Craps for Beginners
Craps is a game that uses a pair of dice, meaning that the number outcomes possible are two through twelve. The layout of the table used in Craps may look confusing at first as there are several bets going on at once and because each end on the Craps table looks the same as the other, allowing for more people at any one table. To make matters simpler, only a single bet is made per player in the basic for of craps, and it is made on only a single spot on the Craps table.
Craps may look fast-paced and confusing because players have multiple bets on multiple spots on the table, but craps play can end up being slower than other games because the dice regularly have to be rolled several times before there can be a winner.
Choosing Where to Play
As a beginner it is often a good idea to start small. Start by finding a table that is $5 or less because you will discover that $10 is a lot to bet on craps, especially if you have multiple bets going on at once. When you find a table try to get an open spot. It is often considered bad form to force your way in if the table is crowded. Once you are at a table place your money on the table because the dealer can’t take it from you directly.
Placing a Bet
When placing a bet in craps, you are putting a bet down on the number you think the person responsible for throwing the dice will need to win. You don’t do anything other than placing a bet. The person rolling the dice does the work and you take it easy. Everyone at the table is betting on how fortunate the person rolling the dice will be. So you will never be competing against anyone at the table. The Casino is hoping that the person responsible for each dice roll will not be as fortunate. If the player that rolls the dice is doing well, everyone at the table will end up doing well.
The Pass Line Bet
The Pass Line bet is the basic bet in craps. The bet is set in the area on the table called the “Pass Line”. This bet is referred to as a series wager, which means that whoever rolls the dice might have to toss them several times before anyone can win or lose. When the person rolling the dice does, the first roll is referred to as the come-out roll and this is different than the remainder of the dice rolls in each series.
The Come-Out Roll
On the come-out roll, if the person shooting the dice rolls a seven or eleven, those are considered instant Pass Line successful bets and the individual session is over. This is called a single-toss series. If the shooter rolls a two, three or twelve, also referred to as Craps, those numbers are considered instant Pass Line losers and the individual session is over. This is also called a single-toss series. Any different result of the roll on the come-out roll is considered the shooter’s point and the series goes on.
When the person rolling establishes the point, the series goes on and the shooter continues rolling. The purpose of the game now is for the person rolling to get their point number again before rolling a 7. If any other number other than the point and 7 are rolled then nothing happens and the shooter continues to roll the dice. If the shooter rolls the point then the Pass Line bets win and the series ends. Once a 7 is rolled then the series ends and all Pass Line bets lose.
Once the point has been established, you can place additional chips behind your Pass Line bet. This is called laying “Odds”. The benefit of laying odds is increasing the bet to increase your payout. Basically, you have a chance to win more by laying odds. Just like the Pass Line bet, if a 7 is rolled before the point then you lose this bet. Because of the increased payouts on the Odds bet, there is no house advantage. That means that the Pass Line portion of your bet is not included in what you lose. You can only lay Odds if you have made a Pass Line bet.
Place Bet is a really popular type of bet to make in craps. When the shooter establishes what the point is you can Place Bet on another number by putting chips on that number, hoping that the shooter will roll that number before they roll a 7. If the shooter rolls the number that you have Place Bet you earn winnings and you can keep your bet on that number until you tell the dealer to “take it down.”
With Place Bets you need to know that the numbers 6 and 8 pay off at 7:6 while numbers 5 and 9 pay off at 7:5 and 4 and 10 pay off at 9:5. If you are playing on a $5 dollar table that means that 6 and 8 pay off at $6 dollars while 4, 5, 9 and 10 pay off at $5. The game is like that because the dealers would have to make change otherwise which most dealers won’t do. You are also allowed to remove the Place Bet at any time.
The hardest thing to remember for beginning craps players is that, once the point has been established on the come-out roll, rolling a 7 is an automatic loser. This is the opposite of rolling a 7 on the come-out role, which is an automatic winner. When the shooter establishes the point, they roll the dice until they roll the point or seven out. If any number other than the point or 7 is rolled then nothing happens and the shooter continues rolling.