Craps: The Basics of Being the Shooter


Craps: The Basics of Being the Shooter

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For so many, the game itself is a mystery.

You’ve seen it in a million movies: The hero steps up to the craps table, throws the dice, and the action starts. Time and again he rolls a seven, the building crowd roars, and the dice get passed back. For as long as that hero keeps rolling seven or eleven...he’s the greatest person who’s ever lived.

It’s ok if you don’t understand the game. We’re going to teach you how it all works. What matters is what you know; in the time from the throw to the dice sitting still, two seconds feels like two hours of excruciating, beautiful possibility and the person throwing the dice can make everyone at the table money. It’s exhilaration in its purest form.

Welcome to craps.

The Pass Line Bet and Dice Odds


When you roll two six-sided dice, there are 36 possible dice combinations. To the right, you’ll see a graph that illustrates these combinations.

The game typically starts and ends with the pass line bet. The concept is simple: When the puck is black and says OFF, you place a bet and then roll the dice. We call that the come-out roll. You’ll achieve one of three results:

  1. You could roll 7 (6 combinations) or 11 (2 combinations) and win 1 to 1. That happens 8 times out of every 36 rolls, or 22.2% of the time.
  2. You could roll 2 (1 combination), 3 (2 combinations) or 12 (1 combination) and lose, which happens 11.1% of the time.
  3. Or, you could roll 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, in which case that number becomes known as the point. That happens 66.7% of the time.

After the point is established, the shooter then keeps rolling until either the point or a seven appears. Roll the point and you win; roll a seven and you lose.

That’s the pass line bet.

The Best Bet in the Entire Casino

One hard and true rule of gambling is this: The house doesn’t play to lose.

Craps gives you the next best thing though.

If you search standard casinos for the best mathematical wagers you won’t do better than the house paying out at the true odds. And for that, you need to look at a major feature of the craps table: The pass line odds bet.

The name is a pretty good indicator of what it is: An additional wager the shooter can make that the pass line bet will win, placed after the point is established. The chances of rolling a seven are always higher, but that’s why the payouts are critical. Have a look:


A bet on a point of either 4 or 10 pays out 2:1. With six ways to roll a seven and three ways to roll the point, the odds equal the payout.

A bet on a point of either 5 or 9 pays out 3:2. Again, six ways to roll a seven, four ways to roll the point.

A bet on a point of 6 or 8 pays out 6:5. There are still six ways to roll a seven and five ways to roll either point.

What Are Place Bets?


Instead of betting on only one number at a time with a pass line bet, you can make wagers on up to six different numbers with place bets! Place bets can be made on the 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10, and win if the number rolls before a 7. In a land-based casino - you’re part of that crowd, betting on whether the shooter will roll your number before rolling a 7. Or, if you’re playing on Golden Nugget Online Casino, you are always the shooter, so having place bets on the board gives you more ways to win - especially if you're on a roll.

If nothing else, everything written here will get you started. You’re ready to shoot and then shoot again. If you keep your eyes on this space, there will be more craps articles that delve deeper into those 140 bets we mentioned; if you stick with the pass line bet, pass line odds bet, and place bets, you’re armed with enough info to get started. Give online craps a try, see what the fuss is about and have some fun.

Authored By: Gary Wise

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