How to Play Craps

Craps is thought to be one of the oldest forms of gambling. Its origins are complex and may date back to the Roman Empire. Historians believe modern day craps is a descendant of the game Hazard. Hazard was extremely popular in England and eventually crossed the English Channel to France, where it became known as crapaud (a French word meaning toad).

In the 18th century, French settlers brought the game to colonies around the Mississippi River. Many years later, an American, John H. Winn, simplified the game and changed the layout. He developed new rules and bets including the Pass and Don't Pass bets. During World War II, soldiers would play craps to pass the time and in decades that followed, the game became a staple in casinos across America.

Casino craps is a game played by a single player or multiple players betting against the casino. The players and casino employees, like those at Black Hawk Casino in Colorado, stand around a large oval craps table. The layout of the table is detailed and there are seemingly dozens of different bets, governed by various rules. The easiest way to play craps is to learn only what you need to know and acquire knowledge of the game over time.

Buying Chips

The first thing you need is chips. Simply put your cash down on the table and the dealer will give you chips. You must play the minimum bet which is usually $5 or less. You don't need to play all your chips at once. When you're done playing, take your chips to the cashier booth and turn them in for cash.

Shooting the Dice

All players take turns rolling the dice. A main reason for excitement around the craps table is everyone is betting each time the dice is rolled. In other words, you win or lose your bet even if you aren't the one rolling the dice. You don't have to roll the dice when it's your turn. Simply pass the dice to the player next to you. When someone begins rolling, they continue until they roll a "losing seven" also known as "sevening out."

The Sum of Both Dice

All numbers in craps are based on the sum of both dice. A number rolled on one dice is never considered to be the final number.

The Pass Line

The main bet in craps is the Pass Line bet. When the dealer turns the On/Off puck to "off", put your chips on the area marked "Pass Line". After all bets are on the table, the shooter (first person to roll the dice) rolls the dice. The first roll of a round is called the "come out roll." Here are the steps and outcomes depending on what number the shooter rolls:

1. 7 or 11 – you win.

2. The shooter rolls another "come out roll".

3. 2, 3, or 12 – you lose.

4. The shooter rolls another "come out roll".

5. 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10 – you enter the point round.

After these steps are completed, you'll know if you've won, lost, or entered into the point round. If you won, the dealer will give you chips totaling your bet. If you lost, the dealer takes your bet. If you didn't win or lose right away, you enter the point round. The dealer turns the On/Off puck to "on" and places it on the number that was rolled. This number is called the point. You win if the shooter rolls the point number; you automatically lose if the point number is not rolled or the shooter rolls a seven (sevening out).

The Pass Line bet is the only bet you need to know for craps. However, if you wish to learn more, consider mastering these bets:

1. Free or True bet

2. Field bet

3. Come bet

4. Place bet

5. Proposition bet

6. Don't Pass Line

7. Don't Come bet

8. Hardway bet

Although craps requires time and practice, it's easily one of the most enjoyable games to play. Rolling the dice and scoring the desirable number creates much excitement among players. Take your time to understand the basic rules and learn more as you play. Once you master the game, turn your attention to other table games and play among old and new friends. Your casino experience will only get better as you become familiar with each game and eventually use your newfound knowledge to win big!