If there was ever a game that epitomizes gambling excitement, it has to be Craps. Lots of cash and chips flowing back and forth, dice flying through the air and plenty of yelling and screaming by the players. What other casino game do you hear: "Dollar Yo!" or "Lay the ten" or "Come to Mama" or the classic Craps shout: "Baby needs a new pair of shoes!"
There's no question the game can be intimidating at first, but most casinos either have demonstrations live on the casino floor, or on the TV in your room. Watch those, then watch the live action and you'll soon be stepping up to the table as either a shooter or a bettor. Either way, you'll have a lot of fun.
PLAYING THE GAME
In casino craps, the players place their bets and the casino bank "covers" them. In addition to covering every player's bet, the casino-banked craps game offers many other types of proposition bets.
- There are four people actively running the game.
- The boxman, who sits behind the middle of the table, is the boss. He keeps a constant watch over the game.
- The two dealers on each side of him pay off the winners and "rake" in the losers' chips. Each dealer handles all the players on his side. The table is divided by the center box of proposition bets and also by the stickman, who stands on the players' side of the table.
- The stickman controls the action of the dice and the pace of the game. After seeing all bets are down, the stickman pushes a few sets of dice to the shooter.
- That player selects a pair of dice and is ready to roll them across the table so that they hit the wall at the opposite end. If, on the first roll, you make a 7 or 11, you've rolled a "natural" and you win. What you win is the equivalent amount of chips you have bet on the Pass line.
- If you roll a 2, 3 or 12 on your first throw, that is called "craps" and you lose. The dealer picks up your Pass-line bet. However, the shooter does not relinquish the dice. He continues to roll until he "sevens out." (Rolling a 7 before making his point).
- If, on the first roll, you shoot a 4, 5, 6,8, 9 or 10, that is your established "box point." The object then is to keep rolling the dice until you make that number again. You lose, however, if you roll a seven before making your box point. These are the basic rules of craps. There are many other bets which can be made.
A LITTLE BIT OF ADVICE
Play the line and the Come, either Pass or Don't Pass.
These are the two best areas to bet, offering the best possible odds to the player. If you're betting the Pass line, always take your full odds in back of your pass line bet. Some casinos offer double odds or higher; if so, take advantage of this option.
Increase your bets on wins. Do not double up on losses.
BETTIN' THEM BONES
- SEVEN: This one-roll bet pays odds of 4-1. Correct odds are 5-1 with the difference giving the house a 6.66% edge.
- ELEVEN: This is another one-roll bet. It pays 14-1, but the true odds are 17-1 with a house percentage of 16.66%...bad bet!
- PLACE BETS: The 4 and 10 pay 9-5, true odds 10-5, yielding a house edge of 6.66%. The 6 and 8 pay 7-6, true odds are 6-5 (house edge 1.51%.)
- BUY BETS: Player pays 5% "vigorish" to get true odds on all numbers. Only the 4 and 10 make buy bets worthwhile. They reduce the house edge to 4.76%.
- HARD WAYS: This bet can be made on the 4, 6, 8 and 10. Payoff is 9-1 on the 6 or 8 and 7-1 on the 4 or 10. The house edge is 9.09% and 11.11%, respectively. Another bad bet.
- COME BETS and DON'T COME: Even money bet with the exact same house percentages of 1.414% and 1.402%, as the pass line bets.
- PASS LINE: Pays even money (house edge is small, 1.414%). One of the best bets on the table.
- DON'T PASS: Pays even money (house edge 1.402%). Slightly better odds than pass line bet odds.
- THE FIELD: A one-roll bet that pays even money or 2-1 on 2 or 12. House edge is 5.55%.
- ANY CRAPS: This is a one-roll bet. If a 2, 3 or 12 hits, you'll get 7-1 odds. House edge is 11.11%, which makes this a bad bet.
- BIG 6 & 8: Player bets in boxes marked as such and receives even money instead of 6-5 true odds. House has a 9.09% edge.
- HORN BET: Although the 2, 3, 12 and 11 may be bet separately, this area is also known as the "horn." A player makes a horn bet by handing the bet to the dealer, calling out, for example, "$4 horn bet." This would give him $1 on each of the four one-roll propositions. Payoff is 30-1 on a 2 or 12. A 3 or 11 pays 15-1. True odds are 35-1 (2 & 12) and 17-1 (3 & 11). The house edge on all four bets is a whopping 16.66%. Obviously a bad bad bet. Not recommended!
- ODDS: When a point is made (either the shooter's point on his first roll, or a come point on a succeeding roll), a player can take the odds. He will receive 2-1 on 4 and 10; 3-2 on 5 and 9; 6-5 on 6 and 8. He lays the same odds when he bets against the point.
- FREE ODDS: Although there's nothing on the table to indicate the existence of this bet, it is one of the most advantageous to the player.
- It is available to all Pass/Don't Pass and Come/Don't Come bettors after a point has been established. Once the shooter establishes a point, a player can make a bet equal to his previous bet and receive true odds (instead of even money) if the point is made. This amounts to 2-1 on the 4 and 10; 3-2 on the 5 and 9; and 6-5 on the 6 and 8.
- If the casino offers "double odds," the player can double his previous bet. It's always to the player's advantage to make the free odds bet, especially at double odds, because it gives you the chance to win more money at correct odds when the shooter is on a "hot" roll. With single odds, the house edge is reduced to 0.8 percent; with double odds it's reduced further to 0.6 percent.