Craps is a historic dice game that was created as a simplified version of the English game Hazard – referenced in Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, which was written between 1387 and 1400.
Today it’s is played in casinos across the globe, but some people think the rules of craps are too complicated for the game to be enjoyable – we’re here to help make sure that you have fun.
From snake eyes to the point phase, we’ve covered all the crucial rules and terminology for craps. All you need to do is read them and then head over to your favourite casino to have a game!
What Are The Basics Of Craps?
Played with just two dice around a specially designed table, craps could easily be described as one of the simplest games of chance around.
Craps (also known as bank or casino craps) is played between the dealer and the player, although up to 20 players at a time can participate alongside the player. Players wager on the outcome of the total value of the two dice that are thrown across the craps table, placing bets against the bank. You win by correctly predicting the total value of the two dice.
What Is The Craps Table?
The craps table is unique in design and is where players traditionally place their bets before the game begins – below you can see what the craps table looks like and where bets are placed:
Pass Line Bet
Don't Pass Line Bet
Don't Come Bet
Don't' Come Buy Bet
Do Come Buy Bet
Big 6 & Big 8
Any Craps Bet
Craps 2 Bet
Craps 12 Bet
Craps 3 Bet
Any Seven Bet
C & E Bet
At a land-based casino, two dealers at either side of the table take bets from players. In addition, there are at least two other attendants around the craps table.
The table is divided into three sections:
Each of the sides contains the following areas:
Pass/Don’t Pass Line Bets
Come/Don’t Come Bets
Odds Bets/Place Bets
How Do You Play Craps?
In bank craps, the player bets against the dealer by placing a casino check (rather than a cash wager) on the table in rounds of betting. The betting player is known as the ‘shooter’ and they bet the table minimum (at the least) on the Don’t Pass Line or the Pass Line.
Pass Line is also known as ‘win bets’ because it’s a bet for the shooter to win
Don’t Pass Line is also known as ‘don’t win bets’, as it’s a bet for the shooter to lose
The shooter selects two dice and throws them – the dice must hit the walls located at the opposite side of the craps table and the shooter is only allowed to handle the dice with one hand. This action begins the first round of betting, with players taking it in turns to roll the dice and the betting action moving clockwise around the table.
There are two phases to each round of betting in craps: Come Out and Point.
What Happens During The Come Out Phase In Craps?
The come-out roll is the first phase in a round of craps betting. If the shooter rolls a 2, 3, or 12 the round ends with all gamblers losing their Pass Line bets. If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11 the round ends with players winning their Pass Line bets.
The shooter continues to roll the dice until they get a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 – the number rolled is known as the Point.
What Happens During The Point Phase In Craps?
Once the shooter has rolled a Point, the dealer moves an On button to that number on the craps table.
If the shooter rolls the Point, then the players who bet on the Pass Line win. If the shooter rolls a 7, then everyone who placed a Pass Line bet loses. The round ends when the shooter gets either the Point or a 7, commencing a new passage of betting with a new shooter.
When Are Bets Paid Out In Craps?
The dealer has a period between dice rolls where they determine who should be paid out winnings, along with collecting the loses from losing bets.
What Are The Dice Rolls Called In Craps?
As there are two dice rolled in craps, your dice roll will give a result of between 2-12, and each of the outcomes has its own name.
2: Snake eyes
Two is known as ‘snake eyes’ because it looks like a pair of beady eyes. Two is also known as ‘two craps two’.
3: Three craps three
Alongside its main name of ‘three craps three’, some of the other names for rolling a three are ‘three’, ‘ace deuce’ and ‘come away single’.
Known as the ‘ballerina’ because it’s two-two (a tutu), rolling a four is also called ‘Little Joe from Kokomo’, ‘Little Joe’, or ‘Little Joe on the front row’.
Perhaps known as ‘fever’ because of the verbal similarities between that and fiver, scoring a five is also known as ‘no field five’ and ‘Little Phoebe’.
6: Jimmie Hicks from the sticks
Hit a six and it’ll give you a ‘Jimmie Hicks from the stick’s or ‘Jimmie Hicks’. If you win with a six your roll is termed a ‘666 winner 6’.
7: Big red
Craps tables traditionally featured a large red seven, meaning that hitting a seven is known as ‘big red ‘– other names include ‘up pops the Devil’ and ‘six ace’.
8: Easy eight
The name of your eight roll depends on how you get there – if it’s via a 6 and 2 or a 3 and 5 it’s an ‘easy eight’; if it’s via a 4 and 4 then it’s a ‘mom and dad’, ‘eighter from Decatur’, ‘Ozzie and Harriet’, or a square pair.
9: Jessie James
American outlaw Jessie James was shot dead with a .45 calibre pistol and if you roll a nine by hitting 4 and 5 your score is called a ‘Jessie James’. Other terms for a nine roll are ‘centerfield nine’, ‘Old Mike’, ‘Nina at the Marina’, ‘Nina from Pasadena’, ‘niner from Carolina’, and ‘railroad nine’.
10: Puppy paws
Roll a hard ten (5 and 5) and it could be called ‘puppy paws’, ‘moose head’, or a ‘pair of sunflowers’.
Called a ‘yo-leven’ by many casinos and gamblers (to avoid it being mistaken for seven), scoring an eleven is also known as ‘yo’ or ‘six five, no jive’.
Why is rolling a twelve known as ‘boxcars’? Because the spots look like drawings of railroad boxcars. Other names for twelve include ‘midnight’ and ‘double-action field traction’.
What Are The Most Popular Bets In Craps?
Although craps is a simple game to understand, there are quite a number of various betting options that players should familiarise themselves with before beginning to play. Some of the most common betting variations available include:
Pass Line Bet
When the dice are rolled for the first time in a craps game, they are called the ‘come out roll’. With the Pass Line Bet, the player bets that this come out roll will total either seven or eleven. The bet loses, however, if the come out roll totals two, three or twelve. If any other number is thrown as the come out roll, it becomes the ‘Point’. All wagers are then subsequently moved to the numbered position on the craps table and the Pass Line Bet wins if the Point number is thrown before a seven or eleven.
Players can make a prediction on what the next roll of dice will total at any time during the shooter’s game. If the roll of the dice totals seven or eleven, the Come Bet wins; but if 2, 3 or 12 are thrown, the Come Bet loses.
The dealer determines the Point of the game and after this step, players can wager Place Bets on numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10. If these numbers are thrown before a seven, the Place Bet wins. If a seven is thrown before any one of these numbers, the Place Bet loses.
What Are The Odds For Winning At Craps?
Your odds for winning at craps depend on the type of bet you place. Below you’ll find the odds for each bet you can place in craps.
Type of Bet
Odds Paid Out
House Edge (%)
Don't Pass / Don't Come
Pass Odds / Come Odds
6:5 on 6,8
3:2 on 5,9
2:1 on 4,10
Don't Pass Odds / Don't Come Odds
5:6 against 6,8
2:3 against 5,9
1:2 against 4,10
Hi-Lo (2 or 12)
Craps (2, 3, or 12)
C & E (the combined bet)
7:1 on 11
3:1 on 2,3,12
2:1 on 2,12
1:1 on 3,4,9,10,11
5.56 (2.78 if 12 pays 3:1)
Horn (the combined bet)
3:1 on 3,11
27:4 on 2,12
Whirl/World (the combined bet)
0:1 (push) on 7
11:5 on 3,11
26:5 on 2,12
Hard 4 / Hard 10
Hard 6 / Hard 8
Big 6 / Big 8
Place 4 / Place 10
Place 5 / Place 9
Place 6 / Place 8
Buy 4 / Buy 10
2:1 -5% of the intended bet
4.76 – 1.67 if the commission is only taken only the win
Buy 5 / Buy 9
3:2 -5% of the intended bet
4.76 – 1.96 if the commission is only taken only the win
Buy 6 / Buy 8
6:5 -5% of the intended bet
4.76 – 2.22 if the commission is only taken only the win
Lay 4 / Lay 10
1:2 -5% of the intended bet
2.44 – 1.67 if the commission is only taken only the win
Lay 5 / Lay 9
2:3 -5% of the intended bet
3.23 – 2 if the commission is only taken only the win
Lay 6 / Lay 8
5:6 -5% of the intended win
4.00 – 2.27 if the commission is only taken only the win
Many gamblers are put off playing craps because the game has a lot of rules. However, once you’ve mastered the basics you can have a lot of fun with this dice game. We’ve explained the rules to you in this article, so learn them well and then head over to your favourite land or online casino to play craps!