A Beginner’s Guide to Playing Craps

Intimidated by all the noise at the dice table?  Seem too complicated? Then, You need to read “A Beginner’s Guide to Playing Craps.” Craps can be VERY overwhelming. But, it always seems that the players at the craps table is having the most fun in the casino.  What you need is two great guys and craps players to help you through it. If you’re lucky, you just 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 edit of this post. Greatly appreciated, Mark.

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

The Craps table can be a very confusing place to the beginner!
The Craps table can be a very confusing place to the beginner!

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 on a one-roll game.  Next, Step 2 is what to do if the game continues after the “come-out roll.

Step 1:

Playing Craps
First bet is Pass Line.

Bet $5 on the pass line. You’re actually betting that 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, made an additional $5.  A New game is started with the same shooter.  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, and we start another game with the next shooter. Again, repeat Step 1.

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 interesting!)  The POINT becomes the number rolled – 4,5,6,8,9,10. The shooter’s goal is now to roll that same number again before he or she rolls a 7.

We now wait for either 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. – This is the only bet in the entire casino which has 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. Just tell the dealer you want odds on the point, they’ll place it for you.

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 of the odds bet. it can range from 2x your bet up to 10x your bet. If it’s an even number, make it and 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).

Playing Craps
True Odds Bet goes behind your Pass line bet.

True Odds Bet goes behind your Pass line bet.

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



Craps Bets
Come Bets

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


Free Odds

Result 2A – If a 7 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 the available  true odds – 2x, 3x, 10x etc.

When the shooter throws a point or a seven-out, the whole process starts over again.

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. Just keep in mind 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.

Additional resource – a little known e-book that is free as a PDF file, “HOW A MATH NERD PLAYS CRAPS” by Todd Gades, who describes it as “… [a resource] he hopes to simplify the game as well as provide techniques for playing craps smartly so that anyone can play the game and have a good shot at coming out ahead.”  



  1. Great summary. Only issue. “Step 1B – If 2,3, or 12 is rolled, it’s “Craps” – you lose your $5 bet, and we start another game with the next shooter. Again, repeat Step 1A”. Next shooter should read same shooter.

Comments are closed.