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Learn to Play Casino Craps: Basic Game Play – an article by William Enslen Jr

Be smart, play smart, and learn how to play casino craps the right way!

Let’s look at the basic play of craps. A new game starts with the "come-out roll" where the stickman typically says, "New shooter, coming out." Once a new game starts, it continues until a "decision" is made. The decision that ends the game is whether the shooter makes his point or rolls a seven-out (7-out).

Prior to the come-out roll, the dealer places the puck in the OFF position (black side up) on the side of the table, usually near the Don’t Come box. The OFF puck indicates that a new game is about to start. The shooter rolls the dice. If the shooter rolls a 2, 3, 7, 11, or 12 (either of which is called a "natural"), a decision is made immediately and the game ends with that single roll. A 2, 3, or 12 on the come-out roll is called "craps" or "crapping out." The same shooter then continues and starts a new game. If the number appearing on the come-out roll is any of the remaining possible numbers (i.e., 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10), then a point is established (these numbers are called "point" numbers). The dealer places the puck in the ON position (white side up) in the point box corresponding to the point number that the shooter establishes. So, if you walk up to a table and see an OFF puck, you know that a new game is about to start. If you see an ON puck in one of point boxes, a game is already in progress and that number is the point.

If the shooter establishes a point on the come-out roll (i.e., rolls a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10), the shooter continues rolling until she rolls the point number again or until she rolls a 7, which results in a decision and the game ends. If the shooter ends the game by rolling the point number, that same shooter keeps the dice and starts a new game. If she rolls a 7 (called a "7-out"), she loses the dice and the next shooter in line clockwise around the table starts the next new game.

Remember, a "craps" is when the shooter rolls a 2, 3, or 12 on the come-out roll; and a "7-out" is when the shooter establishes a point and then ends the game by rolling a 7. When a 7-out occurs, don’t be one of the many who yell, "Oh, man, he crapped out!" This tells everyone, including the dealers and boxman, that you don’t know the game as well as you think. When the dealers learn of your inexperience, they have better luck influencing your bets. So, when a shooter rolls a 7-out, call it a "seven-out," not a "craps."

In terms of a decision that ends the game, once a point is established, the only relevant numbers are the point number and 7. All other numbers are meaningless in terms of a decision to end the game. If the shooter rolls the point number to end the game, she gets to use the same dice to start a new game, or she may choose to select another pair from the stickman’s dish. However, if the shooter makes her point, those dice are usually considered lucky so you’ll seldom see a shooter asking for a new pair. If the shooter rolls a 7-out to end the game, the stickman empties all the dice from his dish and uses his stick to push them all to the next shooter. The new shooter selects two, and the stickman pulls the remaining dice back and places them in his dish. A new game, with a new come-out roll, is about to start.

Now you know! Remember, learn how to play casino craps the right way.

The Author:

Bill Enslen is a reliability engineer who routinely works with statistics. Having played and analyzed casino craps for more than 25 years, he has compiled his winning secrets in a new Ebook, The Secret to Craps: The Right Way to Play. He doesn’t offer false hope or prey on your blazing desire to beat the casino. Instead, he explains the reality of the game and how to optimize your fun without losing your shirt. Without fully understanding the game and the truth behind the numbers, you’re vulnerable to believing bizarre claims that you can consistently beat the casino. The plain truth is that you can’t and won’t. Don’t be a sucker. Be smart, play smart, and learn casino craps the smart way. For more information, and to read a sample chapter about the absurdity of dice control, visit his site at Learn to Play Casino Craps the Right Way.


Published in Craps Strategy @ 10 Feb 09 and last modified on June 13th, 2018

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