Craps is one of the more intense and therefore more fun games in a casino. But it’s also among the more difficult to understand. With this column, I’m beginning a series on the basics of Craps to perhaps help even more people learn how to roll the dice.


Craps Table - Copy


To begin, it helps to understand the roles of the casino personnel attending the game. There are usually three dealers working the game and a box person who supervises. One dealer, called the stickman, stands on the side of the table with the players. He has a long stick that he uses to move the dice. He gives the dice to the shooter, takes the dice to the middle of the table between rolls and announces the payoffs of the winning bets in the middle of the table.

The other two dealers stand on the opposite side of the table from the stickman, one to his left and one to his right. Each of these dealers is responsible for paying off winning bets and taking losing bets from the players on their side of the table.


The box person supervises the game. The box person also resolves most of the disputes at the table. In the pit will be a floor person, in charge of supervising various craps tables in his pit, rating the players, and giving comps. In serious disputes, the floor person will be brought in to judge. In charge of all the craps tables is the pit boss.


Here We Go!

  • Come Out Roll: The shooter selects his two dice. Now he will shoot his come-out roll. If he hits a 7 or 11, a Pass Line bet wins even money; if he shoots a 2, 3 or 12 the Pass Line bet loses. The small percentage of players betting Don’t Pass (also known as Darkside players) will lose on a 7 or 11 but win even money on a 2 or 3 with the 12 being a push (tie).You can see that in the come-out rolls, the Pass Line better will win eight decisions while losing four decisions. The Don’t Pass bettor will lose eight decisions but only win three decisions.

    When the shooter hits one of the point numbers (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10), he must hit that number again before a 7 rolls in order for the Pass Line bet to win or hit a 7 for the Don’t Pass to win. At this point, the game shifts to the casino’s side on the Pass Line but it now favors the Don’t Pass player.


  • House edge on the Pass Line is 1.41 percent. The player’s expectation is to lose $1.41 per $100 wagered. For a $10 Pass Line bet the expectation is a loss of 14 cents.


  • House edge on the Don’t Pass Line is 1.36 percent. The player’s expectation is to lose $1.36 per $100 wagered. For a $10 Don’t Pass bet the expectation is to lose almost 14 cents.


  • The Don’t Pass and Pass Line bets are two of the best bets in the casino. But in my next column, well review some wrinkles in the game.


About the Author: Frank Scoblete’s newest book is I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps! He’d love to send you a free copy (while supplies last). Just email your mailing address to him at [email protected] and he will get the book out ASAP.