Throughout history, each culture has had its dice games. In most cases, these games centred around a group of players throwing marked stones or bones. It is also where the phrase "casting lots" comes into play, as people would use these games to settle disputes and determine who would hunt or stand guard for the evening.
There is, however, some debate about whether the modern online craps games we play today originated in ancient Rome or Britain. Roman legionnaires used their shields as gaming tables where they would throw dice made from shaved animal bones. The shapes and patterns on the shield demarcated betting options, much like the bet boxes we have on a craps table today.
Others claim that the English crusader William of Tyre invented craps. During the Crusades, the soldiers began playing an Arabic dice game called Al Dar. During this time, the knight converted Al Dar into a more palatable game for English gamblers named Hazard.
Regardless of its origins, the dice game we play today can thank the French for its name. The word ‘craps’ is derived from the French ‘crapaud’, which means frog. Since early gamblers played the dice game on the street, they would hunker down on their haunches, looking like frogs.
As with many of the casino games that became popular in the United States, craps was brought to the Americas by a wealthy French politician, Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville. It would, however, be John Winn who would become known as “The Father of Modern Craps” thanks to his efforts in defining the game’s rules and manufacturing the dice needed to play it.
Our craps glossary lists some of the best terms for learning the popular dice game. Not only will you gain a deeper understanding of how the game works, but you also sound like an experienced player in the process.
- Any Craps: Betting the following number to be rolled will be 2,3, or 12.
- Back Line: A slang term for the Don’t Pass bet line.
- Big Red: It is unlucky to say the number 7 at a craps table, so players say 'Big Red' instead.
- Bones: A slang term for dice
- Box Car: When the shooter rolls a 12.
- Box Numbers: The term refers to the place bet numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10.
- Come Bet: The bet you make after the point is established.
- Don’t Pass Bet: Betting the shooter will not hit the point number.
- Hard Way: Rolling a number with matching numbers (4=2,2, 6=3,3 etc.).
- Inside Numbers: Betting that the shooter will roll 5, 6, 8, or 9
- Lay Bet: Betting the shooter will roll a 7 before they roll the point.
- Natural: When the shooter rolls 7 or 11 on the Come Out roll for an instant win.
- Point: The number the shooter rolls as their Come Out roll.
- Puck On: When the point is established, the numbers are marked on the table with a puck.
- Right Bettor: Players who bet on the shooter.
- Seven Out: When the shooter rolls a 7 before they hit the point.
- Snake Eyes: When the shooter rolls two 1s.
- Shooter: The player who is currently rolling the dice.
- Wrong Bettor: Player at the table who bet against the shooter.
- Yo: The slang term for when the shooter rolls an 11.
Craps is a game that few new online gamblers are drawn to due to the belief that its rules are complex. While its playstyle is particular, once you've played a few rounds, you will find it to be an incredibly intuitive casino game.
Here are the basic rules to get you started:
Setting the Stage
Each game of online craps is played using the same basic setup. There is a table with the layout printed on it. This layout describes the various betting options available to the players. In addition to the table, there will be two six-sided dice.
When you play live dealer craps, there will also be a dealer who manages the entire game. Interestingly, people are set at the table for specific functions in a land-based casino. These include the Stickman, who pushes the dice and the Boxman, who handles the chips and exchanges them for cash.
Place Your Opening Bet
Before any dice are rolled, you place one of two bets. A Pass Line bet if you think the dice will roll a 7 or 11, or a Don't Pass Bar bet where you’re hoping to land a 2, 3, or 12. These bets stay on the board until either a 7 is eventually rolled or the shooter makes the point.
Establish the Point
The next step is for the shooter to roll the dice to establish the point. If the shooter rolls 7, 11, then the Pass Line bets win, and if they roll 2, 3, 12, then any Don't Pass bets win. Any other number the shooter rolls (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10) then becomes the point.
Open Betting Round
Once the point has been established, you can bet on any remaining options shown on the table. These include Big 6 & 8, the Field (3, 4, 9, 10, 11), Come and Don't Come, The Place boxes (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10) and Center bets (predetermined dice combinations such as 1-2, 3-3, 5-5, and 6-5).
Shoot to Win
Once all the additional bets have been placed, the shooter will continue to roll the dice. To win the round, the shooter must hit the point number before rolling a 7. Wrong bettors are players who have bet against the shooter and hope the shooter fails, which means they will win. All outstanding Pass Line and Don't Pass Bar bets are paid at the end of this round.
Thanks to the low-house edge of craps games, there is a good chance that you can limit losses by following a few simple strategies. Here are some handy tips to get you started.
- Learn the game by playing demo craps: Free-to-play craps tables offer new players the best way to gain hands-on experience while testing various betting strategies without blowing their bankroll. This experience also allows you to play the odds and not chase the bets you “feel” are lucky.
- Always place bets that lower the house advantage: Craps is a game that is best approached with a long-term mindset. Limiting losses and not chasing big wins is the best way to optimise your overall winnings. By placing bets that favour the player, you put yourself in a position to win more than you lose.
- Check the craps table bet limits: We recommend playing at tables that will allow you to maximise the playtime of your budget. Choosing a high-limit table will burn your bankroll in a few hands. Instead, place smaller bets and play for longer.
- Avoid crapless craps as a beginner: The base house advantage for this variant of craps is 5.4%. This advantage then escalates depending on the bets you place. Compared to bank craps, with its low-end advantage of 1.40% playing crapless craps as a new player is not recommended.
- Have fun or walk away: While craps games are played for real money, they need to be seen as entertainment, not income. If you find yourself playing to recoup losses, not because you’re having fun, it is time to close the casino and take a break.
With the combination of bet selections and the wildly random outcome of dice rolls, very little can be done to guarantee a win. However, like with any casino game, some odds and probabilities can be used to optimise your chances of getting lucky.
Play Low House Advantage Craps
The traditional craps game, also known as bank craps, offers the lowest house edge of all craps games. We recommend taking the time to familiarise yourself with the various types of craps available to you and starting your journey with the versions that offer you the best chance of winning.
Study the Table Layout
Knowing the table layout is essential to your success as an online craps player. Understanding which betting options offer the best odds and have the highest probability of landing based on the point and other factors will allow you to limit losses and increase profits over time.
Always Place Low Edge Bets
There are some big and enticing bet boxes on a craps table. These are there to draw your eye intentionally, but they often do not offer good odds. Big 6/8 bets give the house an edge of 9.1%, while some of the Center bets top out at 16.7%! We recommend sticking with Pass and Don’t Pass bets which have a maximum house edge of 1.41%.
Learn the Rules for Free
One of the best ways to gain practical craps experience is to take your newly acquired knowledge and playtest it on free play craps tables. Demo games allow you the freedom to try different bet settings and calculate your wins and losses, all without risking your own money in the process.
Walk Away from Cold Tables
A cold table is when a craps game is not seeing many winners. We recommend closing the casino and taking a break at this point. Staying online and chasing your losses can become problematic, especially if you begin spending more than you budgeted.
Claim Craps Bonuses and Promotions
When the time comes to play online craps for real money, claiming a bonus from your favourite online casino is a great way to boost your bankroll. These extra credits will allow you more time to play and grow your cash game experience.
Craps Games Types
Craps is a casino game played with two dice. The game's object is to roll a point (or target) number with the dice. The shooter tries to re-roll that point value before a seven is rolled. Players at the table can bet on the shooter or the house.
Live Dealer Craps
Playing at a live dealer craps table allows you to enjoy all the entertainment and excitement of traditional craps but with the benefit of having a professional croupier managing the table. This casino game version also allows you to chat with other players at the table.
This easy-to-learn version of craps eliminates the need to roll a point number. Instead, there are predetermined winning and losing numbers. Coincidentally, the losing numbers are 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. These numbers are most likely rolled when two dice are used.
This craps version is growing in popularity for its action-packed gameplay. The main differences are that there is no "don't pass" bet, an 11 on a pass bet is not a guaranteed win, and the House edge is five times higher than on traditional craps.
Street Craps is a variant of the table game which is played without a Bank covering the bets. In this version, players cover each other's bets, an action called "fading". If the shooter wins, they get all the money. If the shooter loses, the pot is shared by those who faded their bet.
New York Craps
This craps variant is popular in the Eastern part of the United States, hence the name. The game is played at a unique double-ended table allowing for two dealers at once. Players bet on set number boxes, and there are no Come and Don’t Come bets giving the house a higher edge.
Die Rich Craps
Die Rich craps turn the traditional dice game on its head with instant win and loss numbers. Rolling a 6 is a winner and rolling a 1 craps out. Rolling 2-5 sets the point, which the shooter has three chances to hit before the game is over.
High Point Craps
As its name indicates, High Point craps reward any shooter who rolls an 11 or 12 with an instant win, while it ignores rolls of 2 or 3. As usual, any value becomes the point the shooter must hit before rolling a 7. The house edge is 2.35% for this version.
FAQAre online craps games rigged?
When you play craps online at any of our recommended licensed casinos, the outcome is dictated by a random number generator (RNG). Each dice roll is random, giving you a fair chance of winning.How do you play online craps?
You can learn to play online craps by using the information on this page about the rules of craps, in-game strategies, and insights into the probabilities of landing key numbers.How do you win at virtual craps?
Craps offers the house a meagre advantage but does not have a strategy for winning each game. We recommend learning the odds of various outcomes and targeting those when playing to improve your chances of a positive outcome.Can you bet the pass line after the Come Out Roll?
No new bets can be placed on the pass line once the shooter has set the point on the Come Out roll.What is the best bet to make in craps?
The best bet in craps offers the house the lowest advantage. In traditional craps, this is the Don't Pass/Don't Come bet, which has an edge of only 1.36%.Is it legal to play craps online?
Craps is a legal casino game offered by licensed and regulated online casinos. To confirm if it is legal for you to gamble online, we recommend checking with your local gambling authority.Can I play craps on my iPhone or iPad?
Yes, the online casinos we recommend offer craps on all leading Apple, Android, and Windows mobile devices.What is the best strategy for craps online?
Given the random nature of dice rolls, the best strategy for playing craps is to focus on the game variants and bets that give the house the lowest edge. For the most part, this means playing basic craps and focusing on Don’t Pass and Don’t Come bets.Can I win real money playing online craps?
Yes. The casinos we recommend offer real money craps games for mobile and pc.What is the house edge in bank craps?
Despite its seemingly complex rules and table layout, online craps is a low-advantage casino game. The house edge is generally 1.40% on Pass and Come bets, while it is a maximum of 1.41% on Don’t Come bets.