Your Quick Guide to Playing Craps

The game of craps is typically the most energetic, fast-moving, and most fun games to play in a casino.  However, due to the nature of the game, it’s also one of the busiest tables in the building.  That, in turn, could make it intimidating for most.  Don’t let that discourage you from partaking in my favorite casino game.  The trick is to learn the basic rules, and then learn the highest paying bets you can make at the table.

The image above is a common craps table, and we’ll do our best to tell you what you need to know to become a pro in no time.


Buying Chips and When to Start

This is an easy one.  You’ll need to buy chips in order to play, however let’s make sure you use some etiquette.  Study the table.  If you see a white disc on one of the numbers (4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10) labeled ‘On’, that means the shooter is rolling for his number (i.e. that person is in the middle of their turn).  I would generally wait until you see the black side of the disc labeled ‘Off’, and then I would find a spot at the table and put my money down on the felt right in front of me (near, but behind, the pass line).  The dealer with change will grab it, and cash you into the game.


How Much to Put Down

If you’re new to the game, I would recommend to start at a $5 or $10 minimum.  That means the minimum bet you can put down is $5 or $10 in various spots.  The general rule is that I like to put down 25-50 minimums or bets, so for those playing a $5 min, I might put down $250.  This will allow you to make some bets and not feel like you don’t have any money to work with.  Don’t think you have to put it all on the line – you can definitely have a ‘stop the bleeding’ amount, which I usually put at $150.  If I get to only have $100 left on the table, I’m gone.



Basic Strategy and Payouts

Bet the minimum on the Pass Line when the point is off (black side of the disc is labeled ‘Off’), and then wait for the roll.  There are three scenarios.

  1. Win if the number rolled is 7 or 11.
  2. Lose if the number rolled is 2, 3 or 12.
  3. Continue play if the number rolled is anything else (4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10)

If Scenario 1 happens, great.  You just won the amount you put down on the Pass Line.

If Scenario 2 happens, bummer.  The table will take away the bet you placed on the Pass Line.

If Scenario 3 happens, interesting.  If, for example, the shooter rolls a 4, they’ll have to roll another 4 before rolling a 7 to end their turn.  Here’s where we introduce a couple of other bets that you can make on the board.  Introduce Odds.  My general strategy is if the shooter hits a 4, 5, 9, or 10


When to Stop

Probably one of the most difficult things about playing any gambling game is knowing when to stop.  This is a tough one for even me, but I’ve developed some general rules.  Want to hear them?  Great.  Rule #1) If you lose two buy-ins, stop.  Rule #2) If you go up two buy-ins, stop.  Rule #3) If the table empties.  You shouldn’t play alone.