Learn craps fundamentals before you play casino craps. Your wallet will be happier. You should not walk up to a craps table or click on an online casino craps game without knowing the most basic rules. If you do, you’ll probably lose your bankroll in minutes and not even know how or why you lost. Seems rather stupid to play a game for money that you don’t even know how to play, doesn’t it? It happens all the time. A tourist is curious about craps and decides to learn on the fly so he drops $100 on the table, asks the dealer what to do, and then walks away 15 minutes later broke and bewildered. If you know you’re going on vacation to a gambling town, have the common sense to spend 30 minutes reading about the games you think you’ll want to play. The Internet is full of free articles that give a craps how-to so you’ll at least know why you lost. 30 minutes of reading might not only save you some money, but it will also make your time playing the game a lot more fun.
You play craps with two six-sided craps dice and win or lose based on how you bet on the outcome of each dice roll. With two craps dice, there are 36 possible combinations that can appear (6 numbers on one die multiplied by 6 numbers on the other die = 36 combinations). The numbers that can be rolled are 2 through 12. The number 7 has the most combinations or ways to make the number. Therefore, as you might expect, the fundamental premise of the game is based on the number 7.
Let’s forget betting styles and patterns for now and focus on the very basic principle of the game. The first roll of a craps game is called the come-out roll. So, regardless of how you bet before the come-out roll, a craps game ends with that single roll if the number 2, 3, 7, 11, or 12 appears. If something other than one of those numbers appears, then the number is called a “point” number. Point numbers are 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10. So, the come-out roll can result in a 2, 3, 7, 11, or 12 appearing, which means the game ends, or it can result in a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 appearing, which means a point is established and the game continues.
If a point is established on the come-out roll, the shooter keeps rolling until the number 7 appears or the point number appears again. The manner in which you bet determines whether you win or lose when the game ends. For example, if you bet on the 7 (also known as playing the “Don’t Pass” or betting “against” the dice), you win if the 7 appears before the point number, and you lose if the point number appears again before the 7. On the contrary, if you bet on the point number (also known as playing the “Pass Line” or betting “with” the dice), you win if the point number appears before a 7, and you lose if a 7 appears before the point number.
You can also win or lose, depending on how to you bet, if the come-out roll results in a 2, 3, 7, 11, or 12 appearing. If you bet with the 7, then you win if a 2 or 3 appears, and you lose if a 7 or 11 appears. If you bet with the point number, then you win if a 7 or 11 appears, and you lose if a 2, 3, or 12 appears. If you bet with the 7 and a 12 appears on the come-out roll, it’s a tie. The opposite is true if you bet with the point number, except for one difference. On the come-out roll, if you bet with the point number, you win if a 7 or 11 appears, and you lose if a 2, 3, or 12 shows. In this case when betting with the dice (i.e., betting on the point number), if a 12 appears on the come-out roll, you lose instead of it being a tie.
That’s how easy the game is. Piece of cake. The most challenging part of the game is learning all the different odds for all the various numbers and types of bets, but that’s the subject of another article. For now, at least you know the basic premise of the game.
By William Enslen Jr
W. Enslen is an engineer who routinely works with statistics. Having played and analyzed casino craps for 30 years, he now offers his winning secrets that you can sample for free. Visit his new site for a free comprehensive craps how-to on all aspects of the game. Learn the truth about craps strategy without all the bogus hype.