Learn to play craps online for beginners
If you don’t know how to play craps, we’ll take you through how the popular casino dice game works. We cover everything you’ll need to understand craps rules and gameplay, how to bet on craps, and the different game varieties. Then you can join the action at a table online.
What is craps?
Craps is a dice game where players bet on the outcomes of a pair of dice being rolled. The casino game is played with a table, the layout of which shows the bet types available. Players wager against the bank (casino) on outcomes like Pass or Don’t Pass.
How to play craps
So, how do you play craps? The simplest answer is: by guessing what a pair of dice will do when rolled. There's a little more to it with the table and bets, but luckily craps isn’t as complicated as it looks.
Let’s start covering what you need to know:
Find a suitable craps table
We’ve got plenty of recommendations for top casinos with online craps games to try once you know how to bet on craps. Just join up with one or our trusted casinos, claim your bonus, and load a table.
Place your bets
We go into more detail on possible bets below, but you’ll likely be kicking things off here with a Pass line/Don’t Pass bet, along with any other bets you want to make.
Roll the dice
Once you’ve placed your bets, you’re ready for your first roll of the dice. This is called the come out roll, and it can either determine a point or win/lose your bet (more on that below).
In rounds that haven’t been won or lost on the come out roll, your initial roll is followed up with additional opportunities to bet until you roll that point number again, or a 7.
As you can see above, understanding craps basics hinges on having some knowledge of which numbers win/lose on the come out bet, and how a round ends based on 7 or the point being rolled first. We’ll get into this in some more detail below.
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Casino craps tips for beginners
Now you've seen the basics of craps, our experts have shared 5 top tips that will help you learn how to play craps at casino sites online.
- 1Stick to bets with a low house edge - Bets like Pass Line/Come and Don’t Pass/Don’t Come have the lowest house edge on the craps table, offering you the best chance of winning a round.
- 2Consider (but don’t rely on) using betting systems - Using a proven craps betting strategy (e.g. the 3 Point Molly, used to protect pass line bets) can help to further lower house edge, although it doesn’t guarantee victory.
- 3Avoid prop bets - Proposition bets, e.g. wagers on Snake Eyes, Hardways, Any 7 etc., offer large payouts and can be really exciting…but they often have poor odds and a high house edge.
- 4Place the 6 and/or 8 - With a house edge of 1.52% per bet resolved, Place bets on 6 and 8 have the same feel as riskier prop bets but they offer surprisingly good odds for players.
- 5Only bet what you can afford to lose - Good advice for any casino game that holds true here too. It can be easy to get caught up in, say, hunting for the best mathematical craps strategy, but excessive betting should always be avoided.
Craps rules explained for beginners
We’ve covered how to play casino craps above, but let’s take a quick look at how a round works:
- 1Place your bet(s) and throw your come out roll
- 2The round ends if a 7, 11, 2, 3, or 12 is thrown, otherwise a point is established
- 3If the point is established, you can make additional bets (of certain types)
- 4You’ll continue throwing the dice until you either roll a 7 or hit the point again
- 5When the round is over, you’ll start the process again with another come out roll
Types of craps bets
Before getting into the best craps strategy, a vital first step is an understanding of how the game’s different bets work. These can be tricky because they involve unfamiliar lingo that isn’t used in other online casino games. The below should help to clarify things:
Pass Line bet
With a Pass line bet, players will win with a come out roll of 7 or 11 and lose if 2, 3, or 12 is rolled. If any other number is rolled – 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10 – you need to roll that number again before 7 to win.
Here, players will win if the come out roll is 2 or 3 and lose if it’s 7 or 11. In this case, however, 12 is a push. If a point is established, 7 must be rolled before that number appears again to win.
Come bets are placed once a point of 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 has been established.
The Come bet is similar to the Pass line bet, in that it wins on 7 or 11 and loses on 2, 3, or 12 on the roll that immediately follows the bet. If any other number is rolled, that becomes your point and your bet moves to that number. Hit it again before 7 and you’ll win, but you’ll lose if 7 comes first.
Don't Come bet
Like Don’t Pass is to Pass, this bet is (for the most part) the inverse of the Come bet. You’ll lose on 7 or 11 and win on 2 or 3 on the roll that immediately follows the bet. But, once again, 12 is a push. Any other number becomes your point, and you’re betting that 7 will be rolled before your point.
You can also remove or decrease a Don’t Come bet after a point is established.
Odds bets, which can be considered a type of side bet once the point has been established, pay if the point is rolled before a 7. They’re an extremely appealing wager, with no house edge, but you can only wager a certain amount compared with your Pass bet; this figure, e.g. 3x or 10x odds, varies from table to table and describes how much you can wager on Odds.
A proposition or prop bet is a side wager on a game that has nothing to do with the overall outcome. In craps, this includes bets like Snake Eyes (a 1 on each die), any 7, or a Hard 8 (a 4 on each die). Many, but not all, of them are one-roll bets and are accompanied by a high house edge.
A place is a wager that a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 will be rolled before a 7. The house edge, and your associated odds of winning, vary depending on the number you bet on. A Place to Lose bet is the opposite of a Place bet, wagering that 7 will be rolled before the number you’re betting against.
These are similar to Odds or Place bets, wagering on a number appearing before a 7 is rolled. They pay fair odds, but you need to pay a commission (vig) to make the bet. Because of the added complexity that can add in a brick and mortar venue, many players opt to stick with Place bets.
Lay bets are similar to Place bets (and Buy bets), except you’re wagering that a 7 will be rolled before the number you lay. These also require the payment of a commission, or vig.
With this single-roll bet, you’re wagering that the shooter will roll 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12. Results of 2 and 12 may pay double, or even triple, depending on the casino you’re using. 5, 6, 7, and 8 all lose.
Big 6 and Big 8
These bets, which are not one-roll bets, are bets on any combination totaling 6 or 8 will appear before a 7 is rolled. They may be eye-catching, being big and bright red, but there are better ways to bet on the numbers 6 and 8 than these bets…which have a prohibitive house edge of around 9%.
Comparing craps variants
When learning how to play craps at casino sites or in a brick and mortar venue, you might run across multiple sets of craps rules associated with different variants. These include everything from minor tweaks to full blown reinventions of the standard game.
The following list covers the major changes to the rules of craps as seen in several popular versions, although the availability of these craps game variants for online play varies:
- Crapless craps
- Die rich craps
- New York craps
- Simplified craps
- Diceless craps
Standard (aka Bank craps)
When people are talking about how to bet on craps, they’re most likely talking about standard craps. Here players wager on the outcome of two dice being thrown by the shooter, with most rounds concluded by the rolling of a 7 or the point number.
Play craps for free & real money
Now you're familiar with the basics of craps and how to bet and play, you have the chance to practice with our free craps games and see how craps rules play out in real time. If you feel ready, you can also sign up with a recommended casino and play online craps for real money.
Is craps a game of skill or luck?
Ultimately, craps is a game of luck. There are ways to bet that will increase your odds of winning, like sticking with craps bets that have a low house edge, but they are not foolproof. Throughout gambling history, there have been cases of players winning big (or losing badly) against astronomical odds.
Can betting strategies help me win at craps?
Not really. The sad fact is even the best mathematical craps strategy won't help you win every time or predict game outcomes. Strategy is more about finding ways to limit your losses and manage how you bet in craps. That and hoping a little luck helps you win in the short term.
Can you consistently win at craps?
Unfortunately, there's no way to consistently win at craps. The best any of us can do is identify bets with good odds for the player, follow our gut instincts, and hope Lady Luck is on our side. Also consider a craps betting strategy to help manage your betting spend.
What is the safest bet in craps?
Pass and Don’t Pass bets, with their house edges (per bet resolved) of 1.41% and 1.40% respectively, could be considered the safest bets in craps. We’d like to clarify here, however, that no bet made in a casino (online or off) can ever be considered entirely safe. This is gambling, after all!
What are good numbers in craps?
That depends on how you’re betting, but the odds of rolling a 7 when you throw two dice is 16.67%, compared with just a 2.78% chance of rolling a 2. 6 and 8 come in high too, with a 13.89% chance. It’s worth considering probability and the rate at which different bets pay out when placing wagers.
Is 7 or 11 good in craps?
That depends on the bet(s) you’ve made! A Pass line or Come wager, among the most common bets in craps, will win immediately on a 7 or 11. Don’t Pass or Don’t Come, on the other hand, will lose. You might also be glad to see a 7 or 11 if you’ve placed a prop bet on those numbers appearing.
What numbers are bad in craps?
2, 3, and 12 are “bad” numbers for those wagering on the Pass line or Come bets. The first two of those numbers are, on the other hand, exactly what those making Don’t Pass or Don’t Come bets want to see. In other words, what constitutes a bad number depends entirely on how you’re betting.
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Alexander Korsager has been immersed in online casinos and iGaming for over 10 years, making him a dynamic General Manager at Casino.org. He uses his vast knowledge of the industry to create content across key global markets.