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Introduction to Craps

Craps is a famous game known by all and it is played with dice. The game is played against either a bank or other players and it came from a game formerly known as hazard. Craps is more simplified than hazard and probably why it has become so famous.

What's covered on other pages:
- How to Play Craps
- Craps Odds
- Types of Bets in Craps

It is interesting to know the background on Craps because its previous game hazard is believed to have been played during the Crusades and that French gamblers eventually influence the game. Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville is believed to have brought the American version of craps to New Orleans. He was a scion of Louisiana landowners who were very wealthy, but beyond this, he was a gambler!

Craps was first called crapaud, which is a French word that means “toad.” It is believed that the game was popular among the African Americans and the French word was shortened to simply, “craps.”

There are either street craps, where the players wager against one another and then there is bank craps, where wagers are placed against the bank. The wagers are placed based on the outcome of one roll of the dice or a series of rolls by two dice. Since noting more than dice is required for this game it can be played easily anywhere. In fact, rumor has it that craps is quite popular among soldiers since dice can easily be carried in a pocket and played anywhere.


When it comes to Craps the house edge has a very wide range. It can be as low as 0%, which is great for the player, or as high as 16.67%, which is not good for the player! Educating yourself on the house edges for each bet is really important because it will increase your odds of winning and allow you to avoid the sucker bets that have really high house edges.

House Edge for Each Bet Type

Check out the following table on the house edge so you can teach yourself where to hold and when to bet!

 House Edge



Don’t pass/don’t come


Taking/laying odds


Place 4 or 10


Place 5 or 9


Place 6 or 8


Big 6 or 8


Buy all numbers (all bets have a 5% commission payable)


Buy 4 or 10 (Payable on wins only, 5% commission)


Lay 4 or 10


Lay 5 or 9


Lay 6 or 8


Craps 2/Craps 12


Craps 3/11


Any craps


Any 7


Field (12 pays 2-1)


Field (12 pays 3-1)


Hard 4 or 10


Hard  6 or 8




Horn, 2 or 12 high


Horn, 3 or 11 high




Line Bets and Free Odds

There is no house edge on the odds bet alone, so this bet is frequently called “free odds.” Because of this, you must take the negative expectation line bet before you can either lay or take odds. The following table shows pass and don’t pass bets and what the good player can expect to lose as a percentage of his total bankroll. 

Odds Allowed
Don’t Pass






Full double odds





















The best odds are obviously 100X and some casinos from Las Vegas to Atlantic City have offered these odds. This is not common at all casinos, but it is important to look out for casinos that do offer this.

Crapless Craps

Crapless Craps is a version of Craps that is popular at some casinos, but not all. If you come across a casino that does offer Crapless Craps it is important to know what to expect.

On the comeout roll on the pass line bet a 7 wins. Numbers 2, 3, 11, 12 and all other numbers become the point. By giving up the winner on 11 players feel like they have a better advantage of winning on 2, 3, and 12. The problem with this is that the 2, 3, and 12 are more likely to lose anyway where the 11 that was probably a sure winner has become more likely to be a sure loser.

The houses edge on the pass line is 5.38%, which is considerably higher than traditional craps. Keep this in mind should you come across Crapless Craps .


Craps Strategy

The best strategy when playing craps is to reduce the house edge as much as possible. This means you should find ways to accomplish this, although betting the pass or come instead of the don’t pass or don’t come is not necessarily  a problem because in most cases it is more fun to bet with all the other players rather than against them.

The best strategy is to stick with the line bets and follow them up with the odds. As long as you do this then you will have the best edge you could possibly have while playing craps.

After the pass line bet there is no particular number of bets that is better than another assuming that you have the come bets backed by the odds and they are left through the comeout roll. In this case, just bet as much or as little as makes you happy. It is a good idea to always keep the come bet throughout the comeout roll because this will slightly increase your odds. Based on 5X odds, doing this will reduce the house’s edge by .05%.

When it comes to minimum bet players it is important to keep in mind there is no reason to make a full odds bet unless you feel comfortable with this. You won’t win more by making the odds bet but you will be able to bet more without paying more. Betting correctly is not as important as betting in moderation.
In craps, you should never hedge bets. Too many players make this mistake in craps, as well as in other casino games, and it is highly recommended to never hedge bets in any game, especially craps. Players think they can protect one bet with another bet through a hedge bet. However, you don’t minimize your losses with hedge bets as much as you minimize your winnings. It’s best to play straight up and avoid hedge bets altogether.

Remember, too, there is no specific combination in craps that will allow you to beat the house edge every time, regardless of what some salesman might tell you. If you are afraid of losing and that’s why you are making hedge bets, then you should probably find another hobby because you really aren’t doing yourself any favors with hedge bets.

General Comments on Craps

Stick to the line bets in Craps and you will lower the house edge more than in any other form. This means stick to the pass, come, don’t pass, and don’t come. Also, use the odds! Never hedge and you will have the best chance of winning.

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