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Introduction to Craps

Land casino craps holds a fascination for many players. It is one of the few casino games that have interactive player participation in the operational side. In craps players take turns in tossing the dice across the table and making them bounce off the opposite board. But craps is also an intimidating game. The most favorable bets are played over a number of rolls of the dice and even then players have to add to the wagers to drive home the advantage.

Online craps does try to create some semblance of the real thing on the screen through animations and sound effects but it obviously has its limitations.

History of Craps

Hazard is the game from which craps evolved. Generally two theories abound in connection with the origin of Hazard. The first is that it was invented by Crusader Sir William of Tyre in 1125 AD while laying siege to a castle named Hazarth. The second is that Hazard is the Anglicized name for an Arabic dice game called Al Zar.

Hazard was a popular dice game in England in the 17th century played both in taverns and in casinos. The French also took to playing this game, but since they did not want to copy the British, they named is Crabs. Crabs was the name given to a roll of 2. When the French and the British went to America they took this game with them. It is said that the name Crabs was corrupted to Craps and that name has stuck ever since.

In America in the early 19th century John Winn simplified the rules and invented the layout that is in use today. However the biggest service that Winn provided was the introduction of bets against the shooter, like the Don’t Pass bets. These eliminated the use of crooked dice and brought repute to the game. During World War II craps spread to many parts of the world with the US Army.

Rules for Craps

Craps is a game played with the dice. The outcome of a roll can be assessed by the total of the numbers on each die or on the combination of numbers and many different bets are based on these. Different locations on the layout are marked out for the different bets. Players place the wagers and the dice are tossed. Bets that win are paid out at the specified payouts.

Some of the best bets are played out over a number of rolls of the dice and it is important to understand this procedure. One such bet is the Pass Line Bet. The first roll of a new session is called the come out roll. If the outcome is a 7 or 11 then the Pass Line Bet immediately wins. If the outcome is a 2, 3 or 12 then the Pass Line Bet automatically loses. If any other number is rolled then that number is established as a point. Thereafter the dice are continuously rolled till either the point is repeated or a 7 is rolled. If the point is repeated first then the Pass Line Bet wins, but if the 7 is rolled first then the Pass Line Bet loses. The corresponding bet against the shooter, also called wrong bet, is the Don’t Pass Bet. It functions in exactly the opposite manner.

The Field Bet is a one roll bet that wins if the total in the next roll is 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12 and loses if any other total is rolled. Proposition bets are placed at the center of the layout. One of the interesting proposition bets is the Hardways Bets. These bets require a specified total from 4, 6, 8 and 10 to be rolled as doubles before it is rolled in any other way or before a 7 is rolled.

General Strategy

The different bets in craps have widely different house edges from 1.4% to over 16% for some of the bets. The house edges for the bets are not displayed and craps players must know which bets to wager on and which bets to avoid. One way of going about this is to accept only those bets with the lowest house edges. Online slots have a house edge of 5% and another approach could be to use this as a bench mark. The house edges of some of the more common craps bets are given below. The Pass Line Bet has a house edge of 1.4%. The 6 or 8 Place Bets have a house edge of 1.52%. The 5 or 9 Place Bets have a house edge of 4.00%. The Field Bet has a house edge of 5.5%. The Big 6 and Big 8 Bets have a house edge of 9.9%. The Hardways 4 and Hardways 10 have a house edge of 11.1%. The Any 7 Bet has a house edge of 16.7%

One of the most important aspects of strategy in craps is to understand and employ the Free Odds mechanism. This is employed with bets like the Pass Line Bet and reduces the house edge further. Once a point is established in the Pass Line Bet the player is allowed to enhance the bet by an amount usually equal to the original wager. The payout for additional wager is dependent on the point established but the important aspect is that the payout is without any house edge. The house edge for the combined Pass Line Bet thus can fall to 0.8%. Some casinos allow the Free Odds bet to be up to twice the original wager. This can reduce the house edge on the combined bet to 0.6%, which is about the best in casino games.

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