Craps for Beginners: Understanding the Basics


Craps is a fast-paced, exciting casino game that often draws large crowds around its table. If you’re new to the game, the action, cheering, and array of bets on the table layout can seem overwhelming. However, with a basic understanding of the rules and bets, you can quickly get started and join in the fun. This beginner’s guide will take you through the essential aspects of craps, ensuring you’re ready to roll the dice with confidence.

The Craps Table and Basic Setup

The craps table is unique, with a specific layout for betting and two identical ends to accommodate more players. The game is played with two dice, and players take turns rolling them. The player rolling the dice is called the “shooter.” Each round of play revolves around the shooter’s rolls.

The Role of the Shooter

The shooter is the player who rolls the dice. Every player at the table will have the opportunity to be the shooter, with the role rotating around the table. To be the shooter, you must place a bet on either the Pass Line or the Don’t Pass Line.

The Basic Bets: Pass Line and Don’t Pass Line

The most fundamental bets in craps are the Pass Line and Don’t Pass Line bets.

  • Pass Line Bet: This is a bet that the shooter will win. You win if the come-out roll (the first roll in a new round) is a 7 or 11 and lose if it’s a 2, 3, or 12. Any other number rolled establishes a “point.” To win a Pass Line bet after the point is established, the shooter must roll that point number again before rolling a 7.
  • Don’t Pass Line Bet: This is essentially the opposite of the Pass Line bet. Here, you’re betting against the shooter. You win if the come-out roll is a 2 or 3, the bet is a push (meaning no one wins or loses) if a 12 is rolled, and you lose if a 7 or 11 is rolled. If a point is established, you win if a 7 is rolled before the point number is rolled again.

The Come-Out Roll

The come-out roll is the first roll in a new round of craps. It determines the point for the round and whether Pass Line and Don’t Pass Line bets win or lose. After the come-out roll, the game revolves around the point number.

Understanding the Point

If the come-out roll is a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, that number becomes the point. The dealer will mark this number on the table. The shooter continues to roll the dice until either the point number is rolled again, resulting in a win for Pass Line bets, or a 7 is rolled, resulting in a win for Don’t Pass Line bets.

Additional Bets

Once the point is established, players can make additional bets. Some common bets include:

  • Come Bet: Similar to the Pass Line bet, but can be made any time after the point is established.
  • Don’t Come Bet: Similar to the Don’t Pass Line bet, but can be made any time after the point is established.
  • Place Bets: Betting on a specific number (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10) to be rolled before a 7.
  • Field Bet: A one-roll bet that wins if 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12 is rolled.
  • Proposition Bets: High-risk, high-reward bets placed on the outcome of the next roll.

Craps Strategy for Beginners

As a beginner, it’s advisable to stick with the basic bets: Pass Line and Don’t Pass Line. These bets have a lower house edge, making them more favorable for players. Once you’re comfortable, you can explore additional bets.

Understanding the Odds

Craps offers some of the best odds in the casino, but it’s important to understand which bets offer the best chances of winning. The Pass Line and Don’t Pass Line bets have a house edge of just 1.41% and 1.36%, respectively.

Managing Your Bankroll

Craps can be an exhilarating game, but it’s important to manage your bankroll responsibly. Set a budget for your gaming session and stick to it. Never chase your losses, and know when to walk away, whether you’re winning or losing.

Etiquette at the Craps Table

Craps is a social game, and there are some etiquette rules to follow:

  • Handle the dice with one hand when it’s your turn to roll.
  • Make sure your dice roll all the way to the end of the table.
  • Place your bets when the dice are in the center of the table.
  • Be respectful to other players and the casino staff.

Practice and Patience

As with any casino game, practice makes perfect. Many online casinos offer free versions of craps where you can practice without risking real money. Be patient and take the time to learn the game at your own pace.


Craps is an exciting game that offers great odds and the potential for big wins. By understanding the basics of the game, managing your bankroll, and practicing, you can enjoy the thrill of craps while minimizing your risks. Remember, the key to success in any casino game is responsible gaming. So, roll the dice, have fun, and may Lady Luck be on your side!