How to Play Craps and Win: Tutorial for Dummies

How to play craps is a very common question among gamblers. While the majority of players have at least a basic idea of how to play roulette or blackjack, craps still remains a grey zone for gambling audiences. In this guide, we’ll venture into the Terra Incognita of gambling and introduce you to the marvelous game of craps! You’re about to learn how to play craps and, more importantly, how to win at craps with little to no effort.

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About craps

It’s no secret that craps can't compete with roulette or online pokies games in terms of popularity. However this fact shouldn’t stop you from trying out this exciting game of chance! By ignoring craps, you’re missing out on a unique gambling experience. Craps is a light-paced, relaxing, and fun game. If you find casino blackjack or poker too complicated or stressful, you’re sure to like online craps! When playing craps, you don’t need to think hard, make risky decisions or devise tricky strategies. On the contrary, this game is your chance to experience the pure joy of gambling without pressure or stress!

How to play craps

Invented in the early 20th century in America, craps has spread all over the globe like wildfire. The fact that craps is played with dice adds extra charm to the game. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that dice are the trademark of craps, just like the wheel is for roulette. Playing craps at a land-based casino and seeing the dice thrown on the table again and again is an enjoyment second to none. At the same time, playing craps online is no less exciting, and we’re going to show you how to do that!

Guide on how to play craps

Learning how to play craps is really easy. Chances are that you’ve never tried this game before. If it’s true, there is absolutely no need to worry! Even an absolute newbie can master this breathtaking game in under an hour. It’s true that the craps rules may seem a bit confusing at first. Don’t fret, though. Give yourself a few days to soak in the information. Plus, you can always play craps in demo mode until you’ve trained your skills enough for real-money play.

Without further ado, let’s break down the craps gameplay!

  1. The player who rolls the dice is called the Shooter. The Shooter starts the game by throwing two dice on the table. This first roll is called the Come-Out Roll.
  2. The total of the Come-Out Roll is evaluated.
  3. If the Shooter rolls out a Natural, Pass Line bets win. Natural is a dice term for the total of 7 or 11. The Shooter continues to throw the dice until they establish a Point.
  4. If the Shooter rolls out a Craps, Pass Line bets lose and the round ends. Craps is a term that indicates the total of 2, 3 or 12.
  5. If the total of 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 appears, the Point is established. In this case, the Shooter must roll the dice again. If they roll out the same Point again, Pass Line bets win. If the total of 7 comes up, the round ends and the dice goes to a new shooter. In craps, seven is the unlucky number. In craps terminology, this outcome is called seven-out.

That was the skeleton of the gameplay explained in 5 simple steps. As you can see, craps is not that tricky, after all! Now let’s go over the main types of wagers that you can make when playing craps.

Types of bets

Craps has no lack of betting options. Below we’re going to shed light on the key types of wagers which are available to players.

  • Pass/Don’t Pass. By placing a Pass bet, you expect that the Shooter will win, i.e. roll a Natural. If a Point is established, your Pass bet only wins if the same Point amount comes up before a seven-out. By placing a Don’t Pass bet, you expect the Shooter to lose, i.e. roll a Craps (2, 3, or 12), or the unlucky 7 before the Point is re-rolled.
  • Come/Don’t Come. This next pair of bets becomes available to bettors once the Point is announced. By betting on Come, you expect Shooter to have a Natural. If, however, they roll a Craps, you lose your bet. If a Come Point is repeated before a seven-out come up, your wager wins. If not, you’ll have to say goodbye to your bet. Now to Don’t Come bet. By making this bet, you hope that the Shooter will roll the total of 2 or 3. If a 12 appears, this situation is called a Push. It’s a tie, and your bet neither wins, nor loses. If the outcome totals a 7 or 11, your Don’t Come bet loses.
  • Free Odds. Judging by the name of this category of bets, it holds some attractive opportunities for the player, don’t you agree? It’s important to understand that you can’t place Free Odds bets on their own. Free Odds bets can only be paired with Pass/Don’t Pass or Come/Don’t Come bets (also called “flat bets”). Free Odds is the only betting option that has zero house edge. However, since you combine this bet with flat bets, the casino still gets an advantage over you. (Lucky for players, this advantage is tiny.) When making a Free Odds bet, you’re trying to predict the Point number that the Shooter will roll out. There are three betting options. You can bet on 4 or 10, 5 or 9, and 6 or 8.

Online craps table layout

In addition to these basic wagers, different craps variations may offer other types of bets as well, e.g. Hop Bets, No Craps, etc. Be sure to always examine the table layout before you start the game.


  • Pass/Don’t Pass and Come//Don’t Come wagers are the lowest-paying bets in craps. These are even money bets that pay 1 to 1. In other words, you win the same amount of money that you wagered.
  • If you’re looking for heftier payouts, you should focus on Free Odds bets. Since the Free Odds bets come with higher risks, they also generate juicier winnings. If you bet on 6 and 8 and your intuition turns out to be right, you’ll get paid 6 to 5. The 4 and 10 bet pays 2 to 1. By betting on 5 and 9, you’re looking at a 3:2 payout.

FAQ on how to play craps

How can I boost my winning odds to win at craps?

- Since craps is a game of chance, there is little you can do in that department. First, we’d like to warn you against using any “super effective” winning strategies that show gamblers how to win at craps. There is absolutely no way to calculate what numbers will come up in a roll. One way to maximize your winning chances is by placing Free Odds bets. Paired with flat bets, they take down the house edge big time. For example, combining Single Odds with a Come or Pass bet reduces the house edge from 1.4% to a nice 0.8%. If you pair Single Odds with a Don’t Pass or Don't Come bet, the casino advantage will go down even lower, to 0.7%. Double Odds do an even better job at minimizing the house edge.

Is it true that I can beat the casino at craps?

- Unfortunately, no. Some gamblers erroneously think that placing Free Odds is a surefire way to break even. It’s just another myth, though. While Free Odds can minimize the house edge to player-friendly values, they can’t take it down to zero. It’s not uncommon that casinos limit the Free Odds that you’re allowed to make. For example, you can’t place more than x5 or x10 Odds.

What is the best way to learn how to play craps and how to win at craps?

- If you’re new to craps, your best technique for mastering this game is free demonstration mode. We have to agree that the craps gameplay and betting options may seem overwhelming to a novice gambler. Playing in free mode is a great way to systemize the rules and start feeling comfortable about different types of wagers. As for winning at craps, it depends on how good you’re at combining flat bets with Free Odds bets. Read our craps guides and watch a few tutorials on YouTube to see how consummate players improve their winning chances by masterfully pairing different types of bets.