Craps has a very intimidating vibe to it: a bunch of people crowded around a table, shouting, with heaps of casino staff standing by while someone throws dice. The difference between craps and other casino games is that while other games are really fun, craps is downright exciting. There’s a thrilling sense of tension and uncertainty in which numbers will show up on the dice, and a big win can be like nothing else.
How do you play craps, and where are the best places to play it in Australia?
When you play craps online, it’s a solo experience with just you, the mat, and the dice. It’s heaps more peaceful than playing at a land-based casino, but the game does lose a bit of its excitement. The live experience being hard to replicate might be why craps is a lot rarer than other table games at online casinos. It might seem like it’s tailor-made for live dealer games, but it doesn’t quite translate.
The first step in playing craps online is finding a casino that has it available. You might be able to play free craps without signing up, but if you want a chance at winning real money, you’ll need to register and make a deposit.
The Rules of Online Craps
With punters shouting bets and dice being rolled often, it can be hard to keep track of what’s going on in a game of craps. We’re here to break it down for you so that, when you’re ready to give craps a fair go, you’ll know exactly what to expect.
Every game of craps starts with a new bet. Like roulette, there are heaps of betting options on the table. Each bet has different win conditions and different odds, and some types of bets can persist over multiple rolls. A lot of the chatter you’ll hear around the table is just craps players making new bets. One important thing to remember is that whenever a 7 is rolled, the game ends, and the dice is passed to the next shooter.
Here are just a few of the types of bets you can make, and what they mean to the progression of a craps game:
Pass / Don’t Pass Bets
The most common bets in craps are also the easiest to understand, and they are placed at the start of a game, before the shooter has rolled the dice. At some casinos, Pass or Don’t Pass bets need to be placed before you can bet on other outcomes.
A shooter’s first roll in a craps game is called the come-out roll. A Pass bet wins if the come-out roll adds to 7 or 11, and it loses if the roll adds to 2, 3, or 12. A come-out roll of 2, 3, or 12 is called “craps” or “crapping out”. If any other number is rolled, that value becomes the point, and the Pass bet remains on the table until either the point is rolled again, which is a win, or a 7 is rolled, which is a loss.
A Don’t Pass bet works as the reverse. If the come-out roll is 2 or 3, the bet wins, though if a 12 is rolled it counts as a tie. If the come-out roll is 7 or 11, it counts as a loss. If a point is established, a Don’t Pass bet wins is a 7 is rolled, and loses if the point is rolled again.
Come / Don’t Come Bets
Come and Don’t Come bets are almost identical to Pass and Don’t Pass bets, but what makes them a bit difficult to understand is that they are placed after the come-out roll.
Since a craps game can continue until a 7 is rolled, there’s less structure than other table games, and it can be unclear why you might have won or lost. Even though they follow the same format as Pass and Don’t Pass bets, Come and Don’t Come bets are personal to you – other punters can make bets of their own at any time, on any roll, and there’s no one single win condition.
After you place a Come bet, if the first roll is a 7 or 11, you win. If it’s a 2, 3, or 12, you lose. Any other number rolled becomes the point for your wager, regardless of whether it’s the point in the ongoing game. Here’s an example:
On the come-out roll, the shooter rolls a 9, so the point for this portion of the craps game is 9. After this point is established, you make a come bet. On the next throw, the shooter rolls a 4. Nothing happens in the overall game, but the pass line for your Come bet is established as 4. As with a Pass bet, if 4 is rolled before 7 is, you win, even if 9 is rolled first.
Like a Don’t Pass bet, the Don’t Come bet is the reverse of a Come bet. If a 2 or 3 is rolled on the come-out roll, you win, with a 12 being counted as a tie. If a 7 or 11 is rolled, you lose. If a point is established, you lose if the point is rolled, and win if a 7 is rolled.
Odds bets can be think of as a way to supplement the four kinds of bets above. There’s no house edge on odds bets, so you can only bet so much. The amount you can win also changes depending on what the point is, with harder-to-roll values like 4 and 10 granting better payouts than more common results like 6 and 8.
When the same number shows up on the dice – two 3s to make 6 or two 5s to make 10 – the result is said to have been earned the hard way. Hardway bets are straightforward bets that the shooter will roll doubles adding up to a certain value before they roll a 7. There are two hardway bets that can be made: 4 or 10, with doubles of 2 and 5, or 6 and 8, with doubles of 3 and 4.
This isn’t a complete list of every type of bet, but understanding how these bets work helps you to understand (and hopefully be less intimidated by) craps as a whole.
Craps is entirely a game of chance, and there’s no way to control what happens. That means that craps strategy revolves around controlling your bankroll. The highest-paying bets – on 2 and 12 – are also the riskiest, since those two numbers don’t show up on the dice very often.
If you do want to make a hardway bet, we’d recommend 6 or 8. With a payout of 9 to 1, they’re not the most exciting bets, but they are the most common roll in craps games. The house edge on these numbers isn’t the lowest on the table, but it is a bit lower than most other bets you can make.
The safest bets you can place in craps are on Pass and Don’t Pass, or Come and Don’t Come. These bets all only pay 1 to 1, but they are far more general. Like all casino games, landing a big win can be bonzer, but slow and steady wins the race.
Playing Online Craps for Real Money
While playing free craps can be heaps of fun, eventually you might want to start looking at playing craps for real money. To play real money craps, you need to have an account balance at the casino of your choice. All online casinos accept multiple payment options, including credit cards, cryptocurrencies, eWallets, and bank transfers.
Some online casinos might offer welcome or deposit bonuses for you to extend your bankroll and play even more craps. Since craps is a table game and probably will have a much lower wagering contribution than something like pokies, make sure you carefully read the Terms and Conditions to know exactly how much each win counts for. It is a bit of a hassle – who wants to read when you can get in the game? – but it’s better to be safe than sorry.