Craps Rules - The Pass Line Bet and Beyond

Thursday, July 18th, 2013     Posted by Roger
Basic Casino Craps Rules
People looking for craps rules are usually trying to find out what bets they can make, and when and how to make them. To learn to play the game however, it's essential to get a bit of a grasp of the process of craps. Rules will seem intuitive after that (to a point). The central process in craps is known as the session. It's easy to play the game of craps based entirely around the shooters session. It's important to understand though, that the players session is just a bit of what's going on, and once we known the game we can bet on whatever we think might happen with the dice next, regardless of the state of the session.

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Craps is a game of two dice, and to gain a better sense of what our bankroll is betting on, it's a good idea to review the probabilities of each dice total possible when two dice are rolled.

Number Combination Ways To Roll
2 1-1 One
3 1-2, 2-1 Two
4 1-3, 3-1, 2-2 Three
5 1-4, 4-1, 2-3, 3-2 Four
6 1-5, 5-1, 2-4, 4-2, 3-3 Five
7 1-6, 6-1, 2-5, 5-2, 3-4, 4-3 Six
8 2-6, 6-2, 3-5, 5-3, 4-4 Five
9 3-6, 6-3, 4-5, 5-4 Four
10 4-6, 6-4, 5-5 Three
11 5-6, 6-5 Two
12 6-6 One

Each time the dice goes to a new player, it's the start of a new session. The first roll of a session is known as the come-out roll. Craps rules dictate that to roll a come-out roll the shooter must place a 'pass line bet' prior to rolling. Many other players will place their pass line bet at the same time as the shooter. To place a pass line bet simply put your chips in the big band that runs around the outer edge of the craps table layout. To simplify things, it has the word PASS written in big letters within its borders.

This basic pass line bet will win if the come-out roll has a total of 7 or 11. The bet will lose if the come-out roll is a 2, 3 or 12. If the total is any other number, the pass-line bet doesn't win or lose, but has it's fate decided with more rolls of the dice.

If a 7, 11, 2, 3, or 12 wasn't rolled on the come-out roll then a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 must have been. If any of these numbers are rolled on the come-out roll they become known as the shooters 'point' number for the session. To win their pass line bet at this point, the shooter must roll again and hope to hit that point number again. If they manage to roll the point number a second time before they roll a 7, then all of the pass line bets on the table win. If they happen to roll a 7 before they roll their point number, then all of the pass line bets on the table lose. Rolling a 7 before the point is called 'sevening out', and it means the session is over. Rolling the point number before a 7 is called 'making the point', and it means the shooter keeps the dice, but their next roll is another come-out roll. A new round is always started with the same shooter until they seven out.

To indicate that a point has been set, craps rules use what is known as a 'puck'. The puck is a flat disk with the word ON written on one side, and the word OFF written on the other. While there is no point set the puck sits OFF side up, to the edge of the table layout. When a point is set the puck is flipped to say ON, and it is placed on the number in the table layout that corresponds to the shooters point number.

To view the rules of session flow graphically, take a look at the image below:

Basic Craps Play Chart

The pass line bet is not only the most common craps bet, it's also part of the best bet that the casino offers. Craps rules allow for one instance of a 'fair bet', which is one where the casino doesn't alter the payouts in their favor. This bet is known as 'free odds', and is most often combined with the pass line bet.
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