Craps is the oldest confirmed record of a game of chance in which dice were used. The game dates back to 1573 BC by the Egyptians. The modern game of craps is an American game that was developed on the Mississippi and other inland waterways during the great steamboat era of the 1800s. Today’s modern craps game is considered the fastest, noisiest, and most exciting game in the casino. It also has the best odds for the player of any casino game.
The basic idea behind Craps is to establish a “point” number and roll that number again before rolling a 7 (craps). Only the numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 can be a point number and all other rolls on the dice have special meanings depending on when they are rolled (before or after a point is established).
The casino game of Craps is played with a set of two perfectly balanced dice with each die having six white dots numbered 1 through 6. The game is played by tossing the dice from one of the short ends of the table to the other (make sure that both die hit the opposite side wall of the table). Payoffs are made based on the number combination displayed when the dice come to rest.
The inside walls of the table are covered with a serrated egg-carton like foam, designed to make the dice bounce around to assure randomness. Each throw of the dice is called a “roll”. Players take turn rolling the dice, clockwise around the table, and the player rolling at any given time is called the “shooter”. When a new shooter is given the dice, his or her first roll is called the “”Come Out”” roll. This begins a new series of rolls by that shooter and lasts for as long as that shooter continues to make winning rolls.
A new game in Craps begins with the “”Come Out”” roll. A “Come Out” roll can be made only when the previous shooter fails to make a winning roll — more correctly known as “not making the “Point”” or “seven out”. A new game then begins with a new shooter. If the current shooter does make his “Point”, the dice are returned to him and he then begins the new “Come Out” roll. This is a continuation of that shooter’s roll, although technically, the “Come Out” roll identifies a new game about to begin.
When the shooter fails to make his or her “Point”, the dice are then offered to the next player for a new “Come Out” roll and the game continues in the same manner. The new shooter will be the person directly next to the left of the previous shooter.
On the “Come Out” roll, the “Pass Line” bet wins if the shooter rolls a 7 or an 11. The bet loses automatically if the shooter rolls 2, 3 or 12. This is known as “rolling craps”. If the shooter rolls 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 the shooter must roll this same number again (to win) before rolling the number 7. Rolling any of these numbers on the “Come Out” roll is called “establishing the “Point”. Any number so rolled is thereafter referred to as the “Point”.
Establishing a “Point” is an event that happens as the immediate result of the “Come Out” roll, unless that “Come Out” roll results in 7, 11, 2, 3 or 12, in which case more rolls must be made until a “Point” is established.
It now becomes important to mention a device that looks like a hockey puck called the “Puck”. It is white on one side and black on the other, and is used by the dealers to identify the “Point”. Once the shooter establishes the “Point”, the dealer will move this puck to that “Point” number and turn it the white side up. The puck stays on this “Point” until the shooter either makes his “Point” or until he sevens out. When the puck is moved to the “Don’t Come” bar 12 area and turned black side up. The significance of this device is only in tracking the game. White side up over a “Point” indicates the game is in progress and that this box number is the “Point”. Black side up means a new “Come Out” roll is about to take place.
As with all table games, you will begin by changing your cash money into gaming chips. In Craps you do this by throwing your money on the table and yelling, “change”. If the table is playing well there will be a lot of people crowding around and a lot of noise, so make sure you yell out. Also it is a good idea to wait and ask for change between rolls of the dice.
In Craps, winning or losing depends on a variety of different possible outcomes on any roll of the two dice. The two dice can produce many different number combinations; some can be made several ways, others only one way. For example, two dice can roll the number 6 as follows: 5/1, 4/2, 3/3, 2/4 and 1/5. But the number 2 can only be rolled one way: 1/1.
Numbers such as 6, which can be rolled several ways, don’t pay as much as numbers which can be rolled only one way, unless you are betting that the number will be rolled in a specific way, such has 3/3, known as “Hard ways”. All winning payoffs are, therefore, determined by the frequency in which any two-dice number combinations can be rolled. Generally, the harder the combination is to roll, the more it will pay, and vice versa.
Although really taking advantage of the many betting options can involve a considerable degree of mastery, in its simplest form, Craps is a game where players bet either that the shooter will make his “Point” or that he or she will not make their “Point”. Betting that the shooter will make his/her “Point” is called betting “with the shooter” (also called “betting right”) and betting that the shooter will not make his/her “Point” is called “betting against the shooter” (also called “betting wrong”).
To bet with the shooter, you must place your bet in an area marked “”Pass Line””, before the new shooter rolls the dice. The so-called “Pass Line” is a strip on the table layout marked by two lines roughly two inches wide and it rims the entire table layout across from the Box Man. To bet against the shooter, you must place your bet in an area marked “Don’t Pass”. This area is also a strip on the table layout and it rims the table directly above the “Pass Line”.
No matter what stage the game is in, whether on the “Come Out” roll, or in progress, you can jump in immediately and place any bets. The only exception to this is the bet called the “Pass Line” bet with odds”, which can be made only on the “Come Out” roll. You can, however, bet with the shooter even while the game is in progress by placing a “Pass Line” bet without odds. Placing your chips halfway over one of the two lines framing the “Pass Line” area does this.
Before the new shooter rolls the dice on his or her “Come Out” roll, there are a variety of bets that can be made. The “Pass Line” and Don’t Pass Line” bet are the most common bets to make. Once the shooter establishes a “Point”, you can then place an additional bet behind your “Pass Line” bet. This is called “taking odds”.
In most casinos you can bet up to three times the amount of your “Pass Line” bet. This is called “taking full odds”. Some casinos offer up to 100 times odds! This simply means that you can bet up to 100 times the amount of your “Pass Line” bet once a “Point” has been established.
Betting the “Don’t Pass Line” is the exact opposite of betting the “Pass Line”. The “Don’t Pass” bet wins if the shooter rolls any craps; 2 or 3 (12 is considered a push; the bet neither wins nor loses, merely stays in limbo till a decision is reached on subsequent rolls) and loses if shooter rolls a 7 or 11.
Once the shooter establishes a “Point” your “Don’t Pass” bet stays in action, win until the shooter rolls a 7 or make his/her “Point”. Therefore, a “Don’ Pass” bet wins if the shooter fails to make his “Point”, but loses if the shooter does make the “Point”. You can also take odds on a “Don’t Pass” bet.
History of Craps
The first take on craps history – According to Richard Epstein, craps is descended from an earlier game known as Hazard, that dates to the Middle Ages. The formal rules for Hazard were established by Montmort early in the 1700s. The origin of the name craps is shrouded in doubt, but it may have come from the English crabs, or from the French Crapeaud (for toad).
There is also evidence that a form of craps can be dated back to the time of the Holy Roman Empire. Soldiers in the Roman Legions used to shave down pig knuckles into the shapes of cubes, and toss them onto their inverted shields as a form of entertainment while in camp. Hence we get the term “to roll the bones”.
We do know that the game we know today as “craps” came to the United States from Europe .
Three are two general forms of craps played today that can be traced back in craps history – “Street Craps” and “Bank Craps”. In recent times, the Internet version – Online craps – has also become very popular.
Street Craps is the game you find played, well, on the street. A shooter establishes a point, then tries to make that point. Bettors either bet with the shooter (on the point) or against the shooter (on the 7). Someone must “fade” the shooter (cover the bet) in order for the game to progress.
Bank Craps is what we normally see in the casino. The “bank” part of the name comes from the fact that someone or something (like a casino) must “bank” the game; that is, cover all bets of the players. In this manner, the players are playing against the house.
The second take on craps history – by author Mark Pilarski states Back before the Middle Ages, the Arabs played a game using little numbered cubes, called azzahr (meaning “the die”). The game showed up across the Mediterranean in France, where it was renamed hasard, then jumped the English Channel to England some time before 1500 AD where it was given the English spelling of the same word, hazard. The roll of lowest value in that game was called crabs. The French, trying to be amiable, adopted that term from the English, but spelling it the French way as crabes. In the early 1700’s, the game crossed the Atlantic to the French colony of Acadia.
In 1755, the French lost Acadia to the English who promptly renamed it Nova Scotia and chucked out the French-speaking Acadians, who roamed around a bit and finally relocated in Louisiana, where they were called (as they still are) Cajuns, and developed a language called Louisiana French. They still played the good old dice game, but dropped the title of hasard and called the game simply crebs or creps, which was their spelling of the French crabes.
By 1843, the Cajun word came into American English as craps. People were apparently careful for a while not to omit the final s for fear of confusion with a slang term having a totally different meaning, but that’s another story.
By 1885, such expressions as crapsgame, crapstable, and crapsshooter were found to be just too finicky so the final s was dropped where it served no useful purpose as in composites like craptable, crapshooter, crap game, etc., and retained where it refers only to the game (game of craps) or the losing roll (he craps out, he rolled craps) or where it would be too hard to pronounce (she crapped out, rather than she crapsed out).
Box man: is the craps table supervisor who sits between the one stickman and directly behind the thousands of dollars worth of chips that the casino keeps on hand at each craps table.
Dealers: the two dealers at the Craps table are responsible for all the bets made on his half of the table. Whenever you want to make free odds, place, or lay bet in a casino, you should give the money to the dealer at your end of the table and he will make the bet for you.
Floor men: are the supervisors who are responsible for the games in the casino and the employees running them. Floor men spend their time behind the tables watching over the games.
Marker Puck: is the plastic disk, which the dealers use to mark the “Point” on the Craps table. When the puck is turned so that the side inscribed with ‘off’ is face up, then all free odds bets have no action on the following roll of the dice.
Pit: is the area enclosed by all of the craps tables in a casino. Floor men walk around in the pit and keep an eye on the craps games in progress and the casino employees.
Stickman: is the casino employee who calls out the dice rolls and returns the dice to the shooter. The stickman also is responsible for the placing and paying the proposition bets.