Craps in a casino setting is a game with four dealers and many exotic betting options. If a beginner sees the craps table, dice shooting looks complicated. In truth, craps requires no special skill to play. It is one of the simplest games in the casino, if you have the right advice.
This craps guide provides everything you need to know to shoot dice in a casino. We provide how-to tips on where to play online, how to find good mobile craps apps, and which bets to place. This guide to craps includes beginner and advanced strategy advice, along with a simplified craps pay chart in addition to a list of craps bets from worst to best.
Online craps is easy to play. Players need to learn the dynamics of a dice roll to learn the game. Otherwise, the rules of shooting dice are about paying out bets. Below is a quick guide to a standard round of craps.
Anyone can play for free in a number of ways, including social gaming apps, tutorial sites, and online casinos’ practice mode. The easiest way to play is practice mode, because you’ll learn the interface you’ll play when you bet real money.
Beginner strategy is simple: only place the basic bets. Basic bets are the pass-line bet, don’t pass bet, come bet, and don’t come bet. The pass-line and come bets have a house edge of 1.41%, while the don’t pass and don’t come bets have a house edge of 1.35%. Those are the highest expected return, so simply avoiding the exotic-sounding bet is the best strategy you can use.
It might look to a novice like the gamblers who bet on the Whirl Bet or the Hardway Bets know what they’re doing. In fact, they are making sucker bets.
Craps odds vary wildly, so research the house edge on any craps bet you choose to make. Pass-line and come bets have a house edge of 1.41%. Don’t pass and don’t come bets have a house edge of 1.35%. The Place 6 Bet and Place 8 Bets each has a house edge of 1.52%, which are not much worse than the basic bets. The Lay 4 Bet and Lay 10 Bet has a house edge of 2.44%, which is better than European Roulette wagers.
Every other bet in craps is 3% or higher. Most are over 5%, while a great many are 10% to 16%. Those are sucker bets, which you should avoid. A lot of craps strategy is avoiding the sucker bets, though you should be familiar with a couple of techniques.
One aspect of expert strategy which is not complicated: taking the odds. A player can take the odds once the point is established. You can take the odds on 4,5,6 or 8,9,10. These bets pay out real odds, meaning they have a 0% house edge.
A controversial craps strategy is “dice control” techniques. Dice control is tossing the dice in a way that some numbers are more likely to appear. Casinos have dice-holding rules to combat dice control. Some craps writers, including respected gambling experts like Stanford Wong, claim that dice control works. Other writers believe dice control is nonsense. In either case, no one can use dice control in online craps, so ignore such talk.
Self-proclaimed craps experts might tell you that varying the bets, especially with a progressive betting technique, will help you win. Betting methods are bunk, because the house edge applies. The Martingale scheme is no way to beat the house edge.
Online craps pay charts usually are complicated by the real odds and house edge, so I’ve created a payout chart. The following table includes payouts from the highest to the lowest. Be warned that the craps bets with the highest payouts tend to have the worst house edge. That’s common in most forms of gambling.
Dice gambling is one of the oldest games of chance there is. Ancient Egyptians played dice games and Ancient Sumerians might have, as well. One of the first stories in history to describe dice shooting might be in The Bible, where Roman soldiers were said to have “cast lots” for Jesus’s clothes (Matthew 27:35) after the crucifixion. Casting lots (or drawing lots) is defined The Free Dictionary as “making a chance decision by using lots (straws or pebbles etc.) that are thrown or drawn”.
The exact timeline of craps isn’t known, but tradition suggests that craps goes back all the way to the Crusades. As the story goes, French knights brought a version of the game back to France from the Crusades. The French called the game “crapaud”, because dice shooters crawled along the ground like a frog or toad when they played. One thing is certain: the game of craps gained popularity in France sometime between the Early Renaissance (14th century) and the Age of Enlightenment (18th century).
In modern gambling history, shooting dice has continued to follow army camps. During the American Civil War, officers on both sides issued orders to stop soldiers from shooting dice. In World War II, U.S. soldiers popularized craps. The “bed roll”, where G.I.’s used government issued blankets to affect the outcome of the dice roll, is one of the first known uses of craps cheating.
Cheating at craps goes back a long time further, though. In April 2018, archaeologists working for the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research found loaded dice in the Vagsbunnen district of Bergen, Norway. They carbon-dated the dice to 15th century Norway, in what was known as a tavern district of the time.
Online craps and mobile craps have taken away the ability for players to cheat anymore, though gambling writers publish books which suggest dice control works in brick-and-mortar casinos. The best way to shoot dice for real money in the year 2018 is to play live dealer craps. For that, you’ll need to find a live casino online.
Despite the popularity of craps in land-based casinos, you’ll find a surprising lack of live dealer craps games online. The need to have four dealers is doubtless the reason that Evolution Gaming, Extreme Live (Novomatic), GGL, and Ezugi do not offer live dealer craps. We’ve done the research to provide recommendations for live craps online, as well as one alternative to live craps you might enjoy: Live Sicbo.
Vivo Gaming is a provider of live craps to US and international online casinos. Vivo Gaming partners with over 100 online casinos, including Rich Casino, Black Diamond Casino, Spartan Slots, 1xBet, Winward Casino, 21 Dukes, CloudBet, SekaBet, and Golden Lion Casino. Vivo Gaming also has live Sicbo, which I’ll discuss in the next entry.
Playtech Live does not have a live craps, but it does provide live Sic Bo, a Chinese dice game. Playtech Live has individual studios which cater to players from UK, Italy, Spain, and Romania, with more studios to come. Playtech Live supports a variety of popular online casinos’ live dealer games, including Bet365, Ladbrokes, Betfair, William Hill, Betfred, and Paddy Power.
Microgaming Live also has live Sic Bo, but not live craps. The world famous online casino software designer’s live product serves casino sites like Platinum Play, DublinBet, and Royal Vegas Casino. Microgaming’s live dealer games are streamed live from Toronto but unfortunately, not available for Australian players.
Craps is the most social game in a brick-and-mortar casino. For that reason, craps has a lot of etiquette rules. In some cases, good manners involve keeping the game flowing. In other cases, good craps etiquette involves preserving the game equipment or the sense of decorum at the table.
Most people carry an Android smartphone or iPhone everywhere they go, so mobile casinos have become much more important in the past few years. Mobile craps is available at most legitimate online casinos. To download a mobile app to play craps using an Android or IOS device, follow these steps.
To play craps on your mobile device, you’ll need to download a craps app in most cases. If you want a free craps app, go to either Google Play for Android devices or the iTunes Apps Store for iPad or iPhone craps. Windows 10 Mobile craps apps are located at the Windows Apps Store, while BlackBerry store has casino apps for BlackBerry smartphones and tablets.
When you get to the mobile craps app store, look for the following craps gaming apps. I’ve culled the best mobile craps apps from Google Play, the iTunes Apps Store, the Windows Store, and AppWorld.
Not much. In fact, shooting dice is not a game of skill at all. The most strategy required in craps is to learn the various bets, then play the ones with the best odds. Here’s a hint: place the basic bets, such as the Pass-Line Bet, the Don’t Pass Bet, the Come Bet, and the Don’t Come Bet.
Yes, once you learn the basic bets, read about how to “take the odds”. Taking the odds is possible only on certain rolls, but odds have a 0% house edge and they lower the effective house edge one the basic bets. Taking the odds is such a good betting opportunity that casinos limit the practice, usually with signs that say 3x odds, 5x odds, or 10x odds.
The shooter in craps is the player rolling the dice. The dice rotate around the table in a clockwise fashion after a shooter loses a roll. No, you do not have to be the shooter if you don’t want to. If you don’t want to be the shooter, allow the dice to pass to the next player at the table.
Yes, it is allowed for players to bet against the shooter in craps, called “dark side” betting. To do so, make the Don’t Pass Bet or the Don’t Come Bet. Keep in mind you’ll be betting against most players at the table. Also, it’s considered rude to celebrate if you bet against the shooter, so be polite.
The subject of dice control is controversial among the craps community. Some respected gambling experts claim dice control techniques work. Other craps experts are skeptics or take a hardline stance against dice control, claiming it’s a scam to sell books or videos. Casinos have rules about how to handle the craps dice, which suggests dice control might have some validity.
The two sides have staged demonstrations to settle the debate, with anecdotal evidence suggesting dice control might work. Stanford Wong, a respected writer on other gambling subjects, is a firm advocate of dice control techniques. Whatever the case, dice control is a skill that has to be mastered, so you would have to practice long hours if it does work.
Yes, if you want the game with the lowest house edge. The basic bets in craps have a house edge of 1.35% or 1.41%. The best version of roulette, either European Roulette or French Roulette, have a house edge of 2.70%.
Even if you get house rules that halves the house edge in roulette (which happens), European Roulette would have the same odds as craps. If you make certain sucker bets in craps, then shooting dice has one of the worst house edges in the casino.
Baccarat has a 1.06% house edge for the banker bet and a 1.24% house edge for the player bet, so baccarat has slightly better odds than craps. Craps is considered a more exciting game and a more social game than baccarat (unless you’re in an Asian casino), so the tradeoff is minimal for the excitement of shooting dice.