Although the original game of Craps could be played against others on any flat surface, “Bank Craps,” as it is played in gambling halls, pits all players against the “House,” and it requires a layout with fixed betting areas. The Craps table that has evolved for use in today’s casinos is rather standard, featuring a deeply recessed surface surrounded by padded walls.
The betting areas are numerous, but the five most common wagers—all of which have short odds—are bets placed on the Pass Line, Don’t Pass, Come, Don’t Come and Field.
Pass Line – Winning wagers here immediately pay even money, 1-to-1 odds, if the shooter throws a “natural” (7 or 11) on the come out roll. Bets here automatically lose, however, if the shooter’s come out roll is craps (2, 3 or 12). Any other total that is rolled (4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10) becomes the shooter’s Point. If a 7 is rolled before the Point is thrown again, all Pass Line wagers lose. Otherwise, the shooter continues rolling the dice until the Point is made and all original Pass Line bets pay 1-to-1. Because they back the shooter to win, wagers made on the Pass Line are referred to as “right” bets.
Don’t Pass – This even-money bet is the exact opposite of the Pass Line wager. The Don’t Pass bet loses on the come out roll when the shooter throws a natural, but it wins even money on craps of 2 or 3 and pushes (no winner or loser) on craps of 12. Bets on Don’t Pass also lose whenever the shooter makes the Point, but they pay 1-to-1 if a 7 is thrown before the Point is made. Because they back the shooter to lose, wagers on Don’t Pass are often referred to as “wrong” bets.
Come – This even-money wager is not available (“Off”) for the come out roll. It opens up only after the Point has been established. Much like the Pass Line wager, bets on the Come win on any natural and lose on any craps on the throw made immediately after they are placed. Any other number rolled becomes the “Come Bet Point.” To win even money, the Come Bet Point must appear before a seven is thrown, otherwise it loses.
Don’t Come – The exact opposite of betting on the Come, this even-money wager is Off until the Point has been established. Just like the Don’t Pass wager, Don’t Come bets win on craps 2 or 3, lose on natural 7 or 11 and push on 12. Once the Come Bet Point has been established, this bet succeeds if a 7 is rolled before the Come Bet Point is made; it loses otherwise.
Field – This is a single roll wager that can be made at any time. It pays even money whenever a 3, 4, 9, 10 or 11 is rolled. It typically pays double, 2-to-1, whenever a 2 or a 12 is thrown. All other totals (5, 6, 7 and 8) lose.
Anyone seeking higher odds at the Craps table has plenty of options, too, albeit with attendant risk. Of special interest are five additional betting areas with which every Craps player should become familiar.
Odds – This wager is Off for the come out roll and can be made only after the Point has been established. By “taking Odds,” the player is adding to the Pass Line Bet to receive “true odds”—better than even money. Additional chips are stacked on the unmarked apron directly behind the original bet. The betting limit is set by the House rules, usually 2X, 3X or 5X, but occasionally as high as 20X, 50X or even 100X. The payoffs on Odds wagers are 2-to-1 for a Point of 4 or 10, 3-to-2 for a 5 or 9, and 6-to-5 for a 6 or 8. Although Odds may also be taken on the Come or laid on the Don’t Pass and Don’t Come, doing so requires that chips be placed by the dealer on behalf of the player.
Place Bets – Once the Point has been established, wagers may be made straight up on the box numbers (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10). Every time the shooter throws the chosen number before throwing a 7, the place bet wins. It loses if a 7 comes up before the Point is made. Place bets pay 9-to-5 for wagers on 4 or 10, 7-to-5 on 5 or 9 and 7-to-6 on 6 or 8.
Big 6 or Big 8 – This even-money bet pays 1-to-1 if a 6 appears before a 7 is thrown (Big 6) or an 8 appears before a 7 is rolled (Big 8). Odds strongly favor the House on this bet; a better wager is to back the 6 or 8 using Place Bets (above).
C & E – This is a single roll bet on any craps (“C”) paying 3-to-1 and on 11 (“E”) paying 7-to-1. The wager is made in one of the small circular betting areas on either side of the center of the table layout, but according to the rules, C & E bets must be placed by the dealer on behalf of the player.
Prop Bets – The center section of the Craps table is where proposition wagers are made. Like C & E bets, these wagers must be placed by the dealer on behalf of the player. They include Hardway Bets (2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5) paying 7-to-1 or 9-to-1, Any Seven paying 4-to-1, Any Craps paying 7-to-1, and Hop Bets on specific rolls (2-3, 3-5, 4-6, etc.) paying 30-to-1. Certain props in played combination have special names, such as Horn Bet, Buffalo, Hi-Lo-Yo and so on. Please note that compared to other Craps wagers, prop bets have very poor odds.