A Beginner’s Guide to Playing Craps

Are you intimidated by all the noise at the dice table? Does it seem too complicated? Get your toes wet in the tub – the craps tub that is – with today’s post, “A Beginner’s Guide to Playing Craps.” Craps can be VERY overwhelming. But, it always seems that the players at the craps table have the most fun in the casino. So, you need two great guys and craps players to help you through it. If you’re lucky, you might meet some new friends that will help, such as Mark & Dr. Mike, from “You Can Bet On That,”- a podcast for the Recreational Gambler. Mark DeVol graciously helped with the editing of this post.

You are greatly appreciated, Mark.

DISCLAIMER: This post is to help all those who want to play craps or dice but are intimidated to try. I understand that higher-level crap players play many other bets and strategies. To be a slightly knowledgeable beginner with a strategy that can help lengthen your play, maybe make a little money, and have fun in the process.

A Beginner's Guide to Playing Craps
The Craps table can be a very confusing place for the beginner!

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A Beginner’s Guide to Playing Craps

I will set it up as a 2-step strategy. First, Step 1 is what to do and what happens in a one-roll game. Next, Step 2 is what to do if the game continues after the “come-out roll.

Step 1:

A Beginner's Guide to Playing Craps
The first bet is Pass Line.

Bet $5 on the pass line. You’re betting the shooter will pass or win with a 7 or 11. The first roll by the shooter is the “come out” roll.

Result 1A: If a 7 or 11 is rolled, you win at 1:1 (even money). You bet $5 and made an additional $5. The same shooter now starts a new game – Repeat Step 1.

If it’s SEVEN on the first roll, you win. But, on the rolls after that, it’s a seven-out; you lose.

Result 1B: If 2,3, or 12 is rolled, it’s “Craps” – you lose your $5 bet, The same shooter now starts a new game – Repeat Step 1.

A Beginner's Guide to Playing Craps
The white puck shows the point.

Result 1C: If a 4,5,6,8,9 or 10 is rolled, things get interesting or confusing, depending on the level of craps you play. (But we’re still in the low-roller beginning stage, so we’re hoping it goes from confusing to attractive!) So the POINT becomes the number rolled – 4,5,6,8,9,10. The shooter’s goal is to roll that same number again before he or she rolls a 7.

We now wait for the point to be thrown again or a seven to start a new game by the same shooter. The fun is what happens before all that.

Step 2 – Includes two bets – odds on the point and a come bet.

Step 2AThe Odds Bet. – The only bet in the entire casino with a 0.00% house edge – that’s right, no house edge! So, you make this bet by putting more chips behind your pass line bet in the unmarked area of the felt. Then, just tell the dealer you want odds on the point, and they’ll place it for you.

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Here’s a neat rule for odds bets – if the point is an odd number, make the odds bet even. The casino sets the maximum odds to bet. It can range from 2x your bet up to 10x your bet. If it’s an even number, make it an odd amount. Odd is Even, Even is odd. For example, if you’re betting a nickel ($5) on the point and the point is 5 or 9, bet $6 odds. If it’s 4, 6, 8, or 10, bet another nickel ($5).

A Beginner's Guide to Playing Craps
The actual Odds Bet goes behind your pass-line bet.

Another great thing about odds bets is you can increase or decrease your odds at any time or even take them entirely off the table.

Craps Bets
Come Bets

Step 2BPlace a bet on the come. You place this bet after the come-out roll. The shooter rolls again.

Free Odds

Result 2A – If a seven is rolled, you win that bet but lose the point & the odds bet. Now go back to Step 1—time for a new game.

Result 2B – You win the point when the point number is rolled (either 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10). You also win the ODDS bet; you know that additional bet behind the POINT. The casino sets true odds – 2x, 3x, 10x, etc.

The whole process starts over when the shooter throws a point or a seven-out.

Conclusion – A Beginner’s Guide to Playing Craps

There, simple, right? I hope Craps for the Low-Roller Beginner has helped you jump into a craps game with a little less confusion and without embarrassment. Remember that a “craps-friendly” buddy will enhance that initial experience. Thanks again to  Mark & Dr. Mike from “You Can Bet On That.” You were great teachers.


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