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There are three primary ways to play craps online. The availability of each option depends on the state in which you live and what you are looking for from an online craps experience.
Online craps come in a variety of forms including no-download, live, mobile, Android, social and free gaming. Here we walk you through the basics of how to play (and what you can expect) with each version, and how to win. If you choose to play at a physical casino, there are rules of etiquette at the craps table that you should know about. We explain those in detail below.
Here are some of the best ways to play craps online:
- Play free craps online – Available in all states
- Play craps for cash prizes at online sweepstakes casino sites – Available in all states except Washington
- Play craps online for real money – Available in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and West Virginia
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If you don’t happen to live in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, or West Virginia your best bet is a sweepstakes online casino where you can play online craps for real cash prizes.
How Sweepstakes Casinos Work
Sweepstakes casinos use digital coins instead of real money as currency. Players accumulate digital coins by winning games and can later exchange them for cash prizes. Because sweepstakes casinos are not legally classified as gambling, they are popular among players who live in states that have not yet legalized real money online gambling. The sweepstakes format provides a similar, but legal alternative to the online casino experience.
In order to participate in a sweepstakes casino’s games, you must first buy their coins (or whatever they label as their sweepstakes currency). Your purchased coins typically come with a set number of free sweeps coins. You cannot directly deposit money into an account or withdraw money.
Your purchased coins are valid only for recreational gaming at the sweepstakes casino. Your free sweeps coins can be played on sweepstakes games, and your winnings can then be exchanged for real prizes.
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Chumba Casino is a great option as it offers both slots and table games. Its variety is what makes it a unique sweepstakes casino.
Free Craps Game
Game enthusiasts can play free craps online through a number of different sources. Social gaming provides many opportunities through networking websites like Facebook. Online games sites like Zynga offer free casino table games. Independent software designers offer free downloadable game apps, while people can go to Android Market or iTunes to download $1.99 gaming apps and play for free at their own leisure. ESPN Games is another well-frequented opportunity to play casino games for free. You can also play craps for free right here at www.gamblingonline.com.
Beyond those options, plenty of websites offer casino game simulators. These sites have programs designed by everyday people simply for fun, entertainment, or even instruction. Finally, real money online casinos offer free promotional versions of their games. The brand name mobile casinos also offer freebie versions of their most popular games for promotional reasons. Craps is certain to be one of the games supported.
Different Ways to Play Craps for Free
Craps Simulators – Game simulators are tools offered by instructors and analysts to players who want to learn about the game or perfect their strategy. Craps Lite on AppCralwr is a simple and straightforward downloadable craps game (from overhead) for people who play using iPhone and iPad. This craps app is 100% free, so you should be playing with the equivalent of Monopoly money in a couple of minutes.
Google Play – Free Craps Apps – Google Play, which once was called “Android Market”, has many free craps apps both for Android gaming and iOS mobile devices. Live Holdem Pro offers a craps game.
Astraware Casino can be downloaded at the Apple Apps Store, Google Play’s Android App store, and Amazon Apps for the Kindle Fire. Astraware Casino offers simulated craps, baccarat, roulette, blackjack, Texas hold’em, Derby, keno, video poker, and slots.
iTunes Craps Downloads – On iTunes, Craps: Best Free Casino Betting Game by Dumadu Games is the highest-rated craps app. The December 2014 design is free for download and considered a top selection. Other games exist, though.
Casino Huit: Craps by 8-Bit Development, Craps Master 3D by AreaSixtyOne LLC, Craps Ultimate by Vetti Vandan, and Craps Shooter Free by Andrew Bradnan are all available as freeplay downloads. Among the games listed, I would recommend Craps Master 3D for the most realistic gaming experience. Though some players have complained about it gameplay, all agreed that it’s still entertaining and it has the best graphics.
Where Not to Play
Many online gaming communities do not want any contact with casino gambling, even if their game simulators are free. For instance, I could find no casino gaming on ESPN Arcade. I’m convinced the ESPN gaming website, which is one of the biggest on the Internet, used to have casino games. The Disney Corporation must not want the association. No problems, though, because free craps can be found on hundreds, if not thousands, of legit web addresses on the Internet.
Zynga – Zynga is another social gaming website that does not seem to offer dice games at the moment. I found several slots games and multiple free downloads for poker, but nothing for craps players.
Players living in the United Kingdom may be able to play craps for free online on Zynga, but they can shoot virtual dice for real money through the Zynga UK interface. While I’m not suggesting that option, UK players should know they can enjoy Zynga in ways most people cannot. A 2013 attempt by the social gaming company to legalize casino gambling failed, which hurt stock prices of the gaming company. They are not likely to attempt such a complicated move in the near future. American players need to look somewhere else, at least in 2015.
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Online craps is an expansive subject. Consider all the ways a player can shoot dice on the Internet: classic online casinos, mobile gaming apps, live dealer craps, simulators, and social games. Then imagine all the advice, opinion, and guide material people post on blogs and static websites. Then consider the players’ forums and message boards where the topic is discussed, often with great emotion and sometimes with logic. Add it all together and reading about craps online can get a little confusing.
Having a one-source guide to online craps is a handy reference. On this site, I hope to build a handy resource for people researching their dice gaming hobby. While it might be presumptuous to call any one source comprehensive, I want to provide a framework for study. All the topics will be discussed, including the gaming technology, mathematics, and strategy considerations. Where a citation is needed, I’ll link to authoritative web pages that support an assertion. When this craps resource cannot cover the subject in great enough detail, I’ll link to more detailed articles from respected figures. When gaming tech is better explained by an industry expert, I’ll direct readers to game specs and other reviews.
Once finished, readers should have a ready tool for the study of online craps. This is meant as a how-to guide for free craps hobbyists and real money gamblers alike. When readers finish browsing this site, they should understand the best bets on the craps table, along with the limits that strategy plays in the game. Any player reading this site should feel comfortable playing craps anywhere in the world, in the brick-and-mortar, online, or mobile casino industries. Below is a quick overview of the topics we’ll discuss.
I lay the foundation for everything else by providing a basic introduction to dice shooting. This includes a discussion of the basic bets and the table layout. Craps has its own etiquette, so I’ll discuss how players should treat dealers and their fellow gamblers. I’ll answer basic questions people might ask in an FAQ format. Hopefully, the question-and-answer section gets larger as more people read the site and email questions of their own.
This site also discusses the background of the game. I include a craps glossary, full of the key terminology. I’ve read that larger dictionaries with more esoteric terms are a little overwhelming to newbies, so I provide the most basic slang and their definitions. One way casinos lure people into sucker bets is to have lots of exotic bets with cool-sounding names. Players naturally think the smarter gamblers know this inside information and try them out themselves. In craps more than any casino table game, these are the sucker bets.
I also provide interesting facts and tidbits about the craps through the generations. The history of craps is mysterious at a certain point in the distant past, but I’ll provide the leading theories and a few anecdotes about the interesting historical figures in the game’s development. And while shooting dice is a product of our culture, it has impacted the culture just the same. I’m a movie buff, so I provide a list of films that had craps depicted in them. One day, I may discuss fiction and non-fiction books that reference the game.
Playing Craps Online
Most of the topics are going to focus on the online craps industry, though. The readers of this site are on the Internet, so the basic assumption is they’re here wanting to study online casino gaming. That means a discussion of gaming technology, by and large. This is important, whether you barely know how to turn on a computer or you consider yourself a hacker. A gambler can be an old veteran at the land-based craps table, but if they don’t understand the important aspects of choosing online and mobile casinos, their Internet experience won’t go well.
That means posting articles on the major computers and operating systems used to gamble. This site assumes most players play using Microsoft Windows PCs because online casinos are set up for those users. Many of the savvy gamblers use Mac desktop computers and laptop notebooks, so I’ll discuss the implications for iMac, MacBook, the old iBook, and even Mac Pro computers. I’ll also discuss the casino gaming experience from the perspective of those who use the Linux operating system.
Because the casino tech support is geared towards Windows computers, many online casinos still are not compatible with Mac and Linux devices. For that reason, no-download Flash and Java games are important to discuss. Even those with Microsoft gadgets might want to try the instant play games because they don’t want shortcuts to their casino gambling activities on their desktop for kids to find. Also, people who travel a lot might not want their laptops with such interfaces. For many reasons, readers might want to try out the no-download version of a casino, so I’ll provide that information.
Flash games do not require a casino software download. Instead, the player clicks on a link which says “Flash Game”, “Flash Casino”, “instant Play”, or “No-Download”. Once this is hit, the games install in the web browser instead of a software packet. These browser-based games are getting more popular each year. While the technology used to lag behind the downloadable software, it now has the same graphic and audio capabilities. The main limitation is that many online casinos only offer a certain percentage of their games in the Flash version. 50% is a decent assumption, but the limitations generally show up in slots gaming. All casinos are going to offer craps.
I also discuss Java gaming in brief. Java is an open-source programming language that can be written to create instant play games, too. Some online casinos prefer to offer Java games instead of Flash games. Since Adobe has suggested it might cancel Flash Player one of these days, it’s important that players know about the alternatives.
Options are key in online gaming. One of the best options for craps players is live dealer games. Imagine a casino studio out there somewhere in the world (usually the Baltic States or Central America) with live craps dealers. These people play live craps and broadcast it to their customers via live streaming video. Instead of a random number generator and a simulated crap table, you get to play a real game over the computer feed. The camera stays on the table at all times. Players can interact with dealers and pit bosses like they would in a casino. Increasingly, interaction with other players is available. Live craps restores the online game to the way it was meant to be played.
As much as 40% of real money Internet gambling is done through mobile devices these days. Most gaming experts believe mobile casinos eventually will command as much as 60% of the market. It’s easy to see why. Most people these days can’t seem to function without their iPhones or Android smartphones. It was only a matter of time before the love for online casino gambling got transferred to the mobile cell phone market.
I’ll discuss the many options for mobile play, starting with the iOS operating system. IOS craps can be played on the Apple iPhone, the iPad tablet computer, or even the iPod Mini. With one downloaded mobile craps app, you can be playing on your iPhone 4, iPhone 5, or massive iPhone 6-Plus. Whether you use the iPad Air or Mini, the same goes for tablet computers. Because iOS is all built for one company’s devices, it’s relatively easy to remember the gaming options. The same can’t be said for Android craps, though.
Android craps are played on mobile devices using the Android operating system from Google and a consortium of other tech companies. There are so many different types of Android smartphones and tablet computers, it gets confusing for even the tech geeks like myself. I’ll devote pages to help sift through the Android devices while providing an overview of the mobile gaming process.
Get ready to hear about the Sony Xperia Tablet Z, the Google Nexus 10, Lenovo Yoga 10+ HD, the Asus Nexus 7, Asus Transformer Pad Infinity, Asus Transformer Prime, the various Samsung Galaxy models, and even the Amazon Kindle Fire HD. It can all get awfully confusing, so read about the pros and cons of playing craps on each.
If anything, the Android cellphone market is more confusing. If it’s hard to know whether the Samsung Galaxy S5 is better than the Moto X or LG G3, you’ll need to read an article devoted to the subject. I’ll discuss the HTC One M8, the Motorola Nexus 6, the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, and a host of other top models. Some gamblers already know what they want and don’t need a primer. Many others are going to want to read my guide to craps played on Android smartphones.
Those who use Blackberry, Windows Phone, and other alternative mobile operating systems shouldn’t worry. I’ll also discuss your brands and point you in the direction of mobile casinos that support your devices. You’ll find Blackberry casinos and Windows casinos, but even those who use Symbian and Java mobile smartphones are going to be able to play craps online.
Social Gaming and Free Craps
I don’t want to leave out the players of freebie craps. In many ways, everything discussed above is meant for the free craps players, too. Online and mobile casinos tend to offer a freeplay version of their games if you register an account on their site. That being said, I want to discuss those forms of gambling which are only for free players. The most popular way to play craps for free these days is social gaming.
Social craps is a way to play on social networking sites like Facebook. Someone downloads a craps gaming app (often for $1.99) from Android Marketplace or iTunes. Once this is done, they can play with Facebook friends or in the wider international gaming community. Either way, the money wagered is simulated. Everything is for fun.
That’s the point of online craps: it provides gaming for every type of player. Whether you like free things, you’re a penny player, or you’re a high roller, someone has your game uploaded to the Internet. Search enough and you’ll find the perfect game of craps for you. Keep reading our online craps page and you’ll find that game.
Craps isn’t a stuffy game at all. In fact, it’s one of the most exciting games in the casino, and players regularly jump up and down, yell, and scream. It’s like being at a sporting event with a lot of fans, all of whom have money on their favorite team.
As a result, a lot of behavior that wouldn’t be appropriate at a formal dinner is perfectly appropriate at the craps table. That being said, some craps etiquette should be observed, but it’s nothing too complicated, and it’s certainly not something to stress out about.
This page focuses on craps etiquette and how to behave at the craps table.
Being at the Craps Table
A craps table is usually about three times as big as a blackjack table. Up to a dozen people normally play at a craps table, and it’s customary to stand unless you have some kind of physical disability. If you find a table that looks crowded, it’s polite to find another, less crowded table. Another option is to wait until the action at the table slows down and there’s room for you.
You can buy chips at the craps table. When you do this, you should put your cash on the table. Do NOT put your money into a casino dealer’s hand. Wait until the dice are at the center of the table, too—it’s not just impolite to put your hands into a spot where the dice might hit them. It’s also considered unlucky, which might even be worse than impolite.
Being the Shooter
The player at the table who rolls the dice is called the shooter. Everyone playing gets a chance to throw the dice, and each round the dice move around the table to the next person. It’s perfectly polite to decline being the shooter if you want to.
If you are the shooter, you must keep the dice in view at all times. This is a casino protocol that prevents cheating.
You should also make sure that you throw the dice hard enough to bounce off the end wall of the table.
Finally, if you’re the shooter, just use one hand.
Right Bettors and Wrong Bettors
Right bettors bet on the shooter to win on either the come-out roll or after the number is set. Wrong bettors bet on the shooter to lose. It’s not necessarily impolite to bet the wrong way every time, but it changes the nature of the game a bit.
Look at it this way. You’re at a table with ten other people, all of whom are rooting for the shooter. Do you want to be the one person at the table rooting against him? Some contrary types might want to, but for most people, being a right bettor makes a lot of sense. It’s more fun when you can high-five the patron next to you when the shooter gets on a hot streak.
Don’t Push Your System
Focus on playing your game. Your job isn’t to educate the other players at the table unless they ask you for help. You certainly shouldn’t advise them to follow any betting systems you’ve learned or devised. All of those systems are mathematically worthless, whether you believe it or not.
If someone else is superstitious or has a system, and you’re skeptical, keep it to yourself. It might seem like it’s more polite to dispel superstitions than it is to promote your betting system, but the reality is that it isn’t.
You also shouldn’t tell other people how to play unless they ask for help. The casino has employees who will help monitor the action and keep the game going. Mind your own business is good etiquette no matter what the endeavor.
Watch Your Alcohol Intake
Being drunk at the craps table ensures two things. You’ll make bad decisions, and you’ll annoy other people. It’s fine to drink and enjoy alcohol. You’re there to have fun, after all. But keep it within reason.
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Speaking of drinking, just because the cocktail waitress brings you free drinks doesn’t mean she doesn’t get a tip. Be sure to always tip her a dollar or two, every time she brings you a drink. If you can’t afford to tip the cocktail waitress, you’ve got no business ordering drinks (or playing craps, for that matter.)
If you’re losing at the table, you’re not expected to tip the dealer. But if you’re winning, it’s customary to tip the dealers. One classy way to do this is to place a bet on their behalf. Don’t tip so much that you give away all your profits, though. 10% of your winnings toward tipping is plenty, but if you’re feeling generous, 20% isn’t unheard of. And if the dealer is a jerk (and that happens sometimes), don’t tip.
Don’t Try to Cheat
Cheating at gambling games in major casino destinations isn’t just a faux pas. It’s also illegal. This is just common sense, but don’t try to cheat at craps or any other casino game.
Craps etiquette isn’t hard to learn. Most of it is common sense, and etiquette at the craps table is similar to etiquette in most other places. Try to treat other people the way you’d like to be treated, and you’ll do fine.
Craps Glossary of Terms
Craps is a game with many esoteric-sounding terms and jargon. New players should not be intimidated by the terminology and oddball etiquette of dice shooting. Craps is not nearly as complicated as it looks.
Most of the wagering options are sucker bets, so you only need to learn a handful of the basic wagers to enjoy craps fully. Here is a glossary of craps terms to get you started.
Aces – See “Snakeyes”.
Base Dealer – Two dealers who stand on either side of the boxman, handling bets on their half of the table. They take instructions from the boxman.
Bones – The dice.
Boxman – The boxman is the seated employee in the center of the table who handles the casino chips, supervises the base dealers, and handles money transactions.
Black – Dealer term for $100. A $100 chip is black.
Cold Dice – When the shooters keep failing to make their point, the dice are cold.
Coloring Up – Process of exchanging chips of one color for chips of another color, usually for larger denominations. This is done by the boxman.
Come Bet – The “come out” bet is much like the pass bet, except it occurs after the point is established. At this point, you want the dice to hit the point instead of the 7.
Comps – Complimentary drinks, meals, hotel rooms, or other incentives to keep playing. Freebies. /amazon-wild-free-slot-machine-game.html. Some casinos offer cashback, depending on the betting stakes.
Crap Number – The 2, 3, and 12. Roll any one of these are you crap out.
Crap Out – To lose on the come out roll.
Don’t Come Bet – Made after the point is established, it is similar to the “don’t pass” bet. You are betting against the shooter–thus, on the 7.
Don’t Pass Bet – Made on the come out roll, the “don’t pass” bet is the opposite of the pass bet. You are betting against the shooter. The don’t pass wager has the best house edge in the game: 1.35%.
Front Line – Alternate phrase for a pass line bet.
Garden – A field bet.
Hot Dice – When the shooter is winning a lot of rolls.
Hot Table – The same as hot dice, except the good luck is imparted to the table itself and not the dice.
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Lay-Out – The craps table or, better put, the printed bets on the craps table.
Lay Odds – Once a point is established, players can make an additional bet called laying the odds. This bet has a house edge of 0%, so it works to lower the overall house edge on a player’s original bet. For this reason, the size of an odds bet is limited by the casino. Gamblers should learn how laying odds works and use it whenever possible, because it boosts one’s chances of winning.
Marker – A plastic disk used to mark the point. One side has the word “on” and the other side has the word “off”. Not to be confused with casino markers, which are IOUs (to the casino) signed by high rollers when the play on credit.
Natural – Rolling a 7 or an 11 on the come out roll. This is an automatic winner for the shooter and all who make the pass line bet.
Odds Bet – A second wager made in addition to the original bet. See “Lay Odds”. This is important for lowering the house edge in craps, so learn the odds bet.
On – When the odds are active on the next roll, the marker is turned to the “On” side.
Off – When the odds are not active on the next roll, the marker is turned to the “Off” side.
Pass Line Bet – The basic bet in craps is the pass line bet or “pass bet”. To win, you need to roll a 7 or 11. If you roll a 2, 3, or 12, you lose. Any other number sets a “point”. The house edge on this wager is 1.41%, which is the second-best bet in the game.
Rack – The rail along the edge of the table where player chips are kept.
Right Better – A gambler with a wager on the pass line bet. Essentially, they are betting with the shooter. It is considered slightly unfriendly to make the “don’t pass” bet, which is why this is called the “right” better. While it is within etiquette to bet against the shooter (as the odds are better), it is considered rude to celebrate when you make the “don’t pass” or don’t come bet and win.
Seven Out – To roll a seven on the come out roll. To lose on the first roll.
Shooter – The person rolling the dice at any given time. Typically, a player is the shooter until they lose a roll, at which point the option to shoot dice or not is passed clockwise around the table.
Snakeyes – When the dice come up 1-1, because it looks like two beady little eyes. Snakeyes is bad, because the shooter loses. A player can bet “aces”, which is a long-odds bet that the dice will come up 1-1
Stickman – A stickman stands across the table from the boxman. He holds the long stick which retrieves the dice, takes bets in the center of the table, and calls out the results of the roll
Sucker Bet – When the house edge is so high no smart gambler would take the bet.
The Boys – A slang term for the craps dealers.
Toke – Slang term for a tip.
World Bet – A bet five numbers: all the horn numbers (2, 3, 11, and 12) and the 7.
Wrong Better – Betting against the shooter. Making a don’t pass or don’t come bet. See “Right Better” for the craps etiquette on betting.
Yo or Yo-leven – Used to indicate an eleven was rolled. Yo or “Yo-leven” is used, so the players do not confuse the words “seven” and “eleven” amidst the background noise of the casino.
The terminology above should get you started on dice shooting. Many bets exist in craps, but most of them are sucker bets. Stick with the basics and you’ll do alright when playing craps.
The history of craps might date back to the time of the Crusades in the 12th and 13th centuries. The French knights who went to the Holy Land to fight Islam brought back many influences, including algebra, new poetic styles, and lost Greco-Roman writings. Apparently, gambling on dice games might have been one influence. The French quickly added their own complicated rules to the game, making it their own.
The game received its name from the French word “crapaud”, which means “toad”. Early dice shooters are thought to have crouched like a toad when playing the game, much like they do in television and movie depictions of back-alley craps games. The tales of the game’s origin in the Crusades could be apocryphal, though, because craps might have come from other antecedents.
History of Dice Games
Dice games have existed for thousands of years. For instance, a form of backgammon is thought to have been played in the Burnt City of Iran as early as 3000 B.C. While the Hebrew practice of casting lots was not (normally) a form of gambling, the Biblical depiction of Roman soldiers casting lots for the dead Jesus’s clothes certainly reminds one of gambling.
Hazard and Craps
The English dice game “Hazard” might well be the progenitor of craps. Hazard is mentioned in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, which was written in the 1370s or 1380s. The English and the French were locked in the Hundred Years War at the time, as the English kings sought to control half (or more) of the Kingdom of France. Americans forget how close England and France are, and therefore how much influence each has had on the culture of the other. Paris and London are a little over 200 miles apart.
With the intricate diplomacy of the times and soldiers frequently changing sides in the conflicts, in the earlier days, Hazard might well have influenced the French to create their own dice game. Later in its history, Hazard certainly played a key role in the development of craps.
Craps Comes to America
In England in the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries, Hazard became a popular game with the English-speaking peoples. Bernard de Marigny, a French-Creole nobleman living in the French-controlled Mississippi River Valley, visited England and learned to play Hazard.
De Marigny, whose full name was Jean-Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville, borrowed a number of ideas from the English dice game and simplified those concepts into modern craps. He brought the game to New Orleans, where it first gained the name “crapaud”.
World War II
During World War II, a street-version of craps became a popular game among American soldiers. The G.I.s often did not have a proper surface to shoot their dice on, so they used Army blankets for their rolls.
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Players often did not have a solid back wall for bouncing the dice as is proper in casino versions, so this is when the first dice control methods are known to have been used. The first of these was called the “army blanket roll”. To this day, dice control methods in craps are controversial. Some respected experts say they are real, while others remain skeptical.
After the war, craps became a casino game in destination spots like Las Vegas and Monte Carlo. Soldiers were familiar with the game, in an era of affluence, Americans began to take their vacations in Sin City. By the 1950s, all Las Vegas casinos had their own craps tables. Over the course of the next generation, the traditional craps bets were added to the game.
Craps became popular because it encouraged camaraderie among gamblers. Also, dice shooting is a naturally exciting form of gambling, due to the wild swings and quick game resolution. Even better, among the games with no distinguishable mathematical strategies to learn, craps has some of the best odds from a player’s perspective. Only the need to provide four staff members to a craps table kept the game from being featured more often in casinos across the United States–and around the globe.
When Internet gambling began to develop, online craps was one of the first games offered. With a random number generator and basic computer graphics, designers could simulate the roll of the dice. One big problem existed with online casino craps, though.
Craps is best enjoyed as a community game. Playing alongside a number of other colorful characters, sharing the ups and downs of gambling, is how dice are meant to be enjoyed. Online craps simply could not reproduce that experience in the early stages of development. As graphics, gameplay, and online interfaces have improved, the ability to have conversations through instant messages developed. Some players still wanted the old game played on the Internet, though.
Live dealer craps finally restored the game to its original look and feel. These days, players can enjoy real craps streamed live from a gambling studio via the same live streaming technology used for Netflix and Hulu videos.
Also, mobile craps applications exist which allow players to gamble using their Android smartphones, iPhones, and iPad tablet computers. Simply go to a mobile casino and click on the appropriate craps apps link. This takes you to Android Marketplace or iTunes or some other appropriate downloadable apps page.
Are Craps Games Rigged?
If you play at a licensed online casino, then virtual craps games you play on that site are not rigged. Legitimate casinos are audited both by government regulators and respected third party professionals. If the games were rigged, then those audits would turn up suspicious activity.
How Random Number Generators Work
The technology used to support online craps games is over 30 years old. Internet casino software uses true random number generators. RNGs are set to randomly generate results with a specific house edge programmed into the algorithm. While the probability of any given outcome of a dice roll remains the same from one bet to the next, the results differ with each roll of the craps dice.
When using random number generator software, a record is made of each result. This record can be reviewed by any number of individuals. The casino operator has staff to monitor results, to find odd patterns in how the games play out. Though mathematical probability says that the results should follow a set pattern, limited samplings of dice rolls are going to vary a great deal from the probabilities. The operator wants to know whether the software is working properly, while also checking to make sure advantage play (on either side) is within the predicted range or variance.
Scandals Have Happened
In the early days of online gambling, a few scandals happened. In those cases, disgruntled or unethical employees would chance the programming to affect the outcome of the game. Those people were discovered and prosecuted and more intensive security procedures were instituted. No major lapses have happened since 2004 or 2005, so players should be assured their games are legal and fair.
Technical Systems Testing
One of the reasons the industry is fairer than 10 or 15 years ago is the industry has evolved. Third-party auditors are used by legit websites to assure fairness and security. Technical Systems Testing is an example of a company hired by trustworthy online casinos to independently audit their website’s performance.
TST has been around since 1993, so it is a trusted and time-tested auditor. The Australian company was purchased by Gaming Laboratories International in 2010. The GLI connection has allowed TST to expand its operations on a global scale so that many of the most popular online casinos use TST as a third-party tester of their software.
Watchdog groups exist. For instance, eCOGRA is a UK-based industry watchdog group that runs tests on members of its network. The association was formed by the leading Internet casino software developer, Microgaming, in 2003. The idea was to self-regulate the industry, so government regulators would not feel the need to intrude upon the privacy of average citizens and private businesses. The system has worked for 12 years.
All Microgaming sites are part of eCOGRA, while many other sites are tested by them. The results of these tests are published each month. Included in these reports is the monthly return-to-player for the casinos tested. Gamblers can study the RTP data to see which online casinos are currently offering the best odds.
Online Gaming Communities
Before you deposit money in an online casino account, do a bit of research on that website. If a bad operator scams players, you can be certain they are going to take their complaints online. Robust players’ communities exist online where gamblers discuss the best bonuses, their favorite games, and their own gaming experiences. Often, people post their informal reviews of websites where they gamble for real money. These forums and message boards are a gold mine of information.
I would not take any one report as the ultimate resource on a gaming site. Some players like to complain if they lose their money (legitimately). Others might be disgruntled for some reason or have ulterior motives in giving a casino a bad review. Take the consensus opinion on the individual craps games at Internet casinos. Let the bulk of reliable-sounding information as the most probable truth about a site.
Some readers might not necessarily trust industry-led associations and third-party companies paid by an online casino. They might think these organizations rubber-stamp approval for their buddies in the industry. They might not trust gaming forums, either, believing the posters there are either cranks or employees for the casinos paid to post good reviews. That’s why government regulation exists for the best online casinos.
Gamblers only should play craps at licensed and regulated online casinos. The licensing information is shown on every legit website. This information can be double-checked and verified by the smallest amount of research at an authority website. Once you know the gaming industry, you’ll know immediately the licensing authorities most often associated with the industry: Malta, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Alderney, The Isle of Man, Kahnawake, the Netherlands Antilles (Curacao), and Antigua and Barbuda. When you see these regulators mentioned, you’ll know the website is trustworthy.
Unlicensed Online Casinos
Everything I wrote above does not apply to unlicensed online casinos. Black hat operators exist on the Internet. These offshore websites might offer rigged craps games using proprietary software that isn’t tested. Even if you win, they might refuse to pay your winnings, using the flimsiest of excuses. Don’t let these scammers take your money. Do you due diligence and verify the casino you choose does not rig the craps game against you.
How to Win at Craps
Players sometimes overthink casino strategy. Craps is a classic example of gamblers falling into various fallacies. Shooting dice looks complicated, because of the proliferation of bets offered. The craps table not only has a bunch of betting options, but it has four dealers to work one table, so a new gambler naturally assumes the game is complex.
Winning Craps Strategies
Over five decades ago, the U.S. Navy adopted a phrase: “Keep it simple, stupid.” That phrase applies very well to winning craps. Avoid the complicated tactics and exotic bets and you’ll do just fine at craps. The reason is simple: the best odds are placed on the basic bets.
Those bets are the pass and don’t pass bets, as well as the come and don’t come bets. The pass and come bets have a house edge of 1.41%. The “don’t pass” and don’t come bets have a house edge of 1.35%. Every other wager on the craps table are higher–and some are outrageously high.
Pass bets, also called the win bet or right bet, must be made by the shooter in craps. All other gamblers must choose to make a pass bet or a “don’t pass” bet. The don’t pass bet is betting against the shooter and is seen as a bit unfriendly, though it has slightly better odds.
To win a pass bet, you must roll a 7 or an 11 to win. If this happens, it is called a natural. If you roll a 2, 3, or 11, these numbers are considered “craps” and you have crapped-out (lost). Any other numbers sets a “point” for the player to roll. When a point is set, then the shooter must roll that number again before you roll a 7. So if you rolled a “6” on the come out roll, then you would need to roll a 6 again before rolling a 7. If you made the don’t pass bet, you would need a 7 instead of a 6.
The come bet is just like the pass bet, except it is made after the come-out roll. Once this wager is made, it plays out just like the scenario above and has the same odds. The “don’t come” bet is the same as the “don’t pass” bet, though it is made after you come out roll, too.
Alternative Craps Bets
Try the other wagers, if you wish, but understand you reduce the probability of winning when you do so. Bets which have decent odds include the Place 6/Place 8 bets (1.52%), the Buy 4/Buy 10 bets (1.67%), and the Lay 4/Lay 10 bets (2.44%).
Some wagers should never be attempted because the house edge is simply outrageous. Examples of bets which atrocious odds include the Hard 4/Hard 10 bet (11.11%), most single bets (11.11%), the Horn bet (12.5%), the Whirl or World bet (13.33%), the 2/12 single bets (13.89%), and the worst of all, the “any 7” single bet (16.67%). Every one of the wagers I just listed is what’s called a “sucker bet”.
Taking the Odds
The key strategy to optimizing your expected return in craps is to learn how to “take the odds“. Odds is an optional bet offered to players after a point is established. This is a zero-advantage bet which always should be taken if offered. Optimally, a gambler would bet the maximum amount on their odds bet, because it lowers the effective house edge on what you’re staked on the outcome of the roll. For this reason, casinos limit the size of your odds wager, to limit its effect on the game. This limitation is based on the size of your pass or don’t pass bet.
When you take the odds, these are called “pass odds”, “don’t pass odds”, “come odds”, and “don’t come odds”. When you first walk up to the craps table, you should learn the limitations placed on the odds at the table. High rollers should locate the table with the maximum limits on the odds bets, then max out your odds wager every chance you get.
Keeping It Simple
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That’s it, as far as it comes to craps strategies. Wager on the pass/come and don’t pass/don’t come bets, then take the odds every chance you’re allowed. If you are a high stakes player who wants to bet the maximum amount when it’s advantageous, max out your odds wager. If you do these things, you are playing craps optimally.
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Optimal play in craps does not assure that you’ll win. In fact, it doesn’t even assure advantage play. Anytime you shoot dice for real money at the casino, you play at a disadvantage. The house edge still exists. Keep that in mind. Winning is never assured, but craps is not a game you can beat over the long term. When the casino has the advantage (and that’s most of the time), it’s best to walk away after a big winning roll.