Craps is a dice game in which the players make wagers on the outcome of the roll, or a series of rolls, of a pair of dice. Players may wager money against each other (playing "street craps", also known as "shooting dice" or "rolling dice") or a bank (playing "casino craps", also known as "table craps", or often just "craps"). Because it requires little equipment, "street craps" can be played in informal settings.
- 1 History
- 2 Casino craps
- 3 Types of wagers
- 4 Bet odds and summary
- 5 Betting variants
- 6 Optimal betting
- 7 Etiquette
- 8 Systems
- 9 Variants of the game
- 10 Card-based variations
- 11 Rules of play against other players
- 12 In popular culture
- 13 See also
- 14 References
- 15 External links
Craps developed from a simplification of the early English game of "hazard". Its origins are complex and may date to the Crusades, later being influenced by French gamblers. What was to become the modern American version of the game was brought to New Orleans by Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville, a gambler and politician descended from wealthy Louisiana landowners. There was a flaw in Bernard's version of the game in which players could exploit the casino using fixed dice and taking advantage of the way players can bet with or against the dice thrower. A man named John H. Winn introduced the "don't pass" betting option in order to fix this problem and it is this version of craps that still exists today.
The game, first known as crapaud (a French word meaning "toad" in reference to the original style of play by people crouched over a floor or sidewalk), reportedly owes its modern popularity to street craps. Street craps may be played by rolling the dice against a back-stop, such as a curb or stair-stoop, or without a back-stop, at the choice of the players.
During World War II, street-style craps became popular among soldiers, who often played it using an Army blanket as a shooting surface. With no backboard or sidewalk curb to hit against, this gave rise to presumed methods of dice control, of which the best was known as the "army blanket roll".
"Casino craps" or "bank craps" is a game played by multiple or a single player betting against a casino. The players and casino employees stand or sit around a large oval "craps table." In most houses sitting at a craps table is discouraged unless the player is handicapped.
The craps table
In a casino, players make bets with chips on a specially made craps table with a "layout" – a table cloth made of felt that displays the various betting possibilities, which vary somewhat in bet presence, position, and payout among casinos. The tables have the shape of a bathtub, about 14' long, 5' wide, about 28" above the floor at the bottom, where the layout is, and about 2' from the layout up to the rim of the tub.
With the table oriented with its long sides running left to right, along one long side is the casino's bank – thousands of chips, stacked 20 high, standing on the layout. Along the opposite side of the tub is usually a long, angled mirror. The left and right U-shaped sections of the table each have the same bet areas marked on the layout, with space for usually up to 8 players to stand (or occasionally sit, on barstools) and place their bets on each side. The walls of the tub around these sections are usually covered with a rubberized pyramid-shaped texture, used to randomly reflect the dice that are thrown towards them from the opposite side of the table.
An additional group of bets is in the middle of the layout, are referred to as proposition bets, and are used for bets by players from both sides. The top rim of the table has horizontal grooves for players to keep their chips (lying horizontally) while not in play.
The table is run by up to four casino employees: a boxman, seated (usually the only seated employee) behind the casino's bank, who manages the chips, supervises the dealers, and handles "coloring up" players (exchanging small chip denominations for larger denominations in order to preserve the chips at a table); two base dealers who stand to either side of the boxman and collect and pay bets to players around their half of the table; and a stickman who stands directly across the table from the boxman, takes and pays (or directs the base dealers to do so) the bets in the center of the table, announces the results of each roll (usually with a distinctive patter), moves the dice across the layout with an elongated wooden stick. Each employee also watches for mistakes by the others because of the sometimes large number of bets and frantic pace of the game. In smaller casinos or at quiet times of day, one or more of these employees may be missing, and have their job covered by another, or cause player capacity to be reduced.
Some smaller casinos have introduced "mini-craps" tables which are operated with only two dealers; rather than being two essentially identical sides and the center area, a single set of major bets is presented, split by the center bets. Responsibility of the dealers is adjusted: the stickman continuing to handle the center bets, and the base dealer handling the other bets as well as cash and chip exchanges.
By contrast, in "street craps", there is no marked table and often the game is played with no back-stop against which the dice are to hit. (Despite the name "street craps," this game is often played in houses, usually on an un-carpeted garage or kitchen floor.) The wagers are made in cash, never in chips, and are usually thrown down onto the ground by the players. There are no attendants, and so the progress of the game, fairness of the throws, and the way that the payouts are made for winning bets are self-policed by the players.
Rules of play
Each casino may set which bets are offered and different payouts for them, though a core set of bets and payouts is typical. Players take turns rolling two dice and whoever is throwing the dice is called the "shooter". Players can bet on the various options by placing chips directly on the appropriately-marked sections of the layout, or asking the base dealer or stickman to do so, depending on which bet is being made.
While acting as the shooter, a player must have a bet on the "Pass" line or the "Don't Pass" line. "Pass" and "don’t pass" are sometimes called "Win" and "Don’t Win" or "Right" and "Wrong" bets. The game is played in rounds and these "Pass" and "Don't Pass" bets are betting on the outcome of a round. The shooter is presented with multiple dice (typically five) by the "stickman", and must choose two for the round. The remaining dice are returned to the stickman's bowl and are not used.
Each round has two phases: "come-out" and "point". To start a round, the shooter makes one or more "come-out" rolls. A come-out roll of 2, 3 or 12 is called "craps" or "crapping out", and anyone betting the Pass line loses. A come-out roll of 7 or 11 is a "natural", and the Pass line wins. The other possible numbers are the point numbers: 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10. If the shooter rolls one of these numbers on the come-out roll, this establishes the "point" - to "pass" or "win", the point number must be rolled again before a seven. The dealer flips a button to the "On" side and moves it to the point number signifying the second phase of the round. If the shooter "hits" the point value again (any value of the dice that sum to the point will do; the shooter doesn't have to exactly repeat the value combination of the come-out roll) before rolling a seven, the Pass line wins and a new round starts. If the shooter rolls any seven before repeating the point number (a "seven-out"), the Pass line loses and the dice pass clockwise to the next new shooter for the next round. In all the above scenarios, whenever the Pass line wins, the Don't Pass line loses, and vice versa, with one exception: on the come-out roll, a roll of 12 will cause Pass Line bets to lose, but Don't Pass bets are pushed (or "barred"), neither winning nor losing. (The same applies to "Come" and "Don't Come" bets, discussed below.)
Joining a game
A player wishing to play craps without being the shooter should approach the craps table and first check to see if the dealer's "On" button is on any of the point numbers.
- If the button has been turned to "Off", then the table is in the come-out round, and a point has not been established.
- If the dealer's button is on, the table is in the point round where most casinos will allow a pass line bet to be placed. Some casinos will place the bet straddling the outer border of the pass line so as to indicate that it is to be paid the same odds as a place bet, instead of just even money. Other casinos will take the bet on the pass line, which is a disadvantage to the player (since the seven is the most common roll and likely to happen before the "point").
In either case, all single or multi roll proposition bets may be placed in either of the two rounds.
Between dice rolls there is a period for dealers to make payouts and collect losing bets, after which players can place new bets. The stickman monitors the action at a table and decides when to give the shooter the dice, after which no more betting is allowed.
When joining the game, money (and I.D., if necessary) should be placed on the table rather than passed directly to a dealer. Keep in mind that the dealer's exaggerated movements are required so that any disputes can be later reviewed on security camera footage.
If a new player feels that he or she needs assistance in learning the rules of craps, it is recommended to approach an empty craps table at a slow time of day (for example, between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.). The dealers are likely to be approachable and friendly and will explain the betting process. Also, casinos often offer training sessions for new craps players.
The dealers will insist that the shooter roll with one hand and that the dice bounce off the far wall surrounding the table. These requirements are meant to keep the game fair (preventing switching the dice or making a "controlled shot"). If a die leaves the table, the shooter will usually be asked to select another die from the remaining three but can request using the same die if it passes the boxman's inspection. This requirement is used to keep the game fair (and reduce the chance of loaded dice).
|1||Snake Eyes||Ace Deuce||Easy Four||Five (Fever Five)||Easy Six||Natural or Seven Out|
|2||Ace Deuce||Hard Four||Five (Fever Five)||Easy Six||Natural or Seven Out||Easy Eight|
|3||Easy Four||Five (Fever Five)||Hard Six||Natural or Seven Out||Easy Eight||Nine (Nina)|
|4||Five (Fever Five)||Easy Six||Natural or Seven Out||Hard Eight||Nine (Nina)||Easy Ten|
|5||Easy Six||Natural or Seven Out||Easy Eight||Nine (Nina)||Hard Ten||Yo (Yo-leven)|
|6||Natural or Seven Out||Easy Eight||Nine (Nina)||Easy Ten||Yo (Yo-leven)||Boxcars or Midnight|
Rolls of 4, 6, 8, and 10 are called "hard" or "easy" (e.g. "six the hard way", "easy eight", "hard ten") depending on whether they were rolled as a "double" or as any other combination of values, because of their significance in center table bets known as the "hard ways". Hard way rolls are so named because there is only one way to roll them (i.e., the value on each die is the same when the number is rolled). Consequently, it is more likely to roll the number in combinations (easy) rather than as a double (hard).
Two is "snake eyes," because the two ones that comprise it look like a pair of small, beady eyes. During actual play, more common terms are "two craps two" during the comeout roll because the pass line bet is lost on a comeout crap roll and/or because a bet on any craps would win. "Aces; double the field" would be a more common call when not on the comeout roll to remind the dealers to pay double on the field bets and encourage the field bettor to place subsequent bets and/or when no crap bets have been placed. Another name for the two is "loose deuce".
Three is typically called as "three craps three" during the comeout roll, or "three, ace deuce, come away single" when not on the comeout to signify the come bet has been lost and to pay single to any field bettors. Three may also be referred to as "ace caught a deuce," or even less often "acey deucey".
Four, usually hard, is sometimes referred to as "Little Joe from Kokomo." or "Little Joe on the front row" or just "Little Joe". A hard four can be called a "ballerina" because it is two-two ("tutu").
Five is often called "no field five" in casino craps because 5 is not on the field and thus not paid in the field bets. Other names for a five are "fever" and "little Phoebe".
Six may be referred to as "Jimmie Hicks" or "Jimmie Hicks from the sticks", examples of rhyming slang. On a win, the six is often called "666 winner 6" followed by "came hard" or "came easy".
Seven rolled as 6-1 is sometimes called "six ace" or "up pops the Devil". Older dealers and players may use the term "Big Red" because craps tables once prominently featured a large red "7" in the center of the layout for the one-roll seven bet. During the comeout, the seven is called "seven, front line winner," frequently followed by "pay the line" and/or "take the don'ts". After the point is established, a seven is typically called by simply "7 out" or "7 out 7".
Nine is called a "centerfield nine" in casino craps because nine is in the center of the field. In Atlantic City, a 4-5 is called a "railroad nine". The 4-5 nine is also known as "Jesse James" because the outlaw Jesse James was killed by a .45 caliber pistol. Other names for the nine include "Nina from Pasadena", "Nina at the Marina", and "niner from Carolina". Nine can also be referred to as "Old Mike," named after National Basketball Association Hall-of-Famer Michael Jordan. Jordan wore number 45 later on in his playing career.
Ten the hard way is "a hard ten" or "a woman's best friend". This is both an example of rhyming slang and of a sexual double entendre. Ten may also be known as "puppy paws" or "a pair of sunflowers" or "Big Dick" or "Big John." Another slang for a hard ten is "moose head", because it resembles a moose's antlers. This phrase came from players in the Pittsburgh area.
Eleven is called out as "yo" or "yo-leven" to prevent being misheard as "seven". An older term for eleven is "six five, no jive" because it is a winning roll. During the comeout, eleven is typically followed by "front line winner". After the point is established, "good field and come" is often added.
Twelve is known as "boxcars" because the spots on the two dice that show 6-6 look like schematic drawings of railroad boxcars; it is also called "midnight", referring to twelve o'clock. On tables that pay triple the field on a twelve roll, the stickman will often loudly exclaim "triple" either alone or in combination with "12 craps 12" or "come away triple".
Types of wagers
The shooter is required to make either a Pass Line bet or a Don't Pass bet if he wants to shoot. Some casinos require all players to make a minimum Pass Line or Don't Pass bet (if they want to make any other bet), whether they are currently shooting or not.
Pass line bet: The fundamental bet in craps is the pass line bet, which is a bet for the shooter to win.
- If the come-out roll is 7 or 11, the bet wins.
- If the come-out roll is 2, 3 or 12, the bet loses (known as "crapping out").
- If the roll is any other value, it establishes a point.
- If, with a point established, that point is rolled again before a 7, the bet wins.
- If, with a point established, a 7 is rolled before the point is rolled again ("seven out"), the bet loses.
The pass line bet pays even money.
Because the odds are against making a point, a player may make or increase a pass line bet and any corresponding odds (up to the table limit) at any time after a point is established. Once made, however, the pass line bet can not be taken down or reduced.
Don't pass bet: A don't pass bet is a bet for the shooter to lose ("seven out, line away") and is almost the opposite of the pass line bet.
- If the come-out roll is 2 or 3, the bet wins.
- If the come-out roll is 7 or 11, the bet loses.
- If the come-out roll is 12, the bet is a push (neither won nor lost). In some casinos, the bet pushes on 2 and wins on 12 instead. Others allow the player to choose to either push on 2 ("Bar Aces") or push on 12 ("Bar Sixes") depending on where it is placed on the layout. The push on 12 or 2 is mathematically necessary to maintain the house edge over the player.
- If the roll is any other value, it establishes a point.
- If, with a point established, a 7 is rolled before the point is rolled again ("seven out"), the bet wins.
- If, with a point established, that point is rolled again before a 7, the bet loses.
The don't pass bet pays even money.
Because the odds are against making a point, a player may take down or reduce a don't pass bet and any corresponding odds at any time. Once taken down or reduced, however, the don't pass bet can not be restored or increased. Because the shooter must have a line bet the shooter generally cannot reduce a don't pass bet below the table minimum, although casinos will allow the shooter to move the bet to the pass line in lieu of taking it down.
There are two different ways to calculate the odds and house edge of this bet. The table below gives the numbers considering that the game ends in a push when a 12 is rolled, rather than being undetermined. Betting on don't pass is often called "playing the dark side," and it is considered by some players to be in poor taste, or even taboo, because it goes directly against conventional play, winning when most of the players lose.
Pass odds: If a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 is thrown on the come-out roll (i.e., if a point is established), most casinos allow pass line players to take odds by placing up to some predetermined multiple of the pass line bet, behind the pass line. This additional bet wins if the point is rolled again before a 7 is rolled (the point is made) and pays at the true odds of 2-to-1 if 4 or 10 is the point, 3-to-2 if 5 or 9 is the point, or 6-to-5 if 6 or 8 is the point.
Individual casinos (and sometimes tables within a casino) vary greatly in the maximum odds they offer, from single or double odds (one or two times the pass line bet) up to 100x or even unlimited odds. A variation often seen is "3-4-5X Odds," where the maximum allowed odds bet depends on the point: three times if the point is 4 or 10; four times on points of 5 or 9; or five times on points of 6 or 8. This rule simplifies the calculation of winnings: a maximum pass odds bet on a 3-4-5X table will always be paid at six times the pass line bet regardless of the point.
As odds bets are paid at true odds, in contrast with the pass line which is always even money, taking odds on a minimum pass line bet lessens the house advantage compared with betting the same total amount on the pass line only. A maximum odds bet on a minimum pass line bet often gives the lowest house edge available in any game in the casino. However, the odds bet cannot be made independently, so the house retains an edge on the pass line bet itself.
Don't pass odds: If a player is playing don't pass instead of pass, they may also lay odds by placing chips behind the don't pass line. If a 7 comes before the point is rolled, the odds pay at true odds of 1-to-2 if 4 or 10 is the point, 2-to-3 if 5 or 9 is the point, or 5-to-6 if 6 or 8 is the point. Typically the maximum lay bet will be expressed such that a player may win an amount equal to the maximum odds multiple at the table: If a player lays maximum odds with a point of four on a table offering five-times odds, he would lay ten times the amount of his Don't pass bet. At a 3-4-5x odds table, the maximum odds one can lay will always be 6x the amount of the don't pass bet.
Come bet: A come bet can be visualized as starting an entirely new pass line bet, unique to that player. A player making a come bet will bet on the first point number that "comes" from the shooter's next roll, regardless of the table's round. If a 7 or 11 is rolled on the first round, it wins. If a 2, 3, or 12 is rolled, it loses. If instead the roll is 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, the come bet will be moved by the base dealer onto a box representing the number the shooter threw. This number becomes the "come-bet point" and the player is allowed to take odds, just like a pass line bet. The dealer will place the odds on top of the come bet, but slightly off center in order to differentiate between the original bet and the odds. The second round wins if the shooter rolls the come bet point again before a seven. Winning come bets are paid the same as winning pass line bets: even money for the original bet and true odds for the odds bet. If, instead, the seven is rolled before the come-bet point, the come bet (and any odds bet) loses.
Come bets can only be made after a point has been established since, on the come-out roll, a come bet would be the same thing as a pass line bet.
Because of the come bet, if the shooter makes their point, a player can find themselves in the situation where they still have a come bet (possibly with odds on it) and the next roll is a come-out roll. In this situation, odds bets on the come wagers are usually presumed to be not working for the come-out roll. That means that if the shooter rolls a 7 on the come-out roll, any players with active come bets waiting for a come-bet point lose their initial wager but will have their odds bets returned to them. If the come-bet point is rolled on the come-out roll, the odds do not win but the come bet does and the odds bet is returned (along with the come bet and its payoff). The player can tell the dealer that they want their odds working, such that if the shooter rolls a number that matches the come point, the odds bet will win along with the come bet, and if a seven is rolled, both lose.
Many players will use a come bet as "insurance" against sevening out: if the shooter rolls a seven, the come bet pays 1:1, offsetting the loss of the pass line bet. The risk in this strategy is the situation where the shooter does not hit a seven for several rolls, leading to multiple come bets that will be lost if the shooter eventually sevens out.
Don't come bet: In the same way that a come bet is similar to a pass line bet, a don't come bet is similar to a don't pass bet. A don't come bet is played in two rounds. If a 2 or 3 is rolled in the first round, it wins. If a 7 or 11 is rolled, it loses. If a 12 is rolled, it is a push (subject to the same 2/12 switch described above for the don't pass bet). If, instead, the roll is 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, the don't come bet will be moved by the base dealer onto a box representing the number the shooter threw. The second round wins if the shooter rolls a seven before the don't come point.
Don't come bets can only be made after the come-out roll when a point has already been established. The player may lay odds on a don't come bet, just like a don't pass bet; in this case, the dealer (not the player) places the odds bet on top of the bet in the box, because of limited space, slightly offset to signify that it is an odds bet and not part of the original don't come bet.
Winning don't come bets are paid the same as winning don't pass bets: even money for the original bet and true odds for the odds lay.
Single roll bets
Single-roll (proposition) bets are resolved in one dice roll by the shooter. Most of these are called "Service Bets", and they are located at the center of most craps tables. Only the stickman or a dealer can place a service bet. The bets include:
2 (snake eyes, or Aces): Wins if shooter rolls a 2.
3 (ace-deuce): Wins if the shooter rolls a 3.
Yo: Wins if the shooter rolls 11.
12 (boxcars, midnight, or cornrows): Wins if shooter rolls a 12.
2 or 12 (hi-lo): Wins if shooter rolls a 2 or 12. The stickman places this bet on the line dividing the 2 and 12 bets.
Any Craps (Three-Way): Wins if the shooter rolls 2, 3 or 12.
C & E: A combined bet, a player is betting half their bet on craps and the other half on yo (11). One of the two bets will always lose, the other may win.
Any seven: Wins if the shooter rolls a 7. This bet is also nicknamed Big Red, since the 7 on its betting space on the layout is usually large and red, and it is considered bad luck[by whom?] and a breach of etiquette to speak the word "seven" at the table.
The Horn: This is a bet that involves betting on 1 unit each for 2, 3, 11 and 12 at the same time for the next roll. The bet is actually four separate bets, and pays off depending on which number is actually rolled, minus three units for the other three losing bets. Many players, in order to eliminate the confusion of tossing four chips to the center of the table or having change made while bets are being placed, will make a five-unit Horn High bet, which is a four-way bet with the extra unit going to one specific number. For example, if you toss a $5 chip into the center and say "horn high yo," you are placing four $1 bets on each of the horn numbers and the extra dollar will go on the yo (11).
Hard and Horny bet, which is a combination of the horn bet and all hardways.
Whirl or World: bet is a five-unit bet that is a combination of a horn and any-seven bet, with the idea that if a seven is rolled the bet is a push, because the money won on the seven is lost on the horn portions of the bet.
On the Hop This is a single roll bet on any particular combination of the two dice on the next roll. For example, if you bet on "5 and 1" on the hop, you are betting that the next roll will have a 5 on one die and a 1 on the other die. The bet pays 15:1 (just like a bet on 3 or 11) except for doubles (e.g., 3 and 3 on the hop) which pay 30:1 (just like a bet on 12, which is the same as 6 and 6 on the hop). The true odds are 17:1 and 35:1, resulting in a house edge of 11.11% and 13.89% respectively. When presented, hop bets are located at the center of the craps layout with the other proposition bets. If hop bets are not on the craps layout, they still may be bet on by players but they become the responsibility of the boxman to book the bet.
Field: This bet is a wager that one of the numbers 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12 will appear on the next roll of the dice. This bet typically pays more (2:1 or 3:1) if 2 or 12 is rolled, and 1:1 if 3, 4, 9, 10 or 11 is rolled. The Field bet is a "Self-Service" Bet. Unlike the other proposition bets which are handled by the dealers or stickman, the field bet is placed directly by the player. Players identify their Field bets by placing them in the Field area directly in front of them or as close to their position as possible. The initial bet and/or any payouts can "ride" through several rolls until they lose, and are assumed to be "riding" by dealers. It is thus the player's responsibility to collect their bet and/or winnings immediately upon payout, before the next dice roll, if they do not wish to let it ride.
These are bets that may not be settled on the first roll and may need any number of subsequent rolls before an outcome is determined. Most multi-roll bets may fall into the situation where a point is made by the shooter before the outcome of the multi-roll bet is decided. These bets are often considered "not working" on the new come-out roll until the next point is established, unless the player calls the bet as "working." Casino rules vary on this; some of these bets may not be callable, while others may be considered "working" during the come-out. Dealers will usually announce if bets are working unless otherwise called off. If a non-working point number placed, bought or laid becomes the new point as the result of a come-out, the bet is usually refunded, or can be moved to another number for free.
A bet that the shooter will throw a 4, 6, 8 or 10 the "hard way", before he throws a seven or the corresponding "easy way". A hard way occurs when both dice show identical values, also known as "doubles" or "pairs." Pairs are called at the table as "hard 8" or "4 the hard way".
Opposite of hard way is a bet that the shooter will throw a specific easy way (either 4, 6, 8 or 10), before he throws a seven. An easy way is a value that does not have two dice identical, so 3-1 is easy way 4. These are rarely available as bets except by placing on a point number (which pays off on easy or hard rolls of that number).
Big 6 and Big 8
A player can choose either the 6 or 8 being rolled before the shooter throws a seven. These wagers are usually avoided by experienced craps players since they pay even money (1:1) while a player can make place bets on the 6 or the 8, which pay more (7:6). Some casinos do not even offer the Big 6 & 8. The bets are located in the corners behind the pass line, and bets may be placed directly by players. The only real advantage offered by the Big 6 & 8 is that they can be bet for the table minimum, whereas a place bet minimum may sometimes be greater than the table minimum (e.g. $6 place bet on a $3 minimum game.) In addition place bets are usually not working, except by agreement, when the shooter is "coming out" i.e. shooting for a point, and Big 6 and 8 bets always work. Some modern layouts no longer show the Big 6/Big 8 bet.
Place and buy
Players can place or buy any point number (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10) by placing their wager in the come area and telling the dealer how much and on what number(s), "30 on the 6", "5 on the 5" or "25 buy the 10". Both place and buy bets are bets that the number bet on will be rolled before a 7 is rolled. These bets are considered working bets, and will continue to be paid out each time a shooter rolls the place or buy point number. By rules, place bets are NOT working on the come out roll but can be "turned on" by the player.
Place bet payouts are slightly worse than the true odds: 9-to-5 on points 4 or 10, 7-to-5 on points 5 or 9, and 7-to-6 on points 6 or 8. The place bets on the outside numbers (4,5,9,10) should be made in units of $5, (on a $5 minimum table), in order to receive the correct exact payout of $5 paying $7 or $5 paying $9. The place bets on the 6 & 8 should be made in units of $6, (on a $5 minimum table), in order to receive the correct exact payout of $6 paying $7.
Buy bets are paid at true odds, but a 5% commission is charged on the amount of the bet. Traditionally, the buy bet commission is paid no matter what, but in recent years a number of casinos have changed their policy to charge the commission only when the buy bet wins. Some casinos charge the commission as a one-time fee to buy the number; payouts are then always at true odds. Most casinos usually charge only $1 for a $25 green-chip bet (4% commission), or $2 for $50 (two green chips), reducing the house advantage a bit more. Where commission is charged only on wins, the commission is often deducted from the winning payoff—a winning $25 buy bet on the 10 would pay $49, for instance. The house edges stated in the table assume the commission is charged on all bets. They are reduced by at least a factor of two if commission is charged on winning bets only. Rarely casinos offer the place bet to lose. This bet is the opposite of the place bet and wins if a 7 is rolled before the specific point number. The place bet to lose typically carries a lower house edge than a place bet.
A lay bet is the opposite of a buy bet, where a player bets on a 7 to roll before the number that is laid. Just like the buy bet lay bets pay true odds, but because the lay bet is the opposite of the buy bet, the payout is reversed. Therefore players get 1 to 2 for the numbers 4 and 10, 2 to 3 for the numbers 5 and 9, and 5 to 6 for the numbers 6 and 8. A 5% commission (vigorish, vig, juice) is charged up front on the possible winning amount. For example: A $40 Lay Bet on the 4 would pay $20 on a win. The 5% vig would be $1 based on the $20 win. (NOT $2 based on the $40 bet as the way buy bet commissions are figured.) Like the buy bet the commission is adjusted to suit the betting unit such that fraction of a dollar payouts are not needed.
If a player is unsure of whether a bet is a single or multi-roll bet, it can be noted that all single-roll bets will be displayed on the playing surface in one color (usually red), while all multi-roll bets will be displayed in a different color (usually yellow).
Fire Bet: Is a registered trademark owned by SHFL entertainment, Inc. Before the shooter begins, some casinos will allow a bet known as a fire bet to be placed. A fire bet is a bet of as little as 1 dollar, made in the hope that the next shooter will have a hot streak of setting and getting many points of different values. As different individual points are made by the shooter, they will be marked on the craps layout with a fire symbol. The first three points will not pay out on the fire bet, but the fourth, fifth and sixth will pay out at increasing odds. The fourth point pays at 24-to-1, the fifth point pays at 249-to-1 and the 6th point pays at 999-to-1. Note that the points must all be different numbers for them to count towards the fire bet. For example, a shooter who successfully hits a point of 10 twice will only garner credit for the first one on the fire bet.
Bonus Craps: Is a registered trademark owned by Galaxy Gaming. Prior to the initial "come out roll," players may place an optional wager (usually a $1 minimum) on one or more of the three Bonus Craps wagers, "All Small," "All Tall," or "All or Nothing at All." For players to win the "All Small" wager, the shooter must hit all five small numbers (2, 3, 4, 5, 6) before a seven is rolled; similarly, "All Tall" wins if all five high numbers (8, 9, 10, 11, 12) are hit before a seven is rolled. These bets pay 35-for-1, for a house advantage of 7.76%. “All or Nothing at All” wins if the shooter hits all 10 numbers before a seven is rolled. This pays 176-for-1, for a house edge of 7.99%. For all three wagers, the order in which the numbers are hit does not matter. Whenever a seven is hit, including on the come out roll, all bonus bets lose, the bonus board is reset, and new bonus bets may be placed.
Bet odds and summary
- Note: Individual casinos may pay some of these bets at different payout ratios than those listed below. Some bets are listed more than once below – the most common payout in North American casinos is listed first, followed by other known variants.
- Note: "True Odds" do not vary.
|Bet||True Odds||Odds Paid||House Edge||Single or Multi Roll||Win||Lose||Notes|
|Pass / Come||251:244||1:1||1.41%||Multi||Come out roll: 7, 11.
Once the point is established: the point number (one of: 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10)
|Come out roll: 2, 3, 12.
Once the point is established: 7
|Considered a "contract bet": once the point is established, the bet is locked until it wins or loses. See Optimal betting.|
|Don’t Pass / Don’t Come (Bar-12 or Bar-2)||976:949||1:1||1.36%||Multi||Come out roll: 2 if Bar-12 or 12 if Bar-2, 3.
Once the point is established: 7
|Come out roll: 7, 11.
Once the point is established: the point number (one of: 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10)
|Controlled by the player: can be decreased at any time, but see Optimal betting.|
|Pass Odds / Come Odds||Same as paid||2:1 on 4,10;
3:2 on 5,9;
6:5 on 6,8
|0%||Multi||Once the point is established: the point number (one of: 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10)||Once the point is established: 7||Controlled by the player: can be increased or decreased at any time|
|Don’t Pass Odds / Don’t Come Odds||Same as paid||1:2 against 4,10;
2:3 against 5,9;
5:6 against 6,8
|0%||Multi||Once the point is established: 7||Once the point is established: the point number (one of: 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10)||Controlled by the player: can be increased or decreased at any time|
|Yo (11)||17:1||15:1||11.11%||Single||11||Any other number|
|3||17:1||15:1||11.11%||Single||3||Any other number|
|2||35:1||30:1||13.89%||Single||2||Any other number|
|12||35:1||30:1||13.89%||Single||12||Any other number|
|Hi-Lo (2 or 12)||17:1||15:1||11.11%||Single||2 or 12||Any other number|
|Craps (2, 3, or 12)||8:1||7:1||11.11%||Single||2, 3, 12||Any other number|
|C & E (the combined bet)||5:1||3:1 on 2,3,12;
7:1 on 11
|11.11%||Single||2, 3, 11, 12||Any other number|
|Any 7||5:1||4:1||16.67%||Single||7||Any other number|
|Field||5:4||1:1 on 3,4,9,10,11;
2:1 on 2;
3:1 on 12
|2.78%||Single||2,3,4,9,10,11,12||Any other number||Most common payout schedule|
|Field||5:4||1:1 on 3,4,9,10,11;
2:1 on 2 ,12
|5.56%||Single||2,3,4,9,10,11,12||Any other number||OLG Fallsview Resort Casino|
|Field||5:4||1:1 on 3,4,9,10,11;
3:1 on 2,12
|0%||Single||2,3,4,9,10,11,12||Any other number||at Santa Ana Star Casino|
|The Horn||5:1||27:4 on 2,12;
3:1 on 3,11
|12.5%||Single||2,3,11,12||Any other number|
|Whirl/World||2:1||26:5 on 2,12;
11:5 on 3,11;
0:1 (push) on 7
|13.33%||Single||2,3,7,11,12||Any other number|
|Hard 4 / Hard 10||8:1||7:1||11.11%||Multi||4/10 as a pair (2-2/5-5)||7, 4/10 as a non-pair (1-3/4-6)|
|Hard 6 / Hard 8||10:1||9:1||9.09%||Multi||6/8 as a pair (3-3/4-4)||7, 6/8 as a non-pair (1-5,2-4/2-6,3-5)|
|Big 6 / Big 8||6:5||1:1||9.09%||Multi||6/8||7|
|Place 4 / Place 10||2:1||9:5||6.67%||Multi||4/10||7||Same true odds, better payout if the player buys the 4/10|
|Place 5 / Place 9||3:2||7:5||4%||Multi||5/9||7|
|Place 6 / Place 8||6:5||7:6||1.52%||Multi||6/8||7|
|Buy 4 / Buy 10||2:1||2:1 -5% of intended bet||4.76%||Multi||4/10||7|
|Buy 4 / Buy 10||2:1||2:1 -5% of bet on win only||1.67%||Multi||4/10||7|
|Buy 4 / Buy 10||2:1||2:1||0%||Multi||4/10||7||"Free buy" at Santa Ana Star Casino|
|Buy 5 / Buy 9||3:2||3:2 -5% of intended bet||4.76%||Multi||5/9||7||Same true odds, better payout if the player places the 5/9|
|Buy 6 / Buy 8||6:5||6:5 -5% of intended bet||4.76%||Multi||6/8||7||Same true odds, better payout if the player places the 6/8|
|Lay 4 / Lay 10||1:2||1:2 -5% of intended win||2.44%||Multi||7||4/10|
|Lay 5 / Lay 9||2:3||2:3 -5% of intended win||3.23%||Multi||7||5/9|
|Lay 6 / Lay 8||5:6||5:6 -5% intended win||4.00%||Multi||7||6/8|
The probability of dice combinations determine the odds of the payout. The following chart shows the dice combinations needed to roll each number. The two and twelve are the hardest to roll since only one combination of dice is possible. The game of craps is built around the dice roll of seven, since it is the most easily rolled dice combination.
|Dice Roll||Possible Dice Combinations|
|4||1-3, 2-2, 3-1|
|5||1-4, 2-3, 3-2, 4-1|
|6||1-5, 2-4, 3-3, 4-2, 5-1|
|7||1-6, 2-5, 3-4, 4-3, 5-2, 6-1|
|8||2-6, 3-5, 4-4, 5-3, 6-2|
|9||3-6, 4-5, 5-4, 6-3|
|10||4-6, 5-5, 6-4|
Viewed another way:
The expected value of all bets is usually negative, such that the average player will always lose money. This is because the house always sets the paid odds to below the actual odds. The only exception is the "odds" bet that the player is allowed to make after a point is established on a pass/come don't pass/don't come bet (the odds portion of the bet has a long-term expected value of 0). However, this "free odds" bet cannot be made independently, so the expected value of the entire bet, including odds, is still negative. Since there is no correlation between die rolls, there is normally no possible long-term winning strategy in craps.
There are occasional promotional variants that provide either no house edge or even a player edge. One example is a field bet that pays 3:1 on 12 and 2:1 on either 3 or 11. Overall, given the 5:4 true odds of this bet, and the weighted average paid odds of approximately 7:5, the player has a 5% advantage on this bet. This is sometimes seen at casinos running limited-time incentives, in jurisdictions or gaming houses that require the game to be fair, or in layouts for use in informal settings using play money. No casino currently runs a craps table with a bet that yields a player edge full-time.
Maximizing the size of the odds bet in relation to the line bet will reduce, but never eliminate the house edge, and will increase variance. Most casinos have a limit on how large the odds bet can be in relation to the line bet, with single, double, and five times odds common. Some casinos offer 3-4-5 odds, referring to the maximum multiple of the line bet a player can place in odds for the points of 4 and 10, 5 and 9, and 6 and 8, respectively. During promotional periods, a casino may even offer 100x odds bets, which reduces the house edge to almost nothing, but dramatically increases variance, as the player will be betting in large betting units.
Since several of the multiple roll bets pay off in ratios of fractions on the dollar, it is important that the player bets in multiples that will allow a correct payoff in complete dollars. Normally, payoffs will be rounded down to the nearest dollar, resulting in a higher house advantage. These bets include all place bets, taking odds, and buying on numbers 6, 8, 5, and 9, as well as laying all numbers.
These variants depend on the casino and the table, and sometimes a casino will have different tables that use or omit these variants and others.
- 11 is a point number instead of a natural. Rolling an 11 still pays "Yo" center-table bets, but the Pass line does not automatically win (and the Don't Pass line doesn't automatically lose) when 11 is rolled on the come-out. Making the point pays 3:1 on Pass/Come odds bets (1:3 on Don't Pass/Come odds); all line bets are still even money. This substantially reduces the odds of a natural (from 8/36 to 6/36) and of making the point in general (since you're adding a 3:1 dog to the mix). All other things equal, the house edge on the Pass Line and Come bets for this play variation jumps dramatically to 9.75%.
- 12 pays 3:1 on the field. This is generally seen in rooms that have two different table minimums, on the tables with the higher minimums. The lower minimum ones will then have 2:1 odds. For example, the Mirage casino in Las Vegas features 3:1 odds.
- 11 pays 2:1 on the field. This variant is normally used when 12 pays 3:1, and neutralizes the house edge on the field.
- Big 6/8 are unavailable. These bets are equivalent to placing or buying 6 or 8 as points, which have better payout for the same real odds, so Big 6/8 are rarely used and many casinos simply omit them from the layout. Casinos in Atlantic City are even prohibited by law from offering Big 6/8 bets.
When craps is played in a casino, all bets have a house advantage. That is, it can be shown mathematically that a player will (with probability 100%) lose all his or her money to the casino in the long run, while in the short run the player is more likely to lose money than make money. There may be players who are lucky and get ahead for a period of time, but in the long run these winning streaks are eroded away. One can reduce, but not eliminate, one's average losses by only placing bets with the smallest house advantage.
The pass/don't line, come/don't line, place 6, place 8, buy 4 and buy 10 (only under the casino rules where commission is charged only on wins) have the lowest house edge in the casino, and all other bets will, on average, lose money between three and twelve times faster because of the difference in house edges.
The place bets and buy bets differ from the pass line and come line, in that place bets and buy bets can be removed at any time, since, while they are multi-roll bets, their odds of winning do not change from roll to roll, whereas pass line bets and come line bets are a combination of different odds on their first roll and subsequent rolls. The first roll of a pass-line bet is 2:1 advantage for the player (8 wins, 4 losses), but it's "paid for" by subsequent rolls that are at the same disadvantage to the player as the don't pass bets were at an advantage. As such, they cannot profitably let you take down the bet after the first roll. Note that, if it didn't make it hard to track what the initial bet was, they would gladly let you increase your pass/come bet after the come-out roll, since you'd be getting even money on a bet that should pay odds. They will just remind you to place the point instead and get your extra payout (over even money) of 1:6 (on points 6/8), 1:2 (on points 5/9), or 1:1 (on points 4/10).
Conversely, you can take back (pick up) a don't pass or don't come bet after the first roll, but this cannot be recommended, because you already endured the disadvantaged part of the combination - the first roll. On that come-out roll, you win just 3 (1-1, 1-2, 2-1) out of 36 possible rolls, while losing on 8 (6 7s, 2 11s) (2.6:1 against). On the other 24 rolls that become a point (push on the 1 12), your don't pass bet is now a favorite of between 2:1 (on points 4 and 10) and 6:5 (on points 6 and 8). It's no wonder that they will gladly allow you to take down such a bet.
Among these, and the remaining numbers and possible bets, there are a myriad of systems and progressions that can be used with many combinations of numbers.
An important alternative metric is house advantage per roll (rather than per bet), which may be expressed in loss per hour. The typical pace of rolls varies depending on the number of players, but 102 rolls per hour is a cited rate for a nearly full table. This same reference states that only "29.6% of total rolls are come out rolls, on average," so for this alternative metric, needing extra rolls to resolve the pass line bet, for example, is factored. This number then permits calculation of rate of loss per hour, and per the 4 day/5 hour per day gambling trip:
- $10 Pass line bets 0.42% per roll, $4.28 per hour, $86 per trip
- $10 Place 6,8 bets 0.46% per roll, $4.69 per hour, $94 per trip
- $10 Place 5,9 bets 1.11% per roll, $11.32 per hour, $226 per trip
- $10 Place 4,10 bets 1.19% per roll, $12.14 per hour, $243 per trip
- $1 Single Hardways 2.78% per roll, $2.84 per hour, $56.71 per trip
- $1 All hardways 2.78% per roll, $11.34 per hour, $227 per trip
- $5 All hardways 2.78% per roll, $56.71 per hour, $1134 per trip
- $1 Craps only on come out 3.29% per roll, $3.35 per hour, $67.09 per trip
- $1 Eleven only on come out 3.29% per roll, $3.35 per hour, $67.09 per trip
Besides the rules of the actual game, certain unwritten rules of etiquette exist while playing craps and are expected to be followed. Many consider these guidelines as important as the actual rules themselves. New players should familiarize themselves with them before approaching a craps table.
Players are not supposed to handle the dice with more than one hand (such as shaking them in cupped hands before rolling) nor take the dice past the edge of the table. The only way to change hands when throwing dice, if permitted at all, is to set the dice on the table, let go, then take them with the other hand. This reduces or eliminates the possibility of the shooter switching dice by sleight-of-hand.
When throwing the dice, the player is expected to hit the farthest wall at the opposite end of the table. Most casinos will allow a roll that does not hit the opposite wall as long as the dice are thrown past the middle of the table. Occasionally a short roll will be called a "no roll" due to the more controllable nature of such a roll. The dice may not be slid across the table and must be tossed. Typically, players are asked not to throw the dice higher than the eye level of the dealers.
Dice are considered "in play" if they land on players' bets on the table, the dealer's working stacks, on the marker puck or with one die resting on top of the other. The roll is invalid if either or both dice land in the boxman's bank, the stickman's bowl (where the extra three dice are kept between rolls), or in the rails around the top of the table where players chips are kept. If a die or both dice leave the table, it is also a "no roll" and the boxman will examine the dice before letting them come back into the game. However, the player may request the same die or dice.
When either of the dice land on or come to rest leaning against chips, markers, or the side of the table, the number that would be on top if the object the die is leaning on were removed, is the number that is used to make the call.
If one or both dice hits a player or dealer and rolls back onto the table, the roll counts as long as the person being hit did not interfere with either of the dice, though some casinos will rule "no roll" for this situation.
In most casinos the shooter may "set" the dice to a particular starting configuration before throwing (such as showing a particular number or combination, stacking the dice, or spacing them to be picked up between different fingers), but if they do, they are often asked to be quick about it so as not to delay the game. Some casinos have "no setting" rules.
Dealers are not allowed to touch the players or hand chips directly to a player, and vice versa. If "buying in" (paying cash for chips) at the table, players are expected to lay the cash down on the layout, which the dealer will take and then place chips in front of the player.
Some crap table layouts state "No Call Bets." A call bet is made when a player is allowed to make a bet without first placing the necessary chips in the right spot on the table. This might occur while a player is waiting for a marker (casino credit) to arrive, or after the dice have left the center of the table (after which time the players must usually remove their hands from the playing surface).
The casino may ask a player to leave the table or the casino for any reason.
Commonly observed etiquette
It is generally preferable to place chips on the board rather than tossing them. Tossed chips may roll on edge out of the dealer's reach and/or upset other stacks of chips. A center bet, controlled by the stickman (usually the hardest person to reach) can be made by passing chips to the nearest dealer, who will relay the bet to the stickman. When chips must be tossed it is polite to gain the dealer or stickman's attention and toss as few chips as necessary to cover the bet (a $25 chip is preferable to a stack of five $5 chips).
When offered the dice to shoot, a player may pass the dice to the next player without fear of offending anyone; however, at least one player must always be a "shooter" betting on either the pass line or don't pass line for the game to continue.
When tipping, the most common way is simply to toss chips onto the table and say, "For the dealers" or "For the boys" (the second is considered acceptable even though dealers often are women; by the same token, female stickmen and boxmen are still referred to as such; not for example, boxwoman or stickperson). It's also common to place a bet for the dealers. If the bet is one handled by the dealers, such as a Place bet or one of the proposition bets handled by the stick-man, the chip(s) should be placed, or thrown, and announced as a dealer bet, such as "Dealer's hard eight", or "Place the eight for the dealers". A "two-way" bet is one that is part for the player and part for the dealers (for example, tossing two chips and stating "Two Way Hard Eight" will place a bet for the player and the same bet for the dealer). Usually, the dealers' bet is smaller than the player's bet, but it is appreciated. The part of the bet for the dealer is called a "toke" bet; this is from the $1 slot machine coins or tokens that are sometimes used to place bets for the dealers in a casino. Most casinos require the dealers to pick up their winning bets, including the original tip, rather than "let it ride" as the player may choose to do. If the player wants the original dealer bet to remain in place, the phrase "I control the bet" should be clearly stated by the tipper, and acknowledged by one of the crew, immediately upon announcing the dealer bet. This indicates that any winnings for that bet will be picked up by the dealers, and the original amount will remain in play until cleared by a loss or retracted by the player after a win (such as a single-roll bet that would normally be returned to the player with their winnings). It should be noted that because the house has an advantage on all bets (and in the case of some bets, a considerable edge) the dealers will ultimately receive a smaller tip from placed bets than from a direct tip.
The $1 "yo" (eleven) bet, split with the dealers on come-out rolls by calling out "two-way yo," tends to be a favorite with many players as means of tipping the dealers without giving up too much per gambling trip. If eleven comes out on the come out roll, the pass line win bets and the more substantial "yo" bet splits (see reference).
After the come-out roll, it is considered bad luck to say the word "seven". A common "nickname" for this number is "Big Red", or just "Red".
It is considered bad luck to change dice in the middle of a roll. If one or both dice leave the table during a roll, and the shooter does not want a new die (or dice) substituted into the game, the shooter should immediately and clearly call "Same Dice!". The retrieved die (or dice) will then be returned to play after close inspection by the boxman. To speed play, most casinos will immediately begin the process of introducing new dice unless the shooter has requested otherwise, though some casinos will inspect and return the dice by default.
Proposition bets, the bets in the center of the table, are made by tossing chips to the center of the table and calling out the intended bet; the stickman will then place the chips correctly for the player. As mentioned above, care should be taken when tossing chips. Players furthest from the stickman can often elect to place a center bet with a dealer who will relay the bet to the center. Chips will be less likely to roll on edge if they are tossed with a gentle frisbee-like spin.
It is considered rude to "late bet," or make wagers while the dice are no longer in the middle of the table. While entirely permissible, excessive late betting will generally garner a warning as it slows play. At the discretion of the boxman or a "pit boss", dealers can disallow a bet made after the dice have left the center.
Food, drinks, cigarettes, and other items should remain off the chip rail and should not be held over the table.
Players feel it is bad luck for the shooter to leave the table after a successful come-out roll. A shooter retains the right to roll and is expected to continue rolling until he or she sevens out. If the shooter leaves the game before a decision is reached on a point number, the dice will be passed to the next player to continue where the shooter left off. Once a decision is reached, the "substitute" shooter can, at the discretion of the boxman, continue to roll the dice for a new "come out" as would have been the case had the previous shooter completed their roll.
When the shooter is ready to roll, players should remove their hands from the table area in order to avoid interfering with the dice. The stickman will often say "hands high, let 'em fly" or "dice are out, hands high". Many players will suggest that a die that hits another player's hand or a stack of chips will be more likely to seven out. This is likely a case of confirmation bias; however, for the sake of a harmonious table care should be taken to keep hands free of the play area.
When making bets in the field or on the Big 6 or Big 8, it is the player's responsibility to track his or her bet. Place bets and Come Line bets will be tracked by the dealer, who will pay the player directly. Hardway and other proposition bets are tracked by the stickman and will be paid after the regular bets by the dealer to the player directly based on instructions from the stickman.
The phrase “barber pole” is derisive jargon in craps, and refers to the commingling of “gaming cheques of different denominations.” Wagers that combine different denominations are “supposed to be stacked with the highest denomination at the bottom. “
When leaving a table it is generally considered bad form for the player to take a large stack of small denomination chips. The player should instead wait until a natural break in play (such as the shooter sevening out) and then place the stack of chips on the playing surface and asking the dealer to "color up". Small denomination chips will be exchanged for large denominations, a process which may be verified by the pit boss, and the large denominations are returned to the player.
No wagering system can consistently beat casino games of pure chance such as craps, but that does not stop hopeful gamblers believing in them. One of the best known systems is the Martingale System, in which the player starts by betting a given amount, for instance $1, and doubles his bet whenever he loses. Upon winning, he starts over at the initial amount. The idea is to realize a net win equal to the initial amount after every eventual win. This system fails because the player will either run out of money after having to double his bet several times in a row after a streak of losing bets, or he will be unable to bet the amount dictated by the system because it would exceed the maximum bet allowed by the casino. The Martingale system also only yields a profit equal to the initial bet amount every time the player wins. If the initial amount is small, the payout from each Martingale sequence will be just as small.
Other systems depend on the gambler's fallacy, which in craps terms is the belief that past dice rolls influence the probabilities of future dice rolls. For example, the gambler's fallacy indicates that a craps player should bet on eleven if an eleven has not appeared or has appeared too often in the last 20 rolls. In practice this can be observed as players respond to a roll such as a Hard Six with an immediate wager on the Hard Six.
In reality, each roll of the dice is an independent event, so the probability of rolling eleven is exactly 1/18 on every roll, regardless of the number of times eleven has come up in the last x rolls. Even if the dice are actually biased toward particular results ("loaded"), each roll is still independent of all the previous ones. The common term to describe this is "dice have no memory".
Parity hedge system
The parity hedge system is a hoax promulgated by Quatloos. Despite the fact that no such system exists (indeed, it is a mathematical impossibility), several gambling-related web sites have retold the 'parity hedge' story without attribution.
Dice setting or dice control
Another approach is to "set" the dice in a particular orientation, and then throw them in such a manner that they do not tumble randomly. The theory, based on probability mechanics, is that given exactly the same throw from exactly the same starting configuration, the dice will tumble in the same way and therefore show the same or similar values every time. Unlike other systems, this one is mathematically plausible, because if it were possible to alter the probabilities of each outcome, then winning systems could be devised.
Casinos do take steps to prevent this. The dice are usually required to hit the back wall of the table, which is normally faced with an angular texture such as pyramids, making controlled spins more difficult. Whether it is possible for human beings to consistently exercise the precise physical control necessitated by the theory is a source of controversy. A small but dedicated community of controlled shooters maintains records and claim proof of dice influencing in casino conditions. Frank Scoblete, Stanford Wong, and Jerry L. Patterson, authors of books that feature dice control techniques, believe that it is possible to alter the odds in the player's favor by dice control.
Chris Pawlicki, a mechanical engineer who (under the pseudonym "Sharpshooter") wrote a book on dice setting called Get The Edge At Craps: How to Control the Dice as a part of the Frank Scoblete "Get the Edge Guides," defined the math and science behind dice control.
In addition, some people offer to teach dice-setting skills for a substantial fee. Currently there has been no independent conclusive evidence that such methods can be successfully applied in a real casino.
Variants of the game
Bank craps is a variation of the original craps game and is sometimes known as Las Vegas Craps. This variant is quite popular in Nevada gambling houses, however its availability online has now made it a globally played game. Bank craps uses a special table layout and all bets must be made against the house. In Bank Craps, the dice are thrown over a wire or a string that is normally stretched a few inches from the table’s surface. The lowest house edge (for the pass/don't pass) in this variation is around 1.4%. Generally, if the word "craps" is used without any modifier, it can be inferred to mean this version of the game, to which most of this article refers.
Crapless Craps, also known as Bastard Craps is a simple version of the original craps game, and is normally played as an online private game. The biggest difference between crapless craps and original craps, is that the shooter (person throwing the dice) is at a far greater disadvantage and has a house edge of 5.38%. Another difference is that this is one of the craps games in which a player can bet on rolling a 2, 3, 11 or 12 before a 7 is thrown. In crapless craps, 2 and 12 have odds of 11:2 and have a house edge of 7.143% while 3 and 11 have odds of 11:4 with a house edge of 6.25%.
Die Rich Craps, also known as Fading Craps, Open Craps, or Money Craps is a more recent version of the craps game, and is played using a single die. These variants are usually considered to be games involving big money, and are most commonly played in private. Die Rich Craps involves specific bets made against the book. The book keeps a specific percentage of the total amount of money wagered (5%-7%) and this is called vigorish. In the online and offline gambling circuits, this variation of craps is considered an illegal game. The craps table in this variant will always consist of a Win Line, Lose Line, and box numbers of 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10.
High Point Craps is another version of the original Craps game. The initial roll of a 2 or a 3 in High Point Craps is ignored. If a player rolls a 2 then the player will roll again. If a player rolls 11 or 12, the player wins. Any other total rolled, is considered as 1 point and the player rolls again. This time needing to roll a total that is higher than 11 or 12 to win. The house edge in this craps game variation is 2.35%.
New York Craps is one of the variations of craps played mostly in the Eastern coast of the USA, true to its name. History states that this game was actually found and played in casinos in Yugoslavia, the UK and the Bahamas. In this craps variant, the house edge is greater than Las Vegas Craps or Bank craps. The table layout is also different, and is called a double-end-dealer table. This variation is different from the original craps game in several ways, but the primary difference is that New York craps doesn’t allow Come or Don’t Come bets. New York Craps Players bet on box numbers like 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10. The overall house edge in New York craps is 5%.
Simplified Craps is a variation that can be won by rolling 2, 3, 4, 10, 11 or 12, but if a 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 is rolled, the player loses. Simplified Craps has an overall house edge of 2.8%.
In order to get around California laws barring the payout of a game being directly related to the roll of dice, Indian reservations have adapted the game to substitute cards for dice.
Cards replacing dice
In one variation, there are no dice at all. Two shoes are used, each containing some number of regular card decks that have been stripped down to just the Aces and deuces through sixes. The boxman simply deals one card from each shoe and that is the roll on which bets are settled. Since a card-counting scheme is easily devised to make use of the information of cards that have already been dealt, a relatively small portion (less than 50%) of each shoe is usually dealt in order to protect the house.
In a similar variation, cards representing dice are dealt directly from a continuous shuffling machine (CSM). Typically, the CSM will hold approximately 264 cards, or 44 sets of 1 through 6 spot cards. Two cards are dealt from the CSM for each roll. The game is played exactly as regular craps, but the roll distribution of the remaining cards in the CSM is slightly skewed from the normal symmetric distribution of dice. Even if the dealer were to shuffle each roll back into the CSM, the effect of buffering a number of cards in the chute of the CSM provides information about the skew of the next roll. Analysis shows this type of game is biased towards the don't pass and don't come bets. A player betting don't pass and don't come every roll and laying 10x odds receives a 2% profit on the initial don't pass / don't come bet each roll. Using a counting system allows the player to attain a similar return at lower variance.
To replicate the original dice odds exactly without dice or possibility of card-counting, another scheme uses two shuffle machines with just one deck of Ace through 6 each. Each machine selects one of the 6 cards at random and this is the roll. The selected cards are replaced and the decks are reshuffled for the next roll.
Cards mapping physical dice
In this game variation, one red deck and one blue deck of six cards each (A through 6), and a red die and a blue die are used. Each deck is shuffled separately, usually by machine. Each card is then dealt onto the layout, into the 6 red and 6 blue numbered boxes. The shooter then shoots the dice. The red card in the red-numbered box corresponding to the red die, and the blue card in the blue-numbered box corresponding to the blue die are then turned over to form the roll on which bets are settled.
Another variation uses a red and a blue deck of 36 custom playing cards each. Each card has a picture of a two-die roll on it - from 1-1 to 6-6. The shooter shoots what looks like a red and a blue die, called "cubes". They are numbered such that they can never throw a pair, and that the blue one will show a higher value than the red one exactly half the time. One such scheme could be 222555 on the red die and 333444 on the blue die. One card is dealt from the red deck and one is dealt from the blue deck. The shooter throws the "cubes" and the color of the cube that is higher selects the color of the card to be used to settle bets. On one such table, an additional one-roll prop bet was offered: If the card that was turned over for the "roll" was either 1-1 or 6-6, the other card was also turned over. If the other card was the "opposite" (6-6 or 1-1, respectively) of the first card, the bet paid 500:1 for this 647:1 proposition.
Rules of play against other players
Recreational or informal playing of craps outside of a casino is referred to as street craps or private craps. The most notable difference between playing street craps and bank craps is that there is no bank or house to cover bets in street craps. Players must bet against each other by covering or fading each other's bets for the game to be played. If money is used instead of chips and depending on the laws of where it is being played, street craps can be an illegal form of gambling.
There are many variations of street craps. The simplest way is to either agree on or roll a number as the point, then roll the point again before you roll a seven. Unlike more complex proposition bets offered by casinos, street craps has more simplified betting options. The shooter is required to make either a Pass or a Don't Pass bet if he wants to roll the dice. Another player must choose to cover the shooter to create a stake for the game to continue. If there are several players, the rotation of the player who must cover the shooter may change with the shooter (comparable to a blind in poker). The person covering the shooter will always bet against the shooter. For example, if the shooter made a "Pass" bet, the person covering the shooter would make a "Don't Pass" bet to win. Once the shooter is covered, other players may make Pass/Don't Pass bets, or any other proposition bets, as long as there is another player willing to cover.
In popular culture
Due to the random nature of the game, in popular culture "a crapshoot" is often used to describe an action with an unpredictable outcome.
The current record for length of a "hand" (successive rounds won by the same shooter) is 154 rolls including 25 passes by Patricia DeMauro of New Jersey, lasting 4 hours and 18 minutes, at The Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey on May 23–24, 2009. She bested the record held for almost 20 years by over an hour – that of Stanley Fujitake of Hawaii at the California Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, who made 18 passes, holding the dice for 118 rolls, lasting 3 hours and 6 minutes on May 29, 1989.
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