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Craps

Craps is a fast and exciting game with lots of action–you can win (and lose) large amounts of money in a very short period of time. Craps also offers very favorable odds to the player. If you bet wisely, the house has no more than between a 0.6 percent and 0.8 percent advantage.

You can bet with or against the dice, and you can make continuous bets with each roll. When you bet with the dice (right betting) and win, you are almost always paid off at better than even money.

Of course, the higher the payoff, the less likely it is that you will win. Players stand around a large table (with high sides to catch the dice), where the shooter rolls two dice. All bets are placed against the house. The Stickman handles the dice, passing them to the players; two Dealers handle the bets; and the Boxman watches over the casino’s bankroll.

Bets are placed on different parts of the layout (depending on the bet and the roll). Players bet amongst themselves, either with the shooter (right betting) or against the shooter (wrong betting).Only one player has control of the dice at one time. The numbers thrown by the shooter determine all bet payoffs. In Hoyle Casino, the turn of the shoot moves around the table clockwise. Before the first roll, the shooter usually makes a line bet. The two possible line bets are:

  1. Pass (Front Line).
  2. Don’t Pass (Back Line).
When you bet on the Pass Line, you are betting with the dice (or the shooter) to win with a natural (a 7 or 11 on the first throw), or to make the point before sevening out. When you bet with the dice, it is referred to as right betting. The casino has a 1.4 percent advantage on a Pass-Line bet.

When you bet the Don’t Pass Line, you bet against the dice (wrong betting). To collect this bet, the shooter must roll a 2 or 3 on the first roll (12 is barred by the house to prevent your advantage over the casino), or seven out before rolling the point. By barring the 12, the casino gains a 1.4 percent advantage over a Don’t-Pass bettor. After placing the line bet, the shooter rolls the dice.

The Come-Out Roll

The first roll of a turn is called the come-out roll. If the shooter bet the Pass Line and rolls a natural (a 7 or 11) on the first roll, he or she and all of the players that bet the Pass Line win. If the shooter rolls a Craps (a 2, 3, or 12) on the first roll, the shooter and all other right bettors lose.

If the shooter rolls any other number (i.e., a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10) on the first roll, then that number is set as the point number. When the point is established, a black-andwhite disk is placed white side up (marked “on”) in the box containing that number.

At this point, players can bet free-odds on the Line bets. Assuming right betting, the shooter then continues to try to roll that point number before rolling a 7 to win. If the shooter rolls the 7 before the point, the shooter sevens out (loses). As long as the shooter continues to roll for the point, players can make and collect on a variety of bets up to when the point is won, or the shooter sevens out.
A come-out roll can occur in any of these situations:

  1. After the previous shooter sevens out; a new roller is coming out.
  2. After a shooter rolls a 7 or 11 on a previous come-out roll (immediate win for Pass Line bettors); the same roller is coming out.
  3. After a shooter rolls Craps (2, 3, or 12) on a previous come-out roll; the same roller is coming out.
  4. After a shooter makes the point by repeating it before rolling a 7; the same roller is coming out.

Betting in Craps

You need to know the different bets on the Craps layout to be able to play the game. The bet you make must meet the minimum bet requirement for the table. The following bets are available on the Craps layout:
  • Pass Line /Don’t Pass
  • Free-odds bets on Line bets
  • Come/Don’t Come
  • Free-odds bets on Come bets
  • Place Numbers
  • Buy bets
  • Lay bets
  • Field Numbers
  • Big 6 or Big 8
  • Center or Proposition bets

Pass/Don’t-Pass Bets

Players bet with or against the shooter as to whether or not the point will be made. These bets pay even money.You can place a Pass bet on the come-out roll, or after a point is established, but you cannot remove the bet after placing it.You can only make a Don’t Pass bet on the come-out roll.

Here are a few examples that show how the Pass/Don’t Pass bets works:
  1. You place a $5 bet on the Pass Line. The shooter rolls a 6 on the come-out. This establishes 6 as the point. This roll has no effect on your bet. The shooter then rolls a 5, 8, 6 in succession.You win on the 6 and are paid $5 (even money).


  2. You place a $10 bet on the Pass Line. The shooter rolls a 9 (making 9 the point) on the come-out. The shooter then rolls a 7, and you lose the bet.


  3. You place a $10 bet on the Don’t Pass Line. The shooter rolls a 9 on the comeout to set the point. The shooter then rolls a 7, and you win $10 (even money) for your Don’t Pass bet.


  4. With $5 on the Pass Line, the shooter throws a natural (7) on the come-out roll. You win $5.

Pass-Line Bets and Don’t-Pass with Free-Odds

A Pass Line or Don’t Pass with free-odds bet is a wager that can be made in addition to your original Pass or Don’t-Pass bet. Winning or losing a free-odds bet is dependent upon the success of your Pass or Don’t-Pass bet. Free-odds bets are not marked on the layout, but they are a legal bet and a very important factor in helping the player decrease the casino’s advantage.

You can make free-odds bets after the point has been established on the come-out roll. The free-odds Pass-Line bet can equal the amount you originally bet on the Pass Line, or it can be a multiple of the original Pass-Line bet, depending on rules settings.The free-odds Don’t-Pass bet equals the amount of the payoff for the original Don’t-Pass bet, or can be a multiple of the payoff for the original Don’t-Pass bet. Most casinos allow 2x (double) free-odds which allows the player to make a free-odds bet equal to twice the amount of a Pass-Line bet.

You place a free-odds Pass-Line bet on the area behind your original Pass-Line bet (just outside the layout line).You place a free-odds Don’t-Pass bet just to the side of the original Don’t-Pass bet.

A Pass-Line/Don’t-Pass bet pays at even money (house: 1.4 percent advantage). A free-odds bet is paid at true odds (casino: 0 percent advantage). By combining a Pass-Line bet with a free-odds bet, the casino’s advantage is lowered to approximately 0.6 percent (it is lowered even more if higher multiples are allowed such as 3x, 5x, etc.). These are among the best odds you will find in Hoyle Casino, just short of counting cards at Blackjack.

The payoff ratios for free-odds bets are:

Pass with Free-Odds HousePayoff
4 or 10 2-1
5 or 9  3-2
6 or 8   6-5

Don’t Pass with Free-Odds HousePayoff
4 or 10 1-2
5 or 9  2-3
6 or 8  5-6

You must lay odds when making Don’t-Pass bets. This means you are paid at less than even money. The payoffs are low on Don’t-Pass because the odds favor the shooter sevening out, making this bet a probable win.
Here are two examples of Pass/Don’t-Pass bets with free-odds (assume double [2x} free-odds):
  1. You bet $5 on the Pass Line. The shooter rolls a 4 on the come-out, setting the point.You then place $10 behind your original bet for a Pass-Line bet with freeodds. A point of 4 gives you 2 to 1 odds. The shooter rolls a 6; your bet is unaffected. The shooter rolls a 4.You win $5 (1 to 1) for your Pass-Line bet, and $20 (2 to 1) for your free-odds bet.


  2. After betting $15 on Don’t Pass, the shooter rolls a 5.You place $30 for free-odds to the side of your Don’t-Pass bet. The shooter rolls a 4, 12, and 7 in succession. Since the shooter sevened out before rolling the point, you win this bet.Your Don’t Pass bet wins $15, and your free-odds bet on a 5 pays off at 2 to 3; you win $20 for this bet for a total of $35.

Come/Don’t-Come Bets

The Come bet has the same characteristics as the Pass-Line bet, but it can only be made after the come-out roll. As with the Pass-Line, Come bets are paid at even money. Players bet on whether or not the dice will come right (win) or come wrong (lose) beginning with the next roll.You can continue making new Come bets with each roll of the dice.

As in a Pass/Don’t-Pass bet, the first roll after a Come bet wins on a 7 or 11, and loses on a 2, 3, or 12. A point is set for the Come bet (called a come point ) on any other result (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10), and the Come bet wins if the point is made on a subsequent roll before a 7 appears.

Conversely, to collect on a Don’t-Come bet, the shooter must roll Craps (a 2 or 3 on the next roll; 12 is barred by the house to prevent your advantage over the casino) or 7 out before rolling the come-point again.

The betting can be complicated if you make Pass bets and Come bets simultaneously. It’s possible, for example, to lose your Pass-Line bet on a roll of 7, yet win your Come bet with the same roll.

Come/Don’t-Come Bets with Free-Odds

A Come/Don’t-Come Free-odds bet is a wager that can be made in addition to your original Come/Don’t-Come bet. The success of the free-odds bet (win/loss) is dependent upon the success of your Come/Don’t-Come bet.

For example, you win the free-odds Come bet if you win the original Come bet. Except for the fact these bets modify a Come/Don’t-Come bet, they function identically to Pass/Don’t-Pass bets with free-odds.

They also pay exactly the same, at true odds, thus reducing the casino’s edge to approximately 0.6 percent.

You place a free-odds Come or Don’t-Come bet just to the right of the original Come or Don’t-Come-bet chips (after they have been moved to the Place Number of the point). These bets are not marked on the layout. Free-odds bets on Come bets are not in effect on subsequent come-out rolls. If you lose the original Come bet, the house does not take the free-odds bet. Free-odds bets on Don’t-Come bets are always working.

Examples of free-odds Come bets:

  1. The Pass-Line point is 6. You make a Come bet of $5. The shooter rolls a 5 to establish the come point.You then make a free-odds Come bet of $10.


    • Scenario (a): The come point is 5. The roller throws a 6, and the Pass-Line gets paid. The next come out roll is a 7.You lose your $5 Come bet, but your $10 freeodds bet is returned to you.

    • Scenario (b): The come point is 5. The shooter rolls a 7.You lose both your Come bet ($5) and your free-odds bet ($10) for a total loss of $15.

    • Scenario (c): The come point is 5. The shooter rolls another 5.You win both the Come bet ($5) and the Come bet free-odds ($15 paid at 3 to 2) for a total gain of $20.

Free-Odds-Bet Special Allowances

Under certain situations, Hoyle Casino allows players to bet more than the strict multiplier allowed for Pass/Come free-odds bets. These bet exceptions are beneficial to the player. There are two types of single-odds-bet exceptions.
First, Hoyle Casino will allow a $6 free-odds bet (on a 5 or 9 point) on a $5 Pass/Come bet. Hoyle Casino will allow you to round up (by as much as $5) to accommodate an easy 3 to 2 pay-off.

The first exception is as follows:

Point Pass/Come Bet Single-Odds-Bet(exception)
5 or 9 (3 to 2 payoff) $5 $6
5 or 9 $25 $30
5 or 9 $35 $40
5 or 9 etc. etc.

Second, if you bet any multiple of three as your Pass/Come bet, then you can make a free-odds bet (on a 6 or 8 point) that is 5/3 times the value of the original Pass/Come bet.

This is known as a three-unit-bet special allowance for single-odds bet on the 6 or 8 point.

The second exception is shown here:

Point Pass/Come Bet Single-Odds-Bet(exception)
6 or 8 (6 to 5 payoff) $3 $5
6 or 8 $15 $25
6 or 8 $30 $50
6 or 8 bet (divisible by 3) (5/3 x bet)

There is one type of double-odds-bets exception on points of 6 or 8. If you bet any multiple of two as you Pass/Come bet, then you can make a free-odds bet (on a 6 or 8 point) that is 5/2 times the amount of the original Pass/Come bet.
This is known as a two-unit-bet special allowance for double-odds bets on the 6 or 8 point and is shown here:
Point Pass/Come Bet Double Odds (two-unitbet exception)
6 or 8 (6 to 5 payoff) $2$5
6 or 8 $10$25
6 or 8 $20$50
6 or 8 bet (divisible by 2)(5/2 x bet)

Place-Numbers Bets

With this bet, you are betting that a particular number will appear before a 7.You can make a place bet after the come-out roll.You can place a bet on each or every place number .You can remove, reduce, or add to a place bet at any time prior to the next roll. Place bets are working (valid) on all rolls except the come-out roll.
Place-Numbers bets are placed in the rectangles just below the Place-Numbers boxes. Payoffs for place bets are shown here:

Number House Payoff Recommended Bet Amount
4 and 109-5 Multiples of $5
5 and 9 7-5 Multiples of $5
6 and 8 7-6 Multiples of $6

Buy Bets

Buying a bet is similar to making a Place-Numbers bet; you bet that the number will be made before a 7. But this bet is made slightly differently, and the casino’s advantage is different as well.You must pay the casino 5 percent of the amount of the bet you place. The house commission is taken directly from your bankroll and is not reimbursed if you remove the bet.

Buy bets are placed in the upper-third portion of the Place-Numbers boxes. Buy bets pay off at true odds.You cannot make a Buy bet on a come-out roll. After you place a Buy bet, it is working on all rolls except subsequent come-out rolls.

Lay Bets

Making a Lay bet is similar to making a Don’t-Place-Numbers bet. For example, if you think the next roll will be a 7, you could make Lay bets against all numbers instead of making a Don’t-Come bet. To make this bet, you must pay a 5 percent commission to the house based on the payoff. The house commission is taken directly from your bankroll and is not reimbursed if you remove the bet.

Lay bets are placed in the upper-third portion of the rectangles the farthest above the Place-Numbers boxes, at the top of the lay-out. Lay bets pay off at true odds.You\ cannot make a Lay bet on a come-out roll. After you place a Lay bet, it is always working except on subsequent come-out rolls.

Field Bets

A Field bet is a bet on the number 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12 being rolled, regardless of what the point is. (This bet is always working, even on the come-out roll.) The next roll of the dice immediately determines whether this bet wins or loses.

Big 6 and Big 8

For Big 6 or Big 8, the shooter must roll a 6 or 8 before sevening out (Fig. 6). This bet is always working and can be placed at any time. It pays at even money.

Center or Proposition Bets

Proposition bets (sometimes called Center bets) are located at the center of the layout. They are made by giving chips to the dealer who will pass them to the stickman, or, as with the Hardway bet, tossing them to the stickman directly. Center bets are always working. In most cases, the next roll determines the outcome of the bet (exception: Hardway bets).

A Hardway bet is a bet that a Hardway roll (a specific number made with doubles) will occur before the bet is lost. Unlike the other Center bets, a Hardway bet continues working until the same number comes up easy (without doubles), the shooter sevens out, or the shooter rolls the hard 4, 6, 8, or 10 (and collects this bet).

Center Bet House Payoff
Any 74 to 1
Any Craps7 to 1
2 or 12 30 to 1
3 or 11 15 to 1
Hardway 4 or 107 to 1
Hardway 6 or 8 9 to 1

Combining Center Bets (Horn and C&E Bets)

Individual Center bets can be combined to form the Horn bet and the C&E bet. The Horn bet is a four-way bet combining the 2, 3, 11, and 12 Center bets. It requires four chips to make this bet (or multiples of four). The casino pays the winning number and subtracts the other chips from the payoff.
The C&E bet is a combination of the Any-Craps bet and the 11-bet. It requires two chips (or multiples of two). The casino pays the winning number and subtracts the other chip from the payoff.

Craps Statistics

Thirty-six combinations are possible with two six-sided dice:

Roll Dice Combinations
21:1
3 2:1, 1:2
4 3:1, 1:3, 2:2
5 4:1, 1:4, 3:2, 2:3
6 5:1, 1:5, 4:2, 2:4, 3:3
7 6:1, 1:6, 5:2, 2:5, 4:3, 3:4
8 6:2, 2:6, 5:3, 3:5, 4:4
9 6:3, 3:6, 5:4, 4:5
10 6:4, 4:6, 5:5
11 6:5, 5:6
12 6:6

You can easily tell from this chart the numbers that occur most frequently. For example, 7s occur more frequently than any other number, with six possible dice combinations (6:1, 1:6, 5:2, 2:5, 4:3, and 3:4) out of 36. These combinations translate into the following odds:

Roll Odds
2 or 12 35 to 1
3 or 1117 to 1
4 or 1011 to 1
5 or 9 8 to 1
6 or 8 6.2 to 1
7 5 to 1

These are the true odds for the various dice rolls in Craps. The house does not always pay out at the true odds. For example, the Center bet on a 7 pays at 4 to 1. It this bet paid at true odds, it would pay 5 to 1. By paying at 4 to 1, the casino obtains a 16.67 percent edge. Ergo, if you make Center bets on a 7, you can lose a lot of money quickly.

You need to know when the house is paying at these true odds and when it’s not. Odds and recommendations for the various Craps bets are listed here.

Pass / Come and Don’t-Pass / Don’t-Come Bets

With Pass / Come bets, your chances of winning on the come-out roll are greater than your chances of losing. However, after you’ve made a point, the odds decline drastically. The true odds against repeating the roll of a point before rolling a 7 are:

  • 2 to 1 against making the point 4 or 10.
  • 3 to 2 against making the point 5 or 9.
  • 6 to 5 against making the point 6 or 8.

The overall casino advantage on these bets is 1.41 percent. The casino would normally be at a disadvantage on Don’t-Pass / Don’t-Come bets, but maintains its advantage by barring the 12. The end result is an almost identical 1.4 percent edge on Don’t-Pass / Don’t-Come bets.

Pass / Come and Don’t Pass / Don’t Come with Free-Odds Bets

The free-odds bet is the only bet in Craps where the house does not have an advantage over you. Bet as much as you can on free-odds. Naturally, casinos would be uninterested in wagers paying true odds outright. However, the free-odds bet is “married” the to the Pass / Come bet (you can’t make one without the other).

Pass / Come and Don’t-Pass / Don’t-Come bets with single odds gives the casino a 0.8 percent advantage. If you make this bet with double odds, it gives the casino a 0.6 percent advantage.

Once you make the free-odds bet, don’t remove it! You won’t find a better bet at the Craps table.

Place-Numbers Bets

If you want to make Place-Numbers bets, bet on 6 and 8 (for better odds). It is still better to take free-odds on Come bets for 6 and 8, since they pay off at true odds.

Number House PayoffTrue OddsHouse Advantage
4 and 109-52-16.67%
5 and 9 7-5 3-24.00%
6 and 8 7-6 6-51.52%

Field Bets

Field bets have higher odds and are less favorable to players. The house has a 5.5 percent advantage on these wagers.

Big 6 / Big 8

Big 6 or Big 8 is not a good bet to take. The house has a 9.09 percent advantage on this wager.

Center or Proposition Bets

All of these are terrible bets and clearly favor the house. More experienced Craps players avoid these bets:

Any Seven The house pays 4 to 1 (the true odds are 5 to 1). The house advantage is 16.67 percent.
Any Craps The house pays 7 to 1 (the true odds are 8 to 1). The house advantage is 11.1 percent.
2 or 12 The house pays 30 to 1 (the true odds are 35 to 1). The house advantage is 13.89 percent.
3 or 11 The house pa56kys 15 to 1 (the true odds are 17 to 1). The house advantage is 11.1 percent.
Hardway 4 and 10 The house pays 7 to 1 (though the true odds are 8 to 1). The house advantage is 11.1 percent.
Hardway 6 and 8 The house pays 9 to 1 (though the true odds are 10 to 1). The house advantage is 9.09 percent.

Strategies for Winning at Craps

Most of the skill involved in Craps is in knowing the odds for the various table bets and not placing a bet when the odds are unfavorable. In Craps, there are bets that give the house a 16.67 percent advantage (Any 7, for example). However, a player can limit the house advantage to approximately 0.6 percent by adhering to Pass, Come, and freeodds betting.

Craps Strategy Highlights

  • Always bet the Pass-Line on the come-out roll. Payoff: even money. House advantage: 1.4 percent.
  • Bet the Come bet. Payoff: even money. House advantage: 1.4 percent.
  • Always take maximum free-odds bets on your Pass-Line and Come bets. The house has no advantage on free-odds bets.
  • Don’t waste money on bets with unfavorable odds (most of the other bets on the table).