By Mark Wadie

Basic Craps Guide


Playing craps is probably the best fun you can have in a casino. The action is fast and loud, with players hollering and whooping at every throw of the dice.

Sadly, many recreational casino players miss out on all this excitement because they wrongly think that craps is complicated.

The game is quite easy to play, so if you are one of the doubters, there’s no need to worry. Like other games, some betting options are simple, making it easier for you to follow – a bit like only backing red or black at roulette.

This guide tells you everything you need to know about getting started with craps.

First Person Craps by Evolution Gaming
Evolution Gaming's First Person Craps Online


Walk into a brick-and-mortar casino, and it’s hard to miss the craps table. It will have players crowding around it, seemingly having a great time. That’s because in craps, all the players are rooting (mostly) for the same thing, generating a team mentality against the house.

There is also a physical side, with one player designated the ‘shooter.’ This involves rolling the two dice to determine the outcome.

All this can happen at real money online casinos, too, although we recommend finding a live dealer version online, if you can, to replicate some of the actions.

The dice are the key to the game. As a player, you will place your bets according to what you think will happen when the shooter throws. Most players will place a bet in the ‘Pass Line’ section of the table – and this is the easiest bet you can make.

Here’s what happens then:

  • The shooter throws the dice, and if they throw a 7 or 11, you win
  • If they roll a 2, 3, or 12, you lose
  • If they throw anything else, so a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, this score becomes the ‘point’, and the game moves on to the next stage

Now, the shooter must keep rolling, and you all hope that they score the same ‘point’ total again before they throw a 7 or 11. If they do, you win your pass bet, but you lose if the 7 or 11 comes first.

This elementary part of craps explains why there is so much excited shouting at a craps table – if the shooter matches the point total, everyone who bet on the Pass wins!


The pass bet is the most common, and you can see how easy it would be to keep up with the action on the craps table.

However, just as in roulette, you can make different betting choices.

The ‘Come’ bet is the same as a Pass bet, except in this case, you make it after the shooter has thrown first. Now, if the shooter rolls a 7 or 11, you win. If they roll a 2, 3, or 12, you lose – and any other number now becomes your point number.

The idea here is that with a come bet, the shooter throwing a 7 or 11 on the next throw wins your bet. But at the same time, anyone who had made a pass bet before the shooter’s first throw now loses.

Alternatively, you can ignore these common ‘team play’ bets and go solo on something called the ‘Don’t come’, or ‘Don’t pass’ segments. The other players at the table may jokingly frown at you since this is not part of the team action.

Here’s what the don’t come and don’t pass bets mean: basically, they are the opposite to pass and come.

Don’t pass is placed before the shooter makes their first rolldon’t come is placed after the shooter’s first roll and a point is made. In both cases, you win if the roll is 2 or 3, and lose if the roll is 7 or 11. A 12 is a push. Any other total now becomes your own point moving forward. Don’t bettors will win if a 7 then appears and lose if the point comes first – the opposite to pass and come players.

Live Craps
A Live Craps Table By Evolution Gaming


You read that right; here is a casino bet you can make that has zero house edge. But there is a twist – you can only make a ‘free odds’ bet once you have placed a pass or a come bet. This is a side bet if you like, but it pays out according to the genuine odds of the result.

You place a free odds bet according to a total you think will come up before 7, and the payouts reflect the actual probability of that happening. For example, six or eight pays 6-5.

If you bet on don’t come or don’t pass, you can place bets on ‘lay odds’ instead. This time, you want the 7 to arrive before your chosen total.


With ‘buy bets,’ you get to choose a number you think will come up before the next 7. But you don’t have to place a pass or come bet first. The casino generally takes a small commission on these bets, so they are not ‘free’ odds.


With the ‘hardways’ bet, you can back the 6, 8, 4, or 10 to come up – but they must be doubles, so two 4s, two 3s, and so on. If the shooter rolls either a 7 or your total by an alternative method, you will lose this bet. For example, if you bet on 6, and the shooter throws 4-2 or 5-1, you will lose the bet.


All the bets so far rely on you winning your selection before the shooter throws another number. With one-roll bets, you are guessing the outcome of the next roll of the dice, no matter what stage the game is.


Place your chips in the ‘Field,’ and you win if the next roll is 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12. Check with the casino, but you usually get paid even money, except for a 2, which pays 2-1, or a 12, which pays 3-1.

2 or 12

Get 30-1 odds if you select 2 correctly, or 12 if you back that to come in. You lose with all other numbers.

3 OR 11

The same as 2 or 12, but the odds are 15-1 for both these numbers.


It’s the most common two-dice combination, and winning here gets you a 4-1 payout.


A 7-1 payout if the next roll is a 2, 3, or 12.


Predict what both numbers on the dice will be. Two different numbers is an easy hop and will pay 15-1. Predicting two of the same number (a double) is a hard hop and, so 1-1, or 5-5 and pays 30-1.


  • What is the best Craps strategy?
    The most straight-forward craps strategy is to make a pass or don’t pass bet at the lowest available stake at the start of each dice roll. Then, when the point is set by the shooter, make the free odds bet at the maximum stake available to you. The idea behind this strategy is to give you the best odds and the highest payout combined.
  • What is ‘the shooter’ in craps?
    The shooter is the person who rolls in the dice in a game of Craps. This is not someone who is employed by the casino but rather a player in the game. They roll two dice each time, chosen from a group of five presented by the ‘stick man’ who runs the game.
  • Is Craps a game of skill or chance?

    Craps is a game of chance. There is nothing you can do to affect the odds of any roll of the dice. However, using basic strategies like the ones on this page you can improve your odds of winning each time you play.

  • Where can I play Craps online?

    You can play Craps online at most real money casinos in Canada. You can find a list of licensed live casinos with craps tables here.