How to Win at Craps – The Basics

How to Play Craps

Craps is a casino game that is played using a pair of dice. In every craps game, there is a “shooter”. This is a term that is used to refer to the person that throws the pair of dice. Players place their bets before the shooter casts the dice and the result is determined by the outcome of the two dice.

There are two phases in craps, called the come out roll and point phase. The come out phase is the initial roll of the shooter. If the roll lands on 2, 3, 7, 11 or 12, the round is over and a new come out roll follows.

However, if the sum of the roll is 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10, a point is set. Once a point is established, the second phase begins. When the point phase begins, players can wager on many more lines. Below, we will take a look at the various bets that players can wager on in craps.

Pass Line

The Pass Line bet is placed before the come out roll. It is an even money bet that pays out if the roll builds a total of 7 or 11. It loses if the roll is 2, 3 or 12. The losing numbers are known as craps. If the total is numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10, a point is set. To win your Pass Line bet, the point number must repeat before a 7.

Don’t Pass Line

The Don’t Pass Line is an even money bet that is the opposite of the Pass Line bet. Thus, you win on a 2 or 3, lose on a 7 or 11, and a roll of 12 results in a push (tie). If one of the following numbers land: 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10, a point is set. You win this bet if a 7 is rolled before the point number is rolled.

Come Bet

The Come bet is just like a Pass Line bet, although it can only be placed once a point is set. It wins if the point number is repeated before a 7.

Don’t Come Bet

The Don’t Come bet is similar to the Don’t Pass Line bet. The bet is made after a point is established. It wins if you roll a 7 before the point number is repeated.

Odds Bet

The Odds bet can be placed during the come out roll. It can be placed after a point is established and pays out if the point number is rolled before a 7. The payouts for a successful odds bet are 2:1 on 4 and 10, 3:2 for 5 and 9, 6:5 on 6 and 8.

Place Bets

The Place bet is made on numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10 after the shooter makes a point. The bet is won if the shooter rolls any of those numbers before a 7. The payouts are 9:5 for a 4 and 10, 7:5 for a 5 and 9, and 7:6 for a 6 and 8.

Field Bets

A Field Bet – often referred to as a ‘One Roll Bet’ – is a single bet roll that pays 1:1 for a roll of 3, 4, 9, 10 and 11. It pays 2:1 on 2, 3:1 on 12, and the bet loses on any roll of 5, 6, 7, or 8.

Proposition Bets

The Proposition Bet includes a variety of bets. The bets included in the proposition are:

  • 2, 3 or 12 (Any Craps) which pays 8:1
  • Aces (2) or 12 which pays 31:1
  • Ace-Deuce or 11 which pays 16:1
  • 7 which pays 5:1

If the corresponding roll does not win, the bet automatically loses. This is why it is known as a one-roll bet.

Hardway Bets

When placing Hardway Bets, they are not on a single roll. Rather, you are betting that the shooter rolls a pair. Hardway Bets win if the dice roll a pair. They lose if the cast dice amount to 7 or if the number is thrown “the easy way”.

An example of this is if you bet a hard 8 and the dice roll 4,4 win. If the dice roll is an “easy” 5-3 or 6-2, you lose. The payouts include:

  • Hard 4 or 10 pays 8:1
  • Hard 6 or 8 pays 10:1

Hop Bets

A Hop bet is a wager that is on a specific roll. Essentially, you are betting on the exact outcome of the dice in the following roll. The payouts for these bets vary, with common payouts being 31:1 and 16:1. 

A Basic Strategy for Craps

As mentioned above, the main bets in craps are the Pass Line bet, Come bet, Don't Pass Line bet, and Don't Come bet. These bets have the lowest house advantage and are also the most popular form of bets. The house edge for the Pass and Don’t Pass bets is 1.41% and 1.36% respectively. Essentially, these are bets on whether the shooter “succeeds” in establishing a point or not.

All of these bets have a low house edge and pay out even money. The benefit of playing these bets is that the house edge is incredibly low. However, compared to other casino games, a house edge of 1.41% or 1.36% on a bet is impressive. For instance, European Roulette has a house edge of 2.70% per spin. American Roulette has a house edge of 5.26%. Betting on 6 or 8 is another good option in craps. It has a house edge of only 1.52% and pays 7:6, thus giving it a relatively close break-even point.

Tips to Increase your Chances

If you are still new to craps and are learning the rules of how to play, your best chances of winning will be to stick to the four main bets. They offer even money payouts, which is a great return for the low house edge. Particularly as the Pass/Come and Don’t Pass/Don’t Come bets are practically the same (only that one of them is after a point is set). It gives you the chance to double down on your initial wager and potentially eliminate the house edge even more. This is known as free odds betting, which we will take a look at below.

Free Odds Bets

Your Pass and Don’t Pass bets will start the round but can be improved upon if a point is set. Once a point has been set, you can place additional bets called Odds bets on your Pass Line and Don't Pass Line bets, respectively. In doing so, you are also reducing the house edge on your second bet, once a point is established.

Come and Don’t Come bets are also known as free odds bets, as they can have next to no house edge at all. In most craps games, it is possible to bet up to a 100 times more on your Come and Don’t Come bets, based on your initial come out bet. If you match your initial pass bet, the house edge will go down to 0.8%. If you double the bet, the house edge goes down to 0.6%. When placing a bet 100 times bigger than your initial bet, the house edge is reduced to as little as 0.02%.

Be Wary of Single-Roll Bets

It is recommended to avoid single-roll bets in most cases as it will not bring you a profit in the long-run. The reason why is because they do not offer a good house edge. However, they are also incredibly enticing. The single-roll bets that you should avoid because of the higher house edge include:

  • Field Bets – the roller must roll a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12 for you to win. The bet can have a house advantage of 2.78% to 5.56%, depending on the game.
  • Any Craps Bet – a roll of 2, 3 or 12, which pays the player 7:1. It has a house edge of 11.11%.
  • Any 7 – It is a bet on the total of the two dice amounting to 7 on a single roll. It has a house edge of 16.67%.

Hedging Bets in Craps

One of the most popular betting systems to use for craps is hedging. It helps to balance the risk and rewards while keeping the house edge low. Hedging is a fantastic betting system if you have a limited bankroll. "Whenever you are placing your Pass Line and Odds bets in craps, you should also consider placing bets on 6 and/or 8 simultaneously. The best way of doing so is by placing the following bets once the point is set:

  • Place a bet on 6 if the point is 8.
  • Place a bet on 8 if the point is 6.
  • Place a bet on 6 and 8 if any other point is rolled.


It may be tricky to get the hang of playing craps if you have never done so before. However, once you understand the basics, it is one of the most exciting casino games to play. To have the best chance of winning at craps, you should focus on the Pass Line, Don't Pass Line, Come, and Don't Come bets as these have the lowest house edge, which can be further reduced by placing Odds bets once a point is established.


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