The 15 Most Popular Variants of Craps

Craps is the most popular casino dice game in the world. Dice shooting has existed at least for the past 800 years, though it might date back to the Ancient World. Whatever the case, shooting dice is one of the most entertaining ways to gamble. Americans love craps, so today we look at the most popular craps variants.

Keep reading for the fifteen best versions of craps you will find in casinos. In truth, the original game of craps has the best odds you will find. Still, some jurisdictions do not allow standard craps, while some casinos don’t offer the game because of labor costs (craps uses four dealers). Sift through our list to find the best versions of craps in your area.

Craps Played with Different Rules and Bets

Several variants try to simplify the craps rules to encourage players to flock to the table. In many cases, these games have a slightly higher house edge.

  • Crapless Craps: The numbers 2, 3, and 12 are not automatic losers (“craps”) on the come-out roll. Instead, they establish the point like any other number. The 7 is a winner, though the 11 also establishes a point. Obviously, you still have a high chance of losing a passline bet, but it gives the shooter an outside chance to win despite a bad first roll.
  • High Point Craps: High Point Craps is similar. If you roll a low point craps (2 or 3), you ignore the first roll and re-roll the dice. If you roll a high number (11 or 12), the throw becomes a winner. All other totals count toward the point, but the catch is you must beat the point by rolling a higher total. High Point Craps offers a 1:1 payout.
  • Simplified Craps: In this game, the shooter wins if he rolls 2, 3, 4, 10, 11, or 12. If he or she rolls a 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9, then the shooter loses. Rolling a 2 pays 3:1, while other numbers produce a 1:1 payout. The house edge is 2.8%, so it is a game with a higher house edge than most basic bets in craps.
  • Die Rich Craps: This game is even simpler than Simplified Craps. The shooter only rolls one die, which is rolled from a dice cup. The shooter wins with a 6 on the come-out roll but loses with a 1. All other numbers establish the point.

Craps Games That Emphasize Box Bets over Come Bets

The following games are similar to those above, but they get rid of come bets and place bets while highlighting the box bets.

  • New York Craps: Also called double-end-dealer craps, it does not have a Come Bet, a Don’t Come Bet, or place bets. Instead, you make box bets on 4 to 6 and 8 to 10.
  • Fading Craps: Also known as Open Craps or Money Craps, this is a game similar in many ways to New York Craps. The table layout features box bets such as 4 to 6 and 8 to 10, but also has “Win” and “Lose” lines. Most distinctly, the player bets against a book. The casino takes a percentage of the action — usually 5% to 7% — to organize the game.
  • Scarney Craps: Another version where the Come Bet and Don’t Come Bet do not exist. While the operator does not charge a rake, it is designed to increase the profits of US land-based casinos. The gambling expert Jon Scarves devised the game to help casinos since craps tables must pay four dealers.

Craps Variants in Places That Ban Dice Shooting

Some cities and states ban the use of dice to settle bets. In those places, enterprising casino owners have found ways to get around the ban – usually by offering craps with cards. Here are the games they devised.

  • Diceless Craps: This game uses a deck of cards to replace the craps dice. Otherwise, the same craps rules apply. Diceless Craps is used in jurisdictions that ban the use of dice to resolve bets, much like the next version of craps.
  • Craps with Cards and Dice: Also called California-style craps. Again, this game is played in places that ban gambling on dice rolls. Most famously played in California, the dice roll doesn’t determine results. Instead, cards are used as a replacement for the dice roll.

Electronic Craps in Land-Based Casinos

Newfangled electronic craps machines now exist in some casinos. These use an RNG to resolve bets, while helping casinos undercut labor costs through automation. If you like this form of gambling, then Bubble Craps Machines are kind of neat. If not, avoid craps EGMs like the plague.

  • Bubble Craps Machines: A newer innovation in land-based casinos, this is an electronic craps machine that eliminates the need for dealers. Bubble Craps Machines have a third dice programmed into the game, which allows casino operators to offer electronic craps or electronic Sic Bo. In either case, an RNG determines results.

Craps Played for High or Low Limits

Some casinos try to stand out by offering the least expensive game of craps in town. Others try to lure premium players and whales with a high-limit version of craps. If you fall into the group of players with the ability to play either version of the game, consider yourself a lucky dice shooter.

  • Low Limit Craps: This is a great game if you can find it. Its craps played for as little as $3 per round of dice. Low Limit Craps is a great way for beginners to learn to shoot dice in a brick-and-mortar casino.
  • High Limit Craps: Brick-and-mortar casinos in Las Vegas and other casino hubs often have a high roller table. Unlike other games, the odds are not any better than other craps tables, though the comps and rewards are out of this world.

Variants of Online Craps

Online craps has three major versions, though all three have the same rules. Online craps and mobile craps use software for specific devices, while live dealer craps can be used by desktop or mobile user.

  • Online Craps: A game played at online casinos with simulation software and a random number generator (RNG). Most US online casinos have at least one version of craps online in their table games section.
  • Mobile Craps: Also found at online casinos, this is a version designed for Android and Apple iOS devices. Because of the complicated betting layout, it’s often best to play mobile craps using a tablet computer instead of a smartphone. With the use of HTML5 technology, the graphics and gameplay are often suited for Android phones and iPhones these days.
  • Live Dealer Craps: Another game found at online casinos, though in this case, Live Craps uses real-life dealers. The head dealer shoots the dice, but otherwise, it’s the same game found in land-based casinos. Because the live dealer studios have to pay four dealers instead of a single dealer at Live Blackjack, Live Baccarat, and Live Roulette, this game has fallen out of favor with US live dealer casinos.

Other Casino Dice Games

We have one honorable mention. While it is not craps, Sic Bo sometimes replaces craps as a dice game in online and offline settings. Due to a worse house edge, Sic Bo is an inferior game to craps. Still, we would be remiss if we failed to mention that you’ll encounter this game as you seek out the best craps games.

  • Sic Bo: This is not craps, but Sic Bo is another dice game that players might encounter. Since it’s an option with Bubble Craps Machines, we decided to mention the option. Sic Bo is a Chinese dice game that means “Hi/Lo”. It uses three dice and a dice cup to resolve bets. It has a wide range of betting options. Like craps, some of the bets with higher payouts are sucker bets. Unlike craps, it does not offer the same low house edge for basic bets.

Craps Variants FAQ

What are the types of craps I’ll find online?

The basic options are online craps, mobile craps, and live dealer craps. All three have the same basic craps rules, though they are designed for different computer devices. All three have the house (software or dealer) roll the dice, though Live Craps is otherwise more like land-based craps than anything you’ll play online. You might find some of the variants above — like Crapless Craps or High Point Craps — online, but it’s rare.

What is California-style craps?

California Craps is a version of the game that resolves play with cards instead of dice. You might find a 12-card deck, a 36-card deck, or a shoe with hundreds of cards. The cards depict all number combinations that would come from rolling two dice. The game uses different colored dice to determine which set of cards to use.

Why is craps different in California?

The California Penal Code bans dice gambling. To get around that ban, tribal casinos offer California Craps — a game determined by cards instead of dice. That is not entirely true, because colored dice randomize which set of cards determines the outcome of the game. The upshot is California Craps gets around a ban on dice shooting.

What is the best craps system?

Making the basic bets is the best craps system. The Passline Bet and Come Bet have a house edge of 1.41%, while the Don’t Pass Bet and Don’t Come Bet each have a house edge of 1.36%. Taking the odds lets you increase your bet with a 0.00% house edge, though casinos limit the odds. All other craps bets have worse odds, so sticking with the basic craps bets is the best strategy you can use.

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