Craps is fastest - and certainly loudest - game in casino. With big, colorful table, chips flying everywhere and players yelling, it's exiting to watch and exciting to play.
Craps also has one of lowest house edges against you of any casino game, but only if you make right bets. In fact, with one type of bet (which you will soon learn) you play even with house, meaning that house has a zero edge. This is only casino game where this is true.
THE TABLE LAYOUT
The craps table is slightly larger than a standard pool table, with a wood railing that goes around outside edge. This railing acts as a backboard for dice to be thrown against and is sponge-lined on inside with random patterns so that dice bounce randomly. Most table rails also have grooves on top where you can place your chips.
The table surface is a tight fitting green felt with designs to indicate all various bets that can be made in craps. It's very confusing for a beginner, but all you really need to concern yourself with right now is "Pass Line" area and "Don't Pass" area. These are only bets you will make in our basic strategy (and for most part only bets worth making, period).
BASIC GAME PLAY
Don't let confusing layout of craps table intimidate you. The basic game itself is very simple. A new game with a new player (the person shooting dice) begins when current player "sevens out", which means he rolls a seven. That ends his turn and a new player is given dice.
The new player makes either a pass line bet or a don't pass bet (explained below) and then throws dice, which is called "comeout roll".
If that first roll is a 7 or 11, this is called "making a pass" and "pass line" betters win and "don't pass" betters lose. If a 2, 3 or 12 are rolled, this is called "craps" and pass line betters lose, while don't pass line betters win. However, don't pass line betters do not win if "craps" number is a 12 in Las Vegas or a 2 in Reno and Tahoe. In this case, bet is push - neither player nor house wins. All pass line and don't pass line bets are paid even money.
Barring one of three "craps" numbers from winning for don't pass line bets is what gives house it's low edge of 1.4 percent on all line bets. The don't pass bettor has a stand-off with house when one of these barred numbers is rolled. Otherwise, don't pass bettor would have a small advantage over house – something that no casino permits!
If a number other than 7, 11, 2, 3, or 12 is rolled on comeout (in other words, a 4,5,6,8,9,10), that number is called a "place" number, or simply a number or a "point". In this case, shooter continues to roll until that place number is rolled again, which is called "making point", at which time pass line betters win and don't pass bettors lose, or a 7 is rolled, which is called "sevening out". In this case, pass line bettors lose and don't pass bettors win. When a player sevens out, his turn is over and whole process begins again with a new player.
Once a shooter rolls a place number (a 188.8.131.52.9.10), many different types of bets can be made on each subsequent roll of dice, until he sevens out and his turn is over. However, they all have odds in favor of house, many of them heavily in favor of house, with exception of two: odds on a line bet, and "come" bets. Of these two, we will only consider odds on a line bet, as "come" bet is a bit more confusing.
You should ignore all other bets, as they carry odds that are too high against you. Yes, this means that all those other players that are throwing chips all over table with each roll of dice and making "field bets" and "hard way" bets are really making sucker bets. They may know all many bets and special lingo, but you will be smarter gambler by simply making line bets and taking odds.
Now let's talk about line bets, taking odds, and how to do it.
To make a line bet, simply place your money on area of table that says "Pass Line", or where it says "Don't Pass". These bets pay even money when they win, although it's not true even odds because of 1.4 percent house edge discussed earlier.
When you bet pass line, it means you are betting that shooter either makes a 7 or 11 on comeout roll, or that he will roll one of place numbers and then roll that number again ("make point") before sevening out (rolling a 7).
When you bet on don't pass line, you are betting that shooter will roll either a 2 or a 3 on comeout roll (or a 3 or 12 if in Reno and Tahoe), or will roll one of place numbers and then seven out before rolling place number again.