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Learn How to Play Craps

Published May 24, 2004 in GAMBLING
By Ryan Parsons | Campus Resource

If you are looking to have fun while gambling in Vegas, there is no better game than craps. However, most people are afraid or never take the time to learn the die rolling sport. The game offers some of the best odds in Vegas along with some of the best times. So, lets take some time to learn how to play craps.

Playing Craps
The game of craps has two different levels. Each game starts as 'off' and the roll during this period is know as 'coming out' roll. Once the point is established [explained later] the game becomes 'on' and the shooter tries to re-roll the established point before he/she rolls a seven. We will take it a step at a time.

Get 'Off' the Table
During this time you will see a dealer 'puck' that says 'off' on it and is usually black [usually white when game is 'on'; can be seen on above picture]. During this period you place a bet on the Pass Line. Usually your bet on the Pass Line is your minimum bet [such as $10.00]. What this bet means is this: If a 7 or 11 rolls you win that amount of money and keep your Pass Line bet. So, if an 11 rolls you win $10 while also retaining your initial $10 on the pass line. A 7 or 11 may roll many times before a point is created [4,5,6,8,9,10]. So, you can win a good starting amount of cash before the game even begins. However, if a 2,3, or 12 is rolled, you will lose the money you have bet on the pass line; for example sake, $10.

You may also do sidebets during this period [pretty common] to insure your bet or to win additional funds.

  • Bet any amount on 11 rolling out [shout "Dollar Yo" to place dollar on bet; location of bet shows an 'e' on the table]: This bet is there to even earn you more money and lasts for only one roll. If an 11 is rolled you win whatever you placed on your pass line plus $15 for every $1 you bet on 11.
  • Bet on craps [shout "Dollar Craps" to place dollar on bet; location on table is 'c' with circle around]: This is a one time bet on 2,3, or12. If any of these numbers come up you earn $7 per $1 bet. However, you still lose your pass line bet if any of these numbers come up.
  • Bet Aces [shout"Dollar Aces"]: A one time bet on a 2 being rolled; two aces. If a two is rolled you lose your pass line bet but get $31 for every $1 you bet on aces.
  • Bet 12: One time bet that also pays $31 per $1 bet. You still lose pass line bet if this number is rolled.
  • Bet 3: One time bet that pays $16 per $1 bet. You still lose pass line bet if this number is rolled.

    At times, betting craps, aces, 12, or 3, are just ways to insure your pass line bet. So if you bet $20 on your pass line and $2 on aces and aces do come out on the roll, you lose your $20 pass but win $62 making a gain of approximately $40.
  • You will continue to roll while the game is 'off' until the dice roll a 4,5,6,8,9, or 10. Once one of these numbers are rolled you just established the 'point'. So, while the game is 'off' the shooter rolls a 6, now the game is 'on' and the point is 6. You will not win back your pass line bet until another 6 is rolled.

    Lets Get it 'On'!
    Before we begin with playing while the game is on please take a look at the table image to the left to use a resource during this lesson. Please not that the payouts listed under the hardways [such as 9 to 1] are incorrect according to Vegas table standards.

    To Start, Play the Pass
    OK, your shooter just rolled a 6 to make the game 'on' and the 'point' 6. The first thing you do is put 'odds' on your bet behind the pass line. Why do I put 'odds' you say? For one, 'odds' pay out much better than the pass line. If the 'point' six is hit you get whatever you bet on the pass, such as $10 for a $10 bet. But 'odds' pays a little different. For every $5 you bet behind the pass line ['odds'], you get $6, a gain of an extra dollar. This payout changes for each point number. So, if you are just starting to learn craps, the pass line and behind pass line ['odds'] bets are the best place to start. Once you get comfortable with betting pass, we can move on. However, here is a payouts chart for 'odds' behind the pass.

    Point (#)
    Bet Increment/Payout
    4,10 Bet Any Amount/Pays $2 to $1
    5,9 Bet even $ (ex. $6 or $10)/Pays $3 to $2
    6,8 Bet $5 increments/ Pays $6 to $5

    I'm Passed this Place
    Now that you have the Pass Line figured out, we will move on to 'place bets.' Place bets can be made at any time and occur when the game is 'on'. If the 'point' is hit while you have place bets out they are pushed to the next round or 'point.' You can create a place bet at any time and also pull a place bet at any time. When making a bet on a place (4,5,6,8,9,10), you are betting that the number you bet on will roll before the 7. If the 7 rolls first, you lose that bet. But if your bet rolls first you can collect your money or 'press' your bet (such as double your bet it will roll again).

    Each place bet pays out slightly differently due to the likelyhood of your bet rolling before a 7. Because of this, you also have to bet in set increments on each number. Increments go as follows:

    Place Bet (#)
    Bet Increment/Payout
    4,10 Bet $5 increments/Pays $9 to $5
    5,9 Bet $5 increments/Pays $7 to $5
    6,8 Bet $6 increments/ Pays $7 to $6

    Imagine you want to make some place bets (remember that your point in this example is 6), so I place $5 on the number 4 and $6 on the number 8. During the game 8 rolls. I decide to press my bet so I now have won $1 (since I get $7 for $6 bet) and now have $12 bet on 8. The number 8 rolls again and I win another $14, this time I decide to pull of my $12 bet as well. After this, the point, 6, is hit and then game ends. I had $10 on the pass and $10 odds meaning I get a payout of $22 ($10 plus $6 for every $5 bet behind pass, odds). My place bet of $5 on the number 4 remains till the next round where I can either pull the bet or let it remain.

    Place bets are the second easiest bet to learn behind playing the Pass Line. You will slowly get used to playing place bets and may encounter difficulties betting the proper increments (dealers are more than happy to help you out with figuring your bets; they may even suggest other proper bets). Once you have place bets figured you can move onto 'come bets.'

    'Come' on Baby!
    This is one of the more difficult aspects of Craps, so you should have all the basics down before attempting come bets. Come bets are almost like creating your own Pass point as it basically follows the same rules of playing the Pass Line. The come bet, like the pass line, offers the best pay outs in craps (differences in payouts can be noticed in the two charts above).

    During anytime while the game is 'on,' I place $10 in the COME area. If 7 or 11 are rolled I win the $10 that I bet, so I come away with $20. If 2,3, or 12 are rolled I lose my $10. Ok, the rules are exactly like the Pass Line when the game is 'off'. When you place a bet on the COME, the game for that bet is currently 'off,' and follows the same standards that the pass line bet would. If the next roll is 4, then my come bet moves to the number 4 and is now 'on.' I can now place odds on top of the $10 for even more payout. So, lets say I place $10 on top of the $10 that moved to the 4 spot. If 4 hits I win a total of $30 ($10 even for initial $10 and then $20 for the odds on the additional $10; refer to pass line payout chart above, number 4 pays 2 to 1). The advantage to playing the come bet is that little gain in odds payout. The payout of come bets is better than the payout of place bets.

    Other Info
    The 'odds' payouts is what gives you the advantage in craps so take advantage of 'backing' your bets. Most casinos will show signs that say something like this: 3X, 4X, 5X Odds. What this means is that you have a maximum on the odds bet you can place. Please refer to the below chart:

    Point (#)
    Max Odds/On $10
    4,10 5X / Bet $50 odds max
    5,9 4X / Bet $40 odds max
    6,8 3X / Bet $30 odds max

    So, if I have $20 on the pass line and 6 becomes the point, the most I can put towards 'odds' (behind the pass line) is $60. By doing so, if the point were to hit before 7, I would win $92 ($20 plus $72).

    Hard Ways
    You can also bet numbers (4,6,8,10) the hard way [min $1 bet]. For you to win a pair of numbers must come up for the number you bet on. If you bet a dollar on 6 the hard way, both dice must show a 3. Your bet lasts until your number (saying you bet 8 the hard way) or 7 is rolled. Therefore, the two ways you can lose on this bet is if 8 is rolled 'soft' (such as 5/3 or 6/2) or 7 is rolled. Hard ways pay 10 to 1 for number 6/8 and 8 to 1 for numbers 4,10. The payout is less for 4 and 10 because less ways to roll a 4 or 10 so less ways to lose that bet.

    The field is a simple bet that pays even except when two or 12 is rolled, which pays 2 to 1.

    First, never bet 'Big 8' or 'Big 6', they payout worse then just placing. Now go have fun at the tables. The best time to learn craps in Vegas or other gambling areas is between 1:00 am and 6:00 am. The tables are empty and the dealers can take more time to walk you through the steps. Within a few hours you will become a champion and never want to play anything else.


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