Even though it's played with just two dice, Craps is a thrilling game, and probably the most exciting place to be at a casino. Craps is also the name given to a losing roll.
As with many casino games, the origins of Craps are disputed, with one story being that Roman soldiers used to make dice out of pigs' knuckles and roll them onto their shields, leading to the term 'roll the bones.' Another legend is that Sir William of Tyre wanted to stop his knights from getting bored during a siege and invented the game as a way to entertain them.
Craps slowly developed during the middle ages and beyond, until Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny, a French landowner, brought it to Louisiana, where it became very popular. In common with many other games that flourished in the New World, Craps kept some of its' old terms and rules, while adopting some new ones developed by the locals.
During World War II, the game of Street Craps began to take off, with soldiers passing the time by rolling the dice across army blankets, in a similar way to the ancient Roman practice.
At about the same time, Casino Craps was being developed into the game we know today. John H. Winn, known as 'the father of modern Craps' added some new betting options including the 'Right' and 'Wrong' bets, 'Don't Pass', and the rule that allows players to bet either with the shooter or against them.
When a number of states, notably Nevada, began to legalize gambling, Craps quickly became popular. Since the online casino revolution of the last 15 years began, it has found new fans across the world, and although it has never become as favored as games like Poker or Blackjack, new ways of playing via social networks are bound to attract more players to this very sociable pastime.
Unsurprisingly, this colorful game has some equally interesting vocabulary attached to it, with each number on both the dice and the table having their own Craps names, which can vary depending on where the game is played. Below is a list of common terms that should be learned before playing:
Aces: Betting that the following roll of the dice will have a value of 2.
Any Craps: Betting that the following roll of the dice will have a value of either 2, 3 or 12.
Any Seven: Betting that the following roll of the dice with have a value of 7.
Boxcars: Betting that the next roll of the dice will have a value of 12.
C & E: Betting that the next roll of the dice will have a value of 'craps', meaning a 2, 3 or 12.
Come Out Roll: The initial roll of the dice which, depending on the outcome, can set the point number for subsequent Pass and Don't Pass bets.
Don’t Come Bet: Betting that a 7 will occur before the point number appears again.
Don’t Pass Bet: Betting that before a 7 is rolled, a craps or 7 will appear.
Easy Way: Betting that the value shown on the dice will be a 4, 6, 8 or 10, but that each dice will have a different value.
Field Bet: Betting on the table section containing the numbers 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, and 12.
Hardway: Betting that the value shown on the dice will be a 4, 6, 8 or 10 with both dice showing the same value, such as 2/2 or 4/4.
Hi-Lo: Betting that the lowest, or highest possible numbers, namely a 2 or a 12 will be rolled next.
Natural: This is when the Come Out Roll results in a value on the dice of 7 or 11.
Odds Bet: An extra bet that can be made when making a Pass Line wager.
Off: A bet that is not in play for the following roll of the dice.
On: A bet that is in play for the following roll of the dice.
Place Bet: Betting that a set number will appear before the shooter rolls another 7.
Pass Line Bet: Betting on the Pass Line during the initial Come Out Roll.
Point: The number that is set during the Come Out Roll.
To begin a round of Craps, the shooter must first place a bet of at least the minimum value either on the Pass Line or the Don't Pass Line. They then throw the dice across the table, ensuring that the dice bounce off the wall at the far end before coming to a stop. When playing an online craps game, this is done by the software. The role of shooter moves around the table with each round, although this is not necessary during an online game.
There are two distinct parts to a round of Craps, the Come Out Roll and the Point. The Come out Roll is first, and if it results in a 2, 3, or 12, (craps out), players will lose any Pass Line bets. If it results in a 7 or 11, (a natural), the Pass Line bets win. All other results, (4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10) establish a point number and part two of the game begins. The dice are rolled over and over until either the point number appears, when Pass Line bets win, or a 7 appears and the Pass Line bets lose.
There are three sections to a Craps table. The main area in the middle features the proposition bets, such as the one-roll and hardways bets. The sections around the sides hold the Field, Place, Odds, Pass, Don't Pass, Come and Don't Come betting sections.
There are probably more systems and strategies for playing Craps than any other game, as it can be complicated to play, and these strategies range from the simple to the highly advanced. New players should first look at some of the more basic ones to get started with, and only place small bets until they have gained some confidence.
The Pass Line bet is the easiest to make, and is placed during the Come Out roll. It wins if a 7 or 11 is rolled, and loses on a 2, 3 or 12. If a point number is made, it wins if that number is rolled again before a 7 appears.
Beginners can also try the popular strategy of making a series of Come Line bets after a Pass Line bet. Simply follow this pattern: Make a Pass Line bet, then after the Come Out roll make a single or double Odds bet. Then make a Come Line bet and after the next roll repeat the Odds and Come Line bets.
- The house edge varies depending on the bets made. The Pass Line bet gives the casino an advantage of around 1.41%, and while other bets have a greater payout potential, the house edge is correspondingly bigger.
- Many online casinos now offer their customers a free play version of Craps, and this is a recommended way to learn this complicated game without risking any of your own funds. Once you have gained enough confidence, then start making real bets.
- Only make some of the less risky bets when first playing for real money. These include the Pass Line and Come Line bets, and once you have fully understood these, then move on to the riskier proposition bets.
- Always remember that in any casino game it is just you against the casino. Although Craps is a very sociable game, you should try to ignore other players results as they have no effect on the outcome of your game. By all means have fun and make friends, but don't get distracted by them.