A game of craps involves several players taking turns rolling a pair of six-sided dice, while a series of wagers is made by each player. The “shooter” is the player currently rolling, and the first roll of the dice is known as the “come out” roll. One of the dealers manning the table will always announce when a roll is the come out roll.
Players bet on the “pass line” or “don’t pass” for the come out roll, and if the shooter rolls either a 7 or an 11, wagers on the pass line become winners at even money. When the shooter rolls a 2, 3, or 12, wagers on the pass line become losers. Betting on don’t pass is simply the inverse of the pass line, which means these wagers win when the shooter rolls 2, 3, or 12, and lose when the shooter rolls a 7 or 11. Because the overwhelming majority of players bet the pass line, it’s standard to avoid betting on don’t pass, simply because this means you’ll be rooting for the rest of the table to lose.
When betting on the pass line players face an extremely low 1.41 percent house edge, and in fact, betting on don’t pass actually offers even better odds (1.36 percent house edge). Nonetheless, most people still avoid don’t pass bets, preferring to enjoy the camaraderie of the game’s collective wins instead.
In the event that the come out roll is not a 2, 3, 7, 11, or 12, the number rolled is deemed the point, and this is used to guide the rest of the game. Players with wagers on the pass line are rooting for the shooter to roll the point number for a second time before rolling a 7 and “crapping out.” If the shooter hits the point again without crapping out first, all pass line wagers are paid out at even money. When the shooter craps out before rolling the point again, all pass line wagers are lost.
In addition to the pass line and don’t pass bets, players can also bet on each roll of the dice by taking the free odds on the pass line, or by placing and buying bets. Odds bets don’t have a spot listed on the table but you can still make the wager. The odds bets are the best odds in the casino so they don’t advertise them. Simple slide your chips out behind your previous wager and say you want the odds bet. These bets are paid out according to true odds.
For example, if the shooter sets the point at 4, you can place or buy a bet (both bets require the same result but payout slightly differently) on one or more of the in-between numbers. Should you bet $5 on the 9, followed by the shooter rolling a 9, you’re paid out at the true dice odds of an 8 being rolled. This means you’ll receive $7 profit on the $5 wager.
There are also several “proposition” bets in craps, in which you’re betting on the shooter to roll an exact combination of the two dice in order to win. Examples of proposition bets include the hard-way wager, or rolling a number using two identical numbers (two 4s for a hard 8), and snake eyes (two 1s for a 2). While these bets can pay out large sums, the odds against them are very steep, and the house enjoys a significant edge.