Craps for the Low-Roller Beginner

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Craps – if you don’t know the odds, the bets, the terminology, which bets go where and which bets stay longer than one roll, it can be very intimidating- even if it always seems that the craps table is having the most fun.  What you need is two great guys and craps players to help you through it. You need “Craps for the Low-Roller Beginner.”

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

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

Thanks to Mark & Dr. Mike, from one my favorite podcasts, “You Can Bet On That,” I now can enjoy craps (low-roller craps, that is).  They were great teachers.  I strongly suggest their podcast “You Can Bet On That” – a podcast for the Recreational Gambler.  See my previous post about them here.

A little known e-book, a free PDF file by Todd Gades, is a great resource. He describes himself as “….not a professional gambler and does not claim to make a living from playing craps.”  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.”  His e-book is called “HOW A MATH NERD PLAYS CRAPS” and is a great overview. And now for the main presentation, Craps for the Low-Roller Beginner.

The Presentation – Craps for the Low-Roller Beginner

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

Level 1:

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

Craps Table

First bet is Pass Line.

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

SEVEN On the first roll is good, you win. But any seven on the roll after that is bad.  It’s a seven-out, you Lose!

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

The Point

The “4” becomes The Point from the shooters first roll. Note the white “puck” sitting on the number 4.

The POINT – Craps for the Low-Roller Beginner

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” is the next number rolled next if it’s a 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.

Result 1C continues as the shooter rolls.  New numbers can be established. The same shooter rolls until the point is rolled or a seven is rolled to start a new game. Now return to Step 1A.

True Odds

True Odds Bet goes behind your Pass line bet.

Level 2:

Your next bet actually includes two bets – odds on the point, and a come bet.

Step 2A – The 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 odds that can be bet. It ranges from 2x 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).

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.

Come Bets

Come Bets

Step 2B – Place a bet on the come.

Shooter rolls again.


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 – Whatever the point was (either 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10), if that number is rolled, you win the point. Here are the true odds for the POINT number:

You also win the ODDS bet, you know that additional bet behind the POINT?! The odds bet can be 2x, 3x, 10x – basically it’s up to the casino.

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

Conclusion – Craps for the Low-Roller Beginner

There, simple, right? I hope Craps for the Low-Roller Beginner has helped you jump into a craps game, maybe for the first time.

Well, at least it’s a little less confusing, and you can play without embarrassment. Just keep in mind that a “craps-friendly” buddy will enhance that initial experience.

If you’re lucky, you just might meet some new friends that will help.  Thanks Mark & Dr. Mike.


Craps Quiz – How Much Do You Really Know?

How much do you really know about craps?  Some of you play it pretty well – basic strategy, horn bets, hard-ways, 6 & 8 this and that – but what kind of all encompassing knowledge do you have.  In other words, how smart do you think you are about the game so many of you  love playing?

Dogs Playing Craps – Love It.

Thanks to the website, I have put together a little true/false quiz for you.  Here you go, it’s your turn to roll… are your “yo eleven” craps true/false questions:

A. Craps Facts Trivia: History

  1. The origin of craps in a game called hazard that dates back to the Crusades.
  2. French and British settlers brought craps to America.
  3. Popularity for playing craps decreased during World War II.
  4. The house edge in craps offers some of the worst odds among table games.

B. Craps Facts Trivia: Winners

  1. The longest verified roll in a casino is 154 rolls that happened on May 23, 2009 when Dr.Mike from the famous podcast “You Can Bet On That” rolled dice for 4 hours and 18 minutes at Harrah’s Rincon Hotel Casino in California..
  2. In the mid-1990’s Archie Karas turned $17 million into $40 million by betting on craps over a span of several months. He would often bet $100,000 per roll.

 C. Craps Facts Trivia: Game Play 

  1. There is no regulation size to a craps table. The tables in most casinos are 12 or 14 feet long.
  2. Craps die are red in color and opaque as the ones used in monopoly games.
  3. Each table requires four casino employees – the box person who monitors the rolls and supervises monetary transactions; two dealers that place and pay out bets; the stickman who pushes the dice to players and handles the proposition bets in the middle of the table.
  4. The player rolling the dice is only allowed to touch them with one hand. If they reach for the dice with two hands, they will be warned by the stickman.
  5. The dealers at a craps table cannot handle money directly from players. Cash must be laid on the table.

Here are your answers

A-1) T – it was actually mentioned in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in the 14th century.

A-2) T – It is quite possible that craps spread from both the English and the French – the French, when they were forced out of Nova Scotia and became know as Cajuns, bringing their dice game, or “crebs” with them.  The first English settlers on the Mayflower supposedly brought their dice games to America.  Religious freedom and gambling…….hmmmm…….

A-3) F – it actually soared in popularity during the mid-20th century as soldiers in World War II played during their down time.

A-4) F – With a house edge of only 1.4% for specific wagers, craps actually offers some of the best odds among table games.

B-1) F – Actually it was Patricia Demauro in only her second time playing craps at the Borgata Hotel Casino in Atlantic City.

B-2) T – Yup, then proceeded to lose it all

Gambler Archie Karas during “The Run” – turns $50 into $40 million then loses it all


Long craps table in A.C.

C-1) T – The tables in most casinos are 12 or 14 feet long. According to the Wizard of Odds, some of the longest craps tables are found in Atlantic City.

C-2) Dice for the craps table are transparent and made exclusively of cellulose except for the spots, must be formed in the shape of a perfect cube with all edges and corners perfectly square, that is forming perfect 90 degree angles.  By the way, the spots must be arranged so that the side containing one spot is directly opposite the side containing six spots, the side containing two spots directly opposite the side containing five spots and the side containing three spots is directly opposite the side containing four spots.

C-3) F – While the optimum run craps table does have this configuration, some casinos are now cutting back sometimes playing half a table, cutting out the box-man and one dealer.

C-4) T – only one hand.

C-5) T – this is true for most table games.  Why? It helps surveillance (the eye in the sky) keep track for your benefit and the casino’s.


Did you learn anything? Hope you had fun.