Craps Demystified: A Beginner’s Guide

Craps looks like a complex game with its array of bets and rowdy players yelling out phrases.

In reality, it’s simpler than it appears once you learn the basics.

Here is a guide to demystify craps and make you comfortable playing this exciting casino game as a beginner.

Understand the Table Layout

The craps table has areas for proposition bets in the center along with boxes on the sides and ends for place/buy bets. Don’t let the layout intimidate you.

Focus on learning just a few key bets located in the Pass Line, Don’t Pass, Come, and Don’t Come areas.

Know the Objective

In craps, one player is the “Shooter” who rolls two dice trying to make point numbers while avoiding a 7.

You win by betting with the shooter, or against if you think they’ll “seven out.”

After a point number is hit, those bets stay working toward making the point again before a 7.

Learn the Phases

There are two phases in craps – the Come Out Roll and the Point Roll.

The shooter’s first roll is the Come Out. If they make a 2, 3, 7, 11 or 12, that ends the round.

If they make 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10, that becomes the “point” number.

Now they keep rolling trying to repeat the point before rolling a 7 to win.

Place Simple Bets

Start by only making Pass Line or Don’t Pass bets.

The Pass bet wins if the Come Out Roll is 7, 11 or the point is made.

The Don’t Pass wins if the Come Out is 2, 3 or 12 or if a 7 is rolled before the point.

After getting comfortable, try Come and Don’t Come bets which work just like Pass and Don’t Pass after the point is established.

Understand Odds Bets

Once a point is established, take advantage of odds bets.

An odds bet is placed behind your original Pass or Come bet to “take odds.”

This adds an extra payout if your bet wins. For example, a $10 Pass Line bet pays even money. But a $10 odds bet placed behind it might pay 2:1 or 3:1!

Use Proper Etiquette

Always wait for the shooter to finish rolling before handling chips or moving around the table.

Never reach across or walk in front of an active shooter.

Also, wait for the stickman to return the dice to the shooter before picking them up.

Following proper etiquette makes the game flow smoothly.

Observe Other Players

Watch how dealers pay out winning bets and collect those that lose.

See where other players place their chips and why. Listen to the lingo. This will teach you a great deal about how craps operates aside from just reading about it.

Don’t Fear Jargon

The exclamations yelled out by players may seem nonsensical but have meaning. “Yo” means 11, “Jimmy Hicks” means 6, and a “World Bet” means betting any 7.

Over time you’ll pick up the sayings that give craps its signature vibe.

Review All Bet Types

Eventually branch out to other bets like Place, Buy, Lay, Big 6/8, Hardways and Propositions.

Each has defined areas on the layout. As you build experience, incorporate different bets for variety and new ways to win. Just manage your bankroll wisely.

Practice Online First

Playing online craps for free will help demystify the game quickly.

Test different bets and understand how rounds end without risking real money. Online craps will make you feel comfortable on day one at a live casino.

(Read More: Roulette 101: Understanding the Basics)

Have Patience and Enjoy

Like all new skills, crap takes patience to reach a comfort level. But its fast action and communal atmosphere make learning highly enjoyable.

Soon you’ll love yelling out “Baby needs a new pair of shoes!” right along with experienced players. Demystifying craps opens up an exciting casino experience.

Now that craps make sense conceptually, it loses its aura of complexity.

Maintain discipline, stick to smart bets, and cheer winners like a pro. Craps will quickly become your casino game of choice once you embrace its rules and rhythm. Let the dice roll!

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