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Craps

Introduction

Craps is one of the best established and most widely available table games. Alongside Blackjack, Baccarat and Roulette it would be fairly unusual to encounter any casino of reasonable size offline that does not offer Craps.

Craps is played with two standard 6 sided dice. Due to the loud nature of the game, Craps is considered to be one of the most atmospheric of the casino games and will often result in a familial sense of comradery amongst the players on the table. This also makes it an intimidating game for the new player. With a large number of different betting options and the seemingly fast pace of play it’s advisable to familiarise yourself with the basics of the game before approaching a table.

Craps seems to be less successful in the online casino game environment than it has been offline with at least one major software provider – Net Entertainment – not offering any variant of this game presently (Craps was previously supported by Net Entertainment but has been removed from their game selection for unknown reasons). It seems fair to assume that the community atmosphere that occurs offline is not easily replicated online and as such much of the draw of the game is lost in the transition to the online environment.

Offline Craps is played on a long rectangular table with rounded corners. The dealer stands along one of the long sides of the table with the chip racks in front of them, there are two betting layouts, one at either end, and the players stand round the rest of the table. The sides of the table a built up to ensure that the dice do not bounce out when the players roll. The long side opposite the dealer usually has a mirror built into it to allow the casino staff to have a clear view of all areas of the table at any given time. Round the shorter sides of the table the walls are normally padded with foam square based pyramids. Players are generally required to hit these ‘back walls’ whenever they roll, the pyramids being intended to prevent Dice Control which will be discussed later.

The offline game is labour intensive on the casino side, requiring four members of staff to observe the game during busy periods. The table supervisor or “Boxman” will generally be seated behind the chip rack observing the activities of the other three dealers and managing player requests to colour up (the process of exchanging large number of smaller denomination chips for smaller number of denomination chips, generally occurring just before a player leaves the table to maintain the tables ‘bank’ of small denomination chips). The “Base Dealers” stand to either side of the Boxman, each deals with paying players and collecting lost best on the layout at their end of the table. Finally the “Stickman” stands directly opposite the Boxman and deals with paying and collecting bets in the centre of the table alongside calling the results or each roll and delivering the dice to players using a long stick. When the casino is quiet or in smaller casinos often only half of the Craps table will be open allowing the casino to reduce the required personnel to staff the table.

Game Structure

The player’s around the table take turns to rolls dice. The player rolling on any given round is called the ‘Shooter’. Before the roll players are allowed to place a variety of bets, but the Shooter must have placed a bet either on the Pass Line or Don’t Pass Line. Some casino will require that all players looking to wager on the table make a minimum Pass Line or Don’t Pass Line bet. Offline the Shooter will be presented with a selection of dice, usually five, of which the player selects two to play with. The other dice are held to the side and not used for the round. The first roll of a Shooter is called the ‘Coming Out’ roll.

Different Bets

Multi-Roll Bets

Pass Line – The Pass Line bet is a wager that the Shooter will win by rolling a 7 or an 11. If they do all bets on the Pass Line are paid at 1 to 1. If the Shooter rolls a 2, 3 or 12 – called “Crapping Out” – all bets on the Pass Line lose. Any other number (4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10) establishes a “Point”.

Pass Odds – When a Pass Line bet results in a Point being established, the wager is then dependent on subsequent rolls by the Shooter. The Shooter will continue to roll the dice until they either roll a 7 or the total that established the Point is rolled again. If a 7 is rolled first any wagers on the Pass Line bet lose. If the Point is rolled before a 7 all Pass Line wagers win and are paid at 1 to 1. So if the first roll was a 9 which establishes a Point players wagering on the Pass Line are hoping for a second roll of 9 before a 7 comes out.

Where a Point is established, before the Shooter makes any additional rolls the players who have placed a Pass Line wager at the table are offered the option to place increased wagers on the Point being made. This bet is called the Pass Odds wager. The wagers that the players can make on the Point offline vary from casino to casino but generally are between 1 and 5 times the wager the player bet on the Pass Line bet, often using a 3-4-5x progression which allows the player to wager 3x their Pass Line bets on a Point of 4 or 10, 4x their Pass Line bet on a Point of 5 or 9 and 5x their Pass Line bet on a Point of 6 or 8. There have been occurrences of offline casinos offering promotions which allow 10 or 100x Pass Line bets to be placed on Pass Odds.

Online the Pass Odds wager is dependent on the software provider but the majority of major softwares use a maximum bet of 3x the Pass Line Bet.

SoftwareMultiple of Pass Line Bet allow on Odds
Amaya2x
Betsoft3x
Dragonfish6-4.5-3.6x
MicroGaming1x
Playtech3x
RealTime Gaming3x
Rival3-4-5x
WagerWorks3x

Alongside the increased possible wager the odds that are paid for the Pass Odds bet vary depending on the Point total. A winning Pass Odds bet on a Point total of 6 or 8 pays 6 to 5, 5 or 9 pays 3 to 2 and 4 or 10 pays at 2 to 1.

The House Edge on the Pass Odds wager is actually 0% but as the player has to have placed a Pass Line bet which does carry a House Edge before they would be allowed to place this wager, there is still a House Edge over the total bet. The House Edge of the combination of Pass Line and Pass Odds bets will be discussed below.

House Edge for the Pass Line and Pass Odds wagers*

Below you’ll find a table displaying the House edge for the Pass Line and Pass Odds wagers varying by what multiple of the Pass Line Bet you’re allowed to place on Pass Odds. The Pass Line House Edge is constant while the Pass Odds decreases as the allowed bet increases.

Allowed Odds BetHouse Edge Pass Line OnlyHouse Edge Combined with Odds
1x1.41%0.85%
2x1.41%0.61%
3x1.41%0.47%
3-4-5x1.41%0.37%
6-4.5-3.6x1.41%0.35%
10x1.41%0.18%
100x1.41%0.02%

Don’t Pass Line – The Don’t Pass Line bet is a bet that the Shooter will lose. When this bet is placed a roll of 2 or 3 wins and is paid at 1 to 1, a roll of 7 or 11 loses, a roll of 12 is considered a Push and the player’s bet is returned and any other number (4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10) a Point is established.

It should be noted when playing offline that choosing to place the Don’t Pass wager can upset other players at the table, most specifically the Shooter, as the Don’t Pass wager is seen as directly betting against the Shooter.

Don’t Pass Line Point – Like the Pass Line Point, when the Don’t Pass Line bet results in a Point being established the wager is then dependent on subsequent rolls by the Shooter. The Shooter will continue to roll the dice until they either roll a 7 or the total that established the Point is rolled again. If a 7 is rolled first the Don’t Pass Line bet win and all wagers on the Don’t Pass Line are paid at 1 to 1. So if the first roll was a 4 which establishes a Point players wagering on the Don’t Pass Line are hoping for a 7 to come out before the Shooter rolls a second 4.

Again like the Pass Line Point, before the Shooter makes any additional rolls the players who have placed a Don’t Pass Line wager at the table are offered the option to place increased wagers on the Point being made. This bet is called the Don’t Pass Odds wager. The wagers that the players can make on the Point offline vary from casino to casino but generally are between 1 and 5 times the wager the player bet on the Don’t Pass Line bet, often using a 3-4-5x progression which allows the player to wager 3x their Don’t Pass Line bets on a Point of 4 or 10, 4x their Don’t Pass Line bet on a Point of 5 or 9 and 5x their Don’t Pass Line bet on a Point of 6 or 8.

Online the Don’t Pass Odds wager is dependent on the software provider but the majority of major softwares use a maximum bet of 3x the Don’t Pass Line Bet.

SoftwareMultiple of Don’t Pass Line Bet allow on Odds
Amaya2x
Betsoft3x
DGS2x
Dragonfish6-4.5-3.6x
MicroGaming1x
Playtech3x
RealTime Gaming3x
Rival3-4-5x
WagerWorks3x

 

Alongside the increased possible wager the odds that are paid for the Don’t Pass Odds bet vary depending on the Point total. A winning Pass Odds bet on a Point total of 6 or 8 pays 5 to 6, 5 or 9 pays 2 to 3 and 4 or 10 pays at 1 to 2.

The House Edge on the Don’t Pass Odds wager is actually 0% but as the player has to have placed a Don’t Pass Line bet which does carry a House Edge before they would be allowed to place this wager, there is still a House Edge over the total bet. The House Edge of the combination of Don’t Pass Line and Don’t Pass Odds bets will be discussed below.

House Edge for the Don’t Pass Line and Don’t Pass Odds wagers*

Below you’ll find a tables displaying the House edge for the Don’t Pass Line and Don’t Pass Odds wagers varying by what multiple of the Don’t Pass Line Bet you’re allowed to place on Don’t Pass Odds. With the Don’t Pass Odd bet there is a variation in how the bet is managed between the offline games and some online providers.  For the certain online games – shown in the first table – the multiplier specifies the maximum bet on the Don’t Pass Odds bet as a multiple of the Don’t Pass bet. For the offline game and other online providers – shown in the second table – the multiplier is the maximum number of times the Don’t Pass line bet the player is allowed to win. So for instance if the multiplier was 1x, the maximum allowed bet on the Don’t Pass Odds bet for a Point of 4 would be twice the Don’t Pass Line bet (a point of 4 pays at 1 to 2, so a bet twice the size of the Don’t Pass Line bet would return the same amount as the Don’t Pass Line Bet).

For both variations the Don’t Pass Line House Edge is constant while the Don’t Pass Odds decreases as the allowed bet increases.

Allowed Odds BetHouse Edge Don’t Pass Line OnlyHouse Edge Combined with Odds
1x1.36%0.82%
2x1.36%0.58%
3x1.36%0.45%
3-4-5x1.36%0.36%
6-4.5-3.6x1.36%0.34%
10x1.36%0.18%
100x1.36%0.02%
Allowed Odds BetHouse Edge Don't Pass Line OnlyHouse Edge Combined with Odds
1x1.36%0.68%
2x1.36%0.45%
3x1.36%0.34%
3-4-5x1.36%0.27%
10x1.36%0.12%
100x1.36%0.01%

 

*I’d like to thank gambling author and professional player James Grosjean for his assistance in clarifying the above two rules. You can follow his blog at – http://beyondnumbers.lvablog.com/.

* We do NOT recommend playing with any SkillOnNet casinos due to software fairness issues that were previously detected on their Video Poker games. The House Edge figures are only accurate if the game operates fairly.

* We do NOT recommend playing with any Boss Media casinos due to software fairness issues that were previously detected on their Video Poker games. The House Edge figures are only accurate if the game operates fairly.

 

House Edge for Pass and Don’t Pass Odds bets

Come Bet – The Come Bet is very similar in nature to the Pass Line bet. The fundamental difference between the Come Bet and the Pass Line bet is that the Come Bet is placed on rolls after the Coming Out roll allowing other players to start a betting sequence after the initial roll. A Come Bet placed on the Coming out roll would be exactly the same as the Pass Line Bet. The Come Bet also allows Come Odds in a similar manner to the Pass Odds.~

Don’t Come Bet – The Don’t Come Bet is very similar in nature to the Don’t Pass Line bet. The fundamental difference between the Don’t Come Bet and the Don’t Pass Line bet is that the Don’t Come Bet is placed on rolls after the Coming Out roll allowing other players to start a betting sequence after the initial roll. A Don’t Come Bet placed on the Coming out roll would be exactly the same as the Don’t Pass Line Bet. The Don’t Come Bet also allows Don’t Come Odds in a similar manner to the Don’t Pass Odds.

In terms of House Edge the Come and Don’t Come bets are identical to the Pass Line and Don’t Pass Line bets. Likewise the Odds bets are identical.

Place Bet

Place bets are similar in nature to the Odds bets for Pass and Don’t Pass in that they can be placed on any Point number. The fundamental difference is that you do not need to have placed a Pass Line or Don’t Pass Line bet to place a Place bet. Like the Odds bets, the Place bets pay if the Point number is rolled before a 7 and lose if a 7 comes out first.

As the Odds bets do not carry any House Edge, the House Edge for these bets being derived from the Pass Line/Don’t Pass Line bets, the payouts for the Place bets are correspondingly lower to ensure the bets remain profitable for the casino. The Place bet payouts and the corresponding House Edge values are shown below;

Place BetPayoutHouse Edge
49 to 56.67%
57 to 54.00%
67 to 61.52%
87 to 61.52%
97 to 54.00%
109 to 56.67%

Place Lose Bets

The Place Lose bet is to the Place bet what the Don’t Pass Line is to the Pass Line. That makes it sound more complicated than it is. The Place Lose bet can be played on the Point numbers and is a bet that a 7 will be rolled before the Point number.

As with the Place bet, the casino retains an advantage by reducing the odds that offered from those offered on the Don’t Pass Odds bets. The Place Lose bet payouts and the corresponding House Edge values are shown below;

Place Lose BetPayoutHouse Edge
45 to 113.0303%
55 to 82.5000%
64 to 51.8182%
84 to 51.8182%
95 to 82.5000%
105 to 113.0303%

Some casinos will offer weaker payouts than those listed above so ensure you check the payouts before you place a bet. The most notable difference is at Microgaming casinos which use the following paytable;

Place Lose BetPayoutHouse Edge
42 to 56.6667%
54 to 75.7143%
64 to 51.8182%
84 to 51.8182%
94 to 75.7143%
102 to 56.6667%


As you can see from the above table, the Pay Lose bet is a substantially more costly wager on 4, 5, 9 and 10 than when playing against the standard paytable.

Buy Bet

The Buy bet, like the Place bet can be taken on any Point number. Like the Place bet the bet wins if the Point number comes out before a 7. The difference between the Buy and the Place bets is that the Buy bet pays at true odds, i.e. has not House Edge. However bets placed on the Buy bet are subject to a 5% commission. This commission can be charged either on all bets or only on winning bets. Online the following groups charge commission on wins only; Playtech, Amaya, Realtime Gaming and Betsoft. The following groups charge commission on all bets; Rival, WagerWorks. Microgaing do not appear to offer the Buy bet.

Buy BetPayoutCommission on all bets (5%)Commission on winning bets (5%)
42 to 14.7619%1.6667%
53 to 24.7619%2.0000%
66 to 54.7619%2.2727%
86 to 54.7619%2.2727%
93 to 24.7619%2.0000%
102 to 14.7619%1.6667%

While we haven’t seen it, some sites suggest that some casinos will charge commission at the reduced rate of 4%. We provide the below just in case you do find this;

Buy BetPayoutCommission on all bets (4%)Commission on winning bets (4%)
42 to 13.8462%1.3333%
53 to 23.8462%1.6000%
66 to 53.8462%1.8182%
86 to 53.8462%1.8182%
93 to 23.8462%1.6000%
102 to 13.8462%1.3333%

Lay Bet

Like the Buy bet, the Lay bet can be taken on any Point number and is a wager that 7 will come out before the Point. Again the odds on this bet are fair and as such the casino has no House Edge. The value to the casino comes from the 5% commission they charge. This commission can be charged either on every wager or only on winning wagers but is based on the potential win amount rather than the bet amount. The table below shows the House Edge for both variants;

Lay BetPayoutCommission on all bets (5%)Commission on winning bets (5%)
41 to 22.4390%1.6667%
52 to 33.2258%2.0000%
65 to 64.0000%2.2727%
85 to 64.0000%2.2727%
92 to 33.2258%2.0000%
101 to 22.4390%1.6667%

While we haven’t seen it, some sites suggest that some casinos will charge commission at the reduced rate of 4%. We provide the below just in case you do find this;

Lay BetPayoutCommission on all bets (4%)Commission on winning bets (4%)
41 to 21.9608%1.3333%
52 to 32.5974%1.6000%
65 to 63.2258%1.8182%
85 to 63.2258%1.8182%
92 to 32.5974%1.6000%
101 to 21.9608%1.3333%

Hard Ways

The Hard Ways bet refers to rolling a number the ‘hard way’, i.e. both dice showing the same number. So rolling a 4-4 would be considered a hard 8 whereas 2-6, 6-2, 5-3 and 3-5 would all be considered easy 8’s. 1-1 and 6-6 are not offered as Hard Way bets as there is not easy way to roll these totals.

The Hard Ways bets are a wager that the hard total of a number will come out before a 7 or any of the easy totals for the number. The odds offered on the various Hard Ways bets and the House Edge for these bets are shown below;

Hard Way BetPayoutHouse Edge
2-27 to 111.1111%
3-39 to 19.0909%
4-49 to 19.0909%
5-57 to 111.1111%

Big 6/Big 8

The Big 6/Big8 bets are a wager that a 6 or an 8 will come out before a 7. This is exactly the same as a Place bet on 6 or 8. The difference with the Big6/Big8 bets are the reduced payouts of 1 to 1 rather than 7 to 6. The house edge of these bets is shown below;

 PayoutHouse Edge
Big 61 to 19.0909%
Big 81 to 19.0909%

Comparing the above to the 1.5152% House Edge on the 6 or 8 Place bet it’s very hard to see why any player would consider making these bets, costing themselves nearly 6x the price of the Place bet.

Single Roll Bets

Unlike the bets discussed already the results of the following bets are decide in a single roll and will never carry over on to subsequent rolls.

Field Bets

Likely deriving its name from horse racing where ‘to play the field’ was to bet on lots of different horses, Field bets are a wager that a 2, 3 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12 will come out on the next roll. A single wager is placed across all of these numbers with different number resulting in different payouts. As a standard offline a 2 will payout at 2 to 1, 3, 4, 9, 10 and 11 will payout at 1 to 1 and 12 will payout at 3 to 1. Online it’s more common for 12 to be paid out at 2:1

Rival, RealTime GamingPayout
22 to 1
3, 4, 9, 10, 111 to 1
123 to 1
House Edge2.78%
WagerWorks, Playtech, Microgaming, Betsoft, AmayaPayout
2,122 to 1
3, 4, 9, 10, 111 to 1
House Edge5.56%

 

Proposition Bets

[Note – Playtech and Microgaming often list the payouts for these best as ‘for 1’ rather than ‘to 1’ which makes the payout appear 1 unit better than it actually is.]

Snake Eyes

The Snake Eyes bet, as you can probably guess, is a bet that the next roll will be 1, 1. Generally offline this bet will pay between 29 to 1 and 33 to 1, however online we’ve only encountered casinos offering this bet at 30 to one.

PayoutHouse Edge
29 to 116.6667%
30 to 113.8889%
31 to 111.1111%
32 to 18.3333%
33 to 15.5556%

Ace Deuce

The Ace Deuce bet is a bet that the next roll will be 1, 2 or 2, 1. Offline the payouts for this bet can vary more, but online this bet is paid at 15 to 1 everywhere we’ve seen.

PayoutHouse Edge
14 to 116.6667%
15 to 111.1111%
16 to 15.5556%

Yo

The Yo bet is a bet that the next roll will be any 11 (5-6, 6-5). Offline the payouts for this bet vary more but online this bet is paid at 15 to 1 everywhere we’ve seen.

PayoutHouse Edge
14 to 116.6667%
15 to 111.1111%
16 to 15.5556%

Boxcars

Sometimes called ‘Midnight’ this is a bet that the next roll will be 6,6. Generally offline this bet will pay between 29 to 1 and 33 to 1, however online we’ve only encountered casinos offering this bet at 30 to one.

PayoutHouse Edge
29 to 116.6667%
30 to 113.8889%
31 to 111.11115
32 to 18.3333%
33 to 15.5556%


Craps

This is a bet that the next roll will be Craps, a 2, 3 or 12 (1-1, 1-2, 2-1, 6-6). We’ve only ever seen this bet pay 7 to 1.

PayoutHouse Edge
7 to 111.1111%

Any 7

As the name suggests, this is a bet that the next roll will total 7 (1-6, 6-1, 2-5, 5-2, 3-4, 4-3). We’ve only ever seen this bet pay 4 to 1.

PayoutHouse Edge
4 to 116.6667%

The Horn

The Horn bet is more commonly offered offline. When played offline the player places a 1 unit wager on 2, 3, 11 and 12. Online we’re only aware of this bet being offered at Betsoft, Amaya and Wagerworks casinos and can be played as a 1 click bet on the ‘Horn’ section of the layout (at other casino softwares the player could still make the 4 bets individually, it’s just not available elsewhere as a specific bet on the layout). The payouts for this bet are shown below;

Amaya, BetsoftPayout
2, 1230 to 1
3, 1115 to 1
House Edge12.5000%

The above is based on a 4 unit wager across the 4 numbers.

WagerWorksPayout
2, 1227 to 4
3, 113 to 1
House Edge12.5000%


The above is based on a 1 unit wager placed on the ‘Horn’ section of the layout.

As should be evident, despite the variation in the way the odds are expressed both variants result in the same House Edge is 12.5%.

Optimal Strategy and House Edge

In the strictest senses there really isn’t an Optimum Strategy for the game of Craps and minimising House Edge is more to do with the bets you choose to place than any decisions made during the course of the game.

Below you can see a summary of the House Edge for each of the bets we’ve discussed above;

BetHouse Edge
Pass Line1.4141%
Pass Full Point Odds x1000.0209%
Pass Full Point Odds x100.1845%
Pass Full Point Odds x6-4.5-3.60.3535%
Pass Full Point Odds x3-4-50.3743%
Pass Full Point Odds x30.4714%
Pass Full Point Odds x20.6061%
Pass Full Point Odds x10.8485%
Don't Pass Line1.3636%
Don't Pass Full Point Odds x1000.0202%
Don't Pass Full Point Odds x100.1779%
Don't Pass Full Point Odds x6-4.5-3.60.3409%
Don't Pass Full Point Odds x3-4-50.3610%
Don't Pass Full Point Odds x30.4545%
Don't Pass Full Point Odds x20.5844%
Don't Pass Full Point Odds x10.8182%
Place 4/106.6667%
Place 5/94.0000%
Place 6/81.5152%
Place Lose 4/103.0303-6.6667%
Place Lose 5/92.5000-5.7143%
Place Lose 6/81.8182%
Buy 4/101.3333-4.7619%
Buy 5/91.6000-4.7619%
Buy 6/81.8182-4.7619%
Lay 4/101.3333-2.4390%
Lay 5/91.6000-3.2258%
Lay 6/81.8182-4.0000%
Hard Way 2-2/5-511.1111%
Hard Way 3-3/4-49.0909%
Big 6/89.0909%
Field2.78-5.56%
Snake Eyes/Boxcars/Ace Deuce/Yo5.5556-16.6667%
Craps11.1111%
Any 716.6667%
The Horn12.5000%


As highlighted in the table above the best bet available when playing Craps is the Don’t Pass Line bet when the player follows up and takes the full available Don’t Pass Odds bet whenever a point is made. Online this is unquestionably the best choice for the player looking to play through the wagering requirement of a bonus, creating the lowest House Edge when considering the full wager.

Offline, players that wager on the Don’t Pass Line bet are usually betting against the majority of the table. If you’re primary objective is to minimise the amount you lose then you should follow this strategy, however it should be acknowledged that the resulting social ill-will that setting yourself against the rest of the players at the table is likely to cause may outweigh the benefits of the reduced House Edge. 

The Pass Line bet when taking full Pass Odds only carries a marginally higher House Edge. Given the social pressures that are likely to be exerted, for most players the Pass Line likely makes a better option. It should also be noted that the larger the allowed bet on the Odds bets the lower the difference between Pass and Don’t Pass.

Aside from the Pass/Don’t Pass decision, players should avoid all other bets offered when playing Craps. As the table above shows, the vast majority of them are far more expensive to play.

Note about the Odds Bet

It should be noted that the Odds bets do not actually affect the cost to the player after the line bet has already been taken. The only affect that the Odds bets have – given their zero House Edge – is to increase the variance the player will experience and dilute the cost of the of the round over a larger volume of bets.

Whether you take the Odds or not should be determined by what your objective is. If you have a predetermined amount you are looking to wager then placing the Odds bets will help you reach that amount with the minimum average House Edge (cost). If however you’re just looking to spend a night at the table and only intend to place the Pass/Don’t Pass bets, the Odds bets will not make a mathematical difference to the amount your evening costs you.

Fairness Calculator

Below you can find a calculator to allow you to check the fairness of your wins/losses when playing Craps:

Etiquette of the Game

The following are some basic rules to observe when playing Craps in an offline casino.

  • When acting as the Shooter the player must roll the dice one handed and should not take the dice past the edge of the table. This particular stipulation is to prevent rigged dice being switched into the game.
  • The Shooter must always have a wager on the Pass or Don’t Pass Line.
  • When throwing the dice the Shooter should ensure they hit the foam pyramids on the back wall of the other side of the table. These pyramids are intended to randomize the fall of the dice and ensure that the Shooter isn’t setting the dice to create non-random results.
  • Once the dice have left the centre of the table (been given to the Shooter), its considered bad form to continue placing wagers. Some casino will not count late wagers.
  • As with all table games, dealers are not allowed to hand anything or accept anything directly to or from a player. Money, chips and dice need to be placed by one party on the felt and picked up by the other part from the felt to allow the casino cameras to ensure nothing was surreptitiously passed.
  • The Proposition bets – found in the centre of the layout – are controlled exclusively by the Stickman. Players wishing to place these bets should lay the chips within reach of the Stickman and direct the Stickman as to which bets to place.
  • While the Shooter can choose to pass the dice on to the next player (usually to the Shooter’s left) normally the Shooter will continue to roll the dice until they roll a 7, called ‘Sevening Out’.
  • If a die lands leaning against any object on the table, or the table wall, the number that would be face up if the object was not there is considered to be the result.
  • If either or both of the dice leave the table (land outside of the table limits) the roll is considered invalid and the wandering die/dice will be examined by the Boxman prior to being allowed to be used by players again. Typically the Boxman will ask the Shooter to select dice for the next throw from the three additional dice held at the side of the table.
  • It is considered bad luck to say the word ‘Seven’ after the Come Out roll by a Shooter. If you absolutely must make reference to this number a commonly used alternative is ‘Big Red’.
  • When the Shooter is about to roll, all players are expected to keep their hands out of the table. The Stickman will usually call ‘hands high’ to alert players to lift their hands.

Common Phraseology

Below are some common phrases used around the Craps table;

Ace Deuce – Throwing a 3 (1-2 or 2-1)

Base Dealer – The dealer at either end of the table who manages the bets on their respective layouts.

Boxcars or Midnight – Throwing 12 (6-6)

Boxman – Main dealer who supervises the game

Coming Out
– The first roll of a Shooter

Crapping Out – Throwing a 2, 3 or 12 on the Coming Out roll

Easy Eight – Throwing any 8 not comprised of 4-4 (2-6, 3-5, 5-3, 6-2)

Easy Four
– Throwing a 4 not comprised of 2-2 (1-3 or 3-1)

Easy Six – Throwing a 6 not comprised of 3-3 (1-5, 2-4, 4-2 or 5-1)

Easy Ten
– Throwing any 10 not comprised of 5-5

Fever Five
– Throwing any 5 (1-4, 2-3, 3-2 or 4-1)

Hard Eight
– Throwing an 8 comprised of 4-4

Hard Four – Throwing a 4 comprised of 2-2

Hard Six
– Throwing a 6 comprised of 3-3

Hard Ten
– Throwing a 10 comprised of 5-5

Hard Way – A throw other than 2 or 12 where both dice show the same value

Natural
or Seven Out – Throwing any 7 (1-6, 2-5, 3-4, 4-3, 5-2 or 6-1)

Nina – Throwing any 9 (3-6, 4-5, 5-4, 6-3)

Shooter – Player throwing the dice

Snake Eyes – Throwing a 2 (1-1)

Stickman – Dealer in the centre of the table opposite the Boxman who manages the Proposition bets and delivering the dice to the Shooter.

Yo – Throwing an 11 (5-6 or 6-5)

 

History

Craps appears to be a derivative of the game Hazard that was common in England in the 17th and 18th century but has been recorded in literature as being played as early as the 14th century.

Hazard into a simplified dice game that was commonly played on street corners against walls where players bet against each other on the results of each roll. Originally this game was referred to as ‘Crapaud’, a French word that came to mean ‘Toad’ in English. This name was taken from the high kneed crouching of the participants when they were engaged in a game. These dice games became popular during the Second World War with soldiers playing on blankets and are normally referred to as ‘Street Craps’.

The modern casino banked Craps games were introduced to the US in New Orleans in the year 1813 by Bernard de Mandeville and US politician. While the casino game has always maintained a healthy following within the US, Craps has failed to gain a substantial foothold in other geographical markets.

 

Winning Strategies for Craps


Offline

The most notable and widely discussed method of gaining an advantage over the offline game of Craps is Dice Control. This strategy involves a practiced Shooter throwing the dice in such a way that they increase the probability of certain totals showing.

Dice Control does not have to result in specific totals coming up, in fact that would be detrimental to the process in the long term as any casino would quickly take action against a Shooter who won on every roll they made. Instead the Shooter just looks to influence the dice enough to make certain totals more of less likely, giving them an advantage over certain bets. The Dice Control player does this by setting the dice in specific positions and practicing throwing the dice in a controlled and consistent manner that can be more easily predicted.

The most likely bets to pursue with this strategy would be the Pass Line and Pass Odds bets. While the Don’t Pass Line has a lower starting House Edge, meaning less control would be required to overcome the House Edge, the negative attention that Don’t Pass bets attract from the other players on the table is likely to be undesirable.

Playing the Pass Line the Dice Control player would try to increase the occurrence of 7’s and 11’s. Assuming the two numbers are distinct – meaning that settings for an increased number of 7’s would not increase the number of 11’s and vice versa – the Shooter would attempt to roll 7’s due to the increased number of 7’s that will occur naturally. The Dice Control player could then look to increase the number of 7’s rolled on the Come Out roll and decrease the number of 7’s that occur if playing for a Point.

With fair dice a 7 will occur naturally one in every six rolls (there are six possible totals of 7 out of thirty six possible totals).

If the Shooter was to bet only on the Pass Line, taking no Odds bets, and managed to increase the occurrence of 7’s from 6/36 to 7/36 and assuming that they only exerted this skill on the Come Out throw and not subsequent Odds throws (where additional 7’s would hurt the player) the player would decrease the House Edge from 1.4141% to -1.3687%x

While the above shows the level of control required to gain an edge with Dice Control, establishing Dice Control as a workable technique is far more difficult. The following issues represent substantial hurdles to employing this technique successfully;

 

Like Visual Ballistics for Roulette to prove that a player could exert enough control over the dice to gain an edge would take the recording of a large number of rolls and even if the Shooter could demonstrate a workable skill at home, retaining the same level of skills within the casino environment, with the increased pressure of having big bets on the table, variance in the subtleties of the table (age of the felt, padding on the table, foam backing on the table etc) and the increased distractions of the general casino environment is likely to be very challenging.

Some tables enforce a ‘No Setting’ rule on shooters and all tables retain the right to rule a throw invalid if they feel that the Shooter has thrown in such a way that randomness has been reduced.

Dice Control is a skill that’s likely to take a lot of practice. In general Craps tables are less common than other major table games, meaning that if you develop a distinctive style of throwing it’s likely to be quickly recognised and back-offs are likely to become a major issue.

Online

While it is possible in a technical sense to use comp points, bonuses and other promotions to gain an edge over the game of Craps, by and large casinos exclude Craps from play during the vast majority of promotions. The reason for this is that players can place bets on all outcomes (betting both the Pass Line and Don’t Pass Line) at the same time. In the early days of online gambling where wagering requirements for bonuses were far lower this represented a substantial problem for casinos. Players could deposit, claim a bonus and drastically reduce the variance they experienced and essentially guaranteeing a profit. While this strategy is unlikely to work today, Craps is still by and large excluded from promotional play.

It should be noted that online advantage play is not specific to Craps and in recent years even in the unusual circumstance where players are allowed to play Craps with a bonus it is now normally a sub-optimal choice for the player. For more information on beating online casinos see BeatingBonuses.com.