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Guide to Craps

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Preface

Introduction

Table of Contents


Preface

This ebook is written in HTML form and can be viewed by calling the file up on your browser, just like any other web page. Since this ebook contains hundreds of internet links, it is best viewed while you are online so that you can take full advantage of the information contained herein. For webTV users and others I have posted an online version: Click here for online version

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2002 Jeff Konrad, All rights reserved.

Enjoy it in good health.
Good luck.


Introduction

Craps is, without a doubt, the most exciting, and potentially profitable game in the casino. Craps can offer the astute player an advantage over the casino that no other game can. Popularized in back alleys and military barracks the modern game of casino craps bears little resemblance to its historical ancestors.

Craps, however, can be a somewhat intimidating game to the beginner. The layout and argot are odd and unfamiliar. The bets are mysterious and the players tend to be loud and boisterous. The intention of this ebook is to explain the layout, interpret the argot, and cut through the mystery and intimidation. The object of this ebook is to get the beginner to the craps table so they can enjoy this stimulating game. Go through every section of this ebook carefully. Hopefully, it will turn craps into an enjoyable and profitable game.


Table of Contents

The Craps Layout The Play
The Basic Bets A Little Probability For Beginners
Craps Money Management Craps Terms


The Craps Layout
DEALER BOXMAN DEALER
STICKMAN

The craps layout is a perplexing maze to the beginner. However, the novice is not required to know the nuances of every bet to participate, have fun, or even make money. Most of the bets on the layout heavily favor the casino and should be avoided by the beginner and experienced player alike.

The two halfs of the layout are mirrored, with the proposition bets in the middle. There are 14 places for players at the craps table, 7 on each side of the stickman. Beginners are well advised to take a position near one of the dealers on each side of the boxman. There, you can ask questions of the dealer without interfering with the flow of the game.

The felt layout sits at the bottom of a bathtub shaped table. The dice are thrown by the players, and must hit the far wall for the throw to be accepted as a legal roll. Not shown in this illustration is the "rail" where players place their chips.

Note the "pass" and "don't pass" boxes that ring the layout. Pass and Don't Pass bets are placed in front of each individual player


The Play

Although it looks complicated, the play at the craps table is really quite simple. The play starts with the "come out roll". You can easily discern when the come out roll occurs. First, look at the black and white "puck" each dealer manipulates on either side of the layout. When the black side is up, the come out roll will occur on the next roll of the dice. In addition the stickman will verbally call the come out roll, usually by saying "dice are moving, coming out" as he passes the dice to the shooter. The shooter is just that, the player whose turn it is to roll the dice. The dice move arount the layout in a clockwise fashion from player to player. A player may decline to shoot, thereby passing the dice to the next player. A player must have a pass line or don't pass bet on the table when it is his turn to shoot to be eligible to shoot the dice. The "come out" roll is made immediately after a "seven out" roll, after a "point" is made, or after a previous "come out" roll resulted in a 2, 3, 7, 11, or 12.

The purpose of the come out roll is to establish either a "point" number or an immediate outcome. Beginners don't have to worry about following the play that closely, just look at the black and white "puck" each dealer manipulates on either side of the layout. When the black side is up, the come out roll is next. In addition the stickman will verbally call the come out roll, usually by saying "dice are moving, coming out" as he passes the dice to the shooter. If there is a new shooter "coming out", the stickman may add "new shooter, coming out".

Once the "point" number is established (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10) the shooter continues to roll until he rolls the point number again or a 7 (seven out). If the point is rolled (made) before the 7, the pass line bettors win. If the 7 is rolled before the point is made, the pass line bettors lose and the don't pass bettors win. If the point is made the shooter remains the same and the come out roll procedure is repeated. If the shooter rolls a 7 (seven out), the bets are reconciled and the dice pass to a new shooter. There are dozens of other bets avaliable but, in essense, that is the game of craps.


The Basic Bets

I highly recommend downloading this free casino simulation game from Sunset Casino. The suite has a craps game that is completely realistic and allows you to play for fun offline, testing various betting approaches. All the betting situations discussed herein can be simulated on the Sunset Casino download.

The unique thing about craps is that it allows the player to bet "with" the dice, as "right" (pass line/come line) bettors, or "against" the dice as wrong (don't pass/don't come) bettors. Most beginners start out as "right" bettors or "pass line" players. They bet "with" the dice or "with" the shooter. There are two reasons for this. First, most of the action is on the right (pass line) side of the dice and people tend to go along with the crowd. Second, betting the pass line is simple to understand and easy to execute.

The "pass line" bet comes into play only on the "come out" roll. This is the first roll a shooter takes and the purpose is to establish a "point" number or an immediate outcome. A player must have a bet on the pass line or the don't pass line to participate as a shooter. It is not necessary to roll the dice and a player can decline to roll (pass the dice) when the dice are passed to him.

The "pass line" bet is made by placing the appropriate amount of chips directly in front of the player before the "come out" roll. You will be able to recognize the "come out" roll in several ways. The "come out" roll is made immediately after a "seven out" roll, after a "point" is made, or after a previous "come out" roll resulted in a 2, 3, 7, 11, or 12. Beginners don't have to worry about following the play that closely, just look at the black and white "puck" each dealer manipulates on either side of the layout. When the black side is up, the come out roll is next. In addition the stickman will verbally call the come out roll, usually by saying "dice are moving, coming out" as he passes the dice to the shooter.

Now it is the shooter's turn. The shooter must always leave the dice in plain view of the casino employees. He must hit the back (far) wall with the dice to achieve a legitimate roll. If the dice roll off the table, or do not reach the far wall, the stickman will call "no roll".

A 7 or 11 on the come out roll instantly rewards pass line bettors with an even money payoff. A 2, 3, or 12 (craps) is a loss for the pass line bettor. Any other outcome (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10) becomes the "point". If the shooter repeats the point number before he rolls a 7, the pass line bettors win their original bet with an even money payoff. If the shooter rolls a 7 before the point number, the pass line bettors lose their original bet. After a point is established, no roll except a 7 (loss) or the "point" number itself (win) affects the original pass line bet. The pass line bet is a "contract" bet and cannot be "taken down" by the player before it is resolved.

Once a point is established the pass line bettors are allowed to increase their bet on the "point" number. This is known as a "free odds" or simply an "odds" bet. The amount allowed varies among casinos as a free odds bet lessens the casino's advantage. The amount allowed can range from 1X the original amount bet on the pass line to 10X the original amount. The "free odds" bets pay off according to the point number as follows:

Free Odds Payoffs
4 and 10 - payoff : 2 to 1
5 and 9 - payoff : 3 to 2
6 and 8 - payoff : 6 to 5

After the come out roll, the right bettors can put money in the "come" box and the bets work exactly the same way. 7 or 11 are instant winners. 2, 3, or 12 are losers. Any other number becomes the "point" for that particular come bet and the bettor can place free odds bets behind his original come bet with the same payoffs as the pass line free odd bets.

Another popular bet the beginner should be aware of is the place bet. This is a bet on the 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 being rolled before a 7. This bet can be made at any time but is customarily "off" or "not working" on the come out roll unless the bettor specifies otherwise by informing the dealer that he wants his bets "working". Place bets pay off according to the following table:

Place Bet Payoffs
4 and 10 - payoff : 9 to 5
5 and 9 - payoff : 7 to 5
6 and 8 - payoff : 7 to 6

Because of the payoffs above, place bets are made in multiples of $5 except for the 6 and 8 when the correct multiple is $6. If you downloaded the Sunset Casino download software, you can start practicing the most common craps bet to see how they work. Open the Sunset Casino and click over to craps. A "unit" in this discussion is a betting unit. It could be $2, $5, $10 or virtually any other like amount. For the purposes of this discussion use $5 units to simulate your real world betting. Try these betting strategies:

Basic Pass Line:

Put 1 unit on the pass line on the come out roll.

This is the most common "right" bet. You win if the 7 or 11 is rolled, lose on a 2, 3, or 12. Player also wins if the "point" is subsequently rolled before a 7.

Basic Pass Line-No Lose Variation:

I like beginners to use this strategy to get used to the game because it seems, to them, like a "no lose" proposition. Put 1 ($5) unit on the pass line on the come out roll and, at the same time, put a dollar on the "any craps".

This strategy eliminates a loss higher than $1 on the come out roll. A 7 or 11 wins $5 and loses $1 for a net win of $4. A craps roll (2, 3, 12) wins $7 and loses the $5 pass line bet for a net win of $2. Any other number gets you a "point" and loses the $1 "any craps" bet. The most you can lose on the come out roll is $1, and you still get a chance to recoup if the point is made. Unfortunately, over time, the player loses overall because the odds on the "any craps" are killing him. But, for the beginner, it is a real painless way to learn how to play craps. If the table is "hot" however, the player will come out ahead.

Pass Line With Single Odds:

Utilize the Basic Pass Line (or No Lose Variation) and place single odds behind your bet once the point is made.

This is a somewhat more aggressive approach, it cuts the casino's edge.

Basic Pass Line With 2X to 10X Odds:

Utilize the Basic Pass Line and increase the odds on the point by 2X to 10X, depending on how aggressive you want to be and the limits imposed by the casino.

A very aggressive pass line strategy. Win big, lose big. Please note, Sunset Casino limits free odds to 3X the original bet. Real casinos likewise place limits on these bets.

Basic Pass Line With Come Bets:

After the pass line point is established, with or without odds, put a unit on the come on the next or even subsequent rolls. Place odds (or not) on these point numbers. Do not establish more than 3 points, including the pass line point. Note that you can use the No Lose Variation to hedge your come line bets just like your pass line bets.

This gives the player two or three points in play, and is a favorite strategy of many right bettors. It also establishes a small hedge against the 7 when the come is in play.

Place 6 and 8:

This is another basic bet and you will see a lot of players riding it. This bet is made, generally, after the come out roll, by placing multiples of $12 on the layout and instructing the dealer thus: "six and eight". If the 6 or 8 are rolled before a 7, you win $7 for every $6 you "placed".

This is a basic "right" bettor play. If the dice are hot, and the 6 and 8 are hitting, you can make money. If the dice are cold, you lose.

Basic Pass Line With Odds and Place 6 and 8:

Use the basic pass line with odds. After the come out roll, place the 6 and 8 unless one of them is the point number. In that case, place the 5.

The object is to have three numbers covered. The point and two other high percentage numbers. This is another betting strategy that works well with hot dice.

There are literally hundreds of other bets and variations to betting strategies. They will be covered in future ebooks. For the rank beginner, these are enough to get started.


A Little Probability For Beginners

The immutable laws of probability govern every game in the casino. Craps is no different. Very briefly, I will introduce two concepts that seem to be at odds, but co-exist in the universe of craps and probability.

First is the concept of an independent event. Every dice roll is an independent event. The chances of any particular outcome of an individual roll can be predicted with complete accuracy:

Outcome % Chance on Each Roll
2 2.77
3 5.55
4 8.33
5 11.11
6 13.88
7 16.66
8 13.88
9 11.11
10 8.33
11 5.55
12 2.77

The number of outcomes in a large number of rolls can also be predicted with a great amount of accuracy. Here is the predicted outcome of 100,000 rolls of a fair pair of dice, rolled fairly:

Outcome % Chance on Each Roll Predicted Outcome for 100,000 rolls (approx)
2 2.77 2,770
3 5.55 5,550
4 8.33 8,330
5 11.11 11,110
6 13.88 13,880
7 16.66 16,660
8 13.88 13,880
9 11.11 11,110
10 8.33 8,330
11 5.55 5,550
12 2.77 2,770

Every craps player should take these lessons from this: 1. Trends or streaks occur all the time at the craps table. They can be extremely profitable if you ride them. However, there is no way of predicting when they will begin or end.

2. If you haven't seen a certain number rolled in a long time, don't think the odds of that number being rolled are greater. If a 7 is rolled five times in a row, the odds of it appearing on the next roll are 1 in 6 (16.77%). This is because every roll is an independent event.


Craps Money Management

Money management is the most important, least understood, and least applied aspect of any gambling strategy. Most people enter a casino with a certain amount of money and gamble until it is gone. That isn't a money management strategy, it is a prescription for disaster. Craps players must have some kind of strategy to manage their bankroll, or it will simply disappear.

This is an extremely simplified money management strategy for a single craps session. It is geared toward the novice craps player. It won't make you rich, but it won't leave you broke either. The numbers quoted are applicable to a $5 minimum table limit.

1. Start with a $200 buy-in.

2. Separate your chips on the rail in front of you into equal $100 groups.

3. Bet from one group only and, if you exhaust that $100 group, LEAVE THE TABLE AND CASH IN YOUR CHIPS.

4. If go up $100, take the original $200 off the table and put it in your pocket. Every time you go over $100 on your rack, put the excess in your pocket. If you exhaust the $100 LEAVE THE TABLE AND CASH IN YOUR CHIPS.

Using this method, you are destined to leave with at least half your session money, if you win, you will leave with at least some of your winnings and your entire original stake.


Craps Terms

Dice games have been traced back over 2500 years of human history. The modern game of craps has evolved its own language that is sometimes hard to understand. You don't have to know all the terms associated with the craps table, but it does help to understand some of them. Here are some common craps terms:

Any Craps - A single roll bet that the next roll will be craps (2, 3, 12).

Any Seven - A single roll bet that the next roll will be a seven.

Back Line - A casino term for the Don't Pass line.

Bar the 12 (or 2) - Casinos bars the 12 or 2 (making either outcome a push) when the player bets the Don't Come/Don't Pass.

Big 6 and Big 8 - A bet that the 6 or the 8 (whichever is bet) will be rolled before a seven.

Bones - Dice

Boxman - This is a casino employee who sits between the two dealers on the inside of the craps table. He oversees the game.

Buy the 4 or the 10 - The player pays a 5% commission so that the payoff on these place numbers becomes 2 to 1.

Change Color - Usually means exchanging smaller denomination chips for larger just before the player leaves the table and cashes out.

Charting the Table - In craps this means observing the play and catagorizing if the table is best for "right" players, "wrong" players or if it is simply "choppy.

Chips - The colored casino tokens used to bet.

Come Bet - A bet made on the "come" section in the middle of the layout that is made on any roll except the come out roll. The rules are the same as a pass line bet on the come out roll.

Come Out Roll - This is the first roll a shooter makes to establish the "point".

Craps - A roll of 2,3, or 12.

Dealer - There are two dealers at a craps table. The stand on either side of the boxman and handle all the bets and payoffs.

Dice - The six sided cubes used in craps. Each side is numbered 1 to 6.

Disk - A round object, the size and shape of a hockey puck, black on one side and white on the other, that is used to inform players when the come out roll is occurring and, what the point is when it is established.

Don't Come Bet - A bet made on any roll but the come out roll with the same rules as the Don't Pass bet.

Don't Pass Bet - A bet on the come out roll "against the dice" This bet loses on a 7 or 11. It pays even money on a craps roll (barring 2 or 12) and will pay off on a subsequent roll if a seven is rolled before the "point".

Easy - A 4, 6, 8, or 10 is rolled but not as a pair.

Field Bet - A one roll bet on the next roll that the number thrown will be a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12.

Floorman - A casino employee who supervises several craps tables.

Free Odds Bet - An additional bet backing a pass/come or a don't pass/don't come wager.

Front Line - Also known as the pass line.

Hardway Bet - A wager that a 4, 6, 8, or 10 will be thrown by way of a pair before either number appears the easy way.

Hedge - Using one bet as insurance for another bet.

Horn bet - A bet that the next roll will be 2, 3, 11, or 12, made in multiples of 4, with one unit on each of the numbers.

Horn High bet - A bet made in multiples of 5 with one unit on 3 of the horn numbers, and two units on the "high" number (number 12). "$5 horn high eleven": $1 each on 2, 3, 12, and $2 on the 11

Hot Shooter - A player who makes a lot of money for right bettors when he is shooting the dice.

Inside Numbers - The inside numbers are 5, 6, 8, 9.

Insurance bet - Two or more wagers made at a crap table in an attempt to insure one or the other.

Lay - A bet against a point number by paying a 5% commission.

Layout - The green felt surface of the craps table. All the bets are laid out on it.

Money Plays - Called aloud by the dealers when player makes cash wager on the table.

Not Working - Bets that are not in play on the next roll.

Off - The term used to denote that certain bets will not be valid on the next roll.

One Roll Bets - Bets that are good for one roll only, for example field bets or any craps bets.

Pass - A winning outcome for pass line bettors. Either a 7 or 11 on the come out roll or the shooter makes the point. Could also mean "to turn down an opportunity to shoot" or "pass the dice" to the next shooter.

Pass-Line Bet - A bet placed on the pass line before the come out roll. It wins if a 7 or 11 is rolled on the come out roll or if the shooter makes the point.

Place Bets - A bet that the number bet (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10) will be rolled before a 7.

Pit Boss - A casino employee who is in charge of a gambling pit or group of tables.

Point - This refers to the numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10. On the come out roll, if any of these numbers are rolled they become the "point",

Proposition (Prop) Bet - Also known as center bets, this is the group of wagers represented in the center of the craps layout.

Puck - See Disk

Rail - Curved area in front of the player that holds chips.

Right Bettor - A bettor who favors the "right" or "pass-line" side. Bets with the dice.

Seven Out - A seven after the come out roll, pass line bets lose.

Shooter - The bettor who is rolling the dice.

Stickman - The casino employee with the stick. He handles the center bets, passes and calls the dice and generally runs the game.

Take Down - To "take down" one's bets is to take them off the table.

Tip - A gratuity given to casino employees. Also known as a toke.

Unit - A betting unit. Your unit could be $1, $2, $5, $10, $100 etc.

Working - Bets that are in play on the next dice roll.

Wrong Bettor - A bettor who favors the "wrong" or "don't pass" side. Bets against the dice.

Yo - A roll of 11.

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All rights reserved. This ebook may be distributed in any way only in its entirety. It may not be distributed if altered or changed in any way. Because we care for the environment, no trees were cut to publish this ebook. However, some electrons were forced to realign themselves.

2002 Jeff Konrad, All rights reserved.