If you want to learn to play craps, you should start by learning how the craps table works.
- Craps Table Dimensions In Inches
- How Many People Can Run A Craps Table
- How Many People Can Run A Craps Table Payouts
- Used Craps Tables
It might seem intimidating at first, but it’s less complicated than you think.
And smarts craps players ignore most of the table, anyway.
Many of the phrases used at the craps tables are used in day-to-day life. The phrase ‘on a roll’ is frequently used to describe a good run of events. With legal online casinos appearing in an increasing number of states, you can also enjoy real money craps online. This gives you an opportunity to learn the rounds and multiple bets at home. The traditional material of a craps table layout is felt, but many new tables have several types of synthetic fibers substituting for the felt. Casinos have put in these fibers for three reasons; they last longer, they can be more colorful, and more creative designs can be made on them.
- For example, craps tables in Nevada will only be allowed to have six players at a time, which probably means that casino floors will be a lot quieter.
- Seven is the most loved and feared number on a craps table. There are more statistical possibilites of seven being rolled than any other number. From Quiz: Basics of Casino Craps (click to play it).
This post explains in detail for beginners what they need to know about placing bets on the craps table.
The Basics of the Craps Table
In casinos, craps is played at a table, usually one covered in green felt. The bets available are labeled on the felt. The table is also the playing surface for the game – you roll the dice on the same table where you place your bets.
Most of the best US casinos use a long table for craps – it’s 12 feet long, but it’s kind of rectangular. You’ll find smaller craps tables sometimes, but most casinos use the 12 feet long table because it accommodates more players – up to 16 people can play craps comfortably at a 12 feet long table.
The rail around the table is padded because a lot of people get tired of standing and want something to lean on. Craps isn’t like blackjack; you don’t sit on a stool at the craps table.
Each player has a rack where he can put his chips while he plays. That’s located next to the padded railing.
The green felt is considered the bed of the craps table, and it has (almost) all the bets available stenciled on it.
Also, the craps table isn’t really a flat table – it’s more like a big, rectangular bowl. This prevents the dice from rolling onto the ground. The walls inside the table are padded with rubber pyramids, which serve to further randomize the rolls of the dice.
If you’re the shooter, you’re required to roll the dice all the way to the pyramids on the other side of the table.
How the Bets Are Laid Out on a Craps Table
If you’ve never played before, you’ll think craps is too complicated because of all the different bets available on the layout.
But it’s easier than you think.
You can think of the table as having a side section and a center section. (Really, there are 2 side sections – one on either end of the craps table. They’re identical, though.)
You’ll see blocks with numbers and words in them in each section. Those are the bets you can place.
You should avoid the bets in the center section, which are the bets that the stickman will encourage you to make. I’ll explain the center section later, but for now, I want to focus on the section where you’ll be making the most bets if you’re a smart player.
The self-service bets – the bets you’re allowed to place for yourself – include the following bets:
- Don’t Pass
- Don’t Come
- Big 6
- Big 8
These are the most basic bets in craps, and they have the lowest house edge – although Big 6 and Big 8 are the worst in this batch. (On some tables, those aren’t even in the self-service area at all.)
When one of these bets wins, the dealer puts your winnings on the table next to your bet. If you leave that money on the table, it goes back into action.
The other area in the side section is the dealer’s area. Here, you need to get the dealer to place your bet for you. This area includes the point boxes:
You’ll notice that I spelled out 6 and 9. That’s how they’ll appear on the table so that players don’t get confused about which is which.
When a shooter sets a point, the dealer puts a puck in the appropriate box to signify the point for that game. These spots serve a 2nd purpose, too – you can ask the dealer to place Buy, Lay, and Place bets for you in those spots.
Come and Don’t Come are still self-service bets, but the odds bet for those must be handled by the dealer. The dealer uses the chips you bet on Come or Don’t Come to mark the number in those numbered boxes, and they put the odds bet next to the appropriate number, too.
The Center Section Is for Prop Bets, Which You Should NEVER Make
You’ll notice that the stickman, who’s running the center section of the craps table, acts like a carnival barker or one of those loud pitchmen you sometimes run into at a flea market. That’s because his job is to sell the worst bets on the craps table to the players.
The reason these are the worst bets on the table is because the house edge for ALL these bets is insanely high.
The house edge is a statistically expected loss that you’ll see over the long run with a specific kind of bet.
The pass line bet has a house edge of 1.41%, which is relatively low for a casino game. In fact, it’s one of the best bets in the casino.
But the house edge on the bets in the center of the table is 9% or higher.
Nonetheless, here you can place bets in this section if you want to.
To do so, you toss your chips to the center of the table to the stickman and announce what bet you want to place. Try to use some skill and deftness when you do this – you don’t want to knock someone else’s chips over, for example.
When you win one of these proposition bets, the chips are paid directly to you rather than just being placed on the table next to your original bet.
Examples of Proposition Bets and Their House Edge
The hard way bets are bets on totals like 4, 6, 8, or 10.
But they only pay off if the shooter rolls that total “the hard way.”
This means that a total of 4 must be a pair of deuces, a 6 must be a roll with of both 3s, an 8 must consist of a couple of 4s, and a 10 must be made up of 5s.
The payout for a hard 6 or hard 8 is 9 to 1, and the payout for a hard 4 or 10 is 7 to 1.
The house edge for the hard 6 or hard 8 bet is 9.09%.
The house edge for the hard 4 or hard 10 bet is 11.11%.
I often suggest that many gambling writers make too much of a fuss about the house edge on casino games, but this is one instance where it’s a big deal.
You’re looking at a statistical advantage for the casino that’s 10 times as great on one bet over the other bet.
You should pay attention to that, for sure.
Just skip the proposition bets.
You’ll have just as much fun at the craps table, you’ll probably stay in action longer, and you’ll have a better chance of going home from the craps table a winner.
How to Get Used to the Craps Layout
The best way to get used to the game of craps is to play at an online casino, like those recommended on this site. All the casinos listed here offer free-to-play versions of their casino games. You play for “play-money” chips.
The big advantage of doing this is that you’re not risking any real money when you’re playing these free craps games.
It’s much better to learn without risking money if you can.
You need to know how the craps table and its layout work if you want to stand a chance at winning when shooting dice.
The best way to do that is to practice on a free game after reading through this quick tutorial.
The most important advice I offer in this post, though, is to stay away from those bets in the middle of the table. The house edge is just too high on those.
Craps is the most charming game of chance ever devised. It features a large array of wagers and several phases, which gives players freedom of choice. You can get decent winnings by using one or two basic bets or make things interesting by utilizing a Craps system.
In essence, these strategies are a series of stakes that you make throughout a round. In this article, we will highlight the most popular systems, discuss their strong and weak sides, and give recommendations based on your budget and risk tolerance. Once you find the right approach, you can test it by visiting one of the casinos we recommend.
The Truth about Craps Systems
Many people and “experts” will brag about “perfect” strategies that will “win you money every time.” The cold hard truth is that Craps is a gambling game. The casino will always have an advantage, which means that there’s no such thing as an unbeatable Craps system.
The risk of losing is omnipresent, so it’s best to look at the dice-rolling classic as a form of entertainment. We know it’s cheesy, but betting within your means and knowing when to stop is absolutely essential.
Best Online Craps Casinos
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Still, what systems can do is manipulate the exposure levels. Some combine several bets to reduce your potential losses and give you a good chance of winning. Others are high-risk and require a larger bankroll but can pay off huge if you can get a streak going.
Thus, to find the best Craps system for your needs, you’ll want to establish how much you can spend on one session and how much risk you can withstand. Knowledge of the bets is also a must. If you need to brush up on the basics, we’ve explained all the wagers on our home page. Now let’s check out the systems!
Craps Table Dimensions In Inches
Craps System: Iron Cross Variation
|Difficulty : Advanced||Recommended Budget : $420 – $540||Risk Level : Medium|
This is perhaps the most popular strategy for the game of Craps. It’s called “Iron Cross” because when you place all the required chips on the table, their shape resembles that of a cross. Badger 5 numbers. You’re going to need $42-$54 per shooter, so a session of 10 rounds will require a bankroll of $420-$540.
It’s not the cheapest Craps betting system, so you might want to continue browsing if you’re new or on a tighter budget. Several variations exist, but here, we’ll take a look at one that uses the pass line bet and odds wagers. Here’s what you need to do:
On the come-out roll, put down $5 on the pass line.
Once a point is established, place:
a. $10 in odds bets (you can also max out the limits if you wish)
b. $5 on the field bet
c. $10 place bet on 5, and $12 on the 6 and 8 each.
Let it roll! Don’t forget to load up your positions when bets are resolved.
Note: What’s nice about this Craps betting system is that you can save money in certain scenarios. If the point is on 5, 6, or 8, you can skip doing a place wager on that number. It’s also possible to withdraw your stake on the point number in the following rounds.
The Pros: With Iron Cross, you will win money on every roll that is not a 7. It also utilizes the wagers with the highest RTP in Craps, including odds bets, which have a 0% house edge.
The Cons: You’ll lose every stake on the table once a 7 appears. As you might know, the 7 is the most common dice combination, as there are six ways to roll it. A Craps system that works like that can demolish your bankroll on an unlucky streak.
The Hammerlock Craps System
|Difficulty : Advanced||Recommended Budget : $300 – $600||Risk Level : Medium|
This one was made famous by Martin J Silverthorne in his book “Hammerlock Craps!” It promises “profit under any circumstances at the Craps table.”
That’s a bold claim, and it’s simply not true. You can’t beat the house over the long run, but if you’re lucky, like with all other decent strategies, it can help you make some wins. You’re going to need between $300 and $600 at the lowest betting tier, but the bankroll can be adjusted for high rollers.
Let’s see how the Hammerlock Craps system works:
Before the come-out roll, start with $5 bets on the pass and don’t pass. A point needs to be established, so replace the starting two wagers if needed. Silverthorne says that this type of hedging protects you on the come-out roll. That’s fine and dandy, but the protection is gone on a roll of 12, as 12 is a tie on don’t pass and a loss on pass.
After a point is set, it says to lay $30 odds (do an odds bet on don’t pass). This is where another problem with the Hammerlock Craps system occurs. Most tables won’t allow a $30 odds bet unless the point is a 6 or 8, and there are harsher limitations on other games. You can find land-based casinos that have looser restrictions, but you’ll have to do research. You can still max out the odds bets on restrictive titles but know that your losses won’t be covered entirely in the event of a 7.
At the same time, do two $12 place bets on the 6 and 8. Wait until you win once on the 6 or 8, take the other place bet down, and substitute it with an “inside 22.” Craps system reviews will tell out that inside 22 consists of four place bets – $5 on the 5 and 9, and $6 on the 6 and 8.
If one of the inside 22 bets wins, take down the remaining place bets, so only your pass + don’t pass + lay odds remain. Here, you’re hoping for a 7. Still, if the point number rolls before it, you’re going to be at a loss.
The Pros: In case you find a suitable table and the dice rolls in your favor, you can win good money.
The Cons: While we did a simplified version of the system (the book has progressive/regressive betting levels), the house edge isn’t negated at any point. Hammerlock is not a 100% winning Craps system, nor one that will make you a profit in the long run.
A Strategy for Low Rollers
|Difficulty : Beginner||Recommended Budget : $120||Risk Level : Low|
Strategies involve the placement of multiple bets, which means that you’ll often need a larger bankroll to support them. This system is great for those on tighter budgets because you’ll only risk $12 per round, meaning that you need $120 at most for 10 shooters.
It’s also a relatively low-risk approach, which is great if you’re price-conscious. Follow these steps to pull it off:
Start by placing $5 on the pass line and $5 on the field bet before the come-out roll. If you can find a table that pays triple on the 12 or 2, this Craps system will work even better.
a. perfect scenario would be for a 4 or 9 to roll. That way, you can use the field bet winnings and another $2 to cover two $6 place bets on the 6 and 8 as a follow-up.
b. If a 2 or 12 appears, your total payout is $5. On an 11, you take home $10. Again, you can use the winnings for the 6 & 8 place bets.
c. If a 3 or 7 appears, it’s a push. You won’t lose or win anything, so keep going.
d. The chink in the armor of this and similar Craps systems is that you’re going to lose $5 if 5, 6, or 8 become the point. Here, you can stop further wagering, hoping to recoup your losses on the pass line and start from step 1 on the next come-out roll. The alternative is to use the remaining $2 set aside for the round and take a long shot by staking them on the two proposition bets that pay 10:1 (hard 6 and hard 8). If you get a hit from the propositions, use $6 to cover the corresponding place bet and collect the rest.
Rinse and repeat! The nice thing about this Craps betting system is that you have the freedom to do whatever you please if you’re in the green zone. You can use the funds to take odds on the pass line, double up on the place stakes, and so on.
The Pros : Relatively low bankroll requirements and risk exposure.
The Cons : If 5, 6, or 8 appear often on the come-out roll, the chances are that you won’t have a good time. Still, you have enough time to cut your losses and try another day.
The Knockout Craps System
|Difficulty : Beginner||Recommended Budget : $250||Risk Level : Low|
Ah, yes. Another sensationalist strategy that is marketed as a way to get rich. The official site for the Knockout Craps system claims that you can “make $5,000 in a day” and “turn $60 into $2,252 in an hour.” Don’t fall for this type of scheme! The house has an advantage in every Craps bet, so making multiple ones doesn’t magically negate or remove it. Sure, odds bets are paid fairly, but they are attached to wagers with a house edge, so it doesn’t matter.
How Many People Can Run A Craps Table
Besides, this approach is just a re-branded version of “Doey-Don’t.” On a $5 table, you’re going to need $250 for 10 shooters. Let’s see where the “magic” happens:
Place two $5 stakes on pass and don’t pass. With the Knockout Craps system, the only way you’ll lose is if a 12 appears, which happens once on 36 rolls on average.
Follow it up by maxing out with odds bets behind the pass once a point is established.
That’s basically it. The book adds progression/regression betting, 5-count elements, and a bunch of smoke and mirrors to make it sound like it works.
The Pros : It’s a way to win small amounts frequently.
The Cons: When you lose, it’s going to be grand. It’s likely that all the winnings you made will evaporate, and you’ll go in the red zone. Sadly, with the Knockout Craps system, your bankroll will be on the receiving end of the K.O.
“The Best” Craps System
|Difficulty : Beginner||Recommended Budget : $500||Risk Level : High|
How Many People Can Run A Craps Table Payouts
Are you an aggressive player with a big budget? Then this approach might suit your style. It was introduced by Sam Grafstein, an esteemed Craps player known as “The Dice Doctor”. Interestingly, it involves the utilization of the field bet, which has a larger house edge than what we would consider as optimal. For this reason, it’s essential that you locate a table where the 2 or 12 pay triple on the field. That way, the RTP goes from 94.4% to 97.2%, which is almost identical to that of European Roulette.
A Craps system that works quickly without being too complicated is always a plus. This one will win or lose big quite fast, so at least you won’t be playing for hours. It also involves both progression and regression elements. Here’s how it goes:
You only need to focus on the field bet. Begin by placing $10 there on the come-out roll. Remember, you need a “pays triple” sign on the 2 or 12.
If you win, double up with your payout (bet $20). If you win again, take your chips and leave $15 on the field. On the following win, you double up again, and on a fourth lucky roll, your wager becomes $25.
This winning Craps system relies on the good streak we outlined above. Remember this progression $10 > double > $15 > double > $25 > double > $35 > double > $50 > double > $75 > double etc.
So, what happens if the streak is broken? Return to the original $10 bet and start again.
The Pros : You can win massively with a succession of good rolls.
Used Craps Tables
The Cons : There’s a good chance that a lucky streak won’t occur, which could erase your bankroll in less than 10 minutes. Be careful!
An Unbeatable Craps System Doesn’t Exist, but Bad Ones Do
After this detailed rundown on the most popular strategies, we’ve established that there’s no such thing as an unbeatable Craps system. Gambling is a form of entertainment, and the fact that one can win money with luck is exploited by those who want to sell you something. If you plan to use a system, do it for fun, and don’t forget that there’s always a risk of losing.
If you visit online iGaming forums, you’ll likely encounter other approaches used by less experienced players. Perhaps they got a lucky break with proposition bets or other high-payout, high-house edge wagers, and they’ve shared their experience in an overly-enthusiastic way. There’s nothing wrong in congratulating them, but it’s best to avoid Craps systems that primarily include:
The Big 6 & 8
Any of the proposition bets (the big group of 8 dice combinations)
The C & E zones
Try Out What You’ve Learned
We’ve reached the end of our article. By this point, you might be wondering where to trial strategies and pick out your favorites. You could visit a real-life casino, but a quicker, simpler, and better move would be to go for an iGaming site that we’ve approved. These venues will allow you to play free demos, which are the perfect medium to test systems with no financial risk.
If you then decide to play with real money, you can deposit instantly and enjoy a wide array of table games, Slots, and specialty releases. Good luck, and remember that the best Craps system is staying disciplined!