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(Bank) Craps - how to play
Craps is easily the most difficult game to learn by staff and punters alike - no question. We try here to show the basics of play. The easiest way to pick up the play of this game is to play it.

To Begin With See-through red dice, precision crafted, are rolled on a Craps table by the shooter. Players bet on the outcome of each roll by having the dealers place bets for them on the Craps layout, which is on the table itself. American Craps Layout The shooter is a player with at least a bet on the Pass Line and when their roll is 'over', the dice pass to the shooter's left. That person can become the shooter or decline and pass them along further. If no player wishes to be the shooter then no game can take place. When the shooter rolls and the dice land, the outcome that affects the players is the combined total of the dice, i.e. anything from 2 to 12.

The Crew  This more than any other game depends on the staff that run it. This is because nearly every bet made by the players is placed by passing money to a dealer to place for them on the layout in the correct position. If they are inexperienced then the game will be slow and lack-lustre.

Four people operate a Craps table. The Boxman, two Dealers and the Stickman.
  • Boxman This person oversees the game and sits in the middle at the side of the table, between the two banks of numbers [4, 5, Six, 8, Nine, 10]
  • Dealers One dealer stands behind each bank of numbers and handles all chip movements and bet placements.
  • Stickman A staff member standing in a position opposite to the Boxman. They control the dice by using a long thin wooden stick, curved at the end. The pace of the game is set by the Stickman. Their most important operation is to bring back the dice after each roll and check their integrity and then get them back to the shooter quickly for the next one.

The Object The object is to predict the outcome of a roll of the dice. What is significantly different in this game is the ability to make a bet that lasts for more than one roll, infact some bets by their nature will last for many rolls. There is no clear or accepted way to bet this game, each player has their favourite plan of attack. However, you can be aggresive or passive.

The Play As we said before, this is a complex game. If you approach it by the 'front door' then it all works out quite easily and when you play it, you will pick up the variation bets when you want to. To start it makes sense to bet with the shooter, so place a bet on the Win Line, often called Pass Line, at the same time as they do. Their first roll is the "coming out" roll.

Win Line Your bet sits in the line marked 'Win Line'. You are betting for the shooter to roll an immediate Natural, SEVEN or ELEVEN, and against the shooter rolling an immediate Crap number, TWO, THREE or TWELVE. If its a winning number your bet is paid at even-money and if its a loser your money is taken and you will have to replace it to continue.

When you have a Win Line bet and the shooter rolls a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10, then that number becomes the Point.Dice button A button similar to the one shown with its white 'ON' side showing, is placed on the 'point' number on the layout.

When playing the game simply, this number becomes the focus of your play because when the shooter continues to roll, their object is to roll the 'point' number again. (They are said to have Made it) The very important thing to remember is that if the shooter rolls a SEVEN before rolling the 'point' number, then all bets lose (not quite all as we'll see). If they roll the 'point' number before a Seven, then Win Line bets are paid at even money. The button "comes off" and the shooter starts all over again with another "coming out" roll.

[So the basic game is to establish a point number by rolling a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 and not 'Crapping Out', and then rolling that same number again before a 'Seven Out'. Simple.]

Now that the Point has been made, the game starts in earnest. Many types of bet can be made at this juncture. We'll run through the easy ones and you'll pick the others up when and if you want to..

  • Odds This is a separate bet on the 'point' number, placed behind the Win Line and next to your original Win Line bet. It is much like your Win Line bet in that it gets paid when the shooter rolls the 'point' number, but it gets paid at the true odds of whichever number is the 'point' number. This is one of the more strange aspects of the game for this is the best bet on offer in a casino, it is not advertised and many experienced players do not play it. There is no casino edge on this bet.
  • Come Bet This is identical to the Win Line bet but is made after the Point is made and obeys the same rules as outlined above for the Win Line. If a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 is rolled, then this Come Bet is placed on that number on the layout and acts just like another Win Line bet. Its just like a game within a game. Odds can be taken on this bet once it has moved to the number.
  • Place Bets These are bets on the shooter rolling a specific number of the point number group - 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10. These bets last as long as you want, you can take them down whenever you want. They all lose when the shooter Sevens Out but keep 'On' until that time ( that means they may pay out several times before losing ).
  • Hardway Hardway bets get placed in the boxes in the middle of the table. A 'hardway' is a way of rolling an even number where both die are the same. So Hard Four is 2 and 2. Hard Ten is 5 and 5 and so on. Easy so far. However they get paid at quite high odds because rolling the number the 'easy' way results in the loss of the bet. So a bet on Hard Six wins if the shooter rolls 3-3 but loses when the shooter rolls either 4-2 or 5-1 or any 7 (6-1, 5-2, 4-3).
    • One roll or Proposition Bets
  • Field Bets The layout has a large area marked out for these bets. Money is bet on the next roll (so loses immediately if it doesn't come up) being a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or a 12. Bets are paid at even money except on a 2 which is at 2-1 and on a 12 which is at 3-1.
  • Craps and Eleven Craps numbers are 2, 3 and 12. They can be bet as a one roll proposition as can 11. Odds payouts for these are: any craps at 15-2, 3 at 16-1, 2 or 12 at 33-1 and 11 is paid at 16-1.

[Any combination of these bets can be played simultaneously. Read the section on House Edge to familiarize yourself with all the odds. These bets have big differences in vig. or house edge.]

As with all gambling games, Craps should be treated as fun and a limit must be put on your losses before you start to play. Never exceed this limit by even one unit, one pound or one dollar.

Craps Dictionary

Boxman The staff person in charge of the table
Stickman The dealer opposite the Boxman who uses a stick to control the dice.
The Shooter The player rolling the dice.
Craps A roll of 2 or 3 or 12.
Natural A SEVEN or ELEVEN.
Coming Out The first roll made by the shooter.
Crap Out Rolling a Crap number on the Coming Out roll.
Point The first non-crap or natural number rolled by the shooter is established as the Point. [4,5,6,8,9,10]
Seven Out The first SEVEN rolled after the Point has been established.
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