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How to Play Craps
Now let’s get down to the details on how to play craps. If you are a new player and haven’t checked out our basic Craps Rules section, you might want to start there, although we will be going over some of the basic rules again in discussing how to play craps here.
The basic objective of playing craps is for the shooter to roll the “point” number again after first establishing it in the “come out” roll. The first roll will be the come out roll, unless it is 7, 11, 2, 3 or 12, in which case another come out roll will be made until a point is established. The shooter must then roll the point again before he/she tosses a 7. When a 7 is rolled, that 7 is called “Out 7” and they lose the round. If the Point is tossed, the shooter wins and the round is over. Only the numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 can be point numbers. The round will continue and the dice will keep rolling until either the Out 7 or the point is tossed. Sound complicated? You’ll get the hang of it very quickly, don’t worry.
On the come out roll, there are two main bets. The "pass line" and the "don't pass line." The pass line bet is a bet that the shooter will “make the point”, and conversely, the don’t pass line is a bet that the shooter will "seven out." If the shooter rolls a 7 or an 11 (known as a "natural") on the come out roll, the pass line automatically wins and the don't pass automatically loses. If the shooter rolls 2, 3 or 12, known as "craps", the pass line automatically loses and, you guessed it, the don't pass automatically wins.
Once the shooter establishes the point, the dealer will move a puck that says "on” to that point number on the craps table and turn it white side up. The puck stays on this number until the shooter either rolls it, or until he/she sevens out. After the shooter sevens out, the puck is moved to the "don't come" bar and turned to the “off” side, black side up. This puck is simply used to track whether the game is in progress, or a come out roll is being made.
The two dice used in craps can produce 36 different number combinations. Each number has different odds as to whether it might show up. A 2, for example, can only be rolled one way, whereas a 5 can be rolled two ways, and a six can be rolled four different ways.
Accordingly, betting on a 6 is less risky and does not pay as well, unless, of course, you are betting that it will be rolled in a specific way – the “hard way”, meaning it will be rolled with two 3’s. Although really getting into the game and utilizing its many betting options can require a great deal of practice, the simplest option, for someone who is just learning how to play craps, is simply to bet on whether the shooter will make the point or not. If you bet that the shooter will make his/her point, it is called “betting with the shooter", or "betting right". The other option of course, is "betting against the shooter" or "betting wrong".
Most casinos allow you to bet up to three times the amount of your pass line bet. Betting this maximum amount is referred to as "taking full odds". Some casinos, however, allow you to bet up to 100 times your pass line bet.
There are many types of bets to make, and once you have become a little more well versed in how to play craps, you might want to expand your arsenal of bets to include “come” and “don’t come” bets, “place” bets, “field” bets or “proposition” bets. To learn more about these bets, check out our Craps Bets section.