Brought to New Orleans by politician/gambler Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville, the concept of Craps is pretty straight forward.

In this dice game, the person playing, know as the “shooter”, is wagering against the house on the outcome of a roll, or series of rolls, of the dice.

While there is only one shooter in a game at one time, others can join in the game by placing bets on the outcome of a shooters roll, or series of roles as well. A Craps table can seem a little busy, but the rules of the game are fairly simple.

Let’s take a quick look at the basic concept of Craps.

Basic Concept

On what is known as the Come-Out roll, if a shooter rolls a 7 or an 11, all bets played on the Pass Line win, and the series is over. Bets placed on the Don’t Pass line lose.

If a shooter rolls a 2, 3, or 12, all Pass Line bets lose, and the series is over. Bets placed on Don’t Pass line win.

If a shooter rolls a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or a 10, this becomes what is known as the shooters “point”, and the series continues.

Now that the series is continuing, the objective is for the shooter to continue rolling until he/she rolls their point number, before rolling a 7. If the shooter rolls their point number first, all bets on Pass Line win. Don’t Pass line bets lose.
If a shooter rolls a 7 before rolling their point number, all Pass Line Bets lose. All Don’t Pass Line bets win.

Pretty simple right? Craps is one of the most popular games on a casino floor. If a shooter is doing well, you will more than likely see a crowd of players placing bets on the continued success of that player. This can make for a high energy, camaraderie type atmosphere. With the object of the game being relatively easy to learn, let’s take a look at a few other aspects of the game.

The Table

Four casino employees work the Craps table, the first being the Boxman. The Boxman manages the chips and supervises the dealers.

The second is the Stickman. The Stickman stands directly across the table from the Boxman and take bets and pays bets in the center of the table, positions the dice across the table with an elongated wooden stick, and calls out the results of each roll.

The last two are called Base Dealers. Standing to either side of the Boxman, they collect and pay bets to players on their side of the table

Shooter Rotation

The shooting rotation at a Craps table goes clockwise. Once a player’s series ends by rolling a 7 before their point number, the dice move to the next player. A player can choose not to roll and pass his turn to the next player.

A player must have a Pass Line bet on the table before they can roll.

A player will be given a choice of 5 dice. Once a player chooses two dice to roll with, the other dice will be removed.

Always use one hand when handling the dice. A player will be made to choose new dice if a player handles the dice with two hands, for fear of player switching dice.

Players must also roll the dice so that they bounce off of the far wall. This is to prevent “controlled” rolling.

The Odds Bet

The Pass Line bet is by far the easiest and best way to enter a game, but if you are feeling especially lucky, you can choose to place a number of odds bets. The odds bet usually pays out like this:
Point Number Pay Out
4 or 10 2 to 1
5 or 9 3 to 2
6 or 8 6 to 5

Double odds are sometimes offered where you can make a bet twice the size of your Pass Line bet.

Since Craps is a basic game of chance, the advantage to the house is very small compared to other casino games. The reality is that the major factors in Craps is how much you bet, the type of bet you make, and how long you play. Here are some Craps payout odds.

Payout Odds

Bet Payout Odds
Pass Line 1 to 1
Don’t Pass Line 1 to 1
Come/Don’t Come Bet 1 to 1
Pass Line/Point 4 or 10 with Odds 2 to 1
Pass Line/Point 5 or 9 with Odds 3 to 2
Pass Line/Point 6 or 8 with Odds 6 to 5
Field- 3, 4, 8, and 11 1 to 1
Field- 2 or 12 2 to 1
Any 7 4 to 1
Any Craps- 2, 3, or 12 7 to 1
Any 2 or 12 30 to 1
Any 3 or 11 15 to 1
Don’t Pass Line/Point 4 or 10 Lay 2/Win 1
Don’t Pass Line/Point 5 or 9 Lay 3/Win 2
Don’t Pass Line/Point 6 or 8 Lay 6/Win 5
Big 6/Big 8 1 to 1
Hardways 6 or 8 9 to 1
Hardways 4 or 10 7 to 1
Place 4 or 10 9 to 5
Place 5 or 9 7 to 5
Place 6 or 8 7 to 6

Now that you have the basics of this simple but fun game, don’t be intimidated by how busy and intense a Craps table can seem to be. When in doubt, play you Pass Line Bet and see how “Hot” your hand can get.