A Comprehensive Guide to Craps: The Intricacies of Pass Line Bets and Beyond


Craps, one of the most exhilarating casino games, has an allure that is difficult to match. At the heart of this excitement lies the pass line bet, arguably the most popular bet in craps. If you’ve ever felt lost amid the cacophony of the craps table, this guide is here to break down the lingo, the bets, and the strategies you need to know.


1. The Basics of the Craps Table

The craps table might appear intimidating at first, with its myriad of betting options. At the center of the table, you’ll notice proposition bets, while the more common bets like the pass line craps bet are situated on the edges.

The game’s essence revolves around the roll of the dice. A “shooter” is a player tasked with rolling the dice, and depending on the outcome, various bets either win or lose.

2. What is the Pass Line in Craps?

The pass line bet is foundational for anyone learning how to bet at craps. As the most common bet, it’s where most players start.

  • How it Works: When the shooter rolls a 7 or 11 on their first roll (known as the “come out” roll), the pass line bet wins. However, if they roll a 2, 3, or 12, the pass line bet loses. Any other number establishes a “point number.” To win a pass line bet after the point is established, the shooter must roll the point number again before rolling a 7.

3. Beyond the Pass Line: Other Craps Bets Explained

Craps offers a multitude of betting options, each with its own set of odds and payout odds.

  • Any Craps Bet: This bet hinges on the shooter rolling a 2, 3, or 12. It’s a one-roll bet, meaning its fate is determined in a single throw.
  • Place Bets: Players can bet on specific numbers (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10) to be rolled before a 7.
  • Field Bets: This is a bet that the next roll will be a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12.
  • Don’t Come Bets: The inverse of the come bet. It wins if a 2 or 3 is rolled, loses on 7 or 11, and establishes a point number like the pass line bet.
  • Proposition Bets: Located in the center of the table, these are high-risk, high-reward bets on specific outcomes of the next roll.

4. True Odds and the House Edge

Understanding true odds is key to mastering craps. “True odds” refers to the actual probability of an event happening, while the payout odds are the ratios casinos offer when those events occur. The difference between these odds is where the house gets its advantage.

For example, in the case of place bets, different numbers have different true odds. Knowing these can help players bet more strategically.

5. The Importance of the Point Number

After the come-out roll, if a point number (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10) is established, the objective for pass line bettors is for the shooter to roll that number again before rolling a 7. This dynamic introduces new betting opportunities like “odds bets,” which are additional bets placed behind the pass line bet offering true odds and no house edge.

6. The Thrill of the Roll

What makes craps so enticing is the sheer unpredictability of the roll of the dice. With every toss, players are on the edge of their seats, hoping their number rolls or that the shooter rolls the point. The collective anticipation, the cheers, the groans—all are tied to the outcome of those dice.

7. Tips for New Players

  • Start Simple: Familiarize yourself with the pass line in craps before exploring other bets.
  • Understand the Odds: Craps betting explained simply boils down to odds. Know the payout odds and the true odds.
  • Engage in the Experience: Craps is as much about the camaraderie and experience as it is about the bets. Engage with fellow players, cheer for the shooter, and immerse yourself in the atmosphere.

8. Strategy and Betting Techniques in Craps

While craps is a game of chance, understanding the bets can provide an edge in how you approach the game.

  • Combining Bets: Many experienced players don’t stick to just one type of bet. For instance, combining a pass line bet with an odds bet can reduce the house edge. Similarly, a don’t pass bet combined with a don’t come bet can set you up for potential success.
  • Avoiding the Center of the Table: Proposition bets, despite their tempting payouts, have a higher house edge. These are bets for players with a higher risk tolerance and should be approached with caution.
  • Setting Limits: Like any casino game, setting a budget and sticking to it is key. Understand that craps can be a fast-paced game and it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement.

Craps odds betting lets players enhance their winnings by placing additional bets after the come-out roll. These bets have a low house edge and pay out true odds. The amount wagered depends on casino rules, usually a multiple of the initial bet.

Odds bets reduce the overall house edge, making craps favorable for skilled players. Maximizing odds bets minimizes the casino’s advantage. Availability may vary, but taking advantage of odds bets improves winning chances. It adds excitement and increases potential payouts while minimizing the house advantage.

9. The Role of the Shooter

The shooter, the individual rolling the dice, holds an important place at the craps table. They determine the pace of the game and, of course, the outcome of most bets. A hot shooter, someone who’s on a winning streak, can bring electrifying energy to the table, while a cold shooter might see players hesitating on their bets. Remember, every player gets a turn to roll if they wish. So, understand the rules, and maybe you could be the next hot shooter!

10. The Atmosphere Around the Craps Table

One cannot speak about craps without mentioning the unique atmosphere it fosters. The craps table is often the loudest, filled with cheers, jeers, and a palpable tension with every roll. It’s a communal game, where players often celebrate or commiserate together.

  • Engaging with Players: Some of the best moments at a craps table come from conversations and interactions with fellow players. Sharing tips, discussing strategies, or simply joking around can enhance the experience.
  • Understanding Etiquette: There are unspoken rules at a craps table. For instance, never say the number seven (it’s considered bad luck), always handle the dice with one hand, and make sure to toss them so they hit the table’s back wall.

11. A World of Terminology

To the uninitiated, the language of craps can seem like a foreign tongue. Terms like “yo eleven,” “snake eyes,” or “boxcars” can be puzzling. Taking some time to familiarize yourself with this terminology can make the game more accessible and enjoyable.

12. Diversifying Your Bets

With a multitude of betting options available, players shouldn’t shy away from diversifying their bets. After mastering the pass line bet, consider exploring field bets, or place bets, to understand the full range of what craps has to offer.


Craps, with its dynamic playstyle and communal atmosphere, is a staple in casino games for good reason. While the pass line bet may be the game’s cornerstone, the multitude of other betting options ensures there’s something for everyone, from the novice to the seasoned gambler.

Whether you’re placing bets on the craps table, watching as the shooter rolls, or simply soaking in the energy of the game, craps is a testament to the unpredictable thrill that casino games offer. So the next time you’re near a craps table, step up, place your bet, and let the dice decide your fate.

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