Craps Guide online: How to play craps?

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Craps is played with dice on a craps table. A craps table has layouts on which players place their betting chips. Players take turns being the person who throws the dice, called the "Shooter." All players in a game are betting against the house.

There are potentially two stages to a game of craps.
The first stage is called The Come-Out Roll, on which players wager a Pass Line bet. After bets are placed on the Pass Line part of the table layout, the Shooter throws the dice, which must hit against the far end of the table and bounce back before landing for the throw to be considered legitimate. Note that the dice must be picked up in one hand only.

- Should the Come-Out roll produce a 7 or an 11, the Pass Line bets pay off 1 to 1 and play proceeds to the next Come-Out roll.

- Should the Come-Out roll produce a 2, 3 or 12, the Pass Line bets are lost and play proceeds to the next Come-Out roll.

- Should the Come-Out roll produce a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10, that number becomes what is called the shooter's Point and the second stage of a craps game, called the Series, can begin. Players may now increase their pass line bet, make what is called an Odds Bet, or continue in play with their initial pass line bet.

Odds bets must be wagered together with a pass line bet. Odds bets are paid out with no house edge, whereas pass line bets have a house edge of 1.414%. The chips representing your odds bet are placed just behind those of your pass line bet. If the shooter sevens out, you lose both your pass line and odds bets. Though pass line bets may be increased, they can not be removed; an odds bet may be changed or removed between throws in a series.

Once a series starts, the goal is for the shooter to roll his point number again before rolling a 7.

- Should any number other than the Point number or a seven be produced by a throw, the shooter rolls again.

- Should the Point number be rolled, Pass Line and odds bets win and play may continue with a Come-Out roll.

- Should a toss result in a 7, Pass Line and odds bets are lost and another shooter may continue play with a Come-Out roll. Loosing with a 7 is called a "Seven Out."

Those are the basic steps of play; many more points about craps do remain to be made.

When a shooter has thrown a point, a Buck, which is a round disc, black on one side, white on the other, is placed white side up on the point number on the table layout. The buck is placed black side up at the edge of the layout when there is no point in play.

Pass Line bets may generally only be placed when a Come-Out roll is about to be made, though there are some casinos which permit pass line bets at any time.

The same shooter continues throwing the dice until he either sevens out by throwing a 7 during a series roll or simply decides that he does not want to be the shooter any more.

If you need betting chips, the proper etiquette is for you to put your money on the layout before the dealer; never hand money directly to the dealer. The dealer is only one of the attendants at a craps table; another is the stick man, who moves 4 to 6 die in front of the shooter, who selects two, whereupon the stick man withdraws the remaining die.

"Point" numbers during a series pay off as follows:

  • a 6 or 8 pays 6 to 5
  • a 5 or 9 pays 3 to 2
  • a 4 or 10 pays 2 to 1
Those payoffs are relative to the number of possible ways of rolling the particular numbers.
  • Three possible combinations produce a 10
  • Three possible combinations produce a 4
  • Four possible combinations produce a 9
  • Four possible combinations produce a 5
  • Five possible combinations produce a 6
  • Five possible combinations produce an 8
  • Six possible combinations produce a 7, an advantage for the Come-Out roll, when you win with a 7, a disadvantage for the series rolls, when you lose with a 7.

From casino to casino, craps may differ somewhat in terms of minimum and maximum bets as well as in the type of bet permitted in the game. There follows a description of various frequently-encountered craps bets besides the Pass Line and Odds Bets described above. The range of possible bets which craps affords makes the game all the more interesting to its fans.

Don't Pass Line Bets - By placing your bet in the "Don't Pass Bar" on the table layout, you are betting that the Come Out bet will be either 2, 3 or 12, in other words, those numbers which would lose in the case of a Pass Line bet. Casinos generally only allow for two of the three numbers to pay off, with one of them being a "push," in which case your bet is returned to you. Whether it is 2 or 12 used as the push depends on the individual casino. Once a point is set, a Don't Pass Line bet wins if a 7 come up before the point does. Unlike a Pass Line Bet, a Don't Pass Line bet may be removed between throws of the dice. Winning pass line bets pay off 1 to 1.

Come Bets - A Come Bet may be made once a point is determined in a come out roll. For the first roll after the placement of a come bet, made in the "COME" bar on the craps table layout, the bet wins if the toss comes up 7 or 11 and loses if the toss comes up 2, 3 or 12. If the shooter rolls any of 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10, that number becomes the "come point." The dealer moves the bet from the "COME" bar to the matching come point number on the layout. If the come point number comes up before a 7, the come bet pays even money. If a 7 comes up before the come point number, the bet is lost. Like an unsettled Pass Line bet, an unsettled Come Bet may not be removed.

Don't Come Bets - A Don't Come Bet is the opposite of a Come Bet. Once a point has been set in a come out throw, a Don't Come Bet can be placed on the "Don't Come Bar" on the craps table layout. A Don't Come Bet wins if the shooter's next throw is a 3 or a 12 and looses if it is a 7 or 11. If the shooter throws a 2, the bet is returned to the player as a push. If the shooter rolls any of 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10, that number becomes the "Come Point." The dealer then moves the Don't Come bet from the "Don't Come Bar" to the box for the Come Point on the layout. Don't come bets win even money for a 7 and lose if the come point comes up. Unsettled Don't Come Bets may not be removed.

Come Odds Bets and Don't Come Odds Bets - These function similarly to the placing of odds bets on a Pass Line bet. The Odds Bets are placed just beneath the Come and/or Don't Come bets in a little bar under the point number on the layout. These Odds bets pay off according to the same schedule as regular odds bets.

Place Win Bets - A Place Win bet is made in the hopes that a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 will come up before a 7. Place Win Bets are set in a narrow, unmarked bar just beneath the box with the appropriate number on the craps table layout. Winning Place Win Bets in the main are paid according to the following ratios:
For the numbers 6 and 8, 7 to 6
For the numbers 5 and 9, 7 to 5
For the numbers 4 and 10, 9 to 5

Place Lose Bets - A Place Lose bet is made in the hopes that a 7 will come up before any of the numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10. Place Lose bets are placed in a narrow, unmarked bar just above the box with the appropriate number on the craps table layout. Winning Place Lose Bets in the main are paid according to the following ratios:
For the numbers 6 and 8, 4 to 5
For the numbers 5 and 9, 5 to 8
For the numbers 4 and 10, 9 to 5

Buy Bets - A Buy Bet is made in the hopes that a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 will come up before a 7. Buy Bets are set on the appropriate number on the craps table layout and are distinguished from Come Bets by being covered with a "BUY" marker. A commission of 5% is charged when placing buy bets. If a Buy Bet is lost or removed, the 5% commission is returned to the player. Winning Buy Bets are paid according to the following ratios:
For the numbers 6 and 8, 6 to 5
For the numbers 5 and 9, 3 to 2
For the numbers 4 and 10, 2 to 1

Lay Bets - A Lay Bet is made in the hopes that a 7 will come up before any of the numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10. Lay Bets are placed in the unmarked bar above the box for the appropriate number and is distinguished from a Don't Come Bet by having a "Lay" marker placed on top of it. A commission of 5% is charged when placing lay bets. Lay Bets may be removed. Winning Lay Bets are paid according to the following ratios:
For the numbers 6 and 8, 5 to 6
For the numbers 5 and 9, 2 to 3
For the numbers 4 and 10, 1 to 2

Field Bets - This is a bet that the following roll of the dice will produce a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12. Field Bets are placed in the "FIELD" section of the craps table layout prior to any one throw of the dice. If the throw produces a 3, 4, 9, 10 or 11, the field bet wins even money. If the throw produces a 2 or a 12, the field bet wins 2 to 1. If the throw produces a 5, 6, 7 or 8, the field bet is kissed good-bye.

Any 7 Bets - An Any 7 Bet is placed in the hopes that the next throw of the dice will produce a 7. It is set on the "Seven" field in the craps table layout. Should 7 come up, the bet pays off 4 to 1.

Any 11 Bets - An Any 11 Bet is placed in the hopes that the next throw of the dice will produce an 11. It is placed on the box in the craps table layout with an image of two dice adding up to 11. Should 11 come up, the bet pays off at 15 to 1.

Any Craps Bets - Here you are betting that the next throw will produce a 2, 3 or 12. Any Craps Bets are placed in the "Any Craps" box on the craps table layout. Winning bets pay off at 7 to 1.

Horn Bets - Horn Bets are wagered in the hopes that the next throw will produce a 2, 3, 11 or 12. The numbers 3 and 11 pay off 15 to 1, the numbers 2 and 12 pay off 30 to 1.

Hardway Bets - When the numbers 4, 6, 8 or 10 come up as doubles, such as two 4's equaling an 8, they are referred to as a "Hard Way" result. A Hardway Bet is placed in the hopes that a 4, 6, 8 or 10 will come out as a double before a 7 is rolled. Hardway bets pay off 7 to 1 for the numbers 4 and 10, and 9 to 1 for the numbers 6 and 8.

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