Rec.Gambling. Craps FAQ

 Frequently Asked Questions about Craps

This is the rec.gambling.craps Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list.

rec.gambling FAQ index

Page last modified: 2-09-95

Table of Contents

C1 What special terminology is used at the Craps table?
C2 How is Craps played?
C3 What are “Odds?”
C4 What is the house advantage on 10x odds?
C5 What are “Come” and “Don’t Come” bets?
C6 What are all those other bets?
C7 What are the odds for all these bets?

Q:C1 What special terminology is used at the Craps table?
A:C1 (Steve Jacobs, Ken Elliott III, Dave Everett)

Craps Terminology:

any craps
a bet that the next roll will be 2, 3, or 12. This bet pays 7:1 and has a house edge of 11.1%.
3-way craps
a bet made in units of 3 with one unit on 2, one unit on 3, and one unit on 12. This is a horn bet without the bet on 11.
any seven
a bet that the next roll will be 7. This bet pays 4:1 and has a house edge of 16.7%.
big 6
a bet that a 6 will be rolled before a 7 comes up. This bet pays even money, and has a house edge of 9.1%. A place bet on 6 pays 7:6 but is identical otherwise. The place bet is preferred, having a house edge of 1.5%
big 8
a bet that an 8 will be rolled before a 7 comes up. This bet pays even money, and has a house edge of 9.1%. A place bet on 8 pays 7:6 but is identical otherwise. The place bet is preferred, having a house edge of 1.5%
buy bet
giving the house a 5% commission in order to be paid correct odds for a place bet. The buy bets on 4 and 10 allow the player to reduce the house edge from 6.67% to 4% on these bets. Some casinos collect the commission only on winning bets, while others collect it at the time the bet is made.
come bet
A “virtual pass line bet”; a bet made after the come out roll but in other respects exactly like a pass line bet. See question C5 for more details.
come out roll
the first roll of the dice in a betting round is called the “come out” roll. Pass bets win when the come out roll is 7 or 11, while pass bets lose when the come out roll is 2, 3, or 12. Don’t bets lose when the come out roll is 7 or 11, and don’t bets win when the come out roll is 2 or 3. Don’t bets tie when the come out roll is 12 (2 in some casinos; the “bar” roll on the layout indicates which roll is treated as a tie).
dice pass
The dice are said to “pass” when the shooter rolls a 7 or 11 on the come-out roll. The dice “don’t pass” when the shooter rolls a 2, 3, or 12 on the come-out. If the come-out roll is a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, this roll sets the “point”, and the shooter continues to roll until the point is rolled again or a 7 is rolled (see “seven out”). If the shooter rolls the point before rolling a seven, the dice pass. If the shooter sevens out, the dice don’t pass and the shooter loses control of the dice. NOTE: in this context, “pass” does NOT mean that the dice to given to the next player. Control of the dice is transferred only when the shooter “sevens out” or when the shooter has completed a game and no longer wishes to roll the dice.
don’t come bet
A “virtual don’t pass bet”; a bet made after the come out roll but in other respects exactly like a don’t pass bet. See question C5 for more details.
don’t pass bet
a bet that the dice will not pass. This bet can be placed only immediately before a “come out” roll. One result (either the 2 or the 12, depending on the casino) will result in a push. House edge on these bets is 1.40%. A don’t pass bet can be taken down, but not increased, after the come-out roll.
double odds
an odds bet that is about twice as large as the original pass/come bet. Some casinos offer higher odds, such as 5X or even 10X odds.
field bet
a bet that the next roll will be 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12. This bet pays even money for 3, 4, 9, 10, and 11, and usually pays 2:1 for 2 or 12. Some casinos pay 3:1 for either the 2 or 12 (but not both), and some casinos may make the 5 instead of the 9 a field roll.
hard way
a bet on 4, 6, 8, or 10 that wins only if the dice show the same face; e.g., “hard 8” occurs when each die shows a four.
hop bet
a bet that the next roll will result in one particular combination of the dice, such as 2-2 (called a “hopping hardway”) or 3-5. 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, and 5-5 are paid the same as a one-roll 2; other hop bets are paid the same as a one-roll 11.
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; e.g., “$5 horn high eleven”: $1 each on 2, 3, 12, and $2 on the 11.
lay bet
a bet that a particular number (4,5,6,8,9, or 10) will NOT be rolled before a 7 comes up. The casino takes 5% of the winnings on these bets. The 5% commission is usually taken up front, but some casinos take the commission after the bet wins.
lay odds
after a point has been established, the don’t pass bettor can place an additional odds bet that will win if the original don’t pass bet wins. The odds bet is paid at the correct odds for the point, and is a fair bet with no house edge. This also applies to a don’t come bet. Making this bets is referred to “laying the odds” for your don’t bet.
line bet
a bet on the “pass line” or the “don’t pass line” is called a “line” bet. These bets are placed at the beginning of the game, before the “come out” roll. The shooter is required to make a line bet in order to shoot the dice.
odds off
odds bets that are “not working”. Odds bets can be called “off” by the player at any time, but are left on the felt until the bet is resolved. Also, come odds bets are usually “off” during the come out roll, unless the bettor asks to have the odds bets “working”. Come odd bets that are “off” will be returned to the player if the line bet loses on the come out roll. Don’t come odds generally work on the come-out roll.
pass bet
a bet that the dice will pass, also known as a “pass line” bet. This bet is generally placed immediately before a “come out” roll, although you can make or increase this bet at any time. House edge on this bets is 1.41%.
place bet (to win)
a bet that a particular number (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10) will be rolled before a 7 comes up. These bets are paid at slightly less than correct odds, giving the house an edge of 1.52% on 6/8, 4% on 5/9, and 6.67% on 4/10.
place bet (to lose)
a bet that a 7 will be rolled before the number you are placing (4,5,6,8,9, or 10) comes up. The casino requires you to lay slightly more than the correct odds, giving the house an edge of 3.03% on 4/10, 2.5% on 5/9, and 1.82% on 6/8.
point
if a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 is rolled on the come out roll, then this number becomes the “point”. The shooter must roll the point again, before rolling a seven, in order for the dice to “pass”. A “come point” is just the number that is serving as a point for a come bet.
put bet
1. A bet made on the pass line after the come out roll. This is allowed in Las Vegas and at Turning Stone, but not in Atlantic City and not at Foxwoods. This is not recommended, as 45% of your pass line wins are made on the come-out roll. 2. A bet made directly onto a come point number. E.g., “Put $5 and $10 odds on the six.” Not recommended for the same reasons given in 1.
right bettor
a player who bets that the dice will pass.
seven out
when the shooter rolls seven after a point has been established. Control of the dice is transferred to the next shooter. Another term for this is “miss out.” You will sometimes hear players call this something else, but we can’t print those things here. This is often incorrectly called “crap out.”
shooter
the player who is rolling the dice. The shooter must place a “line” bet (“pass” or “don’t pass”) in order to be eligible to roll the dice. Of course, the shooter can place other bets in addition to the required “line” bet. Most shooters (and players) tend to play the “pass” line. Note that shooters who make “don’t pass” bets are not betting against themselves, they are simply betting that the dice will not “pass”.
single odds
an odds bet that is about as large as the original pass/come bet. Some casinos allow “double odds”, or even larger odds bets.
take odds
after a point has been established, the pass/come bettor can place an additional odds bet that will win if the original pass/come bet wins. The odds bet is paid at the correct odds for the point, and is a fair bet with no house edge.
two ways
a phrase appended to a hardway or proposition bet to indicate that the player is betting one chip for the dealers along with his own bet. A $2 bet two ways is $1 for the player and $1 for the dealers; a $6 bet two ways is $5 for the player and $1 for the dealers; a $10 bet two ways is $5 for the player and $5 for the dealers. E.g., “Hard 6, two ways” or “Two-way hard 6.”
working
bets that are “live” (i.e., can be resolved with the next roll) are said to be working. Generally, place bets, buy/lay bets, and come odds bets do not work on the come-out unless you tell the dealers to “make them work.” All other bets (e.g., hardways) work unless you call them “off” (i.e., tell the dealers you do not want them to “work”).
world bet
a bet that the next roll will be 2, 3, 7, 11, or 12, made in multiples of 5, with one unit on each of the numbers.
wrong bettor
a player who bets that the dice will not pass.

Q:C2 How is Craps played?
A:C2 (Dave Decot, Frank Irwin, Alan Mintz, Ken Elliott III, Jeffrey Osier)

Casino craps is played completely against the casino, on a big felt layout set inside a large table with high rails around the side so you can bounce the dice off ’em and still keep ’em on the table. Up to between 12 and 16 people can play at once, depending on the size of the table (obviously). The layout looks something like:

	   Dealer stands         Boxman sits          Dealer stands
	       here                 here                  here
   #######################################################################
  # __  ____________________    $$$$$$$$$$$$$    ____________________  __ #
 # | d||DC| 4| 5| 6| 8| 9|10| +---------------+ | 4| 5| 6| 8| 9|10|DC||d | #
 # |Po||__|__|__|__|__|__|__| |any seven   4-1| |__|__|__|__|__|__|__||oP| #
 # |An| ____________________  +===============+  ____________________ |nA| #
 # |St||     C O M E        | |hard 4 | hard 6| |     C O M E        ||tS| #
 # |Sp||____________________| |-------+-------| |____________________||pS| #
 # |La| ____________________  |hard 10| hard 8|  ____________________ |aL| #
 # |Is||2  3 4  9  10 11  12| +===============+ |2  3 4  9  10 11  12||sI| #
 # |Ns||_______FIELD________| |two    |  three| |_______FIELD________||sN| #
 # |E |_____________________  |-----HORN------|  _____________________| E| #
 # |      don't pass bar 12 | |eleven | twelve| |    don't pass bar 12   | #
 #  \________PASS_LINE______| +===============+ |________PASS_LINE______/  #
 #                            |  any    craps |                            #
  #                           +---------------+                           #
   #                               /dice\                                #
    #####################################################################
                             Stickman stands
                                   here

Each player bets a minimum amount determined by the table.

Each die has six sides, each side with a different number of spots from one to six.

Two such dice are rolled by one player called the “shooter”. The shooter must place a “pass” bet or a “don’t pass” bet in order to be eligible to roll the dice. Exception: the shooter can let his Hot Babe (TM) roll the dice for him if he has a pass or don’t pass bet down.

The total number of spots on the tops of the dice after the shooter has rolled is called the “roll”.

A game consists of a series of rolls.

A roll of 2, 3, or 12 is called “craps”.

The first roll by the shooter during a game is called the “come-out roll”.

If the come-out roll is 7 or 11, the game is over:
Bets on the “Pass line” win 1:1.
Bets on the “Don’t Pass line” lose.
If the come-out roll is craps, the game is over:
Bets on the “Pass line” lose.
Bets on the “Don’t Pass line” win unless:
The “Don’t Pass” line says “Bar ” and the roll is the indicated value, in which case the bet pushes.

Otherwise, the come-out roll becomes the “point”, and a large white marker is placed on the number representing the point (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10).

For each roll in a game subsequent to the come-out roll:
If the roll is the point, the game is over:
Bets on the “Pass line” win 1:1.
Bets on the “Don’t Pass line” lose.
If the roll is 7, the game is over:
Bets on the “Pass line” and lose.
Bets on the “Don’t Pass line” win 1:1.
The turn of the “shooter” is over.
Otherwise, the game continues and the shooter rolls again.

During a game, bets on the Pass line cannot be removed; they can, however, be increased. Bets on the Don’t Pass line may be decreased or removed, but not increased.

When a game is over:

If the game was over on the come-out roll, or because the point was rolled again, the shooter may continue to be the shooter for another game, or pass the dice on to the player just clockwise, who becomes the new shooter.
Otherwise, the shooter must pass the dice on to the player just clockwise, who becomes the new shooter.

Note: The other bets that can be made and resolved are not detailed above for purposes of saving space. A description of when these bets win or lose is given in question C1.


Q:C3 What are “Odds”?
A:C3 (thunk, Ken Elliott III)

Casinos allow a player to place “odds” on pass, don’t pass, come, and don’t come bets after a “point” has been established. If the bet on which odds are placed wins, the odds bet is paid fairly. This means the odds on pass and come bets are paid 2-1 for the 4 and 10, 3-2 for the 5 and 9, and 6-5 for the 6 and 8. The odds for don’t pass and don’t come bets are paid 1-2 for the 4 and 10, 2-3 for the 5 and 9, and 5-6 for the 6 and 8 (this is called “laying” odds).

The player should make odds bets that can be paid exactly, or the dealer will pay off by rounding down. Odds on the pass line and come bets should be a multiple 5 if the point is 6 or 8 and a multiple of 2 if it’s a 5 or 9. (Don’t betters can figure this out themselves.)

Casinos advertise the maximum odds bets they allow as the maximum amount “times” the original bet the odds bet may be (for don’t pass and don’t come bets, it’s the maximum amount “times” the expected win). You can increase your odds bet over this advertised maximum only enough to allow you to make an odds bet that can be paid exactly.

A player can modify his odds bets at any time.


Q:C4 What is the house advantage on 10x odds?
A:C4 (Ken Elliott III, David Escoffery)

The following table lists the house advantage for a pass bet and don’t pass bet with the indicated odds. Remember, the house advantage indicates (mathematically) the percentage of your bet handle that the casino will win in the long run. Be aware, too, that higher odds often means a higher bet handle, which in turn leads to higher “variance;” that is, your bankroll may exhibit greater swings if you’re used to betting $15 a hand ($5 pass bet at double odds) and suddenly start betting $55 a hand ($5 pass bet at 10x odds).

                          HOUSE ADVANTAGE
       odds          pass bet      don't pass bet

        0x           1.4141%           1.4026%
        1x           0.8485%           0.8320%
        2x           0.6061%           0.5915%
        3x           0.4714%           0.4588%
        4x           0.3857%           0.3747%
        5x           0.3263%           0.3167%
        6x           0.2828%           0.2743%
        7x           0.2496%           0.2418%
        8x           0.2233%           0.2163%
        9x           0.2020%           0.1956%
       10x           0.1845%           0.1785%

Q:C5 What are “Come” and “Don’t Come” bets?
A:C5 (Dave Decot, Frank Irwin, Alan Mintz, Ken Elliott III)

Other bets can be made during the game after the come-out roll by anyone, called “Come” and “Don’t Come” bets. These are made by placing the bet on the “Come” box or the “Don’t Come” box; these bets are regarded as Pass (Don’t Pass) bets, but as if the very next roll of the dice were the “come-out” roll of a new game. For example, if a come bet is made and if the next roll is 7 or 11, the Come bet wins immediately; if the next roll is 2, 3, or 12, the Come bet loses immediately; otherwise, the number rolled is the point for that Come bet (called a come point). Such a Come bet is moved onto the area of the table where its point appears, awaiting a roll of either its point or seven. The game for a Come bet always continues until this happens, even though the shooter rolls the point for the Pass line, even though the shooter begins a new game for the Pass line, even though another shooter begins rolling, as long as the termination conditions for that Come bet have not yet occurred.

Note that rolling a seven always terminates all Pass, Come, Don’t Pass, and Don’t Come games on the table; since it results in immediate win or loss.

The payoffs for Come and Don’t Come bets are the same as for Pass and Don’t pass bets.

It is possible to place odds bets on the points of your own Come and Don’t Come bets by handing the bet to a dealer and stating that you want “odds on my “. Unless you specify otherwise, odds bets on Come are declared “not working” on a come out roll after a point is made. However, odds on Don’t Come bets are usually working by default.


Q:C6 What are all those other bets?
A:C6 (Dave Decot, Frank Irwin, Ken Elliott III)

Other bets are possible:

Place bets (to win):
Bets that an indicated number will be rolled before 7 is rolled (come-out rolls are ignored for the purpose of determining this, unless otherwise specified by the player making the bet).
Place bets (to lose):
Bets that a 7 will be rolled before the indicated number is rolled (come-out rolls are ignored for the purpose of determining this, unless otherwise specified by the player making the bet).
One roll bets:
Bets that a certain roll, or a certain pair of dice faces, or one of several rolls, will appear on the next roll of the dice. Such bets may be made before any roll. These all pay higher than 1:1, This includes “Any craps”, “eleven”, “seven”, “Horn”, and “field” bets.
Field:
A special case of one-roll bet. This pays 1-1 whenever 3, 4, 9, 10, or 11 is rolled, and possibly higher amounts when 2 or 12 is rolled.
Hardways:
Bets that a certain pair of dice faces will appear before 7 is rolled, and before any other pair of dice faces with the same total value are rolled. For example, a bet on “hard 4 (2 and 2)” loses when (1 and 3) is rolled, because this is an “easy way” to roll 4. A bet on “hard anything” loses when 7 is rolled.
Hopping hardways:
Bets that a certain pair of identical dice faces will appear on the next roll. These all pay 30:1 (or sometimes higher or lower).
Horn bets:
Basically, just betting on the 2,3,11, and 12 at once. This requires 4 units, since you are really making 4 bets.

Q:C7 What are the odds for all these bets?
A:C7 ([“Winning Casino Craps” by Edwin Silberstang], Ken Elliott III)

Note that some casinos offer different payouts for prop bets, lower (promotional) commission on buy/lay bets, and collection of buy/lay bet vigorish only on winning bets, all of which change the “Casino Advantage” listed below. The numbers below represent those most commonly seen in Las Vegas.

  Bet                         Casino Payoff                  Casino Advantage

  Pass-Line                        1:1                             1.41%
     With Single Odds              1:1 + odds                      0.8
     With Double Odds              1:1 + odds                      0.6

  Come                             1:1                             1.41%
     With Single Odds              1:1 + odds                      0.8
     With Double Odds              1:1 + odds                      0.6

  Don't Pass                       1:1                             1.40%
     With Single Odds              1:1 + odds                      0.8
     With Double Odds              1:1 + odds                      0.6

  Don't Come                       1:1                             1.40%
     With Single Odds              1:1 + odds                      0.8
     With Double Odds              1:1 + odds                      0.6

  Place Numbers (to win)
     4 or 10                       9:5                             6.67%
     4 or 10 (bought)              2:1 (-5% commission)            4.76
     5 or 9                        7:5                             4.0
     6 or 8                        7:6                             1.52

  Place Numbers (to lose)
     4 or 10                       5:11                            3.03%
     4 or 10 (laid)                1:2 (-5% commission)            2.44
     5 or 9                        5:8                             2.5
     6 or 8                        4:5                             1.82

  Big 6 and Big 8                  1:1                             9.09%

  Field
     With 2 and 12 paying 2:1      1:1 except 2 & 12               5.55%
     With 2 pay 3:1, 12 pay 2:1    1:1 except 2 & 12               2.77%
     With 2 pay 2:1, 12 pay 3:1    1:1 except 2 & 12               2.77%

In practically all casinos, odds on proposition bets are quoted as “x for y”, which means that the casino takes your winning “x” bet and pays you “y”, in contrast to what is done for other winning bets (e.g., if the “Any 7” bet is “5 for 1”, when making a $1 bet and winning the casino will take your $1 and give you $5, for a “real” payoff of “4 *to* 1”). The numbers below are quoted as “x:y”, not “x for y”.

                              Proposition Bets
  Bet             True Odds            Casino Payoff         Casino Advantage

  Any 7              5:1                   4:1                      16.67%
  Any Craps          8:1                   7:1                      11.1
  2 or 12           35:1                  30:1                      13.89
                                          29:1                      16.67
  3 or 11           17:1                  15:1                      11.1
                                          14:1                      16.67

  Hardways
     4 or 10         8:1                   7:1                      11.1%
     6 or 8         10:1                   9:1                       9.09
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