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One of the more complicated of table games, craps can nevertheless be a lot of fun. The most basic bet is the pass line. As an example, you can bet $5, which you place on the pass line. Two dice are rolled by you, or whomever the shooter is. On the first roll, or come out roll, if a seven or eleven are rolled, you win $5. (Pass line bets pay even money.) If a two, three or twelve come up (known as craps), you lose. Any other number (four, five, six, eight, nine or ten) becomes your point. Now, in order to win, the dice must be rolled until that point comes up again. All other numbers, except your point and seven, have no effect on your pass line bet. If a seven is rolled, the bet loses. (Keep in mind that on the come out roll, a seven is a winner!)

There are other bets you can play besides the pass line bet. Once a point is established, you can take odds: With $5 bet on the pass line, you can place another bet, up to $10, directly behind your original bet. This is the best bet in the casino, in that the house pays true odds and takes no percentage.
Thus four and ten pay two to one. Five and nine pay three to two and six and eight pay six to five. These odds are calculated by the number of combinations on the two dice. There are six ways to make the losing seven and three ways to make the winning ten, hence the odds are six to three or, more simply two to one.
The original $5 bet still wins even money if you make your point.

The don't pass is exactly the reverse of the pass line. Here, on the come out roll you lose with seven or eleven, win with three and twelve, and stand-off or push with aces (two). Some casinos push with twelve and pay aces. Once the point is established, you win if a seven comes up. So, in order to take odds (since you have the edge) you must now lay the bet. In other words, when you have $5 bet on the don't side, and want to take odds, you must lay $10 to win $5. The original bet still wins even money if the shooter sevens out (loses).

The field is a simple bet that beginners like to play. It can be played on any roll of the dice. You win on two, three, four, nine, ten, eleven and twelve (two and twelve pay double, some casinos pay triple for twelve.) You lose on five, six, seven and eight.

The come bet is the same as a pass line bet, but is played after the point is established. Place your bet on the come line. As with the pass line, if seven or eleven come up, you win immediately; two, three and twelve lose. Any other number becomes the point for that bet. The dealer will pick up the bet and place it inside that number (the point for that bet) on the game layout. You can now take odds as you would with a pass line bet by giving the dealer more money. As the don't pass is the opposite to the pass line so the don't come is the reverse of the come.

You can also bet the numbers in front of the dealer individually, or in any combinations you like. Most of the Strip casinos have a $5 minimum per number. There are six numbers (four, five, six, eight, nine and ten), but generally people don't bet the point since they have it covered on the pass line. The odds on the numbers are slightly shaved compared with the true odds on the pass line (see above). The numbers four and ten pay nine-to-five odds, five and nine pay seven-to-five odds, and six and eight pay seven-to-six odds. On the numbers six and eight, you are cheating yourself if you don't bet in multiples of six. The casino will gladly accept your bet of $5 for each number, but if you put $6 each on the six and eight, they'll pay you closer to true odds. All the bets on the numbers stay up until a seven is rolled. You can call them off or down at any time. You can also press (increase) them or reduce them at any time.

In front of the stickman is a separate layout consisting of the crap bets and the hardways. These are also known as proposition or prop bets. Two, three and twelve are known as craps, a loser for a pass line bettor on the come out roll. For this reason many people bet craps as insurance on the come out. There are a wide variety of combinations, but the most basic bet is any crap which pays seven-to-one odds. You can also bet on eleven separately, or with the crap bets. All four bets (two, three, eleven and twelve) is called a horn bet and pays thirty-to-one odds for the numbers two and twelve, fifteen-to-one odds for ace-deuce (three) and eleven. The stickman will deduct the losing three bets from your payout and leave the whole bet up. Crap bets are one roll bets.

The hardways, as the name suggests, are the hardest ways to make the four even numbers (four, six, eight and ten). In other words, you are betting either that the number four will come up as two twos, or that six will come up as two threes, or eight as two fours, or ten as two fives. The odds are seven-to-one for the four and two, and nine-to-one for the six and eight. These bets are not one roll bets. They lose if a combination for the number you are betting other than the hardway comes up; i.e., if you bet on the hard eight and an eight comes up the easy way (six and two, or five and three), the hardway bet loses. Hardways also lose on seven.

Craps is a confusing, loud, raucous game for a beginner. Don't be intimidated by the complex layout. Try to find a quiet game and a helpful dealer. Many casinos have classes, usually in the late morning.

Do's and Don'ts

  • Always take at least some odds on the pass line or the don't pass.

  • Always bet increments. Don't press everything to the roof and watch the dealer sweep it all away on a seven out. Equally, don't stand there with minimum across the board when someone is rolling the dice for forty five minutes without sevening out.

  • If you want to scream and high five, do so, but don't scream in the dealer's ear when he's trying to pay you, and don't high five right in his face.

  • Avoid using lots of slang expressions you heard in movies like "snake eyes" and "baby needs new shoes." You'll just sound silly.

  • Don't try to impress the dealers, its almost impossible.

  • Do feel free to tip. Dealers make their money from tips and will respond accordingly. You can either hand the money in directly or place a bet for them.

  • Keep your hands up and out of the way when the dice are thrown. Dice players are more superstitious than ancient Incas. Bets, payouts and cash are going in and out constantly on a dice game, but nothing infuriates players more than the dice hitting someone's hands and rolling on to a seven. They never remember the times it hits your hands and they win.

  • Be aware of where the dice are and act accordingly. If the dice are out, i.e., the shooter has them, and you want a bet; tell the dealer clearly. As long as you have money in front of you, he will usually book it and you can pay when the dice land.

Good Luck & Have Fun!

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