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Craps is a classic gambling game played with a pair of dice, in which the object is to predict the combined number rolled by the dice. It's said the origin of craps can be traced back centuries, and the simple equipment required mean craps has long been played in the streets.
Craps is available at land-based casinos, but has also grown popular at online casinos, where the dice are rolled using random generator software. Online casinos offer craps for desktop and mobile devices. It's worth noting that not just the 'shooter' gets the bet on a game of craps. Those around the table are also entitled to bet, providing the dealer's button is set to 'on'.
Two regular, six-sided dice are used for craps. The game is not concerned with the individual number rolled by either dice, but only by the combined score of the two dice added together. Thus, the range of possible outcomes goes from two (achieved by rolling two ones, aka 'snake eyes'), to 12 (achieved by rolling a double six).
Who rolls the dice?
Players take turns to roll the dice, otherwise known as 'shooting'. A player's turn ends when they roll a seven during the 'point' round. We'll explain more here later, but once a player 'sevens out' another shooter, typically clockwise to the left, takes over to roll the dice.
How to play craps
The following is a basic outline of how craps works.
After an initial shooter is selected, he or she rolls what it is called a 'come-out' round. A roll of seven or 11 is an automatic win and earns the shooter another round, while a roll of two, three or 12 is considered an automatic loss. The shooter still gets to go again, however.
When anything other than two, three, seven, 11 or 12 is rolled the play enters the 'point' round.
The shooter is then trying to roll that point number for a second time, before he or she rolls a seven – thus 'sevening out' and ending their turn as the shooter
The shooter keeps rolling for as long as he or she can avoid rolling a seven and 'sevening out'. During this 'bonus' stage the aim is keep rolling the point number and win as many times as possible.
If the shooter rolls anything other than the point number or a seven during the point round, it's referred to as 'throwing numbers'. This is considered good, as the shooter is avoiding a dreaded seven.
Once a seven is rolled, the shooter steps aside and the next player steps up to begin the 'come-out' round.
How to make pass-line bets when you're playing craps
This is where things can get a little more complicated. We won't get into all the bets you can make playing craps, but here is a guide to the most popular bet in craps, the 'pass line bet'.
The most common bet in craps is called a 'pass line bet'. When made before the 'come-out' this bet stands to pay back a matching stake if seven or 11 are rolled, and lose the stake if two, three or 12 are rolled.
If a number other than those mentioned is rolled, the bet is in tact and we enter the 'point' round. The player wins if the shooter rolls the point number again before 'sevening out' and rolling a seven first. Should a seven come up, he or she loses.
Pass line bets can be made or upped after every roll of the dice after play enters the point round. If a player wins when the point number comes up, he or she can bet again if they want to.
Other bets available in craps
Pass line bets are not the only craps bets you can make. Players can also make 'don't pass' bets, which are effectively the exact opposite. With don't pass bets you're banking on a two or three being rolled in the come-out round. You lose on a seven or 11, while a 12 is considered a 'push'. Once play enters the point round, a 'don't pass' bet is banking on the shooter rolling a seven.
Here are a few other bets you can make it craps:
Single roll bets are where you punt on the shooter rolling a specific number.
Come bets come into play once the point is rolled, at which point you win on a seven or 11, and lose on a 2,3 and 12. If another number is rolled you now have a 'come point' which serves as a second point in operation. If that's rolled, you win. If a seven comes first, you lose. If a pass line bet wins first, your come bet remains active for the next shooter.
Don't come bets are the opposite of come bets, much as don't pass bets are the opposite of pass line bets.
How to get started with craps
If you're looking to get started with craps, playing at an online casino is a great way to learn the ropes and get up to speed with how everything works. Most online casinos have a free play function that is great for beginners and should have you playing for money in no time at all.
The best advice is to check out an online craps portal for hints and tips on the best online casinos to play at.