Craps is one of the most popular and enjoyable casino games. It’s a dice game that you can play against the banks or other players. Coming back from the 12th century from the Arabic game with dice called “Al-Zahr” we now have the opportunity to play Craps.
Craps Game History
In this dice game, the players make bets on the outcome of the roll or a series of rolls from the pair of dice. In the first time players wager money against each other than when the game started to be played at casinos the players had a chance to bet their money against the bank (also known as “table Craps”).
When English crusaders brought the game to Europe it was known as “hazard”. This game of dice had immense popularity in Western Europe, especially France. In the 18th century, French sailors introduced the game of “hazard” for the first time in America more precisely in New Orleans.
A dice roll of two was called crabs by the French sailors, but for the people from New Orleans who watched the game with curiosity, the word crabs sounded more like craps and so the name of the game was created.
At first, it was played on the streets using the stair-stoop of the sidewalk as a backstop, or without a backstop depending on the choice of the players where they usually crouched over a sidewalk.
This is why the French used their word crapaud that means toad as the resemblance of the crouched players. With the rise of Las Vegas gambling establishments in the 20th century came the popularization of craps. For a beginner in a casino, craps can be an intimidating game.
At the first glance, the table has about a hundred different kinds of bets, alongside the players who are shouting commands as to what seems like a foreign language and on top of all these things the pace of the game is too fast for even asking a question.
Craps Game Rules
When you first get encountered with Craps at the casino you’ll notice that all the players and casino employees are standing around the large carps table, there are cases when players may sit regarding some medical reasons. The bets are made with chips on a specially made table with a layout – cloth that displays the numerous betting possibilities. The table has the shape of a bathtub and can be in different sizes depending on the casino house.
It is operated by up to four casino employees: the Boxman, two base dealers, and a Stickman. The Boxman is the only seated employee regarding this game, he is behind the casino’s bank supervising the dealers and regulates the number of chips at the table.
On either side of the Boxmen stand the two base dealers who collect and pay the bets from players who stand in their half of the table. Across the table from the boxman stands the Stickman who takes and pays bets in the center of the table, while announcing the results of each dice roll moving them across the layout with an extended wooden stick.
In casino Craps, you play against the bank. Many people consider Craps to be a complicated game, but you can actually go a long way, even with just the basic rules and strategy. On the other hand, many refuse to even give it a try, which is a pity considering that craps have some of the best casino bets with the lowest house edge.
In fact, Craps is the only casino table game that has a bet with zero house edge. Craps is played with two dice, each having six sides featuring numbers from one to six, therefore each roll of the dice will result in a number ending up to a maximum of 12.
Craps tables are usually double layouts which are exact mirrors of each other. It’s barely duplicated in this manner to allow more players at one table. For beginners that want to learn Craps table might look confusing due to the high number of bets that can be made. However, in order to successfully play Craps all you need to learn is a few basic bets as the complicated ones have higher casino edge and are not recommended anyway.
How to play craps
If you look at the table, you’ll see a puck which has both a black side and a white side. If the white side is up - then the game is off. If the black side is up, then it means that the game has not yet started. There is only one player that is actually playing and that’s the shooter. The shooter is the one holding the dice.
All other people at the table will be betting either for or against the outcome of the shooter’s roll of the dice. The game starts when the shooter rolls a dice for the first time, which is called “the come-out roll”. If a 7 or an 11 comes out, that’s an automatic win for the shooter.
However, if he rolls a 2, 3 or a 12 then he automatically loses the game. 2, 3 and 12 are called “Craps”. Finally, if he shoots a number other than those mentioned before, the puck is flipped over and the real game begins to decide whether the player wins or not.
The puck will then be placed on a number on the table corresponding to the number rolled on the dice. For example, if the shooter rolled a 6 then the puck will be placed on a number 6 square and the number 6 becomes the point.
When the game starts, the set of the rule change. This time you keep rolling the dice until a 7 or the point comes out. If the point comes out before the 7, the shooter wins.
If the 7 comes out first, the shooter loses and the dice are passed on to the next player. So let’s do a quick recap. On the come out roll a 7 or 11 wins, 2, 3 or 12 loses and the other number left [4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10] become the point and the real game starts. After the point is established rolling a 7 is a loss and rolling the point is a win for the shooter.
Craps Betting Rules
Craps might seem confusing because there are so many bets that can be made. Bets are made by the shooter and by the spectators, but only the shooter is required to make one. The bets in Craps are against or for any possible outcome of the dice roll.
There are general bets as in win or lose, or there are very specific bets such as “Craps”, “Snake Eyes”, “Ace Deuce” and so on. Specific bets have high payouts, whereas general bets pay out even.
However, for beginners is important to stay away from specific bets as the odds are against you and the Casino house edge is high. The basic bets in Craps are the “Pass line bet” or the “Don’t pass line bet”, the “Come line bet” or the “Don’t come line bet” and the “Odds bet”.
The “Pass line bet” means that you’re betting for a 7 or an 11 during the come-out roll in which case you win. If a 2, 3 or 12 are rolled, you lose. If the point is rolled then the pass line bets are kept in place.
You win if the shooter rolls the point before the seven’s out. “Don’t pass line bet” is exactly the opposite of the pass line bet and is rarely used even though it has a slightly lower casino house edge.
The reason for that is that most players are making the pass line bet and betting on the “don’t pass line” would simply contribute to a negative atmosphere at the table.
“Come line bet” can be made after the point is established and is essentially the same as the pass line. The difference is that you can establish another point and have several points at the same time.
Of course, if the shooter rolls a 7, you lose. The “Don’t come line bet” is again the exact opposite. Another basic bet is the “Odds bet” which compliments the “Pass line”/”Don’t pass line”, “Come line”/”Don’t come line” bets.
It can be made after the point is established. You can bet that the point comes out before the 7 does. This is the best bet you can make at any casino table game because the casino will pay you the correct odds on this game with zero house edge.
Casinos specify the maximum amount of odds bet based on the pass line bet. For example, three times odds mean that players can place an odds bet equal to triple the amount of the pass line bet.
The higher the maximums odds bet, the lower the casino advantage. 3X odds bet decreases the pass line bet casino advantage from 1.41% to less than 0.5%. For example, let’s assume that you make a 10 dollar bet on the pass line bet.
A 5 is rolled and the point is set to 5 on the come out roll. In our example, the maximum 3X odds bet is allowed so you make a 30 dollar odds bet. The next roll again is a 5. You win even money for the pass line bet which is 10 dollars and correct odds (odds that 5 will be rolled) which is 3:2 on the odds bet which equals another $45 for a total of $55 win in this round solely.