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How to Play Craps for Beginners at a Casino

One of the most recognizable games in a casino is also one of the most energetic.

Craps is a fun game to take part in, but its many nuances can intimidate first-time players.

Before you place a bet at the craps table, we’ll run you through basics like the rules, how the table is laid out, how to bet, and the best craps strategy for beginners to come out on top.

How to Play Craps for Beginners at a Casino

What is Craps?

On the surface, craps can seem like a complicated game, but it’s based on one simple factor – the roll of the dice. The person who rolls the dice is called the “shooter,” and bets can only be placed before the “shooter” rolls. In craps, players are placing their bets on what number the dice will land on with varying odds.

The Craps Table Layout Explained

The layout of the craps table can be confusing at first glance, but understanding the table is a matter of understanding what you’re betting on. The craps table layout is divided into sections by different types of bets, with the two most popular being the pass line and the don’t pass line. Other sections on the table show numbers, odds, and “come” and “don’t come,” each of which we will explain in the sections below.


  • Pass Line Bet

    Every game of craps begins with the pass line bet. Before the shooter rolls the dice for the first time on the “come out roll,” players will place a bet in the area labeled “pass line” for the chance of a 1:1 payout. Here, players win if the shooter rolls a 7 or 11 and lose if they roll a 2, 3 or 12. If the shooter rolls any other number, the game continues to one of the “point” numbers on the craps table above.

    Pass Line: The Foundation of Craps

    A pass line bet is like rooting for your favorite team: when the roller (the person throwing the dice) wins, you win. It’s the most common bet in craps not only because it’s easy for beginners to understand or has the best odds, but because of the excitement of celebrating with other players over the win.

  • Don't Pass Bet

    The don’t pass bet is fundamentally identical to the pass line bet, except you’re betting on the opposite outcome. Instead of betting that the shooter will roll a 7 or 11, you’re betting that the shooter will roll a 2, 3 or 12.

    Don’t Pass: Playing the Opposite Game

    Placing a don’t pass bet is like choosing the other team: sometimes you win when the roller doesn’t. The thrill of the don’t pass bet lies in rooting for the opposite outcome as the rest of the players, which can feel like choosing the underdog and offers a larger payout (and lower house odds) should you win. Remember, some players consider a don’t pass bet taboo, so be discreet when playing don’t pass, especially if you win!


Best Craps Strategy for Beginners

Though a game of craps is based on chance, there is some betting strategy involved. Some methods are more involved than others, but regardless of skill or experience level, the best craps betting strategy is one which increases your odds of winning.

Easy Craps Bets with the Best Odds for Starters

The pass and don’t pass lines are the most fundamental bet to place on a game of craps. Both bets have the best odds of winning in the game of craps, with both having a 1:1 payout. After the come-out roll, you can place a come bet, which is like doubling down on the pass line after a place roll, but the odds of winning aren’t as high.

Top Craps Tips and Tricks for First-Time Players

The best craps strategy for beginners is to place bets with the lowest house edge and highest odds. Though putting money on a potentially big payout is tempting, playing a basic bet like the pass or don’t pass line, come bet, or odds bet is much more practical. Consider the most common combinations on a dice roll as well – a seven is the most common, while 2 and 12 are the least common. Even rolling a seven is twice as likely as rolling a 4 or 10.

How to place an odds bet

Once you feel like you’re getting the hang of the more basic bets in the game of craps, it might be time to “take the odds.” When you place an odds bet behind the pass line, you’re taking the “true odds” that the shooter rolls a place number – or numbers – of your choosing. Here’s the odds for each number:

  • 2:1 Payout

    2:1 payout on point numbers of 4 and 10

  • 3:2 Payout

    3:2 payout on points of 5 and 9

  • 6:5 Payout

    6:5 payout on points of 6 and 8

Frequently Asked Questions for Craps Beginners

Though we’ve covered the basics of playing craps at a casino, there’s always more to uncover when it comes to figuring out a new game. Before you get started, here are a few of the most common questions we get from people learning how to play craps at a casino.

Playing Craps at a Casino: What You Need to Know

Craps is often the most social game at the casino and always the most energetic. New players should approach the table and wait for the current game to end. When the dealer places the puck from “ON” to “OFF,” you may exchange your cash for chips and make your initial place bet before the start of the game. Remember, craps is a social game, and you will be cheering on the shooter and celebrating with other players when the shooter has a good roll.

Smart Craps Bankroll Money Management

Craps might be a fun, high-energy affair, but you still need to consider responsible gambling practices during your time at the table. We recommend having 40x the minimum bet in funds to increase your playing time. Sticking to the minimum bet will also help increase your time at the table, and remember only to bring as much money as you’re willing to lose.