Craps lesson 1: The come-out roll

We'll start with the basics of how the game is played, talking only about theory at this point. Theory is easy, it's only at a crowded table that it begins to get difficult to keep up with what's going on. After going over all the basics of play we'll get into what goes on at a real table -- where it's all about keeping up with the rhythm of everything.

Layout of the craps table

Craps table layout

The picture above is a standard craps table -- half of one actually, but both sides are the same. The one item missing is what's called the "hockey puck," a disc black on one side and white on the other, used to indicate whether a point has been established or not. Don't worry about this right now, we'll explain what that means soon enough. Just know that for the come-out roll the disc will be set off to one side and will be turned to show the black side which has the word "OFF" printed on it.

At this point in the game, the only numbers that really matter are 2, 3, 7, 11 and 12.

Place your bet on the bar marked "Pass Line" directly in front of you. The stickman (the dude with the stick, appropriately enough) pushes the dice to the shooter and the game is started. One of three things will happen on this roll: you win, you lose or a point is established. Here's how it works:

  • Win (7 or 11)

    If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11, you win a 1:1 payout on your bet. Let's say you have a $5 bet on the Pass and the shooter rolls a 7; you win $5. For future reference, this is the ONLY time you want to see a 7 rolled.

  • Lose (2, 3 or 12)

    If the shooter rolls a 2, 3 or 12, you lose. The dealer takes whatever money you have placed on the Pass Line, that sumbitch.

  • Establishing a point

    If the shooter rolls any number other than the ones listed above, it's called "Establishing a Point."

Note than in all cases, the same shooter keeps the dice. On the come-out Roll, win, lose or establishing a point, it's still his turn to roll. How does the shooter lose the dice? By crapping out after a point has been established. I'll mention that again in later examples. With all that understood, it's time to move on to the next lesson...