Craps playing basics
An understanding of craps playing basics is essential as playing craps without a sound knowledge of the basics is a rapid way of emptying your wallet. As part of our craps playing basics we show you how to play craps, and acquaint you with the mechanics of the game of craps and how to place your bets.
Craps has a plethora of bets that you can choose to make. Many of these represent bad value for you and good value for the casino. Check out craps bets to learn both the available bets and the sucker bets to avoid.
If you look at our rough sketch of a craps table layout, you will see two lines close together and parallel to the edge of the table on the side the two dealers stand on. Each dealer will handle the money and betting on his / her end of the table. Bets in the form of chips can be placed between these lines. Whilst you can place many of the bets yourself, a place or free odds bet must be placed via the dealer. It is the dealer who is responsible for settling bets under the ever watchful eye of the boxman. He is the person sitting in the middle of the table between the two dealers usually with a huge stack of cash in front of him. On a busy night there may be two boxmen seated in the middle of the table each closely watching one dealer. Opposite the boxmen is a stickman.
The shooter is simply a fellow player who, for the time being, is throwing the dice. In the game of craps, there are rules covering the way the dice must be thrown - see craps for a brief description of this point.
The craps table is just a big table with a green felt top on which a grid has been neatly and sometimes artistically painted or printed. The table has walls about two feet (600 mm high) around it and these walls cause the dice to bounce off them. The players also lean on the top of the walls. These tables usually accommodate at least twelve and up to twenty-four players.
Craps Table layout
If you look at the table layout very carefully, You will notice that whilst each end looks identical at first glance, the order of the digits from 4 to 10 are reversed. The rest is normally identical. The layout is virtually the same throughout the world but the odds for the bets may change from casino to casino.
The Come Out Roll in Craps
At the beginning of a new game, the stick man will first offer the dice to the player closest to the left side of the boxman. From then on, the dice will be offered to players in a clockwise direction around the table. The new shooter will select two dice. He or she must make one of two bets namely a 'pass' or 'don't pass' bet before throwing the dice. After selecting one of the compulsory bets, the shooter can make other bets if he or she chooses to do so. Players wishing to bet must place their bets before the dice are thrown.
In Craps, the new shooter's first throw is called a come out roll. This is considered the most important roll in craps. The shooter is required to throw the dice so that they cannon or bounce off the wall on the end of the table. If that is not done, the shooter will be required to throw harder on the next roll and if that request is not met, the boxman will not allow that shooter to throw again. Why? It is relatively easy with a little practice to lob the dice on set points on the table and thereby 'cheat'.
Come out Roll Bets
If you are a 'pass line' bettor (also called right bettors as you are betting with the dice) and the shooter throws a 7 or an 11 on the come out roll, you are an automatic winner but if the throw is a 2, 3 or 12 it is craps, which is an automatic looser!
If you bet against the dice (also called a wrong bettor) then the winning result is the opposite of that for the right bettor except that the 12 is generally a 'standoff' but a few casinos use the 2 for the 'standoff.'
When the come out roll is an automatic decision, that is a 2, 3, 7, 11 or a 12 (or a 2 when used in lieu of the 12) bets will be settled and the next roll will be a come out roll.
When a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 is thrown the dealers will place their marker buck, white side up, on the square representing the number thrown.
The shooter continues shooting, until that point is repeated or a seven is thrown. A new shooter takes over and the come out roll is repeated.
A seven is a winning bet for the 'don't pass' betors.
Craps Marker Bucks
The standing dealers have marker bucks, which are just plastic discs used to indicate the point established by the roll. The black side is labeled 'off' and the white side is 'on'. If a point is established, the dealer will place the buck white side up in the correct numbered box to indicate the point.
If you have not already done so, checkout our Crap bets, wagers, terminology page before moving on to the more advanced sections because you need to know this before you start to play for real.