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Craps has evolved to become one of the most popular casino games played across the world. It is fast-paced and offers the chance for players to win sizeable amounts of money with one roll of the dice. Today, the game can be played both online (powered by random number generators) and within land-based casinos.
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All land based casinos in Australia have a craps table, but we recommend playing the game online first, to get a solid grip on how to play before venturing in to your local gambling establishment. All of the sites listed above have been verified as secure and offer a range of table games including craps.
To play craps, the bare minimum required is a pair of dice. Because that’s really all you need to play, ‘street craps’ is a common form of unregulated gambling. Within a casino, an oval-shaped table displays the various betting options a player can make (bets, their positions and their payouts can vary from casino to casino).
In a land-based casino, the craps table betting layout is mirrored on the left and right side, so a maximum amount of players can stand around the entire table and place their necessary bets.
In the middle of the mirrored layout is an area for ‘prop’ (proposition) bets – this section is utilised by players from both sides and encompasses the more novel wagers with very long odds and large payouts (exotic bets which don’t directly affect the outcome of any other bets and which add some always welcome spice to the average game).
Online, the betting layout is only present due to the Random Number Generator software and since you are the only one playing at the table – hundreds of players can be playing the casino game but you won’t know it.
How to play craps
The rules of craps can seem convoluted for a beginner, so many punters who have never played before avoid the game altogether. However, with a short but thorough run-down of craps betting instructions, you will be able to learn how to play quickly, and it is certainly a rewarding experience once you understand the basic rules.
There are about 40 different bets you can make when playing craps, and while many have huge payouts, those same bets have poor odds, so they can be avoided. To get started, all you need to understand is how to play the pass line bet:
The pass line bet
Before a new shooter is about to roll the two dice (you are always the shooter in online games of craps), you can place a bet on the pass line (or the don’t pass line). You win your wagers based on the following:
- If a total of 7 or 11 is rolled, the pass line bet wins. If a total of 2, 3 or 12 is rolled, the pass line bet loses.
- If any other total is rolled, that number becomes the ‘point’. When a ‘point’ is established, the shooter will roll until either the ‘point’ is rolled again, or until a total of seven is rolled (this is considered the second round after the first come-out roll round). If the ‘point’ comes up before a seven, pass line bets win. If a seven comes up before the ‘point’, pass line bets lose.
In the above scenarios, when the pass line bet wins, the don’t pass line bets loses, and vice versa. There is one exception to this rule, and that is if a 12 is rolled on the ‘come-out’ roll, pass line bets lose, while don’t pass line bets are pushed (tie, so wagers are neither won nor lost).
Winning the pass or don’t pass bet always pays out even money (1:1).The ‘come-out’ roll is the first roll that starts the round of betting.
If a point is established on the come-out roll, the dealer will flip over a button which currently reads ‘off’ to the ‘on’ side, and move it to the point number. A new round begins as soon as the shooter either hits the point value, or ‘sevens out’, and we continue on our merry way.
Other important craps bets
Now that you understand the pass line and don’t pass line bets, it is important to understand taking and laying odds, as well as the come and don’t come wagers. Once you are adept with those rules, you are well on your way to joining any craps table within a casino. Playing online is also a great way to establish some confidence first, too, as you aren’t surrounded by any other watchful players. Register an account at Royal Vegas Casino and enjoy Microgaming’s most popular craps title (link).
Taking and laying odds
After a point is thrown, you can take or lay odds – a kind of side bet which has absolutely no house edge. That’s right, no house edge. If you take odds, then you are betting the point will be rolled before a seven is rolled. If you lay odds, then you are betting a seven will be rolled before the point is rolled. In both cases, the payouts and odds are statistically fair, which makes this the best bet you can make in a casino. The payout structures are as follows:
- If the point is 4 or 10, and either of these totals come up before a seven, you are paid 2 to 1.
- If the point is 5 or 9, and either of these totals come up before a seven, you are paid 3 to 2.
- If the point is 6 or 8, and either of these totals come up before a seven, you are paid 6 to 5.
- If the point is 4 or 10, and a seven is rolled prior to the point, you are paid 1 to 2 (lay two units to be paid out one unit).
- If the point is 5 or 9, and a seven is rolled prior to the point, you are paid 2 to 3 (lay three units to be paid out two units).
- If the point is 6 or 8, and a seven is rolled prior to the point, you are paid 5 to 6 (lay six units to be paid out five units).
The reason why you must lay more units when laying odds is a seven is more likely to be rolled than the point number, so you must sacrifice a bit more for the shorter odds. In order to take or lay odds, you place your bet behind the pass line. If you have a pending pass line wager, and a point is established, you can only take odds. If you have a pending don’t pass line wager, and a point is established, you can only lay odds.
Come and don’t come wagers
The come and don’t come bets are exactly like the pass line and don’t pass line bets, but such bets must be made at any time except for before the come-out roll (as that would default to a pass or don’t pass wager). The come and don’t come wagers are thus helpful for players arriving at the table after a point has already been established. The come or don’t come bet can be thought of as starting an entirely new pass or don’t pass line bet, exclusive to the player making that wager.
- A come bet wins if a 7 or 11 is rolled in the first round. It loses if a 2, 3 or 12 is rolled.
- A don’t come bet wins if a 2 or 3 is rolled in the first round. It pushes if a 12 is rolled. It loses if a 7 or 11 is rolled.
If the player rolls a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, the come or don’t come wager now has a point established for it. Just like with a pass or don’t pass bet, the player is now allowed to take odds (for a come wager) or lay odds (for a don’t come wager).
The player’s chips are moved in the box of the number thrown by the shooter (or just above the box for don’t come points), with the original bet and any odds stacked on top of each other, but slightly off centre, to differentiate between the original wager and the odds wager. Now we move on to the second round:
Come-bet second round results:
- The come bet and any odds taken now win if the shooter rolls the newly-established come-bet point before a seven.
- The come bet and any odds taken now lose if the shooter rolls a seven prior to rolling the newly established come-bet point.
Don’t come-bet second round results:
- The don’t come bet and any odds laid now win if the shooter rolls a seven prior to rolling the come-bet point.
- The don’t come bet and any odds laid now lose if the shooter rolls the come-bet point before a seven.
Winning come and winning don’t come wagers are paid the same as winning pass and winning don’t pass bets – even money (1:1) for the original bet and the true odds for the odds taken/laid.
Craps bets and terminology
Craps has a host of unique terms and offers a large variety of bets from the common pass bet, to the odds bet and the most popular proposition wager. Here are some definitions of popular craps wagers and phrases:
- Any Craps – A wager on the next roll being a total of two, three, or 12.
- Bar 12 – A wager that if a 12 is rolled, a tie occurs.
- Big 6 – The player bets that a six will come up before a seven is rolled.
- Big 8 – The player bets that an eight will come up before a seven is rolled.
- Boxcars – A bet made on a 12 consisting of two sixes.
- Come Bet – A bet made after the come out roll on the point being made.
- Come Out Roll – This is the first roll that kicks off a round of betting.
- Craps – Within the game of craps, it is a bet that a two, three or twelve will come out on a roll.
- Crap Out – This is a roll of craps (see previous term) on the come out roll.
- Don’t Pass – This happens when is craps is rolled on the first roll, or when the point isn’t made before a seven occurs.
- Hard Way – This is a two dice total that signifies both die are the same number, and can only happen on the total for even numbers. For instance, a hard six is composed of two threes. A hard eight is composed of two fours and so on.
- Line Bet – A wager placed on the Pass or Don’t Pass line.
- Marker Puck – This is a device used by the croupier to signify the point number.
- Pass Bet – A bet that a point will occur, or a seven or 11 will be rolled on the come out roll.
- Seven Out – A seven is rolled before the point number.
History of Craps
There is evidence to suggest variants of craps date back to the Roman Empire where Roman soldiers would shave pig knuckles down to the shape of cubes to create a primitive form of dice. Markings on each side of these cubes were engraved and the soldiers would toss them into their inverted shields, and place wagers on the outcomes of the throws. This is also where the term ‘rolling bones’ comes from.
During the Middle Ages, there existed a game known as “azzahr,” or “Hazard” played by Arabs. The roll with the lowest value was called the crabs roll, and many people speculate this is where the name craps was derived. Others believe the name of the game came from the French word for toad known as “Crapeaud”, while there are those which believe the French adopted the name from the English, but continue to spell it in the French way, which is “crabes.”
By the 1700s, the game of craps had come all the way to the new world to the French colony of Acadia. It was in 1755 that the French lost Acadia, and the Acadians then relocated to what is now modern day Louisiana. From there, the name crabes was forgotten about, and the term became either crebs or creps. In 1843, the English in America started calling the game craps, and by 1885, there were myriad terms to describe what we know today as craps: craps-game, craps-table, and craps-shooter among the list. Today, the game is played in casinos and online all over the world.
Craps can be played by anyone – it essentially just involves shooting dice down a table and hoping for a certain outcome, or hoping a certain outcome won’t happen. On the other hand, the rules of craps can appear pretty convoluted for a beginner.
Craps is a game offering relatively low minimum bets and thus is largely accessible for both low and hi stakes players. It also offers the best odds in terms of a player’s chances of winning over the casino’s chances of winning. This simply means that within the game of craps, there are several bets a player can make that provide zero casino edge. This aspect of the game makes it quite different from just about every other casino game in existence.
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