How to Play Craps

dice How to Play CrapsCraps, at first glance, is a very confusing game and at our dealer school, we take a step back and slow it down, ensuring you have proper comprehension.

The dealer standing on the stick is loudly yelling stick calls and the game definitely has its own vocabulary (see below). There are complicated bets all paying out at different odds that depend upon the dice probabilities. After students spend some time at Gold Star School of Gaming, they realize Craps is not nearly as complicated as it appears.


Basics of Craps

Each game begins with a Come Out Roll (puck is ‘off’). The shooter rolls the dice on a Come Out Roll to establish the point. If the shooter rolls a 2, 3, or 12 (craps), the Pass Line loses. If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11 the Pass Line bet wins. If the shooter rolls any other number (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10), it establishes the point and the puck is placed ‘on’ on the point. This particular game of Craps ends when the shooter rolls the point a second time or a seven out. In this event, the puck return to ‘off’ and a new game begins.

Pass Line

Before a point is established and the puck says ‘off,’ if the shooter rolls a 2, 3, or 12, he “craps out” and the Pass Line bet loses. If he rolls a 7 or 11, it’s an automatic winner and the Pass Line is paid even money. Any other number (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10) establishes the point. Once the point is established and the puck is ‘on’ a number, the game changes. If the shooter rolls the point again, the Pass Line is paid even money and the shooter will have another Come Out roll. If the shooter rolls a 7, the Pass Line loses, and the dice go to the next shooter. Any other number has no effect on the Pass Line. Players can make a Pass Line bet after the Come Out roll, but they cannot remove it after a point is established.

Don’t Pass

The Don’t Pass is nearly the opposite of the Pass Line bet. If the Come Out roll is a 2 or 3, the bet wins even money. A roll of 12 is a push. If the Come Out roll is 7 or 11, the Don’t Pass bet loses. After a point has been established, the Don’t Pass bet wins even money when a 7 is rolled before the point; it loses if the shooter rolls the point before a 7. The math works out slightly better for the Don’t Pass bet than the Pass Line bet, but the majority of players prefer to bet the Pass Line to keep within the spirit of the rowdy craps table.

Taking the Odds

The house edge is in the fact that in order to Take the Odds, players must make a Pass Line bet. The Odds are placed directly behind the Pass Line bet and are in multiples of the Pass Line bet. Some casinos offer 10 times odds, meaning that a Pass Line bet of $10 would allow $100 on the Odds. Generous casinos offer 100 times odds. Typically casinos offer “full double odds” (meaning the player can take 2.5 times odds on a point of 6 or 8, and 2 times on all other points) or “3-4-5 times odds” (meaning the player can take 3 times odds on 4 or 10, 4 times odds on 5 or 9, and 5 times odds on 6 or 8). Players may increase or decrease Odds at any time.

Laying the Odds

Laying the Odds is the opposite of Taking the Odds, in that Laying the Odds refers to the odds behind the Don’t Pass while Taking the Odds refers to the odds behind the Pass Line. You, as the dealer, will set up this bet for the players. The amount a player may win by Laying Odds is the product of the Don’t Pass bet and the multiple of odds allowed. If the table allows five times odds, the player can win five times the Don’t Pass bet by Laying the Odds. It is important to note that the multiple applies to how much the player can win, not how much they can bet. For example, if they bet $2 on the Don’t Pass and the table allows full double odds, they can bet $8 to win $4 on a point of 4 or 10, $6 to win $4 on a point of 5 or 9, and $6 to win $5 on a point of 6 or 8.

onoff How to Play Craps

Craps Vocabulary

Aces: A bet that the next roll will be a 2. (Also slang for $1 cheques.)

Ace/Deuce: A one roll bet on 2 and 3.

Action: Refers to how busy the table is.

Apron: The outer area of the layout.

At Risk: A player’s wager is still active and could win or lose.

Backline: Don’t Pass Line.

Barber Poll: A bet consisting of cheques of different denominations, stacked highest to lowest.

Big Red: Another term for the any seven bet.

Bones: Dice.

Boxcars: A term for betting on 12.

Boxman: The table supervisor who sits opposite the stickman.

Boys, The: Slang for the dealers.

Buffalo: Placing a bet on all of the Hardways and Any Seven.

Buffalo-Yo: Placing a bet on the Hardways and Eleven.

Buy Bet: Bet giving the house a 5% commission in order for the player to be paid correct odds for a place bet. Some casinos collect the commission on winning bets and some collect at the time the bet is made.

C and E Bets: A proposition bet on the 11 (E) or any craps (C)

Cheques: Another name for chips.

Cocked Dice: Term to describe a die that lands sideways against the wall, cheques, or money.

Cold Table: A table where shooters are not making the point.

Come Out Roll: The first roll of the dice for a particular shooter, establishes the point.

Craps: The numbers 2, 3 and 12 are each a crap; collectively, they are craps numbers.

Crap Out: To roll 2, 3 or 12 on the Come Out roll.

Crapless Craps: A novelty Craps table where 2, 3, 11 and 12 are point numbers.

Crooked Dice: Dice that are modified to provide an unfair advantage.

Dead: A table with no players.

Dice are in the Middle: Dice are in the middle when the stickman places them above the proposition bets. Wagers should be made at this time.

Dime: Two $5 cheques.

Double Odds: A bet on the Odds that is twice as large as the original Pass or Come bet.

Down Behind: Announced by a dealer to inform a “wrong bettor” that their bet has lost.

Downtown Odds: Refers to the Odds offered in most casinos in Downtown Las Vegas.  (Typically Downtown odds are better for the players than Strip Odds.)

Eyeballs: Slang term for 2.

Fifty Yard Line: Refers to the middle of the table. For a roll of the dice to be considered “fair,” it must pass this line.

Garden: Slang term for the Field.

George: A Player who consistently tips the dealers.

Green: Slang term used by dealers for $25 gaming cheques.

Hardways Work: Announced by the Stickman on come out rolls to remind players that their hardway bets are still active unless they call them off.

Hawk the Dice: When a baseman watches the dice rather than paying attention, as he should, to his own end of the table.

Hit a Brick: Stickman may call this out when a die hits gaming cheques that prevent it from rolling to the end of the table.

Hot Table: Refers to a table where players are winning.

House Odds: The pay-offs written on the layout of the craps table (true odds).

Inside Numbers: The numbers 5, 6, 8, and 9.

Insurance Bet: Wagers made at a craps table that provide insurance for another bet.

Jam-Up: A busy Craps table where the dealers move slowly.

Juice: A commission fee charged the casino on certain wagers (a.k.a. vigorish).

Lammers: Plastic markers used to mark bets ON, OFF, BUY, or LAY.

Line bet: A bet on the Pass Line or Don’t Pass Line.

Little Joe: Slang for a Hard 4.

Midnight: Betting that the next roll will be a 12.

Monster Roll: A roll where the shooter doesn’t “seven out” for a long time.

Nickel: Slang for a $5 cheque.

No Bet: Announced by the dealer or boxman on bets made after the dice were rolled.  Nullifies whatever the player just said.

No Roll: Announced by the dealer or boxman when a roll is short, slips out of the shooter’s hand, or bounces off the table.  It nullifies the roll.

Outside Numbers: The numbers 4, 5, 9 and 10.

Ozzie and Harriet: Slang for a Hard 8.

Parlay: When a bet wins and the player leaves it and its winnings in action.

Past-Posting: Illegal positioning of a bet after the dice already landed.

Penny: Slang for $1 cheques.

Player Position: The position of a player at the craps table. There are eight positions on either side of a craps table. Dealers use the positions to position wagers on the layout.

Press the Bet: When a bet wins and the player doubles the bet.

Quarter: Slang for $25 gaming cheques.

Rail: A grooved railing running around the craps table where players place their cheques.

Right Bettor: A player who bets the Pass Line or the Come, siding with “the table” that the shooter will hit the point.

Self Service Bets: Bets that customers place themselves: The Pass Line, Don’t Pass, Come, Don’t Come, Big 6/8, and Field.

Seven Out: When the shooter rolls a 7 after a point has been established.

Shooter: The player who is rolling the dice.  (In order to roll the dice, the shooter must have a bet on the Pass Line or Don’t Pass Line.)

Single Odds: An odd bet that is about the same size as the original Pass or Come bet.

Skinny: A slang term for the any seven bet.

Snake Eyes: A bet for the number 2.

Still Up: Announced by dealers to remind players that one of their wagers is still in play. It’s sometimes asked as a question by the dealer to see if a player wants their wager repeated.

Square Pair: A hard 8.

Stickman: The casino employee at the craps table who is responsible for calling out the dice rolls, returning the dice to the shooter, and placing and paying the proposition bets.

Stiff: A player who never tips the dealers.

Taking Odds: An additional wager on a pass line or come bet that is paid true odds.

Toke: A tip to the dealers.

True Odds: The actual odds of rolling a particular number. (Taking the Odds pays true odds.)

Vig (Vigorish): The commission taken by the casino on a particular bet.

Wall (Back Wall): The wall at either end of the table. The shooter is supposed to hit the back wall for a fair roll.

Working: Bets that can be resolved in the next roll are said to be working.

Wrong Bettor: A player who bets the Don’t Pass Line or the Don’t Come, siding with “the house” that the shooter will roll a 7 before the point.

Yo or Yo-eleven: This is slang for the number 11.  The nickname evolved to differentiate between the numbers 7 and 11.