The Craps Table Layout Explained: A Complete & Simple Guide

Whether you’ve played craps online or in a casino, it’s fair to say that the craps table layout is uniquely complicated. A standard craps table is about 12 feet long by 4 feet wide, with a central section for Proposition bets along with two identical wings that accommodate the game’s most popular bets.

Below is a diagram of a single wing of a standard craps table layout, along with the central area for Proposition bets.

Craps table layout diagram

An Overview Of The Wings

When you step up to play craps in a casino, any position around the table is as good as the next*. Given the identical nature of the two wings, you’ll be ringside to the action no matter where you stand.

 The main features of the craps table wings are the most popular bets in craps:

  • Pass
  • Don’t Pass
  • Come
  • Don’t Come

These are the multi-roll bets that make the game so exciting; your wager wins or loses depending on a specific sequence of dice throws rather than a single roll.

In addition, each wing has point boxes numbered 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10. These boxes are where Dealers place number-specific bets (Come, Place, Buy, and others) on behalf of gamblers.

The wings also include a popular single-roll bet, the Field bet. And although it’s not a popular bet, Big 6 and Big 8 are multi-roll bets that those numbers will hit prior to a 7 appearing.

*There is one exception to this rule that we’ll discuss later.

An Overview Of The Central Area

The central section of a craps table is home to a category of bets known as Proposition or Prop bets. All wagers and payouts in this area are dealer-assisted, and this single area serves both halves of the table.

Proposition bets include a variety of single throw bets, such as a one-time bet on a specific dice combination.  

You’ll also find spaces for the popular Hard Way bets, the only-multi-roll bets among all the props. Placing a Hard Way bet means the gambler is wagering that one (or more) of the even-numbered throws will first appear in its relatively rarer combination of identical dice. For example, a Hard Six bet wins if the dice come 3-3, but lose if the dice come 4-2 or 5-1, or (critically) if a 7 should appear.

Each prop bet in the central area usually displays the dice-combination needed to win, and it lists the associated payout odds. Pay close attention; odds listed of 6-to-1 means a winner pays you $6 in profit and returns your $1 wager. However, if you see odds listed as 6-for-1 you get paid $6, but the casino keeps your $1 wager.

Proposition bets add spice to the game, and some of the bets are quite popular, but beware, these bets have a significant house advantage.

Placing Bets On A Craps Table

Craps bets can be described as either self-service bets, where players are free to put down chips in the betting square unassisted, or dealer-assisted bets, where the Dealer or Stickman must move or place your chips in the appropriate betting space. Below is a diagram that shows how this distinction plays out on the craps table layout.

Self service and dealer assisted bets highlighted on the craps table layout

Self-Service Bets

Here’s a list and brief description of bets you can place yourself:

  • Pass / Don’t Pass / Odds: The stripe going all around the edge of the Craps table layout is for the most popular wager in the game: Pass. Players can also back their Pass bets with Odds unassisted by placing chips directly behind their Pass wager once a point is established. The wrong-way equivalent is self-service as well.
  • Field: Given the high house advantage, this single-roll bet is surprisingly popular. Players can place their own Field bets, which win if the relatively rarer numbers come up. Field bets win on 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12. In some casinos, Field pays double or triple on 2 and 12.
  • Big 6/8: This is a self-service multi-roll bet that either 6 or 8 will appear before a 7. You are ‘allowed’ to place this bet yourself, but strongly advised to avoid it due to its high house edge.
  • Come / Don’t Come: During point rolls, bettors may place these bets which behave almost exactly like Pass/Don’t Pass bets. The unique feature of Come/Don’t Come is that should a point be thrown, the Dealer will physically move your wagered chips to the associated point square.

Dealer-Assisted Bets

There are many types of point-specific bets (wagers on or against a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10) that require the Dealer to place.  Some of the more popular are Place and Buy bets which let a gambler get immediate bets down on the number(s) of their choice.

To make point-specific wagers (and to add Odds bets to established Come bets), the gambler simply places chips in the Come betting area between dice throws and instructs the Dealer where to place them.

For example, a Place bet on 6 or 8 pays 7-to-6. With a $10 betting minimum, a player might place a $25 chip in the Come area and tell the Dealer, “Place $12 each on the 6 and 8.” The Dealer would change the $25 chip into two sets of two $5 and two $1 chips, place them in the 6 and 8 betting boxes, and return a single $1 chip to the player in change.

For Proposition bets, players follow a similar process, except in this case, you’ll get the attention of the Stickman between throws, toss your chips (gently) toward him, and explain what bets you wish to make. The Stickman will move your chips into the appropriate betting area.

Where To Set Your Chips On A Craps Table

With a table full of active bettors, new players are often confused about where they should set their chips. Roulette solves this problem by issuing each player their own unique chip color, but in craps it’s just a sea of standard casino chips. Don’t worry, craps dealers have a system for keeping wagers straight on a layout.

Below is a diagram of a single wing of a craps table along with the central Proposition area.

Three players are at the table, Blue, Violet, and Black. They’ve each made multiple bets and we’ve color-coded their bets on the layout.

Craps table layout showing bets placed from three players

Dealer-assisted bets are always placed in a way that corresponds to your relative position at the table.

For example, all three of our players have some kind of number bet (Come, Place, etc) on the 8.

  • Since Blue is standing at the upper left corner of the table, Blue’s bet is at the upper left corner of the 8 square.
  • Violet is in the lower left corner of the table, so her bet is in the lower left of the 8 square.

Players should follow this same rule for self-service bets.

Place wagers directly in front of you on the craps table layout. If that’s not possible, place your chips in a location that’s as close to you as possible, or corresponds to your position around the table.

Perhaps most important: be consistent. Help your Dealer, and your Dealer will help you.

Special Notes For Placing Bets

  • Despite what I’ve said above, dealers aren’t perfect.  They can get confused when the table is packed, as can other players. As I recommend in Casino Gambling for Dummies, it’s a good practice to take a mental inventory of every bet you have in play prior to any roll. Confirm regularly with your dealer. And if they help keep you straight, place a small wager on their behalf in gratitude.
  • And a special note to wrong-way players. The craps table layout assumes there are fewer of you than there are right-way players. Don’t take it personally. While you’re free to make any bet from any spot around the table, you should try and position yourself as close as possible to the Don’t Pass/Don’t Come betting areas if you’re betting against the dice.

The Craps Table Crew

With a table full of gamblers, dozens of possible wager combinations, and flying dice, it takes a crew of four to handle a full-sized craps table.

The Stickman

The Stickman stands over the central section, controls the dice, and manages the Proposition bets. They wield a 30-inch rattan L-shaped stick that’s perfect for snagging and moving dice and chips across the length of the table, or pointing out gamblers that are owed a payout from their Dealer.

The Dealers

Each wing of a craps table has a Dealer. The Dealer is responsible for moving and placing all number-specific bets. Dealers also collect any losing bets from the wings, and they calculate and pay out winning bets in the wings.

When there’s a winning Proposition bet, the stickman indicates the payout and the player to the nearest Dealer.

The Boxman

Finally, there’s the Boxman, sitting opposite the Stickman. The Boxman supervises the crew and is responsible for the bank of chips assigned to the table. They handle players’ club cards and if necessary, monitors the dice. The Boxman is the final word on disputes.

Casino Craps Table Rules

As with any casino game, there are certain unwritten rules players are expected to abide by at a craps table.

1. Throwing The Dice

When it’s your turn to shoot, the Stickman will slide several dice toward you. Don’t throw them all! Quickly select two. Pick them up with one hand only and keep them visible and ‘in the stadium’ at all times. Don’t touch the dice to any part of your body (no kisses!) or clothing. Give them a wrist flick so that they gently hit the far wall.  

2. Between Throws

After the dice throw and call (when the Dealer loudly calls the result of the roll so everyone at the table can hear) and before the next throw, the Dealer collects losing bets pays out winners. The Dealer then moves Come bets to their point square, and works with players to place other number-specific bets.

Once the Dealer slides chips in your direction, you’re free to pick them up. At this point you’re free to place any self-service bets, or give chips to the Dealer or Stickman for assisted bets.

Should you get cold feet on any bet, including multi-roll bets, you may remove or reduce any self-service bet, or ask the Dealer to do so for assisted bets. The only exceptions to this are Pass and Come bets after a point has been established. These are considered contract bets and must remain on the board till they either win or lose.  

3. “Dice Are Out”

When the Stickman makes this call, it means the shooter is free to roll.  Players opposite the shooter should make sure their hands are out of the possible flight path of the dice.  Gamblers are superstitious. Should the dice touch you before landing, anyone with a losing bet will blame you.

People playing craps
Image credit: Chris Martin/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Why Does The Craps Table Look So Complicated?

While it might appear at first that the game’s designers have squeezed bets randomly into every nook and corner of the felt, the reality is the craps table layout is a marvel of efficient design. Consider the many needs it must serve.

  1. First, it gives up to 20 gamblers a clear view of the state of the game and of any bets they’ve made.
  2. The layout is also designed to put bets in easy reach of the right hands; bettors can place self-service bets, and the dealers are stationed close to the bets that require assistance from the casino crew. 
  3. And for bettors in a casino, the craps table is like a stadium, custom-built to host a big action-packed game.

Casino Craps Table Variations

When you belly up to a craps game, whether virtually or in an online casino, don’t be shocked if you see minor variations in the layout.

For example, the prop bets in the central section of the layout is often much more elaborate.  In addition to the common Hard Way, Any, Craps and Eleven bets, you’ll see more specialty bets covering every imaginable combination that could come up on a single dice throw in the form of Horn and Hop bets.

Crapless Craps Table Layout

Crapless Craps games can be found online and in certain casinos. This variation of craps transforms 2, 3, and 12 into points rather than losing come-out rolls.

This makes for a couple of obvious changes to the craps table layout:

  1. First, 2, 3 and 12 now have their own individual boxes where they can host Come and Place bets.
  2. With no possibility of crapping out, there’s no place for wrong-way bettors in Crapless Craps, so the Don’t Pass and Don’t Come betting areas are removed.

A Final Word On The Casino Craps Table Layout

I’ve described the essential elements of the craps table layout, what their meaning is, and how they factor in game play. Expect the game to continue to evolve and let us know if you see something unexpected and interesting in your game.

Just remember, the layout may vary, but the action never wavers.

Best of luck and good shooting!

For more on craps, check out my article on craps strategy.