Making Sense of the Craps Table: A Tutorial for First-Timers

Demystify the Craps table with our comprehensive tutorial. Perfect for first-timers, we breakdown the game’s rules and betting strategies.

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Entering a casino for the first time, you might be drawn towards the crowd surrounding the Craps table, amid the buzz and shouts of exultation. Craps is one of the most exciting casino games, offering fast-paced action and high stakes. However, it can also be one of the most intimidating for beginners, with its complex layout and myriad of betting options. This guide aims to simplify the game, providing a step-by-step tutorial to help first-timers navigate the Craps table with confidence.

Understanding the Craps Table

The Craps table is divided into three sections: The center section is managed by the stickperson, while the two end sections are mirrored halves managed by two dealers. The layout includes areas for different types of bets: Pass Line, Don’t Pass Line, Come, Don’t Come, Field, Place Bets, Proposition Bets, and others.

The Basic Gameplay

Craps is a game of rounds, with the first roll of a new round called the ‘Come Out Roll.’ The shooter (the person throwing the dice) must place a bet on the Pass Line or the Don’t Pass Line to roll.

  1. Pass Line: This is the most basic bet in Craps. If the Come Out Roll is a 7 or 11, Pass Line bets win. If it’s a 2, 3, or 12 (known as ‘Crapping Out’), these bets lose. Any other number establishes the Point, which the shooter will try to roll again before a 7 to win.
  2. Don’t Pass Line: This bet is the opposite of the Pass Line bet. Here, the Come Out Roll winning numbers are 2 or 3, while 7 or 11 means losing. A roll of 12 results in a push (tie). Like the Pass Line, any other number becomes the Point, but in this case, the shooter must roll a 7 before the Point for the Don’t Pass Line bet to win.

Other Bets on the Craps Table

While the Pass Line and Don’t Pass Line bets form the foundation of Craps, there are numerous other bets available:

  1. Come/Don’t Come Bets: These are similar to Pass/Don’t Pass bets but can be placed after the Point is established.
  2. Place Bets: A bet on a specific number (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10) to be rolled before a 7.
  3. Field Bets: A one-roll bet that wins if the next roll is a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12.
  4. Proposition Bets: These are one-roll bets placed on any roll of the dice. They have high payouts but also high house edges.

Craps Strategy for Beginners

As a beginner, it’s best to stick to the basic bets. The Pass Line with Odds bet is the most straightforward and has one of the lowest house edges.

  1. Understanding Odds: After the Point is established, you can make an additional ‘Odds’ bet, which is a multiple of your original Pass Line bet. This bet wins if the Point is rolled again before a 7.
  2. Money Management: Set a budget for your gameplay and stick to it. It’s also a good idea to set win goals and loss limits to guard against the temptation of “just one more roll.”
  3. Practice: Consider practicing with free online Craps games to get comfortable with the pace and betting strategies.


Craps can be a thrilling addition to your gambling experience once you get past the initial learning curve. Remember, the main aim should be to have fun. Stick to the basic bets, set clear budget limits, and enjoy the camaraderie of the Craps table. With a little time and experience, you’ll be tossing the dice and engaging with the best of them.

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