New to craps? It is not hard to learn to play craps.

New to craps? It is not hard to learn to play craps. Despite its appearance as you pass by the game table, craps is really quite simple to learn. This primer will get you started.

A Quick Primer in Craps by Frank Scoblete

The most exciting, yet the most intimidating game in the casino, craps is witnessing a surge of popularity due to the belief that some shooters can change the odds of the game to favor the players by reason of their "rhythmic rolling" or "precision shooting" (I believe! I believe!). Be that as it may, the majority of craps players play the game so poorly that no amount of "dice control" can overcome the huge house edges that they are giving the casinos. And that doesn't have to be, because at its purist, craps is a very simple game with a very small house edge on its better bets.

Despite its appearance the game is as easy as 1-2-3 to learn. The Pass Line that goes around the whole table and the Don't Pass Line that tends to mirror it are the two basic bets of craps. 

1. The game starts with the shooter placing one or the other of these bets. Since most players are "right bettors," that is, they bet the Pass Line, let's look at the game from the perspective of the Pass Line. The shooter places a bet on the Pass Line. He is given the dice. The shooter now rolls the dice. If he rolls a 7 or 11, the Pass Line bettors win even money -- i.e., you bet $10, you win $10. The Don't Pass bettors lose. However, if the shooter rolls a 2, 3 or 12, the Pass Line bettors lose and, on the 2 or 3, the Don't Pass bettors win; while on the 12, the Don't Pass bettors push, neither winning nor losing.
2. If the shooter rolls any one of the following numbers: 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10; this number becomes the point. For the Pass Line bettor to win, the shooter must roll that number again before he rolls a 7. The reverse holds true for the Don't Pass bettor. If a 7 is rolled before the point, the Don't Pass bettor wins.
3. If the shooter "sevens out," the dice are passed on to the next shooter. If the shooter hits his point, he "comes out" again, just as in the above. 

That's the game, pure and simple. 

Playing the Pass or Don't Pass gives the casino an approximately 1.4 percent edge. However, the player can reduce the edge even more by taking advantage of the "Free Odds" bet option. Here's an example of how this option works:

The 7 can be made six different ways with two dice. The 5 can be made four different ways with two dice. Thus, the odds of a 7 appearing in relation to a 5 are six ways to four ways or three to two. Once the shooter has established his point number (let's keep it as the 5), the player has the option of placing an amount equal to (single odds), twice as much (double or 2X odds), three times as much (triple or 3X odds), five times as much (5X Odds), ten times as much (10X Odds), 20 times as much (20X Odds), or 100 times (100X Odds) or more, as his Pass Line bet in "odds" immediately behind it. The casino determines how much "odds" it will allow. Let's analyze the bet based on double odds.

The point is 5 and you have $10 on the Pass Line. You can now place $20 in odds behind it. If the shooter rolls a 5, you will be paid even money for your $10 Pass Line bet and the true odds for the Odds bet -- thus, you would win $30 for your $20 Odds bet. The casino has no edge whatsoever on this bet in the long run. The Free Odds bet reduces the casino edge on the Pass Line as follows (the Don't Pass is fractionally less):

Pass Line with no odds 1.41% 
Pass Line with 1X odds 0.85% 
Pass Line with 2X odds 0.61% 
Pass Line with 3X odds 0.47%
Pass Line with 5X odds 0.33% 
Pass Line with 10X odds 0.18%
Pass Line with 20X odds 0.10%
Pass Line with 100X odds 0.02% 

The true odds for the point numbers are as follows:

Number Ways to Make  Ways to Make Seven Odds
4 3 6 2 to 1
5 4 6 3 to 2
6 5 6 6 to 5
8 5 6 6 to 5
9 4 6 3 to 2
10 3 6 2 to 1

Two other low-percentage bets are the Come and Don't Come bets. These function in exactly the same way and have exactly the same house edges as the Pass and Don't Pass bets. The only difference is that they are made after the point is established. Once the shooter has a point, you can place a bet in the large Come area on the layout or on the smaller Don't Come area in the upper left and right hand corners of the layout. A 7 or 11 wins the Come bet at even money, loses the Don't Come bet. A 2, 3 or 12, loses the Come bet. While the 2 or 3 wins the Don't Come bet. Again the 12 is a push. However, should one of the point numbers be rolled (i.e., 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10), that number now must be rolled before the 7 for the Come bettor to win. Should the 7 appear before the number, the Don't Come bettor wins. The Come-Don't Come is merely a game within a game. As with the Pass and Don't Pass, the Come and Don't Come players are also offered the option of Free Odds. 

The last of the low-percentage bets is the placing of the 6 and/or 8, which can be done at any time. Here you simply place a wager in multiples of $6.00. The casino will pay off a winning bet at "casino odds" of $7.00 for every $6.00 wagered. The casino edge on this bet is 1.52 percent. In some venues, you can "buy" the 4 or 10 for $25 paying a $1 commission only if the bet wins. The house edge for this bet is approximately 1.3 percent, another decent wager. You can place such bets at any time and you can also call the bet off or take it down at any time.

Golden Touch™™ Craps offers a special course for novices before the regularly scheduled GTC classes. 

Call 1-866-SET-DICE for more information.