Craps is a casino dice game, where a die is used as a central component of the game and a completely random device to keep the game fair, i.e. give everybody an equal chance of winning.
Craps, that were called crabs before, is a simplified version of the old English game called hazard, which was mentioned in the 14th century documents and may even date to the Crusades. French gamblers influenced the game after, so it is very hard to say now what the original set of rules was like. The modern interpretation of the game appeared in America in New Orleans after Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville, French playboy, gambler and a politician, introduced what was called “crapaud” to the US nation, which was then rapidly spread around the African-American community.
The rules of the craps game are fairly simple. Players wager money against the casino and hope that the outcome of the game will be favorable. The outcome of the game depends on the roll or on the series of rolls of two dice. Playing craps became extremely popular in many various setting and groups of people. Casino craps is one thing, but the game is much more adoptable than most of the other casino games, which is why it is played by everyone: families, friends and even soldiers. In such informal settings, craps are played with more frequent side bets and usually one or more gamblers try to cover (fade) bets against the dice.
It can be played by a large group of people or just one player. Players have to take turn rolling two dice and whoever does that is called “the shooter”. The first round in the game is called “come-out roll”, which will end if the total of two dice comes to 2,3,7,11 or 12. The name “craps” is given when the dice roll out to be 2, 3 or 12. When 7 or 11 are rolled on the come-out roll they are called “win” or “natural”. Any other result will be called “the point”. If a point is established, the shooter has to roll the dice again and again until 7 or the point appears again. In both cases the game starts over, only the shooters differs. If it 7, which is called “seven-out”, the dice should be passed clockwise to the next player, i.e. the next shooter will be to the left from the previous one. If instead of the 7, the shooter rolls the point, he/she has to roll again, i.e. the shooter stays the same.
In craps, players can make any bets they wish. Most commonly the best are based around the final roll-out of each round, i.e. seven-out or point. In this case the probability of getting it right is 1 out of 2 (50/50). When making other types of bets, the probability is smaller, i.e. there are less chances of it happening. Such bets could be on a specific total being rolled before or including the seven-out, for instance. In casino craps, gamblers make their bets on a specific casino craps table.
Casino craps have adopted certain formalities to make the game a little less casual and avoid uncertainties. There are four casino employees that have to run the table to keep the order and make the game look more sophisticated. There are two base dealers, who have to take care of bets, i.e. collect and pay them. They always stand to either side of the boxman. A boxman has to guard the chips, assist the dealers and do the coloring out of players. Lastly, the stickman, who stands directly opposite the boxman, is present in order to announce the results of each roll-out, collect the dice with the long wooden stick and manage the center of the table bets, which are often called hardways, horns, etc. This casino organizes everything, so that every spot on the craps table is under control and managed by a specific employee at all times.
At the beginning of each round the shooter has to pick 2 dice out of 5 offered by the stickman. Usually in casino craps, the shooter has to roll the dice with one hand and the dice have to bounce off the walls of the craps table to avoid any cheating attempts by the gamblers. If a die manages to fall off the table, the shooter has to select another one from the three that are left. He can use the same one, but only after the boxman has looked at it and approved it. This is a necessary precaution to avoid the players using loaded (gaffed) dice, i.e. dice that have been tempered with, so it lands more often on a specific side, rather than purely by chance.
There are many different types of bets that players can do in craps: fire bets, line bets, single roll bets and multi roll bets. Craps odds differ in various casinos, but are usually multiplied by 5% commission. When talking about optimal betting, in craps odds there is always going to be a house advantage, so the best strategy would actually be not to play. Otherwise you have to only place bets with the minimum house advantage, which are the pass/don’t line, place 6 and 8, buy 4 or 10, but only if that specific casino rules state that commission is charged just on wins. The other bets will generally help you lose your money from 3 to 12 times faster, due to the difference in house edges. You have to think of the house advantage per roll, rather than per bet.
There are additional rules in craps game that are unwritten rules of etiquette. For instance, in casino craps there are rules involving security, such as not handling dice with more than one hand or not passing the edge of the table while having the dice in the hand. You should hit the furthest wall on the opposite side of the table, when throwing the dice and make sure they don’t land in the boxman’s bank or any of the stacks of money near the dealer. There are also other general rules, such as having your chips on the board and not in your hands and so on. You should be aware of those rules before going to play craps. Familiarize yourself with the rules specific to the casino you are planning to attend.
There are various systems and dice control strategies in craps game, but most of them are made up for gamblers to believe they have a good chance of winning the house. It can generally be said that craps is a game that is played when you just want to test your luck or try passing time, as the bets can be made very small, so the feeling of money loss is not too drastic and stressful. As craps game has such traditional origins, many people feel emotionally attached to it, if they played it with the loved ones sometime in the past. This is why craps tables are usually surrounded by people who have been in the casino for a while and feel they need to play something simple and easy. But the craps game can be difficult doe to the odd calculations, therefore it is a good idea to learn every single possibility and go into the casino with a solid base knowledge.