How to Play Craps

Guide on the rules of craps.

The craps table is always one of the most popular – and rowdiest – tables in brick-and-mortar casinos and is just as much fun to play online. Craps gambling can intimidate some players with its complicated betting format, so in this article we will provide a simple explanation of the rules as well as picking out some of the best craps bets to make.

We will begin with four easy steps to get you started playing Craps either online or in the casino.

The Easy Way to Play Craps

1. Player makes the Pass Line Bet.

The Dealer chip is set to ‘OFF’ to show that the Come Out Roll has not yet taken place.

Player moves their chip(s) to the Pass section of the board to make a ‘Pass’ bet.

How to make a pass bet

2. The Come Out Roll is made.

The two dice are rolled by a shooter (i.e. one of the players), or for online play they are rolled using a random number generator to create a totally random outcome.

7 or 11 (“Natural”) are rolled: All players who bet on Pass win.
2, 3or12 (“Craps”) are rolled: All players who bet on Pass lose.
4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 (“Point”) are rolled: This number becomes the Point score and the game continues.

Shooter throws dice in game of craps.

3. The Point Number is set and additional bets can be made.

The Dealer token is set to ON, meaning it is possible to make other bets.

Players continue their bet on the Point number and can add any other bets which they choose to make.

Making a Field bet in Craps.

4. Dice continue to be rolled until either the Point Number or a 7 appears.

Player wins if the Point number comes out before the 7.
Player loses if the 7 is rolled before the Point number.

When either of the above are rolled, the Dealer chip is set to OFF again and a new Come Out roll will take place.

Point bet loses when 7 is rolled in craps.


Let’s now take a more in-depth look at game-play in Craps as we go through each step in a little more detail below:

The ‘Come Out’ Stage in Craps

There are two phases of play in Craps, and the first of these is called the ‘Come Out’ stage. Before this begins, players can choose to bet on either ‘Pass’ or ‘Don’t Pass’ in what is called the ‘Pass Line Bet’.

Most players will bet on ‘Pass’, which is done by adding a chip to that section of the board.

When you start to play Craps online, you will see the dealer’s button shows the word ‘OFF’, which means the Come Out stage of the game is in progress. In this phase of the game, a player rolls the dice and the result determines how the game progresses.

There are three potential outcomes:

  • Roll a 7 or 11 (‘Natural’)
  • Roll a 2, 3 or 12 (‘Craps’)
  • Roll a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 (‘Point’)

Rolling 7 or 11 is an instant win, whereas rolling 2 (‘snake eyes‘), 3 or 12 is a loss. If any other number is thrown (i.e. 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10) then this number becomes the ‘Point’ number. The dealer button switches to ‘ON’ and is moved to the space on the board next to the number rolled.

Now we move onto the ‘Point’ phase of the game.

The Point Bet in Craps

If we imagine that a 6 was rolled, then this becomes the Point number and the players chip is moved from the Pass section to the number 6 section of the board.

The game continues until either a 6 (win for the player) or a 7 (loss for the player) is rolled.

There are a lot of betting alternatives available to the players in the Point section of the game, but one of the most popular of these is the Come Bet.

The player can now place additional chips on the Come section of the board since the point has been established.

Come bet in craps

Like the Pass Line Bet, players will win if a ‘Natural’ (7 or 11) is rolled and lose if 2, 3 or 12 is thrown. If any other number is thrown then this becomes another Point number and the player’s chip is moved from the Come section to whatever number was rolled.

Now the number 7 becomes a ‘bad’ number for the player, because they will win only if the point number is rolled again before the number 7 next appears.

Other Bets in Craps

There are many other betting options open to Craps players besides the ones outlined above, and we deal with these in more detail in our article on Craps Betting and Payouts.

These bets involve betting on numbers or groups of numbers to be rolled, and have varied payouts and probabilities which we examine in our betting post.

One particular bet worthy of attention is the ‘Odds’ (or Taking Odds) bet.

This wager is notable because it is the only Craps bet with a zero percent house edge, making it extremely good value for players. This bet is not always available in online casinos, but can be placed in physical casinos by placing a multiple of your chip bet (usually x2 your bet amount) behind your bet on the Pass or Come section of the board.

This bet works the same as a Pass/Come bet, except that it pays out from 6/5 to 2/1 depending on which number is rolled.

For Stephen Tabone’s craps betting tips make sure to check out our guide, and if you are confused about some of the vocabulary around the game make sure to take a look at our Craps Glossary of common expressions. blog
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