Basic and Advanced Craps Rules Explained

by Enrico
Updated Craps Strategy Guides

Craps RulesBasic and Advanced Craps Rules Explained: Craps tables are all about the camaraderie, about making friends, playing with the shooter, and all winning together. Sure, there are people who place the “don’t” bets – which are great bets, even though they’re the “dark side” of the craps players – but the real draw is working together to reach a common goal. Honestly, you probably won’t find any other casino game quite like it.

Online or offline, craps is a social game, and it’s got strategies that veteran players like to stick to. That said, online craps can offer great odds, sometimes even better than physical casinos. Craps is a game for people who like to win, plain and simple. The cheers and adulation at the table when that happens, well, that’s just the cherry on top as they.

The one-shot, movie-scene win has catapulted craps into a timeless favorite at casinos. It comes second only to blackjack in terms of popularity, and the history of the game goes all the way back to the Crusaders of England. Said to be a modern descendant of the game Hazard, created during the siege of Hazarth castle in 1125. Over the centuries, it evolved into “crapaud,” appearing in New Orleans in the 1800s, evolved further into “crabs.” From there it was only a few tweaks before it became craps as we know it today.

In modern-day, craps is played with a pair of six-sided dice. There are plenty of craps strategies and bets available to play – betting with the shooter is always a classic, but you can also bet against it. You can place single-roll or multi-roll bets. You can even have the dice choose a number to bet on for you, or you can pick your own lucky numbers.

Here, we’ve gotten together some rules for craps, both the basic and beyond, so you can become more familiar with one of the most exciting casino games around.

Basic Craps Rules

Okay, so it certainly pays to look at the basics of the game before you start rolling the dice. And, by basics, we mean the rules, as while this game is simple, there are a few craps rules that you must know just so you don’t get caught out next time you’re at the table.

  • Though there are dozens of wagers to be placed, all bets are structured around the “pass line” wager.
  • To bet, players place chips on the pass line or dealers move a player’s chips to the appropriate location on the layout.
  • The sequence begins with a come-out roll when the shooter rolls for the first time. This is a pass sequence.
  • If the come-out roll is a 7 or an 11, pass line bets win. If it’s a 2, 3, or 12, pass line bets lose. Any other roll becomes the “point number.”
  • If a point number is rolled in the come-out roll, the shooter must roll the number again for a payoff at even-money. If they roll a 7, they lose.
  • If the point number is rolled again, the shooter keeps going with a new come-out roll. If he rolls a 7 – called “sevens out”, listen for that shout at the table – the dice move to another player as the shooter.

Craps is a game that can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. You can either bet on a number to simply win or lose on every roll, or you can make a bet that requires waiting for a point number through multiple rolls. Rules may vary from casino to casino, and from online to offline games. That being said, these are just the basic rules, as things can get a little more complicated should you be willing to venture onto tables that knowingly mix up the rules a little.

Advanced Craps Rules

With the basic craps rules under your belt, it’s time to understand a little bit more about what makes this age-old casino game so diverse. When you head to a casino to play craps, you’ll find that not every table has the same setup. Many tables break away from the norms of the game in a number of different ways, usually via betting limits. Some of these changes favor the player, others don’t, so before you start rolling the dice, it’s important to understand what you’ll be facing with some of craps more advanced rules.

Number of Dice

In craps, there are 2 dice used, both six-sided. What you bet on in the game is the total of both dice. So, with two dice, if one is a 4 and the other is a 2, then the total of that roll is 6. 2 and 5 are a 7, 4, and 1 is a 5, and so on. It is not possible to bet on only one single die. All craps bets are based on the total of both dice.

Paying Your Way

If you’re playing online, you’ll have to make a deposit into the casino itself before playing. If you have funds on your account already, you can just draw on them to support your bankroll. If you’re playing at a land-based casino, players may buy-in at the craps table, which is always a nice feeling. Some players may have chips leftover from an earlier game, or credit at the casino from cashing chips.

Most players, however, pay as they play the game, as this is generally the easiest way to get involved. You can do this by placing cash on the layout of the table, and then letting the dealer know that you would like to buy chips to play. It’s important to note that the dealer is not allowed to take the cash directly from you. You have to place the cash on the table, and the dealer must take it from the table. This rule is strict and enforced, so don’t try shoving cash into the dealer’s hand, as it’ll likely see you escorted from the casino and asked not to return.

Reading the Table

Players at an online casino may find the process streamlined in a way – after all, everything is done automatically, from decisions to losses to payouts. However, land-based casinos have human crews working behind the tables, usually in a set of four. Players will see two dealers, the stickman, and the boxman. These four individuals are pivotal to the game, as they work together to keep it flowing and more often than not keep the betting levels high.

The dealers are who everyone expects. They each take charge of one end of the craps table, they give chips when players buy-in and they move the wagers placed to where they need to go. In addition, they make the payouts. Think of the dealer as the boss the table and you wouldn’t be far wrong.

The stickman is named as such because they hold the long stick with a hook at the end, used to push the dice to the next shooter as the game goes on. In addition, the stickman takes care of the proposition bets that are placed in the middle of the table. The last thing craps needs is an uncontrollable mess of chips on the table, something that the stickman prevents from happening.

Finally, the boxman is the man in overall charge, the boss of bosses at the craps table if you will. The boxman makes sure that players and dealers both stick to the rules of the game and the craps rules of the payoffs. When a player buys in, the dealer hands the cash over to the boxman, who then makes sure that the dealer gives the right amount of chips. When the chips are delivered, the boxman pushes the cash into a drop box with a paddle, and then guards will take it to the count room.

Make the Right Call

Online casinos will show an image of a craps table layout, where you can then click to place wagers. First, you choose an amount, and then you choose where to place the chips. For example, if you want to go with a classic pass line bet, you would just click on the area labeled “pass line.” A bet on an 11 would be a click on a box with an image showing 11 in a configuration of dice.

Physical casinos get a little more complicated. Players can only place their own chips in three places – the pass line, “Come,” and “Field.” For any other bets, the dealer must be the one to place your chips for you. To do this, simply put your chips directly in front of you and tell the dealer your bet. Then, the dealer will get your chips to the proper place, and in the proper position according to where you are at the table. This helps the dealer to know both the bet and the bettor.

Don’t under any circumstances start throwing your chips around the table. This not only breaks craps etiquette, but it potentially voids a game round, ruining it for all the other players. You may see players throwing down chips in the movies, but in real life, this is a frowned upon practice, so we would certainly advise against it.

Take it to the Limit

At an online casino, players will very often be asked to choose their bet on a scale from minimum to maximum. Online, options may be a minimum as low as $1 up to a maximum of $1,000. You choose the range, and then you choose your bet. We won’t lie, when it comes to placing an online craps bet, it really is as easy as 1-2-3.

Land-based casinos usually have a placard on top of the table to let players know the minimums and maximums. If a casino has a placard that says the minimum is $10, but you only want to bet $5, then you’re going to have to find another table more suited to your budget. These place cards might seem a little unnecessary, but they are there for a reason. Players need to find the game with the right betting limits for them, these cards stop it being a case of trial by error.

The Shooter is King

When “visiting” online casinos, everything is virtual. The dice are virtual, the chips are virtual, and the results are determined at random. For players who are used to playing online, playing in a land-based casino may be a shock to the system. Everything unfolds before their eyes and the action is often loud and exciting, it’s safe to say that throwing craps in real-life delivers quite the adrenaline rush.

Let’s talk about the shooter in the game for a moment, the man or woman that will be behind every dice roll. When at a physical casino, players take turns being the shooter. To examine how that really works, we’ll need to go all the way back to the pass line. You know, the bet type we mentioned a few paragraphs ago.

We talked earlier about the pass line sequence. It starts with a come-out roll and can win with a 7 or an 11, lose with a 2, a 3, or a 12, or establish a point number for the rest of the sequence. Pass bets win and lose with the shooter. If the point number appears before a 7 after the come-out roll, then pass bets win. If a 7 should appear before that point number, though, it becomes unlucky – the pass bets lose immediately.

A shooter who rolls a losing 7 in the sequence is said to have “sevened out.” Whenever a shooter sevens out, the dice then go to a new shooter, and the sequence begins again. It’s important, though, that you note that not every losing roll will mean a new shooter. For example, if the come-out roll has the shooter immediately losing with a 2, a 3, or a 12, it’s not a seven out – the shooter can keep shooting.

In addition, not all of the 7s can result in sevening out. Let’s say the shooter establishes a point number and wins by rolling the point number again. Then the sequence starts over with the same shooter, and in that new sequence, a 7 (or an 11) can appear as a winner, meaning the shooter would not seven out.

As long as the shooter keeps avoiding a losing 7 that results in a seven out, that shooter can keep on shooting. In fact, many shooters like to keep up their streak. The longest shooting streak without sevening out that is currently on record is a streak of 154 rolls by Patricia Demauro. It was established in 2009 at the Atlantic City casino, the Borgata, and it took four hours and eighteen minutes for Demauro to seven out. Only then could the dice move to a new shooter. Yes, this actually happened, and it’s a true testament to the fact that fortune tends to favor the brave when it comes to the game of craps.

Go Forth and Roll!

Look, craps isn’t a complicated game really, it’s throwing dice across a green felt table for the most part. If as a player you want to simply roll the dice, ignore most of the advanced rules and just have fun with it you can. On the other hand, if you want to have a better understand of what’s happening in the game and what it takes to win, the advanced rules are there to put a little more meat on the bones of this famous casino game.

Whichever way you choose to play, having read this you can at least now say that you know the rules of craps, so put your hands together, blow on the dice, pray for luck, and roll as you’ve never rolled before!

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