How to Play Craps
This page is an introduction to the game for novices. I'll show you what to expect when you come into the casino wanting to play craps, what exactly you're looking at when you see the million and one spots to bet on the craps table, what your first bet will undoubtedly be, and how you should place it. If you haven't played craps before, this is the perfect place to start!
So we're walking into the casino, thinking about a game of craps. You'll often see some people milling around the tables trying to learn how to play craps via casual observation. This isn't a bad way to learn, but I've found it can be confusing for a novice to try and understand what the other, more experienced players, are doing. Watching others is a great way to learn how to play craps, especially seeing how to place your bets and ask dealers for bets, but it's an absolutely awful way to develop your strategy. You have to presume that everyone else at the table knows nothing of strategy, as it will most likely be the truth.
So the first thing you might want to do is mill around the table a bit. Just don't hang around for too long, since the casino staff doesn't always appreciate it (don't ask me why, maybe they think you're part of an elaborate cheating scheme). To start playing, just walk up to the table where there is some free room and kindly squeeze in. Don't shuffle around with other players during the game, because the dealers place your bets in a way that corresponds to your table position.
There are two main things to learn about the craps table, both of which are pretty essential in your quest to learn how to play craps. Craps is a game of many dealers, and a game of many bets. Let's take a look at some of the men in black around the table.
The only dealer sitting down is invariably the Boxman. This is the dealer who sits closest to the large piles of expensive chips (or checks as they are called at the craps table). They make all the final calls, inspect dice, and resolve any disputes that might arise between the players.
Directly across from the Boxman stands the Stickman. The Stickman handles the dice with a long, curved stick; he controls the speed of the game, maintains dice security, calls out the rolls, and deals with center bets.
There are always two additional dealers standing at each end of the craps table, on the same side as the Boxman. They accept bets from players and are responsible for any payoffs on their half of the board.
Now that you know who's who around the table, it's time to learn what's what on the felt itself. To help you out, take a look at the graphic below. All you need to begin with is the area labeled 'Pass Line', which as you will find is one of the best bets on the table. Each of the separate areas of the table are highlighted, and the bet associated with each are explained on our craps rules page, one at a time.
To learn the cycle of play in a craps game, or rather, how the game works, read on to our second how to play page. It will also let you know how to go about placing your first bet.
ęCopyright Mastering Craps 2021.
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