How to Play Online Craps: Beginner’s Guide to Craps Strategy

Walk into any casino floor on the planet, and there’s a good chance you’ll come across the roaring crowds at the craps tables — that’s how much attention this popular dice game draws among avid gamblers across the globe.

The exact origins of the game are unknown. However, the most widespread version regarding its creation states that it was developed by John H. Winn in 1910. Some historians believe craps derived from Al Dar — an Arabic dice game that was brought to Europe in the 12th century.

Whatever the case may be, one thing is certain — craps is the bread and butter of the casino industry, and its popularity has soared to even greater heights with the advent of iGaming. Online casinos have been able to replicate the authentic feel of land-based gaming venues and bring fast-paced craps action to the comfort of our homes.

Many consider craps a difficult game to learn, play, and master, but that isn’t necessarily the truth. Granted, craps rules are fairly complex, compared to those of roulette, blackjack, or some other casino classic. Still, with proper guidance and a little bit of practice, anyone can get the hang of it pretty quickly.

That’s what this guide is all about. We’ll help you learn the ropes and absorb all the fundamentals you need to get started. What’s more, we’ll uncover a few tips and strategies on how to win at online craps sites on a more consistent basis. Let’s get rolling!

How Do You Play Craps?

Before we get into the specifics, let’s start from the basics — what is craps? Craps is a dice game played with two dice and chips on a specifically designed table. The game takes place in rounds, with players taking turns in rolling the dice. The person who rolls the dice is called the shooter. As one shooter loses, he or she passes the dice to the next one in line, in a clockwise direction.

Now, let’s get to the gameplay, or at least the basics of it. The following segment will fill you in on how to play craps in Vegas, Monte Carlo, or any other casino across the board — the rules are universal, at least when it comes to the original variation of the game.

When you take a seat at the craps table or load the virtual version of the game and see the “ON” marker, that will indicate the game is underway and that you’ll have to wait for the next round. Conversely, the presence of the “OFF” market means that you can get in on the action.

Here’s how a typical craps round plays out:

  1. The round begins with players placing wagers on the outcome. They can pick between pass line and don’t pass line.
  2. The shooter comes forth with the come-out roll, which refers to the initial roll in the opening sequence.
  3. If the come-out roll amounts to 7 or 11 (a natural), pass bettors win. If the combined total is 2, 3, or 12, they lose, and the next shooter takes over. If you roll 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, that number is allocated to the point function.
  4. In case the point has been established, the shooter will keep rolling the dice until he gets the point number. If the shooter gets the point number before rolling a 7, all Pass Line bettors win an even-money payoff. If a 7 is rolled before the point number, the round is over, and the next shooter takes over.

You wanted to learn how to play craps — here it is, these are the core rules. To extend your newly-founded knowledge, we recommend that you take a look at this handy video guide below.

Types of Wagers You Can Make in Craps

To fully grasp the inner workings of craps, it’s important to get familiarised with different types of bets you can make in a craps game. Here’s the rundown:

  • Pass line: Pass line bet wins if the come-out roll is a natural (7 or 11). Alternatively, it comes up short if 2, 3 or 12 appear. If you roll 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, that number becomes a point, which needs to be rolled again in order for the pass line bettors to win. That needs to happen before a 7 is rolled.
  • Don’t pass line: This is the exact opposite of the pass line bet. You need 2 or 3 to win — if 7 or 11 appear, you lose. If the come-out roll is 12, all don’t pass line bets are pushed.
  • Come and don’t come: These are the equivalents of pass and don’t pass bets. The only difference is that they come into effect only when the point has been established.
  • Place win:  Place bettors collect a payout if the roll is 4 through 10 (with the exception of 7). If the place number is hit before 7, you win. Otherwise, you lose your bet.
  • Place lose: In contrast to the previous wager, place lose pays out when a 7 is hit before the number you’ve bet on.
  • Field: You will score a win on numbers 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, and 12. The numbers 2 and 12 pay double. If the shooter rolls 5, 6, 7, or 8, you lose.
  • Big 6 and big 8: The concept of these bets is self-explanatory — you win if the numbers 6 (big 6) or 8 (big 8) show up before a 7 is rolled. Both wagers pay even money.
  • Odds: This is a bet on a specific number you expect to show up before 7. It can be made only after the point has been established. The payouts vary between 6:5 and 2:1.

Depending on the craps variation, you can find a bunch of other side bets, including hardway, horn, and big 7, to name a few.

Craps Odds

You’re probably wondering what the likelihood of nailing these bets is and how much cash you will earn by doing so. The table below showcases the odds of hitting the wagers mentioned above as well as their respective payouts.

Wager Type True Odds Payout
Pass line and come 251 to 244 1 to 1
Don’t pass and don’t come 976 to 949 1 to 1
Odds (4 or 10) 2 to 1 2 to 1 (minus commission)
Odds (5 or 9) 3 to 2 3 to 2 (minus commission)
Odds (6 or 8) 6 to 5 6 to 5 (minus commission)
Place (4 or 10) 2 to 1 9 to 5
Place (5 or 9) 3 to 2 7 to 5
Place (6 or 8) 6 to 5 7 to 6
Field 5 to 4 1 to 1 (2 to 1 for 2 and 12)
Big 6 or 8 6 to 5 1 to 1

Strategies to Win at Craps

Before we proceed, it’s important to keep in mind that craps is a game predominantly based on chance. It has some skill element to it, but if lady luck isn’t by your side, it’s best to call it a day and try again another time.

With that in mind, there isn’t a foolproof craps strategy that would guarantee that you win every session. However, there are a few tips backed by math and common sense that could potentially help you ramp up your winnings at a craps table. Let’s take a look:

  • Hedge your pass/don’t pass wager with an odds bet: Betting the pass/don’t pass is the best approach you can take in craps. That said, you should consider backing these with an odds bet to reduce the house edge, thus increasing your overall chances of scoring a payout.
  • Avoid big 6 and big 8 bets: These wagers pay even money just like pass or don’t pass bets but are more tricky to hit. If you play it risky and chase the big bucks, you should go with long-shot bets like hardway.
  • Bankroll management: This piece of advice can apply to any form of gambling — if you find yourself on a cold streak, it’s best to leave the table and return some other time with your batteries recharged. Chasing losses in casino games is an endless cycle that may eventually lead to gambling addiction.

Craps Online vs Offline

Although there are no fundamental differences between playing craps on a gambling site and in a brick-and-mortar casino, each variant has its own charm. For instance, some players prefer the authentic casino experience that can’t quite be matched in the online realm. Others opt for the online version due to the availability and convenience it provides.

Here is our take on the matter:

Online Craps Pros

  • More flexible betting limits;
  • More accessibility;
  • Wider range of craps variants at your disposal;
  • Bankroll boosted via massive bonuses and promotions.

Online Craps Cons

  • No social aspect;
  • Less immersive gaming experience overall;
  • Overly complicated rules sometimes.

Final Thoughts

Craps is one of the most exciting casino games you can find. However, at first glance, the rules can be a bit tricky to understand, which is why we recommend that you play a few rounds in the practice mode before swinging into real money action.

Hopefully, our all-encompassing guide will help you get off to a flying start the next time you tackle craps. In the meantime, make sure to check out our informative craps page — it will take your newly acquired knowledge to the next level and also point you to the best craps casinos in the UK, where you are bound to have an exceptional gaming experience.

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