Craps – The Most Famous Dice Game

Craps is the most famous dice game, which is definitely worth trying. Craps has stormy atmosphere, offers a wide palette of bets and better odds than Roulette – the queen of casino games, when employing the best manner of betting.

Craps is very popular especially in the North America. The players may wager money against a bank, then it is Casino Craps, where a casino holds all odds, or against each other, then we talk about Street Craps. The player rolling the dice is called the Shooter. The Shooter rolls two dice against a border of the Craps table. This measure aims to prevent deceitful or controlled rolls.

Craps raises great emotions especially because the Shooter is a maker of his or her own luck. The principle of the game, basic and additional bets are described below.

Craps comes in two versions – American and British. Except for some terminology differences, the basic distinction consists in the fact that British Craps offers better odds and some disadvantageous bets are forbidden completely. The rules are the same for both versions.

The Craps layout in casino is served by four people. Boxman supervises the game and Dealers, manages cash operations and distributes chips. The Dealers standing aside of the Boxman place and pay out bets. Stickman stands in front of the Boxman, sets the pace of the game, annouces the outcome of every roll, encourages players to bet and collects the rolled dice. The Stickman also serves the bets in the middle of the table (Proposition and Hard Bets).

Layout of American Craps (a half of the table)

American Craps Layout (a half of the table)

How to Play Craps?

The rules of Craps only seem to be difficult. In reality there are just four basic bets in Craps, which make the essence of the game. The range of bets, however, is much wider.

Craps is played in rounds, while the first roll of a new round is called Come-out Roll. The round ends immediately if the outcome of the Come-out Roll is 7 or 11 marked as Win or Natural or 2, 3 or 12 marked as Craps.

If the roll is some other value (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10), then it establishes the Point. As soon as the Point is established, the Shooter keeps rolling until either seven or the Point is rolled. If the Point is rolled the Shooter begins a new Come-out Roll.

If the Shooter rolls seven sooner than the Point, he or she is Seven-out, the round ends and the Shooter hands over the dice to the player at his or her left side, who becomes the new Shooter. The player can refuse being the Shooter and pass the dice to the next player.

As it can be seen Craps is somehow connected with the sum of seven. The seven is the most probable outcome when rolling two dice. There are six possibilities out of the total of 36 to roll seven. The probabilities to roll other values are shown in the table below. The importance of seven will be clarified in the Line Bets chapter.

Table 1: Dice Rolls and Their Probabilities in Craps
Dice RollNumber of PossibilitiesProbability
2Dice: 1 Dice: 1     1/36 (2.78%)
3Dice: 1 Dice: 2Dice: 2 Dice: 1    2/36 (5.56%)
4Dice: 1 Dice: 3Dice: 2 Dice: 2Dice: 3 Dice: 1   3/36 (8.33%)
5Dice: 1 Dice: 4Dice: 2 Dice: 3Dice: 3 Dice: 2Dice: 4 Dice: 1  4/36 (11.11%)
6Dice: 1 Dice: 5Dice: 2 Dice: 4Dice: 3 Dice: 3Dice: 4 Dice: 2Dice: 5 Dice: 1 5/36 (13.89%)
7Dice: 1 Dice: 6Dice: 2 Dice: 5Dice: 3 Dice: 4Dice: 4 Dice: 3Dice: 5 Dice: 2Dice: 6 Dice: 16/36 (16.67%)
8Dice: 2 Dice: 6Dice: 3 Dice: 5Dice: 4 Dice: 4Dice: 5 Dice: 3Dice: 6 Dice: 2 5/36 (13.89%)
9Dice: 3 Dice: 6Dice: 4 Dice: 5Dice: 5 Dice: 4Dice: 6 Dice: 3  4/36 (11.11%)
10Dice: 4 Dice: 6Dice: 5 Dice: 5Dice: 6 Dice: 4   3/36 (8.33%)
11Dice: 5 Dice: 6Dice: 6 Dice: 5    2/36 (5.56%)
12Dice: 6 Dice: 6     1/36 (2.78%)

Line Bets – Fundamental Bets in Craps

The fundamental bets in Craps are the line bets, namely Pass Line, Don't Pass Line, Come and Don't Come. In some casinos, especially in Great Britain, they can be called Win Line and Don't Win Line. The difference is in terminology only as the principles are the same. If a player wants to be the Shooter, he or she has to bet either on Pass Line or Don't Pass Line.

Pass Line

Pass Line is the most important bet in Craps. Bet on Pass Line wins immediately if the Shooter rolls 7 or 11 (Win, Natural) in the first roll (Come-out Roll). The bet loses instantly if 2, 3, 12 (Craps) is rolled (Crapping Out).

If another value is rolled, this becomes the Point. The bets are moved from the Pass Line to the corresponding number (Point) on the Craps layout. The essence of the Pass Line bet now is to roll the Point before seven in any of upcoming rolls. It means that the bet does not have to be decided immediately after the roll. If the Point is rolled before seven it is paid out in the ratio of 1:1. If seven comes first, the bets (on all Points) lose.

It may happen that the Shooter has “a long hand” (not rolling seven for several consecutive rounds). All possible points can be occupied (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10). Now if any Point is rolled again, the bet wins. But when seven is rolled first, it is too bad – all bets (on the Points) lose.

Don't Pass Line

Don't Pass Line is the inverse bet to Pass Line. The bet loses if 7 or 11 is rolled in the Come-out roll, the bet wins if 2 or 3 is rolled and it is a tie if 12 is rolled. In the last case the outcome will be decided by the next roll.

If other value than 7, 11 or 2, 3, 12 is rolled, it establishes the Point again. The bets are moved from Don't Pass Line area to the place above the corresponding numbers. Now the bets win if seven is rolled before the Point. The payout is 1:1. The bets lose if the Point is rolled before seven.

In comparison with the bet on Pass Line the players have an option to pull back their bets at any time before the roll.


The bet on Come has almost the same attributes as Pass Line. The only differences is that the bet is made after the first roll (Come-out Roll), when the Shooter shall roll his Point.

Again the bets win if 7 or 11 is rolled, lose if 2, 3 or 12 is rolled. If other value appears, the bets are moved to that particular number (Point) and win if the Point rolled before seven.

Come is a sort of the bet inside the game. Its purpose is to enrich the activities at the Craps table.

Don't Come

This bet has the same principles as Don't Pass Line and it can also be placed after the Come-out roll at earliest. The players can pull back their bets at any time before the roll (see the Don't Pass Line).

Odd Bets

Except of the above-mentioned four fundamental bets there are also so called Odd Bets or Free Odds (Behind the line, Odds, Free). However these bets can be limited at some casinos.

The essence of the Odds is that you can place one more bet to your original bet (e.g. Pass Line), which is paid out by true mathematical odds. These bets represent a specific reinforcement of your original bet and they are definitely worth employing. They decrease profit (edge, advantage) of the casino. The true mathematical odds against rolling the values before seven are the following: 4 or 10 2:1, 5 or 9 3:2 and 6 or 8 6:5.

Of course it is possible to bet in the opposite way, when seven shall be rolled sooner than the specific value – Don't Pass Line Odds. The true mathematical odds are then reverse: for values 4 or 10 1:2, 5 or 9 2:3, 6 or 8 5:6.

If you win you will be paid out even (1:1) for your original bets and true mathematical odds for your free odds.

The free odds are placed at the table in such way that they overlap the original bets. In the same manner you can bet on Come and Don't Come. In some casinos the bets are returned if 7, 11 (Natural) or 2, 3, 12 (Craps) is rolled in the new roll.

Additional Bets in Craps

There is a wide variety of additional bets in Craps. Basically they can be split into two groups, namely into One-roll Bets, when the outcome of the bet is known right after the roll, and Multi-roll Bets, when the outcome turns up after a specific event, which determines win or loss.

One-roll Bets

One-roll bets include Proposition Bets, the Field, Horn and Whirl Bets.

Proposition Bets

The one-shot bets that win or lose after the required value is or is not rolled: 2 (Snake Eyes or Craps Aces), 12 (Craps), 2 or 12 (Hi-Lo), 3 (Ace Deuce), 11 (Yo), 2, 3 or 12 (Craps), C & E – combined bet, when one half is bet on Craps and the second half on Yo, Any Seven (or Big Red).


The Field is the bet on one of the following values 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12 to be rolled in the next roll. The payout for 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 is even (1:1), for 2 or 12 2:1 or even 3:1 at some British casinos. The players can place these bets on the layout themselves.

Horn Bet

The Horn Bet in fact represents individual bets on four values 2, 3, 11 and 12. The winning value is paid out by its payout ratio out of one quarter of the bet, the remaining 3/4 is lost. It is also possible to bet Horn High with 5 units (dollars), of which 2 units are bet on one the numbers 2, 3, 11 or 12. The most popular in practice is Horn High Yo, when two units are bet on number 11.

Whirl or World Bet

The Whirl Bet is made by 5 units. The purpose is to cover Horn and Any Seven. If one of the values 2, 3, 7, 11 or 12 is rolled then one fifth of the bet is paid out in the same ratio as Proposition Bets.

Multi-roll Bets

The bets are active as long as there is an event that determines either win or loss of the bets.

Hard Way

The Hard Way of the values 4, 6, 8 or 10 means 2+2, 3+3, 4+4 or 5+5. The bet wins if the value is rolled in the Hard Way before 7 or easy way. The easy way for number six is for example 1+5, 2+4, 5+1 or 4+2. The payouts are the following: 4 and 10 7:1 (8 for 1), 6 and 8 9:1 (10 for 1).

Easy Way

The Easy Way is the opposite bet towards the Hard Way. The bet wins if the value 4, 6, 8, 10 is rolled in easy way before 7.

Big 6 & Big 8

The principle of these bets is to roll six or eight before seven in any roll. The payout of these bets is even (1:1). Because you can bet on numbers 6 or 8 directly with the payout 7:6, the players who bet on Big 6 and/or Big 8 are considered to be suckers. These bets are even forbidden at some British casinos.

Bets on Numbers

The Bets on Numbers can be made directly at any time. It is not necessary to wait until the Shooter establishes the Point. The bets are placed on the double line above the numbers. They win if they are rolled before 7. The payouts are lower than true mathematical odds. However they are relatively advantageous for numbers 6 and 8, where the payout is 7:6 (true odds are 6:5). The house edge is only 1.52% in this case! Therefore it is not advisable to bet on Big 6 or Big 8, where the payout is 1:1 and the house edge (profit) reaches 9.09%. The payouts and true odds for other numbers are: 5 and 9 7:5/3:2 (profit 4%), 4 and 10 9:5/2:1 (profit 6.67%).

Buy and Lay Bets

The Buy Bets are similar to the bets on numbers. You can buy a bet on numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10 by placing the bet in the Come are and announcing to Dealer e.g. Buy the 8. The bet wins if the value is rolled before seven. The bets are paid out by true ratio, but the casino charges the fee 5% of the bet, which can be sometimes required only in case of the win. The Lay Bets are the opposite bets when seven should be rolled before the value.

The Best Bets in Craps

The profit of casino is secured by the difference between the payout and true odds. You can find the overview in the table below. The best bets for players are those that bring the lowest profit (edge) to the casino based on the expected value.

Overview of Bets in Craps, Payouts and True Odds
BetTrue Math. OddsPayoutHouse Edge (Profit)
Line Bets
Pass Line251:2441:11.41%
Don't Pass Line244:2511:11.36%
Don't Come244:2511:11.36%
Free Odds2:1 for 4 or 10
3:2 for 5 or 9
6:5 for 6 or 8
2:1 for 4 or 10
3:2 for 5 or 9
6:5 for 6 or 8
One-roll Bets
Proposition Bets
2 and 1217:115:111.11%
C & E5:13:1 for Craps
7:1 for 11
Any Seven5:14:116.67%
Field5:41:1 for 3, 4, 9, 10, 11
2:1 for 2 and 12
2:1 for 2, 3:1 for 12

Horn5:127:4 for 2 or 12
3:1 for 3 or 11
Whirl, World2:126:5 for 2 or 12
11:5 for 3 or 11
0:1 for 7 (Push)
Multi-roll Bets
Hard Way
4 (2+2) and 10 (5+5)8:17:111.11%
6 (3+3) and 8 (4+4)10:19:19.09%
Big 6 & Big 86:51:19.09%
Bets on Numbers
4 and 102:19:56.67%
5 and 93:27:54.00%
6 and 86:57:61.52%
Buy Bets
4 and 102:12:1 + 5% charge5.00%
5 and 93:23:2 + 5% charge5.00%
6 and 86:56:5 + 5% charge5.00%
Lay Bets
4 and 101:21:2 + 5% charge5.00%
5 and 92:32:3 + 5% charge5.00%
6 and 85:65:6 + 5% charge5.00%