How to Play Craps Game – A Detailed Guide on Craps Rules

how to play craps

18 minutes

Last Updated: May 13, 2022


How to Play Craps Game – A Detailed Guide on Craps Rules

If you do not know craps rules or have never played it before, this game might strike you as a bit overwhelming.

Dice are getting thrown all around the table, players are placing bets all over the place, and you can join the action at any point of the round.

However, if you learn how to play craps game, you are almost guaranteed to have fun!

It’s one of the most entertaining and action-packed casino games around, and certainly not for the faint of heart.

To help you get started with your craps experience, we’ve put together a detailed craps guide covering all of the vital betting rules and information.

By the time you finish reading this guide on how to play craps, you’ll know more than most other players who are betting on this game.

Craps Rules – A Rundown of The Basics

craps rules

Craps game is a bit similar to roulette to some extent because its main objective is easy to understand, as you’re just betting on the outcome of two rolled dice.

The entire betting process revolves around what combination of dice will be rolled.

This means that craps are essentially a guessing game, as there’s no way to impact or predict each roll’s outcome.

Each betting round in this game starts with the come-out roll.

If you’re the shooter, you’ll have to place a bet either on the pass line or don’t pass line to throw the dice in most casinos.

While one player may remain as the shooter for several rolls in a row, the shooter is usually changed at the end of each betting round.

If the two dice’s combined value is 2,3, or 12, this is known as “crapping out” on the come-out roll.

It means that the round is over. All players who’ve made pass line bets lose, while those who made don’t pass bets will win.

Additionally, if a 7 or 11 is rolled on the come-out roll, the round is also over.

If any other number combination is rolled on the come-out roll, it establishes a point equal to its value, advancing the game into the next stage.

The shooter continues to bet and roll with everyone else betting until the shooter either rolls a 7 or establishes the point value.

Following either of these two outcomes, the round is over, and a new come-out roll is required. At this time, it’s a standard practice in most venues for the shooter to pass the dice to another player if his rolling round ends with a 7.

That’s all there is to know, as these are all of the general rules of craps you have to know about this game before playing.

If you want to get into the more complex side of how to play craps and learn all of the other bets you can make, we’ll cover the types of craps bets in great detail in the next section.

How To Play Craps – Understanding Different Bets

how to play craps game

As we’ve established above, the basic premise of craps is very simple – you’re betting on the outcome of the roll of two dice.

So, why does this game seem so confusing for many casino enthusiasts?

Most players find craps game complicated because there are many different bets available at the table.

With that in mind, the bets themselves aren’t that complex to learn. It’s the fact that there’s such a variety of them available is that overwhelms many craps players, and some even choose to play simpler games like Ultimate Texa Holdem to save them the struggle.

Having said that, we’re here to make this a lot easier by going over all of the necessary details you need to know about each craps bet.

First, we’ll look at how to play craps by choosing the most popular types of bets, and then we’ll discuss odds and payouts for each.

The Pass Line Bet

The most common craps bet, and according to many craps players, the simplest one to make. This bet is so fundamental that, in some casinos, they may even require every player who wants to bet on craps to place a pass line bet to participate in the betting.

The rules for the pass line bet are straightforward.

If the outcome of the roll is 7 or 11, you win the pass line bet.

If a 2, 3, or 12 is rolled, you lose and have to place another bet.

When a point is established, the pass line bet essentially becomes a bet on that point. In other terms, if the point is hit, you win the bet. If a 7 is rolled first, you lose the pass line bet.

What makes this craps bet confusing for some players is that they can’t tell when a rolled 7 wins and when it loses.

To keep it as simple as possible, remember that if no point is established, a pass line bet wins with a 7. If the point is established, a rolled 7 loses your pass line bet.

The Don’t Pass Line Bet

To best understand how the don’t pass line bet works, remember that this bet operates almost entirely opposite to the previously covered “pass line” bet.

You win the don’t pass line bet if the roll’s outcome is 2 or 3 and lose if the outcome is 7 or 11.

If you get two sixes on the roll, the bet is “pushed,” meaning that it neither wins nor loses.

As with the pass line bet, it stays on the table after a point is established. If a 7 is rolled before the point is hit again, you win.

This means that you’re winning or pushing when those that made the pass line bet are losing. Conversely, when those who made the pass line bet are winning, you’re losing.

The Come Bet

Similar to the pass line bet, the come bet can be confusing for beginner craps players. The most significant difference between the come bet and the pass line bet is that this bet is made after the point is already established.

It’s best to look at the come bet as a mini-game in the overall scheme of things.

If a 2, 3, or 12 is rolled before a point is established, you lose the bet.

Oppositely to this, if a 7 or 11 is rolled, you win the bet. That said, hitting the 7 on the come bet isn’t as satisfying as it is with some other craps bets.

When you win the come bet, you’re losing the pass line and odds bets, which you likely also made.

The Don’t Come Bet

Just like the don’t pass line bet is the pass line bet’s counterpart, the don’t come bet is the opposite of the come bet.

If you get 7 or 11 on the roll, the don’t come bet loses. If a 2 or 3 is rolled before a point is established, you win the bet. Lastly, if two sixes are rolled, it’s a push.

Any other number establishes the point for the don’t come bet.

Once the point is established for this bet, you’re hoping that you get a 7 on the roll before the point is hit again. Just like the don’t pass line bet, this one is a great choice to play if you want to get antagonized by other players around the table.

Odds Bets

Once the point is established, you’ll often get the opportunity to place additional bets aside from the ones mentioned above. These extra options are known as odds bets.

Since odds bets are basically side bets, you win them the same way you win any other main bet.

There are four types of odds bets:

  • pass line odds
  • don’t pass line odds
  • come odds
  • and don’t come odds.

An interesting thing to remember about odds bets is that you get paid in true odds.

This means that the house doesn’t have the edge over you in these bets, which is extremely important in the long run. Because there’s no house edge, the maximum betting limits for odds bets are often capped at a specific amount, which varies from casino to casino.


Hardway bets are certainly one of the most exciting bets in craps but can also be challenging to hit.

In simple terms, a hardway in a craps game is when you hit a number with the same number on each of the two dice.

For example:

  • a hard 4 would be two 2s,
  • a hard 6 would be two 3s,
  • and so on.

If you hit the number with any other combination, it’s not a hardway.

Another important aspect of this bet you should remember is that you have to hit your hardway combination before the next 7 is rolled.

Otherwise, you lose your bet. When it comes to the specific betting options, you can bet on a hard 4, hard 6, hard 8, or a hard 10. Not all hardways payout equally, which you can see in the detailed table later on the page.

The Field Bet

This is a bet not many casual players are familiar with, despite being a very simple play. The field bet is always settled on the next roll.

The rules of this bet are very straightforward.

  • If a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12 is rolled, you’ll win the bet.
  • If a 5, 6, 7, or 8 is rolled, you lose the field bet.

The bet pays out 1:1 on all numbers except 2 and 12, in which case you’re paid at a rate of 2:1

Prop Bets

Aside from all of the above, you can also make several proposition bets when playing craps game.

All prop bets in this game are settled immediately on the next roll.

It is worth knowing that prop bets come with a higher house edge but also offer higher payouts.

If you’re considering making prop bets to spice up your experience, here are a few most common examples:

  • Any 7 – You win if 7 is rolled next, with a payout of 4:1.
  • Any 11 – You win if 11 is rolled next. The payout for this bet is 15:1
  • Boxcar – You win if 12 is rolled next, with a payout of 30:1.
  • Aces – You win if 2 is rolled next. It comes with the same payout as Boxcar, at 30:1.

Craps Odds and Payouts – Comparing Different Bets

how to play craps

Now that we’ve explained all of the types of craps bets, let’s move to another important aspect – understanding payouts for each of them.

Since craps are a luck-based game, just like slots, you can’t control the numbers you roll.

That said, understanding craps odds and possible payouts of each type of bet you make will go a long way in ensuring you’re more successful at the game.

This detailed table will help you get a better understanding of each bet, its payout, and the expected house edge that comes with it:

Types of Craps Bet House Edge Payout
Laying Odds on Don’t Pass/Don’t Come 6 and 8 0% 5 to 6
Laying Odds on Don’t Pass/Don’t Come 5 and 9 0% 2 to 3
Laying Odds on Don’t Pass/Don’t Come 4 and 10 0% 2 to 1
Taking Odds on Pass/Come 6 or 8 0% 6 to 5
Taking Odds on Pass/Come 5 or 9 0% 3 to 2
Taking Odds on Pass/Come 4 or 10 0% 2 to 1
Don’t Pass 1.36% 1 to 1
Don’t Come 1.41% 1 to 1
Come 1.41% 1 to 1
Pass 1.41% 1 to 1
Place 6 or 8 1.52% 7 to 6
Lay 4 and 10 2.45% 19 to 41
Lay 5 and 9 3.23% 19 to 31
Place 5 or 9 4.00% 7 to 5
Lay 6 and 8 4.00% 19 to 25
Buy 6 and 8 4.76% 23 to 21
Buy 5 and 9 4.76% 29 to 21
Buy 4 and 10 4.76% 39 to 21
Field 2 and 12 5.56% 2 to 1
Field 3, 4, 6, 10 or 11 5.56% 1 to 1
Place 4 or 10 6.67% 9 to 5
Big 6 and 8 9.09% 1 to 1
Hardways 6 and 8 9.09% 10 to 1
Hardways 4 and 10 11.11% 8 to 1

Why Play Craps Games

why craps dice game

Craps is undoubtedly one of the most popular casino games globally, and there is a good reason for that.

It’s been around for centuries and is only getting more prevalent among players as time goes by.

If you’re considering whether this casino game is right for you, here are some of the most significant reasons why you should play craps:

  • Extremely Exciting – There’s no way of going around it, craps is one of the most exciting betting games you’ll ever play. The action is quick, the betting is fun, and you can quickly win a lot of money. Moreover, unlike many other casino games, most notably blackjack and roulette, where there’s significant buildup, and you have to wait for each outcome, with craps, the action is non-stop.
  • Very Social – Aside from providing you with an adrenaline rush on every fast-paced roll, craps are also among the most social casino games out there. What makes craps so special is that it isn’t only fun for you as an individual player. It’s a game in which the whole table will be on the same side, cheering for the same outcome. Of course, if you want to make it extra spicy, you can also go against the grain and bet against all other players at the table.
  • No House Edge – You’ve heard of the saying “The house always wins,” meaning that the casino always has an edge on you, no matter how well or how much you play. But, this isn’t the case with craps. As we’ve shown in the table above, there are a few bets you can focus on in the long run, in which there’s no house edge.
  • Many Ways to Bet – Drawing the parallel back to blackjack, craps is not nearly as linear as this game in terms of betting options. Unlike blackjack, in which your only goal is to get to 21 without busting, craps offers you several dozen betting options you can choose from. The amount of flexibility and control you have over your money and choice in craps can hardly be matched by any other casino game.

Top Tips for Craps Beginners

craps game tips

If you’ve never played craps before, you’re probably having questions on where to start or what to do to maximize your craps experience.

With that in mind, we’ve outlined the most critical beginner tips to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible when you learn how to play craps game and give it a try.

Here are some suggestions for playing craps that will help you have a more enjoyable experience when learning your way around.

Craps Tip #1: Know your Craps Bets

The first and most important thing to learn before you start playing is how the game works. The fact you’re reading this craps guide has already put you on a great track. Just make sure to remember everything you learn.

In addition to this, you must understand each different bet you’re making.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should understand even the most niche types of bets on the table. Just make sure to grasp the essential bets to kick off your experience successfully.

Craps Tip #2: Understand the House Edge

In line with the previous tip, understanding every bet’s house edge is an integral part of the craps game.

If you’re an absolute beginner, consider sticking to bets that have a house edge of a maximum of 3%. Many craps bets meet these criteria, which we’ve highlighted in the table above.

Craps Tip #3: Always Stay Disciplined and Focused

Compared to most other casino games, craps is very fast-paced. In part, this is what makes it so exciting, but also something that can make it dangerous if you’re not paying close attention to your bets.

When playing the craps game, it’s crucial to remember that you cannot beat it.

This is why you should never make decisions based on emotion and always bet only the amount of money you can afford to lose in case of a bad roll.

Craps Tip #4: Learn from Others at the Table

If you’re a complete beginner, you may find it useful to follow what more experienced players are doing.

You can also follow the dealer’s advice, just take it with a pinch of salt, as even though they understand the game, it doesn’t mean that all of their advice will help you every time.

Craps Tip #5: Quit While you’re Ahead

Lastly, always remember to quit while you’re ahead. If you’ve had a good run, know when to stop, as the more you play, the bigger your chances of losing are.

In line with that, if you’ve had a bad run, never chase your losses. If you’ve already lost your limit, you’re more likely to lose more than recover if you continue chasing bets.

A Quick Sum-Up Of Craps Game

Most people who have never played craps before don’t quite understand all of the factors that make it. This is just like comparing poker vs. Texas Holdem, and if you do not know the difference, you are not likely to succeed.

The majority of players go into the game without any knowledge of craps rules or how it works, hoping to learn the steps along the way.

But, despite it being a luck-based casino game, craps require great understanding and knowledge from the player to be rewarding.

If you’ve taken the time to read this entire guide, you’re now equipped with enough knowledge to be successful in your ventures.

Just remember, playing craps should be easy, fun, and relaxing.

You should never stress about anything involved with this game. No matter how much you learn of the game, playing craps is still gambling, so make sure to play responsibly. Only bet with the money you can afford to lose and make sure to keep in mind all of the tips we’ve shared with you on this page.

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