Gaming Strategies

Beginner’s Guide to Playing Craps

Gaming Strategies and Tips


Las Vegas had about 39 million visitors in 2017. About 69% of Las Vegas visitors gamble while visiting the famous city.

But, Vegas isn’t the only place to gamble. From Monte Carlo to Australia there are gambling destinations worldwide.

One of the most popular games is craps. There are lots of helpful strategies and tips, but if you’re a first-time player, you need to learn the game first.

Are you a first-time player going on a gambling vacation? Want to learn before you get there?

Read on for a beginner’s guide to the game of craps.

First Things First

Don’t be intimidated!

The board looks complicated and confusing. But remember, the game’s about throwing the dice and betting. The first thing to do is buy some chips.

You don’t have to bet all your chips. If you have some left when you’re finished, cash them in at the cashier’s booth. There’s a minimum bet displayed on a sign at the table. You can start small, around $5.

Know the People

When you approach the table, there’s a “boxman” in the center of the table. He’s the one supervising the game, handling the money, and stashing away the cash. Across from him is the “stickman.”

He’s called the “stickman” because he pushes the dice around with a stick. He’ll call out results, work with the dice, and urge players on while controlling the tempo of the game.

There are also two dealers close to the stickman. They manage the bets, collect money from the losers, and pay the winners.

The rest of the people at the table are other players.

That Crazy Board

Both sides of the crap table are mirror images. This way more people can stand at the table and play. Look for the “pass line” that runs around the edge of the table. Players on the shooter’s side bet at the pass line.

The “don’t pass” bar is for players betting against the shooter (the one rolling the dice). You’ll also see areas on the board for betting on one specific roll – “one-roll bets.”

Rolling the Dice

You’ll take turns rolling the dice with the other players at the table. You’re all betting on the same roll, though. It doesn’t matter whether you’re rolling or someone else is, you’ll win or lose based on the current roll of the dice.

If rolling the dice isn’t your thing, pass to the next player when someone hands you the dice.

The person rolling the dice keeps rolling until they throw a losing seven. If you roll a seven, then you “seven-out.” When you “seven-out,” you end the betting round, and you lose.

Gamblers are superstitious. When standing at the craps table, never call out “seven!” If you do, don’t be surprised when your fellow gamblers leave the table.

Watch the Totals

All numbers are the total of both dice. If someone rolls a 3, that’s the total of both dice together. Remember this, it’s important.

Know the Lingo

Hang around the board for a while and listen to the players. It’ll sound like a foreign language at first. Learn the lingo, and soon you’ll be talking like a pro.

Come Out Roll: The first roll of the game

Craps: 2, 3 or 12

Yo, or Yo-leven: 11

C and E craps: 11

Boxcars: Two 6s

Snake Eyes: Two 1s

Skate and Donate: 8

Center Field: 9, called that due to its placement on the table

Puppy Paws: Two 5s

Hard 10 or 10 the hard way: Two 5s

Little Joe or Little Joe from Kokomo: 4, especially when rolled as a 1 and a 3

Jimmy Hicks: The number 6

Natural Winner: 7 or 11 on the come-out roll

Skinny Dugan: A loser 7

Let’s Bet!

Put your chips down on any section you want. If you can’t reach, the dealer will help you.

Try an easy bet first. The Field is a one-time bet. You’re betting that the dice rolls a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12. The payout is 1:1. If you bet $10, you win $10. Play the field for as long as you want to get the hang of it.

Remember to remove your chips from the table if you don’t want to bet again.

There’s a big “on” and “off” button at the table. When the “come out roll” is being thrown, the button is off. Bet the minimum on the “pass line” and hope for a 7 or 11 to win 1:1 when the button is off.

The odds are good since you’ll only lose if a 2, 3 or 12 is rolled when you bet on the “pass line.” A lot of people play the “pass line.”

When a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 gets rolled, the button moves to the “on” position. The button is also placed on the number rolled. Then you can bet on any of those numbers.

You’ll only lose if the player throws a 7. If a 7 is rolled, you lose all bets and it’s someone else’s turn to roll.

Want to roll? Let them know!

Remember that button is sitting on a number, and it’s “on.” If someone rolls the number the button is on before a 7 is rolled, then your “pass line” bet wins! The button is turned “off” and you keep playing.

This cycle continues with the “on” and “off” button until the 7 gets you “on.”

Craps Etiquette

Never hand the dealer cash for chips. Place your money on the table in front of the dealer. It’s okay to ask the dealer a question. He’s there to help.

Place your own “pass” and “don’t pass” bets, as well as the odds bets backing them. Place your own “field” and “come” and “don’t come” bets yourself. Place your chips on the table in the appropriate field.

Place your chips on the table and ask the dealer to make all your other bets. Craps is a fast-moving game, so don’t get in the way. Store your chips in front of you in the rail. Keep a close eye on your chips.

Playing Craps

Now you know the basics of craps.

Take a few minutes to stand near a craps table and see the game in action. When you’re ready, buy some chips, place some easy “pass line” or “field” bets and have some fun.

Ready to learn some more fun gaming tips? Click here.

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