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How to play Craps

This page will give you an introduction to the game, and show you, basically, how to play craps. But craps is a bit complicated, or can be, so you shouldn't just base your play on this bit of information. We recommend you visit one of the more authoritative web sites on craps. Some of the best craps sites on the Internet include:

Learning how to play craps is really about learning what the process of the game is. You'll notice the dice are passed from player to player when it's their turn to be the 'shooter'. Basically the shooter throws the dice over and over again until the session ends, which is when the player 'sevens out'. Even if you don't know exactly what that means yet, but just keep it in mind.

A game of craps is always in one of two states: the 'on' state, meaning 'the point' has been set, or the 'off's state where the point still needs to be rolled. You can tell which state the game is in by looking along the row of numbered squares (where you place your place bets) and checking for a white circle of plastic with the word ON written on it sitting on any of the numbered boxes. If you can see the white, plastic 'puck', you know the point is set and a session is in progress. The other side of the white puck is black and sometimes has the word OFF written on it. If you see a black puck sitting idle just off of the playing board, you know the point hasn't been set yet and a new game is about to begin. Learning how to play craps means you have to be able to glance at the board, and see what state the game is in.

So what's 'the point'? How do you seven out? What's a session really? I think the easiest way to explain these things is to walk through a typical session. Let's say I'm walking up to the craps table with chips in hand. The player to the right of me has just finished a session so it's my turn to roll. At this time, there is no point set and people are placing their pass line bets. My first roll is called the 'come out roll', since there is no point set. If I roll a 7, an 11, a 2, a 3, or a 12 on the come out roll, the point does not get set. Instead, a 7 or an 11 is an instant win for people playing pass line bets, while a 2, 3, or a 12 (otherwise known as the craps) is an instant loss. When another number is rolled (all that's left are 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10), it becomes 'the point'. A white puck is placed on the number that has just been rolled to avoid any confusion as to what the point is. The session has now begun. Most of the bets on the table revolve around the hopes that 'the point' number will be rolled before the shooter rolls a seven. If the shooter rolls a seven before they roll the point, the session ends. If the shooter manages to hit the point before they roll a seven, then pass line bets win but the session doesn't end and I get to keep rolling. Again, I'm rolling a 'come out roll' to try and determine a point number. What's knows as the session doesn't end until I have to give up the dice and a new player becomes the shooter; that doesn't happen until I 'seven out'. Sevening out means that I have hit a seven before I rolled the point.

Your First Bet
Now it's time to play! Craps sessions start with a 'come out roll', and chances are, for that come out roll you'll start with the most common bet in the game, the pass line bet. The pass line bet has very good odds (among the best in the casino) and is one you'll be repeating many times, so best to get used to it now.

So you've stepped up to the craps table, just learning how to play, and decided to wait a minute or two until the current shooter sevens out and a new session begins. When this happens, pass line bets will be swept away by the dealer and people will begin making new ones. To place your pass line bet, take some chips (at least the table minimum) and stack them neatly right in front of you inside the band of felt with 'PASS LINE' written on it. With this bet down, a new shooter's roll can affect you. On the come out roll, if the shooter rolls a 7 or 11 you win; if they roll a 2, 3, or a 12 you lose. If anything else is rolled, that number becomes the point and your pass line bet can remain where it is, but it doesn't win or lose. Your pass line bet will stay where it is until the shooter sevens out, or you decide to take it down. If you want to take your pass line bet down make sure the stickman hasn't given the shooter the dice yet, or it may be too late to take down your bet.

This, in a nutshell, is how to play craps. You might be confused thinking, aren't there a million other bets on the table? There are a number of other bets yes, but until you're quite aware of the cycle of the pass line bet, it would be a bit foolish to delve into the other available bets. To learn how to play craps and get a sense of all the bets, visit Fat Tony's Craps site.


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