How To Play Craps
Welcome to our craps guide. We'll teach you how to play craps without going through that awkward stage. If you're looking for information how to get started playing craps, take a look at our "instructions" page, which starts from a basic point of view, and eases you into the game painlessly. Our "how to play craps without looking like an idiot" page will teach you everything you need to know to approach any casino craps table in the world, and the online world, with confidence. This will ensure that you don't make any etiquette blunders your first time out at the tables.
Why would this page be needed here more than at say, a blackjack guide? Well, craps players often think a little differently than the average Joe. You can be sure there are a high percentage of people influenced by superstition around the craps table at any point in time, and we have to make room for these beliefs. Additionally, craps players aren't known to be the most patient gamblers in the world. Of course that's not universal, but does seem to hold a ring of truth to it. That being understood, it's easy know why you need to have a good idea of what you're doing at the table. Previous pages on this site should provide you with the basics of making the most common craps bets, and this should be considered the jumping off point for anyone who wants to learn how to play craps at the table.
The first and most important things to understand are the basic bets. Read up on our craps rules and then craps strategy sections to become familiar with both basic and not-so-basic bets on the table. Definitely do some learning here before you hit the casino floor. A crowded craps table is not the place to learn how to play craps; it can even be intimidating to look for advice or answers, unless you happen to be next to a generous, talkative, patient type. The dealers are often too busy to teach anyone, and could resent novices just diving in, as the casinos offer free training courses during the day when the tables would otherwise be closed. So take advantage of that free training, or practice online here and read up, either way you'll be covered.
To feel comfortable at the table, you're going to have to get used to some of the common lingo. There are a couple of phrases that are often hollered by the dealers, especially to novice craps players, and we should go over these ones first. One common phrase is "Please
hit the back wall!"
This phrase is pretty self-explanatory. The dealer is talking to the shooter and they want them to throw the dice hard enough to bounce off of the 'back wall' of the table. The back wall is usually cut into strange shapes to ensure a random roll (yes apparently it's possible to become so good at rolling a pair of dice that you can hit what you're after more often than chance would allow).
Another common phrase heard at the craps table is
"Don't aim for the chips" or,
"Don't hit the chips"
Again, this is not a tough one to figure out. The craps table is a dynamic environment, and often the shooters accidentally hit the chips laid out as bets on the board with the dice. This results in the dealer having to restack the chips in the proper amounts, an annoyance for them, and the other players don't appreciate the slow downs.
One essential tip I can give you that is a necessary piece of advice to actually
follow when you learn how to play craps is to always tip the dealer. Say you win
300 bucks on one roll, what do you do? Drop at least 10 or 20 back to the dealer.
Its standard casino etiquette to tip your dealer if you happen to be doing well,
and craps is no exception. To tip the dealer just say 'ten for the house' and
hand them some chips (as with learning anything else in the casino, easiest
way to catch onto how something is done normally, is to let somebody else do
it first and then imitate them). Just like at the blackjack table, you can also
play out a bet for the dealer. If you want to place a bet for the dealer (it's
like tipping them but they have the chance to win on the tip) stick to the pass
line or come bets, as those provide the lowest house edge, and the dealers know
Craps is notorious for manners, it's more important to be polite and courteous to the players around you at the craps table than at any other table in the casino. It's far too easy to snag a great spot at the craps table, and not even realize you're taking up too much room, while people mill about behind and beside you waiting for a chance to get a good spot. It can get pretty crowded, so pay attention to your elbows and knees. Nobody likes to be crowded too much or have his or her view of the table blocked off. Be aware of the people around you and make an effort to let new players find a spot. Be nice and give good tips to people who are obviously novices. They will likely appreciate it, as will those around you since it means they don't have to provide the tips themselves.
If you see someone making dumb bets, don't just say, 'hey those are really dumb bets' … that's not cool. Don't make a deal of it at all, but if you get the chance, try to strike up a conversation about house edge. From there you can determine if they are someone who thinks they are an expert, and so would not take kindly to friendly tips, or if they are someone who really needs some help.
There's more involved though if you want to know how to play craps the right
way. Being courteous isn't just being nice, it's helping out the players around
you. You know by now in craps that you can either be playing 'with the dice'
or 'against the dice'. Either option is fine, and you will see a lot of people
yelling for the numbers they want to hit, but you don't often find people yelling
for numbers that will make them win, but have the shooter lose. For example
if you're up playing 'against the dice' and the point is set already, you can
win if a seven comes up. But the shooter and everyone playing 'with the dice'
will lose if a seven comes up, so it's not so nice to start yelling for sevens,
your presence wont be appreciated for too long.
And if you've never been to a casino before there's one thing you really, really need to know! A phrase you can hear if you're sitting at any table game all is
The drinks are free in American casinos (Canadian casinos have to follow a federal law banning the impartment of free alcoholic drinks, just free Pepsi there I'm afraid), European ones I'm not so sure. If you feel like a drink just place an order, in a few minutes the waitress will return and give you your drink without asking for any money. Always tip the waitress. Always.