Every time, a Hollywood movie takes us inside a Las Vegas casino, we must make a stop at the craps table, where screaming and general chaos seems to ensue. Dice get blown on for good luck, “Mama needs a new pair of shoes” is one of the most common sentences uttered and the crowd goes wild if that seven does indeed add up from the numbers on the two dice rolled.
Snake eyes, or a combined two on the other hand seems to be the worst fate that can befall a player of craps. Do you feel lost now? Well, don’t worry. In reality the game of craps is much less chaotic than in the movies. You can easily learn it in a matter of minutes and enjoy it in most online casinos at your own leisure.
So, join us in our walk down memory lane for a short introduction into the history of craps, learn about the table layout, rules and odds and get the gist on some of the more popular variations of the game.
Early origins – There are some theories that state that our modern game of craps has a lot in common with a game called hazard which, in turn, is said to have been invented by Sir William of Tyre. This was an English nobleman and he supposedly invented the game in 1125 AD when he and his knights were waiting to lay siege in Hazarth. In the Middle Ages, the game became popular among the Arabs. While an early game of craps spread rapidly among the English. So much so, that it was mentioned frequently in The Canterbury Tales.
Later on, in the 16th and 17th century, the game spread to gambling houses in England, moving it from a game of soldiers to one for the elite.
18th century – It was at the very beginning of this century when the game of craps was brought to the French colony of Acadia. This colony was later (in the middle of the 18th century) lost to England and became Novia Scotia. The French were forced to move way south to Louisiana and took the game of craps with them.
19th century – During this century is when the American English term craps became the predominant name of the game. The African-American community put their spin on the game during this time and is therefore attributed with the invention of modern craps.
20th century – In 1907, John H. Winn earned himself the title of “Father of Modern-Days Craps” when he revolutionized the game. He changed the game by giving players the opportunity to bet right or wrong and he also implemented the “Don’t Pass Bets”.
The layout and the betting system that he put into place are the ones we’re still using to this day. The 20th was also the century when casino games in general became super popular, thanks to the legalization of gambling in Nevada. During the Second World War, craps went back to being a game for soldiers.
21st century – The modern days, of course, brought craps to the internet. Now, players can roll the dice at home, without other people on the table screaming into their ears. Over the last two decades, online casinos have improved on a lot of things, from graphics to features, ensuring the continuous popularity of all casino games, including craps.
Online Craps vs Land Based Craps
Craps is an incredibly fast-moving game, so playing it in a loud land-based casino with a crowd of people cheering can become a bit overwhelming. Especially if you’re not that familiar with the rules yet.
Playing it in an online casino, on the other hand is a much quieter and calmer experience. You can take your time to place your bet and roll the dice only once you’re ready. You can also play for fun at first to familiarize yourself with everything, from table layout, to possible bets and all other mechanics.
How to Play Craps Online
Other than the quieter surroundings, playing online craps is no different to playing craps in a land-based casino. The rules are the same, but you tend to have a little more control over the pace of the game.
The dice only get rolled once you have placed your bet and you can take your sweet time. But that is it with the differences. It might be a bit more comfortable, but it’s still the exact same game. You place your bet, the dice get rolled, you either keep rolling or place more bets, the bets get paid out – simple as that.
Understanding the Craps Table Layout
The look of a craps table can be quite overwhelming at first. There are so many fields and sections, because all the different bets need their own section. That’s why it is usually easier to look at the different sections separately
In general, an online craps table is divided into two big sections. There are the side sections and then there’s the center section. Since a craps table in a land-based casino tends to be pretty big, there are two identical side sections, each catered to by a different dealer. The center section is handled by yet another dealer – the so-called stickman.
So let’s have a look at the different sections separately.
Side Sections Areas
The side section areas include the so-called self-service area where players can handle their own bets just by placing their chips on the bet they want to place. Those bets include pass, don’t pass and field bet. If winnings are generated from those bets, the dealer will place them next to the player’s chips and it is the player’s responsibility to remove them, otherwise they’ll just stay there for the next throw.
The point boxes with the numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10 on the other hand are the dealer’s responsibility and the players need to request the dealer if they want to place a bet on any of those. Finally, there’re the come and don’t come fields which are also the dealer’s responsibility.
The center section only exists once on each table and all players share it, regardless where on the table they’re standing (that is obviously something that doesn’t really have any effect in online craps).
So-called proposition bets are placed in the center section and to place them, the players have to go through the stickman at all times by telling him which bets they like to place.
Learning Important Craps Terminology
Understanding some of the most important online craps terms gives you a huge leg-up when it comes to understanding the game. We’ll get into the individual bets a little bit later but let us also introduce you to some of the most common terms of online craps.
The apron is the outer perimeter of the craps table.
Big 8 is a bet that an 8 will be rolled before a 7, a similar bet is the Big 6.
Come out roll is the first roll of the game.
The shooter is the person rolling the dice.
Natural is when the shooter throws a 7 or 11 as the come out roll.
one roll bet is a bet on the next roll of the dice only.
Yo is the number 11.
Understanding the Order of Play
A round of craps plays out like this:
The shooter selects two dice that he/she wants to roll.
The shooter makes a pass line bet and so do the other players on the table.
The shooter throws the dice for the first time, thus creating the come out roll.
After the come out roll, other bets can be placed on the next roll(s).
A round ends when the shooter throws another 7 or 11.
Types of Bets, Odds & Payouts for Online Craps
There are a ton of bets that can be placed in the game of craps. In this small table we have compiled some of the most common bets that you can place, including their odds, payouts and the house edge.
Pass / Come
Don’t pass / Don’t Come
Pass Odds / Come Odds
Same as paid
2:1 on 4,10;
3:2 on 5,9;
6:5 on 6,8
Don’t pass odds / don’t come odds
Same as paid
1:2 against 4,10;
2:3 against 5,9;
5:6 against 6,8
Hard 4 / Hard 10
Hard 6 / Hard 8
Big 6 / Big 8
Place 4 / Place 10
Place 5 / Place 9
Place 6 / Place 8
Hi-Lo (2 or 12)
Craps (2, 3 or 12)
Now that you know some of the most common bets that are possible, let us go into further detail about some of those bets.
Pass: The pass line bets are the easiest possible bets you can make in a game of online craps. With this bet, you’re saying that you think that the come out roll will be either a 7 or 11. If that happens, you double your money. If it doesn’t happen, there are two possible outcomes: if the come out roll is a 2, 3 or 12 (craps) you lose and your money is gone.
If the come out roll is a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 a point is established. You’ll now want the shooter to roll this number again, before he or she rolls a 7. If that happens, your money is doubled, if the 7 comes first, you lose.
Come: A come bet is basically the same as a pass line bet, but you can make it at any time after a point is established.
Don’t Pass and Don’t Come: Those bets are basically the exact opposite of the pass / come bets.
Pass odds / Come odds: Those bets can only be placed after you already placed a pass or come bet or their opposite. You’ll place your additional chips directly behind your original chips. Now, if your original bet wins, your odds bet will also win.
Hardways: You can bet a Hard 4/6/8 or 10. Those bets mean that you think the corresponding number will be rolled before a 7 and the two dice will show the same numbers. So a hard 8 would be a bet on a throw of 4 and 4.
Place bets: You can go for place bets at any point in the game and they mean that you bet on 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 being thrown before a 7.
Yo: This bet wins if the shooter rolls an 11. It is called Yo because 11 sounds a hell of a lot like 7 and this confusion should be avoided.
Craps: This bet wins if the shooter throws a 2, 3 or 12.
Any 7: Here you win if the shooter throws a seven, no matter with which combination of the dice.
The Difference between Multi-Roll Bets and One-Roll Bets
At online craps, you can make multi-roll or single-roll bets. While multi-roll bets might need any number of rolls to be settled, single-roll bets will be settled with the next roll of the shooter. It’s as simple as that, there’s not more to it.
Craps Rules & Game Variations
This guide, our explanation of the different bets and how they’re settled, as well as our introduction into the order of play should give you a fairly solid understanding of the rules of the standard game of craps. But with as with almost every casino game in existence, there are variations of the game that offer a slightly different experience. So, let’s have a look at some of the most common craps variations.
Crapless craps is a variation where the player can never lose his or her initial pass line bet because craps numbers 2, 3 or 12 are thrown. This variation is popular with players and unpopular with casino providers since it cuts the house edge quite a bit.
High point craps is another variation that favors the players. In this game the craps numbers 2 and 3 are ignored completely if they appear on the come out roll. If it happens, the roll will be repeated. Players also directly win if an 11 or a 12 are thrown.
The die rich craps is played with only one die. The player wins instantly if the come out roll is a 6 and loses if it is a 1. Any of the other numbers establishes the point. After that, the player gets three more tries to throw the point number again without throwing a one. if the player fails, the die gets passed to the next player and a new round is started.
Popular Craps Strategies
There’re a couple of betting systems that can be used for online craps, but as always, we have to warn you against betting beyond your means. Craps is a game of pure chance and there is no sure-fire system that’ll get you a win. With that being said, let us introduce you to some of the commonly used systems.
Of course, you can use the Martingale system with the doubling up on losses in craps as well. As always, this only works with a considerable bankroll and no maximum bets, so beware.
The Iron cross betting system has you placing field bets as well as a bet on 5, 6 and 8. This means that you’re placing a bet on everything, but the number 7 and will thus win on 30 out of 36 dice combinations – not bad odds.
Tips & Tricks to Win at Craps
Honestly, with games of chance it’s always difficult to use tips and tricks, because predicting outcomes is just impossible.
But let us give you some things on your way to your next game of craps. Avoid hardways bets. The odds are much worse than on the actual numbers and the payouts are just not worth it.
If your bankroll isn’t that high, you should also avoid single-roll bets, because the odds are almost never in your favor – this is not the Hunger Games after all.
Most importantly though, have fun. Enjoy yourself and soak in the excitement of a crowded and loud table, even if you’re playing online – join a live casino and you’ll get what we mean!
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