Complete Craps Rules – Detailed How to Play Guide

If you have ever seen a game of craps played, or seen it on television in a Las Vegas casino, you’ll know that it’s one of the most popular casino dice games in the world. You might not, however, you may not know craps rules work. That’s what this guide is for, though: we will teach you how to play craps.

On this page, you’ll find explanations of all of the rules in craps, as well as discussions about the most popular side bets and variants that you can find in land-based casinos or in online games. We will also give you some advice about which online craps games to try out, depending on what you look for in a game.

Craps Rules – How It All Works

It almost goes without saying, but if you don’t know how to play a casino game, you can end up losing a lot of money while trying to figure it all out. Instead of risking your money like that, you can learn all of the essentials right here. At first sight, craps is a very confusing game. The table has lots of sections marked out, all with titles whose meanings are far from self-evident, and it is not a simple case of rolling as high a combination as possible. Don’t stress though, all will become clear, we promise.

The Aim of the Game

In craps, you place bets on the outcome of a roll, using two dice. There are several different types of bets that you can make, which we will go through shortly. But, for starters, we’ll go through the basic way to play the game so that you are clear on simple craps rules first.

Place PASS Bet

The pass bet in craps.

A bet on the pass line means that you are wagering that the roll will “pass” – meaning that it will be a seven or an 11. There are three options for what can happen on this bet.

Roll the Dice

Rolling dice in craps.

If the result is a two, three or 12, then it is known as “craps”, and the bet is lost outright. If a seven or 11 is rolled, then the bet is won and the wagered round is over.

Number Marked “ON”

A number marked as 'on' in craps.

If, on the other hand, any other number comes up, the dealer will mark this number as “on” with a special chip. Now, this is the “point number” – the target to roll.

You Win Your PASS Bet

A winning roll in craps.

At this point, you must roll again until one of the following two things happens: if you hit the number marked as “on”, then the pass bet is won. If, however, you hit a seven first, the bet is lost.

You can play while only knowing how to play the pass bet. The rules of craps don’t stop there, though. The beauty of the game is that there is more than one way to play and several different types of bets. Read on to find out more about how to play craps. To get your head around the basics, however, you can download this handy sheet.

A sheet detailing the basic rules of craps.

When learning how to play craps, the best place to start is with the pass bet. Check out this beginners’ guide to placing and winning this bet.

PDF Download

How to Play Craps

Before we move on to the complicated options in the rules of craps, we’re going to go give you a little more background information to the game. This includes looking at the craps table layout in detail the payouts in craps, and the various bets that you can make in the game. Don’t stress if you are still confused at this point, we will explain everything as we go.

Craps Rules Video

Below, you can watch a quick video of us playing a few rounds of craps. As they say, pictures are worth a thousand words, so hopefully having a look at this will make it clear how to play craps. As you’ll see, it’s really not that complicated once you get started.

The Craps Table Explained

The craps table and how it is laid out has a lot to answer for when it comes to scaring off new players. This is not to say that it is laid-out incorrectly or illogically, but it does end up looking a little confused. One of the main problems is that the names of the sections are not self-explanatory. Let’s run through them all one by one.

The craps table, with the various bets labelled.
Pass:

The basic bet in craps, the pass bet is won if the player rolls a seven or an 11 on the first roll or rolls the point number on subsequent rolls before rolling a seven.

Don’t Pass:

This bet is won if the player rolls “craps” on their first roll, or a seven on subsequent rolls.

Come:

This is the same as a pass bet, except that it is made before any other roll than a come out roll (the first roll of a betting sequence).

Don’t Come:

This is the opposite of a come bet and is therefore the same as a don’t pass bet, except made at other times.

Field:

This is a simple bet that the next roll will be a two, three, four, nine, 10, 11 or 12.

Place:

You may bet on a specific number, as allowed, being rolled before the next seven is rolled. You may not bet on seven or on craps numbers.

Hardway Bets:

Betting on hard numbers requires the number to be rolled with a double. For example, an “easy” six may be with a four and a two. A “hard” six requires two threes.

Knowing what all of the above means will take you a long way towards mastering the rules of craps. Honestly, having a comfortable understanding of all of your options is absolutely key. That’s why we’ll run you through all of the different bets you can make in more detail.

Types of Craps Bets

This is really where the rules of craps get interesting; unlike many casino games like online roulette or automated baccarat, there are lots of different types of bets you can make in craps. Some of these have to be made after the pass bet has been made, while others can be staked regardless of whether or not a pass bet has been placed for this roll or not. For your convenience, we’ve also compiled this guide sheet to the different bets in craps, which you can download, save to your device or print as you wish.

Sheet detailing the different bets in craps.

Knowing which bets you can make in craps – and when you can make them – is crucial to playing the game well, so best to get studying!

PDF Download

Pass

Hopefully, how to play craps with a pass bet has been made clear throughout our basic rules sections so far. In short, though, the pass bet is won if you roll a seven or an 11 on the first roll. If you roll “craps” – a two, three, 11 or 12, the bet is lost. If any other number is rolled, this becomes the point number. If you manage to roll this number again before you roll a seven, then the pass bet is won.

Taking the Odds

You can often take the odds in craps behind a pass bet. This means that you put additional money down on you winning the pass bet. The difference between this and an additional pass bet is that there is no house edge.

Don’t Pass

As we have said before, this is the direct opposite of the pass bet. It is won if the player rolls craps on the first roll, or if a seven is rolled in subsequent throws, as long as this is before the point number is rolled again. In essence, you are betting against the player’s roll, so it can be an unpopular bet to place in a land-based setting when you will be betting on the side of the house against fellow players.

Laying the Odds

This is the opposite of taking the odds and backs a don’t pass bet, in the same way, that odds back a pass bet. There is also no house edge on laying the odds. In essence, you are putting additional money behind a don’t pass bet when you lay the odds.

Come

The pass bet can only be made on the first roll of a player’s turn. The come bet operates in exactly the same way but can be made on any other roll during that cycle. The ways to win are the same as with the pass bet, however, so you needn’t learn anything new there.

Don’t Come

As you will be able to guess, this is the same as a don’t pass bet, simply made at any point apart from the first roll of a player’s turn. The don’t come craps bet is the opposite of the come bet, as the name would suggest.

Field

The field bet is another that allows for a number of different rolls as winning outcomes. In general, if the next roll comes up as a three, four, nine, 10 or 11, you win. If it is a two or a 12, you will often win double or triple your bet. All other results will lose

Place Bets

The numbers four, five, six, eight, nine and 10 are called “place numbers” in craps. You can wager that any of these numbers will be rolled before a seven is rolled next. There are different payouts for the different numbers that can be rolled.

Hardway Bets

You have probably seen scenes on tv or in movies where players bet on a “hard eight” or some other hard number. These are bets on the next roll, where you stake that a specific number will come up, with the added caveat that the number must be made up of a pair. For example, an eight can be made five different ways, but a “hard eight” can only be a pair of fours.

Craps Payouts

It is essential that you know the payouts in craps before you can figure out which bets to make. We will take you through making decisions based on the craps payouts in our craps strategy guide, but here are the standard returns in the game.

Craps Variants

As with most casino games, there are a number of different craps variants available for players to try out. Most of them stick fairly closely to the standard rules of craps, but they are worth discussing briefly so that you know your options.

A sheet detailing the various craps games.

Use this sheet to learn about the different variants of craps that you will come across in casinos and online.

PDF Download

New York Craps

As you might guess from the name, this variant of craps rules is popular on the east coast of the United States. Come, don’t come and place bets are not allowed. True odds are given on all bets, but with a 5% commission across the board.

Simplified Craps

If you think that the rules of craps are too difficult, then this is the variant for you. The shooter only throws one roll per turn. Two, three, four, 11 and 12 result in a win, while all other numbers lose.

Crapless Craps

This version removes the possibility of rolling craps and losing in the come out roll. However, this does not actually make the game more favorable for the player. Instead, the house edge is increased by removing the 11 as a winning result.

High Point Craps

This variation takes quite a turn away from the standard craps game rules. In the come out roll, if the player rolls a two or a three, this is ignored and they roll again. If they roll an 11 or 12, they win. Any other number becomes the point number. To win, the player must then roll a higher than this point number.

Die Rich Craps

This craps variant is played using only one die. A six equals a win, while a one is a loss. The other numbers become point numbers if rolled. On subsequent rolls, the player tries to roll the point number before a one.

Play Craps for Real Money

Now that you have a good understanding of how to play craps, it’s time to figure out where you can use this new-found knowledge. You need to find a real money game that suits you and that you will enjoy playing, ideally for more than one or two rounds. It is a good idea to think about what it is that you want from your gambling experience. Here are some suggestions based on possible motivations.

For Beginners For Fun For Real Money
Playtech Craps online casino game.
The Vegas Craps online casino game.
The 1x2 Gaming Craps online casino game.

If none of these options jumps out at you, then feel free to head over to our main craps guide for some more options. On that page, we take you through the best craps games online as well as the casinos where you can play the game.

What You Should Look for in a Game

Sometimes, the name of a game attracts you enough to give it a go, or it might have an appealing image. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, there are always some things that are worth considering when looking for a real money game.

Return to Player Rate

In the rules of craps, the payouts range quite significantly depending on which kind of bet you wish to make. This means that the overall return to player rate (RTP) of a game is less crucial than when you are considering games like online automated blackjack. It is still good to know, however, that a game is fair and generous enough. That’s why you should have a look at the various pay tables of any game as well as its RTP before betting your money on it.

Can I Use My Favourite Strategy?

Just as the craps payouts can differ from game to game, the specific craps rules of any title can be different. Both of these things can affect which strategies work best, or even restrict the use of certain approaches. So, if you want to use your favorite craps strategy, it is worth checking the rules first to know that you will be able to employ it.

Helpful Resources

Although this whole page is dedicated to helping you learn how to play craps, the following sections contain some extra resources to give you even more chance to master the game and learn some useful general info about the game and the rules of craps.

Downloadable PDFs

As part of our guides to various casino games, we provide you with some downloadable pdfs that you can save to your device for easier use in the future. Of course, you can print these out and pin them up if you really want to drill yourself on the info provided.

Craps Rules A sheet detailing the various standard rules of craps. PDF Download
Craps Bets A sheet detailing the different bets in craps. PDF Download
Craps Variants A sheet detailing the different variants of craps. PDF Download

Glossary of Craps Terms

The rules of craps can be a little confusing when you first come to the game, and part of the problem is that the different terms used in the game are not self-explanatory. That’s why we have provided this craps glossary for you. These do not include the different bets in craps, as they are detailed in full further up the page.

Glossary
    • Aces Also “snake eyes”: a score of two, made up of two ones.
    • Against the Dice Bets that go against the roller – the don’t pass and don’t come bets.
    • Any Seven A one-roll bet on the next number being a seven.
    • Behind the Line There is no specific place on a craps table for where to place odds bets, so these are placed behind the initial bet and are said to be placed “behind the line”.
    • Cocked Dice Dice that end up leaning against the side of the table or on a chip. The final number is decided by looking at how it would lie if the obstacle was removed.
    • Come Out Roll The first roll of the game or turn for a player or shooter.
    • Craps The name of the game, but also when the shooter rolls a two, three or 12 on the come-out roll.
    • Easy Way A number that has been rolled with the two dice showing different numbers. The opposite of “hard way”.
    • Hard Way A number that has been rolled with a matching pair of numbers on the two dice. The opposite of “easy way”.
    • Insurance Bet When a player makes two or more bets in an attempt to cover potential losses on the bets that they have made.
    • Marker Puck The disc used to indicate the point number, marking it as “on”.
    • Natural A score of seven or 11 on the come out roll.
    • One Roll Bet A bet that only counts for the next roll of the dice, in comparison to bets that carry over for multiple rolls in some cases
    • Point Number The target number that is decided by the come out bet, which then works for the remainder of the turn on the pass bet.
    • Seven Out To roll a seven before the point number. This ends the shooter’s turn.
    • Shooter The player who rolls the dice.
    • Yo Also “yoleven”: the number 11, often pronounced yo-leven in order to distinguish it from seven when said aloud.

Frequently Asked Questions

We hope that this guide to the craps game rules has given you everything you need to know, there is always a possibility that you still have queries that are, as yet, unanswered. That’s why we’ve collected some frequently asked questions from players and answered them here.

What are the basic rules of craps?

The basic rules of craps are fairly straight forward. What you need to learn is what the various bets mean, as each bet is reliant on specific rolls to win. The easiest is the pass bet. You can win this by rolling a seven or an 11 on your first roll.

How do you play craps for beginners?

Keeping things simple and learning how to play craps for beginners is crucial. The best tip for learning the game is to stick with pass bets until you are comfortable with any others.

What is the game called craps?

Craps or bank craps is a casino game in which players bet on the outcome of dice rolls, using two dice at a time. There are various different bets accepted in the standard rules. See our full game guide for more information.

What does shooting craps mean?

Shooting craps is another term for playing the game of craps. The shooter is the player who rolls the dice, and the game itself is called craps. You can play the game at many of the top online casinos.

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Written bySimon Rose First Published: 25/09/2019 Last Updated: 27/11/2019
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