What Bets Can You Make in Craps?
From the simple pass line bet to those on place numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 to land, there are various ways to bet on each roll of the dice. Here’s a full breakdown of the different bets available at the craps table:
- Pass Line Bet | A bet on the pass line is a bet on the shooter’s roll to win. Bets on the pass line are the simplest to make — you’re betting on the dice to roll a 7 or 11 on the come-out roll or on the shooter to successfully hit an established point. If a craps number is rolled, your bet loses.
- Come Bets | If a point number is established on the come-out roll, a come bet can be placed. This is a bet on whether any of the point numbers will be rolled. However, if a seven is rolled once a point has been established, the come bet will lose.
- Place Bet | These bets are on a roll of 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10 before a 7 is rolled. All you have to do is pick one or more place numbers to bet on and get paid every time each number is rolled. There isn’t even a pass line bet necessary.
- Don’t Bets | These bets are the opposite of bets on the pass line and come line. Remember these are technically bets against the shooter. Although some think it is rude, many players build their entire craps strategy on making Don’t Bets. They aren’t contract bets though and can be taken back at any time.
- Proposition Bets | Between the stickman and boxman is the center of the table where Proposition Bets can be made. These bets are on a specific roll of the dice and can be placed for any player’s roll. This is where you can make “Hard Ways,” or bets on rolling a number with doubles: 4, 6, 8 and 10.
- Field Bets | The Field sections display a set of numbers, including 2, 3, 4, 10, 11 and 12. Be careful betting on the field. It might seem like you have a good shot since so many numbers come up but, statistically, numbers such as 5, 6, 7 and 8 are actually more likely to come up.
- Big Six and Big Eight Bets | This corner section is pretty self-explanatory. This is where you can make a place bet on the 6 or 8 coming up before a 7 is rolled. That’s all there is to it! These place numbers have a better chance of landing than any of the other place number.
Don’t get nervous about any of these because it’s easier than you think. Place your bets on the table, and let the shooter and stickman do the rest.
18 Craps Terms You’ll Hear at the Table
Although not actually part of the rules, the language of craps has a long history. If you want to fit in at the craps table, you’ll have to pick it up. You’ve probably heard the phrase “snake eyes” before, but there’s a lot more lingo than that used to talk about and play craps. Whether you’re at the casino or playing craps online, it helps to pick up the terminology used around the table to get a better understanding of the game.
- Boxman: Table supervisor who sits between the dealers and opposite the stickman.
- Box Numbers: These are the place bet numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10.
- Come-out roll: A shooter’s first roll of the dice in the game of craps.
- Crap Numbers: Rolls of 2, 3 and 12.
- Hard Way: A bet on 4, 6, 8 or 10 that wins only if the dice roll as pairs (2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5).
- Hi-Lo: A one-roll bet on 2 & 12.
- Hi-Lo-Yo: A one-roll bet on 2, 12 & 11.
- Inside Numbers: Place bets on the numbers 5-6 and 8-9.
- Marker: The plastic disc used to mark the point. One side is printed “on” and the other “off.”
- Mark the Point: When the dealer puts a Marker on the layout to indicate the point number.
- Off and On: Refers to the way that dealers pay off come bets when a new come bet is the same number as one already established.
- Outside Numbers: Place bets on the 4-10 or 5-9.
- Point: The number established by the come-out roll.
- Right Bettor: Players betting on the pass line.
- Shooter: The player that’s rolling the dice.
- Snake Eyes: Slang for a 2. Each die rolled shows a single dot. Also called aces.
- Stickman: The member of the staff handling the stick that runs the game, pushing the dice to shooters, deciding the rolls and which player, if any, gets paid.
- Wrong Bettor: Player betting against the shooter.
Now that you know the basics of how to play craps and are more comfortable playing for real money, enter your state below to find the top online craps casinos in your state and give those dice a roll. Remember to bookmark this guide for reference and to check over the rules (as well as any house rules your online or local casino might have.
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