Craps is my favorite game at the casino. Sadly, much of what I like about the game is lost in online casino craps. Still, it’s a great way to learn to play before you try it at a brick and mortar casino.
What does online casino craps lack?
For me, what makes the game so great is the camaraderie and excitement involved in cheering on the shooter. When a shooter goes on a winning streak, and everyone’s winning lots of money–well, it’s a rush like no other.
Some people, though, love to play online. If you think you might be one of them, but you’re not sure how to get started, this post is for you.
1- How to Play Craps at an Online Casino
The basics of online casino craps are the same as the basics for the traditional game in a casino. Craps is played in rounds. Each round starts with a “come-out roll”.
On the come out roll, the shooter’s “goal” is to roll a 7 or an 11. If the shooter succeeds, anyone who bet on the shooter to succeed wins. (That bet is called the “pass line bet”. More about that later.) Also, the shooter gets to keep rolling the dice. A new round starts.
If the shooter rolls a 2, 3, or 12, she’s failed. Anyone who placed a pass line bet loses their bet. Also, the shooter turns the dice over to the next player at the table. A new round starts.
If the shooter rolls any other number, a “point” is set. The pass line bet stays in action until the shooter rolls the point again (success) or rolls a 7 (failure).
If the shooter rolls the point, she gets to keep rolling, and a new round starts. The pass line bet is a winner.
If the shooter roll a 7, the pass line bet is a loser. A new round stars with a new shooter.
The pass line bet is the basic bet of the game, and it’s the best most players stick with. You can place a lot of other bets at the craps table, online or off, but this is your bread and butter.
The house edge on the pass line bet is only 1.41%, making it one of the best bets in the casino.
2- Some Craps Terms You Might Need to Learn Before Playing
Here are some definitions of some craps terms that would be useful to know before playing:
- Come bet – This is the same bet as the pass line bet, but it treats a roll subsequent to the come out roll as a new come out roll.
- Come out roll – The first roll of a round.
- Don’t come bet – This is the same as the don’t pass bet, but it treats a roll subsequent to the come out roll as a new come out roll.
- Don’t pass bet – A bet that the shooter will fail. It pays even money. The house edge is slightly better on this bet, but it’s only a difference of 0.05%.
- House edge – The amount of each bet you’re mathematically expected to lose in the long run. The higher the house edge, the likelier you are to lose.
- Odds bet – A bet you can make when the shooter sets a point. It’s set as a multiple of your pass line (or don’t pass) bet. It pays off at true odds. It’s one of only 2 bets in the casino which has a 0% house edge.
- Pass line bet – A bet that the shooter will succeed. It pays even money.
- Point – The number the shooter needs to roll later in the round to succeed.
- Seven out – To roll a 7 when you’re trying to roll a point. This ends the round for you, and it’s the end of your turn as the shooter.
- Shooter – The person rolling the dice.
- Sucker bets – The worst bets at the craps table–the ones with the highest house edge.
There’s more to learn, but that’s enough to get you started–especially if your goal is to play craps online.
3- How to Bet on Craps without Losing All Your Money
If you stick only to the bets I’ve mentioned so far in this post, you’ll have the bets odds of winning at the table. You should always bet pass or don’t pass, and you should always take the maximum amount on the odds bet that you can. Since the odds bet pays off at true odds, it reduces the cumulative house edge on the money you have in play.
The house edge on the pass line bet is 1.41%.
But if you place 1X odds–an odds bet the same size as your pass line bet–the cumulative house edge on the 2 bets is only 0.85%. Most casinos, online or not, have a limit to how much you can bet on the pass line.
If you can find a casino that allows you to bet 100X on the odds bet, the house edge overall drops to 0.02%. That’s as close to 0 as you’ll find when dealing with craps bets.
The don’t pass bet is marginally better than the pass bet, so it’s okay, too. And the come and don’t come bets are basically just pass and don’t pass bets that treat a later roll as your come out roll. The house edge is the same on those.
The other bets at the table, though, offer much worse odds. If you want the best chance of walking away from the table a winner, avoid all those other bets. The worst bets at the craps table have a house edge of 10% or more.
Those are called sucker bets.
Don’t make sucker bets, whether you’re playing online or in a land-based casino.
4- How to Practice Craps Online for Free
I think the best way to learn to play is to practice craps online for free. All online casinos (except live dealer casinos) allow you to try out their games in “play money” mode. You can’t lose or win any real money–just pretend chips.
The advantages to this are easy to see. You get a chance to learn the flow of the game and where to put your bets without having to risk looking like an idiot. Also, since there’s no real money on the line, you can’t get stuck losing bets you didn’t intend to make.
And if you think you might want to play craps online at a casino, you’ll have an idea of whether or not you like the casino in question before you place a bet there.
I do have an anecdotal experience about one of these online casinos, too. Several years ago, I tried the free games at one of the most famous online casinos. I noticed that I was winning way more often than I expected to.
I have no proof of this, but I’m convinced that the odds on the play money game were tilted in my favor. You can see how that would motivate a gambler to try the real money games, right?
I did try the real money games. I never saw any indication that I was losing more or more quickly than I would have expected to.
I’m confident that the random number generators at these casinos provide a fair approximation of the odds you’d see at a real craps table.
5- How to Move Up to Real Money Craps Online When You’re Ready
Once you’re comfortable with the game and the odds, you can move up to real money craps. You can try playing online for real money, and you might really enjoy it. I prefer craps in a real casino, with other players, but your mileage might vary.
I recommend trying these new live dealer craps casinos, too. Something about playing with real dice, even if you only get to see them through a webcam, has a charm to it that other online craps games just don’t have.
The best case scenario is that you can get to Las Vegas or Reno and experience the thrill and adrenaline of playing real craps with real people. You won’t forget it.
I have a couple of tips:
The first is to manage your craps bankroll appropriately. This means not gambling with money you can’t afford to lose. It doesn’t matter how lucky you’re feeling; you shouldn’t gamble with the rent money.
Also, keep your craps play simple. Stick with the easy, basic bets, and you’ll lose less money than the other people at the table in the long run.
The math will make sure of that.
6- What You Need to Realize about Online Casino Craps Reviews
Most online casino information portals don’t have specific pages devoted to reviewing the craps games at various software powered casinos. The game just isn’t that popular online.
Instead, you’ll find lots of casino reviews that look at the overall experience at the casino. These reviews can often help you make a decision about which online casino might be appropriate for you.
But you should also understand that most of the sites offering online casino craps reviews are in bed with the casinos. That’s because the casinos pay commissions to webmasters who refer them players.
Those commissions can be as straightforward as as flat fee per depositor. They might also be complicated deals where the webmaster gets a share of the revenue lost by their referred players.
Sometimes these deals vary the percentage based on how many players are being referred each month.
So if a review of an online casino craps sounds too glowing, it’s probably because the webmaster is just after commissions. You can find even-handed, legitimate casino reviews, too. But they’re not as common.
7- How to Win at Craps All the Time
If you really want to learn how to win at craps all the time, you should probably do some looking into dice control and dice setting techniques. These are methods that are supposed to adjust the odds against 7ing out and crapping out just enough to get an edge against the casino.
I’m skeptical of whether such techniques work. It would take a lot of dedication to even begin learning such a technique. You’d need a realistic craps table and somewhere to put it. Otherwise, how would you be able to practice?
That being said, some people I respect in the gambling writing community are convinced that dice control is a possibility. If you have any anecdotes to share about your experiences trying to learn how to control the dice, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Craps is the most exciting, fun game in the casino. It’s easy to learn how to play, too–especially if you stick with the basic bets. The other great thing about sticking with the basic bets is that those are the bets with the best odds.
You can learn how to play for free online using the free software available at almost any online casino. You can even try playing for real money online before hitting a brick and mortar casino.
Winning at craps on a consistent basis is harder than it sounds, though. Betting systems don’t work. Dice control might work, but I promise it’s a hard skill to develop.
Finally, take all the online casino craps reviews you read with a grain of salt. Yes, many webmasters do a fine job of providing honest, even-handed reviews of online casinos.
But all of us in the business have a financial incentive to convince you to sign up at an online casino. This results in biased reviews on many sites.
One thing you might look for when reading such a review is a list of pros and cons. Reviews that are glowingly positive and only list selling points are probably useless.