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Learn to Play Craps and Win Big

Playing the Game

When you first see a craps table in action, with a dozen or more players all yelling, your first impression might be that it's a wild and confusing game and more complicated than online blackjack or even online roulette. That's partially because this game seems to bring out players' emotions more than any other. Also, as you look at the layout of the table, you might think you will never learn this complex game. Craps can be wild and noisy, but it really is a simple game to play. At first you might not agree and think that it is better to play roulette, but after I show you the correct and simple ways to bet and play craps, you'll wonder why other players make so many bad and foolish bets. To help convince you, I'll give you a brief description of a craps betting and playing scenario that you can use in any casino, at any time.

The Making of a Craps Player

When a new player is given the dice for the first time, I suggest that you put a $5 bet on the pass line (the ribbon-like area that runs around the table layout), directly in front of you. This is known as a come-bet. (This first throw of dice is called a "come-out roll.") When you do this, both you and the shooter will be hoping for a 7 or 11 to roll; if it happens, you win! On the other hand, if a 2, 3, or 12, also known as "craps" comes out, you lose. If any other number such as 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, or 10, comes out, a "pass-line point" is established and the shooter hopes (as do you) that that number will be thrown again before a 7 comes up. If it does, you win; but if the 7 comes first, you lose, and the hand is over and the dice move to the next player.

If the shooter does throw a point number, you should put $10 directly behind your original $5 bet. This additional wager is called a free odds bet or an "odds bet." The casino will pay you the true-odds money for that number bet when it wins, as opposed to the even-money odds they pay for your original pass line bet. So, even though you have to put up additional funds to make this bet, it is an excellent wager because the house edge is zero on this specific bet. The layout doesn't show this bet because it is so good for the player and so bad for the house. Review the chart below to see what the different numbers will pay out for the free-odds bet.

You can play this way all day long in any casino with great success. You can also be the shooter and throw the dice yourself. Whether you throw the dice or not, you should still bet the pass line and add odds bets the same way.

Craps Payout Odds

The payout for a $10 free-odds bet will differ according to the point number thrown. Remember, this is a very good bet for you because the house advantage is zero.

Pass-line point

House odds


4 or 10

2 to 1


5 or 9

3 or 2


6 or 8

6 or 5


Who's Who at the Craps Table

The craps table usually operates with a team of five employees: the box man, two dealers, a stickman, and one relief dealer.

The boxman, who is a casino executive, sits opposite the players at the center of the table. He or she oversees the entire game, watches everything and resolves any disputes. The boxman is also responsible for all currency that is accepted at the table, which is counted before being dropped into the moneybox. During games that have lots of action, or when a high roller is playing, a second boxman will join the game.

The two dealers stand on either side of the boxman. They pay off the winning wagers, collect the chips on all losses at their end of the table and make change for players.

The stickman stands in the center of the players' side of the table. He or she is responsible for the handling of the dice and all the proposition bets in the center of the table. The stickman will call the game by announcing each roll of the dice, advertise betting options that are available to players and generally set the pace of the game itself.

The relief dealer is brought in to a rotate the entire crew, except for the boxman.

Finally, there is the shooter, who is the player who rolls the dice during each specific round.

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