Real money craps is widely known and appreciated as the most entertaining table game on any casino floor.
Crowds ring the elongated table, with up to a dozen players participating in the same session while throngs of onlookers stand by. Everybody has their own individual bets working, but with 9 out of 10 players at the average table betting on the Pass Line, there’s a shared sense of victory and defeat on the “come out” roll or when the shooter hits their point number.
By combining a razor-thin house edge of 1.24 percent on the standard Pass Line wager – or 1.06 percent if you like dancing with the dark side by betting the Don’t Pass Line – with riskier optional longshots, craps provides the best of both worlds.
Prudent players who practice a sensible strategy can stick with the even-money Pass Line plus the Odds bet – the only casino gamble out there offering true payout odds with a nil house edge of 0.00 percent – to enjoy a low-volatility experience. True gamblers, meanwhile, can mix it up chasing exotic bets like the “Hard Way” 6 or 8 (9.09 percent house edge) or the “Yo-leven” 11 (11.11 percent), which pay out at 9 to 1 and 15 to 1, respectively.
And because many rolls won’t affect your personal wagers one way or another, the craps table is the perfect place to kick back and grind out a long session – all while sipping on a steady stream of complimentary cocktails.
Don’t forget about the dice either, as “rolling them bones” is one of the age-old rituals that has come to define casino gambling culture. Simply put, you haven’t lived until you take center stage at the craps table, dice in hand while strangers call out bets and cheer you on. Letting those little six-sided cubes fly and watching them tumble to settle a table full of players’ fate offers an irreplaceable thrill.
Playing Online Craps vs. Live
Well, the thrill used to be irreplaceable, as legitimate craps games were only available in the land-based casinos of Las Vegas and Atlantic City for the longest time.
Over the last two decades, however, the online casino industry has given rise to a new generation of craps players who have never even rolled a real pair of dice. Instead, top-notch online gambling software recreates the betting layout and randomly tumbling dice using crystal clear onscreen images and animated graphics.
Of course, clicking the “Roll” button and watching pixels bounce across simulated green felt can’t really compare to the sensory overload of a live craps table – but it’s definitely the next best thing.
When you play craps online, the experience is surely more subdued, but many players actually appreciate the lack of an audience. In fact, online craps tables are the best place to learn the complicated betting structure, array of exotic optional wagers, and other minutiae that can make the live game intimidating and off-putting.
The most noticeable difference between live craps and the online alternative is obviously speed.
When you’re playing at a packed Sin City table, drunk players need to be told when their wagers should be put up. Superstitious shooters will fondle the dice for 15 seconds or so, often trying to situate them just so in order to practice the mythical approach known as “dice control.”
After the dice reveal their result, the dozens of wagers in play at any one time must be settled by a team of casino staff.
And then, the process repeats itself as players place their new bets, call in wagers to the dealer, and await the shooter’s roll.
This whole song and dance routine is all part of the fun, but it does put craps near the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to pace of play. You can expect to see 48 rolls per hour on average in the live arena, while online craps players are putting in double or even triple that rate.
Pros & Cons of Playing Craps Online
Assessing pros and cons is all about personal opinion, but if you’re a skilled player who knows the game in and out, playing craps online is the way to go.
Remember, between the Pass Line (1.24 percent) and Odds (0.00 percent) bets, craps offers some of the lowest house edges in any online casino. Knowing this, the objective should be to maximize your equity through a higher volume of rolls per hour. And there’s no better place to play craps at a fast pace than your favorite online casino.
No other players to wait around on, no physical chip stacks to settle after the roll, and no superstitious shooters gumming up the works – it’s just you taking the dice to your own personal table.
Naturally, this sanitized version of one of the more social gambling games doesn’t appeal to everybody. If part of the reason you enjoy craps is celebrating winners with new friends, while commiserating over losses, grinding online probably isn’t for you.
Characteristics of the Best Online Craps
The first thing to look for when sizing up an online craps game is the pay table.
Unless you see the following standard craps payouts offered, the site you’re exploring is trying to pull the wool over your eyes:
Standard Craps Pay Table
Don’t Pass / Don’t Come 1 to 1
Pass / Come 1 to 1
Odds – 4, 10 2 to 1
Odds – 5, 9 3 to 2
Odds – 6, 8 6 to 5
Place 6, 8 7 to 6
Place 5, 9 7 to 5
Place 4, 10 9 to 5
Field (3:1 on 12) 1 to 1
Field (2:1 on 12) 1 to 1
Big 6, 8 1 to 1
Hard 6, 8 9 to 1
Hard 4, 10 7 to 1
Any Craps 7 to 1
Any Seven 4 to 1
Hi-Lo (2 or 12) 15 to 1
3; Yo-leven (11) 15 to 1
2; 12; Hard hops 30 to 1
From there, the best online craps games use cutting-edge software platforms to replicate the gameplay experience as closely as possible. The animations should be seamless and smooth, the colors should catch your eye, and the user interface should be intuitive and easy to learn.
And it never hurts to read up on objective reviews of a few different online casinos to see which ones are known for their craps tables.
Live Dealer Online Craps
If the only thing preventing you from enjoying online craps versus the land-based alternative are doubts about virtual dice, your best bet is the Live Dealer games menu.
Online casinos have jumped aboard the Live Dealer bandwagon of late, utilizing innovative technology from Evolution Gaming and other providers to create a connection between player and game. When you play Live Dealer craps, the pixels and graphics are replaced with genuine casino dice, a physical table, and trained human dealers.
Live Dealer games are filmed in real time from dedicated studios, and that footage is beamed directly to your screen via live streaming technology. You’ll still use mouse-clicks and buttons to place your wagers, but from there, a human dealer takes over by rolling the dice and announcing the results.
The best Live Dealer craps games even have zoomable cameras that catch every bounce before the dice fall in place, perfectly recreating the sweat that all shooters crave.
Types of Online Craps Bonuses
To welcome new players aboard, the best online casinos offer generous Welcome Bonuses designed to double – at the very least – your starting bankroll.
You’ll usually need to enter a bonus code to claim these free funds, so be sure to check the Promotions page for the latest letter/number combos. Once you’ve entered the code and made your first deposit, the Welcome Bonus provides a percentage match on your money.
For example, a site running a 200 percent match Welcome Bonus would turn your initial $100 deposit into a $300 starting bankroll ($100 deposit + $200 bonus = $300 bankroll).
Another way to collect valuable bonus bucks is through a Reload Bonus. These supplementary bonuses are awarded whenever you “reload” your account with subsequent deposits. For the most part, Reload Bonuses offer reduced match rates in the 50 percent range, but scoring a free $50 on a $100 reload is still a sweet deal.
The other main form of online casino bonus to look for is a No Deposit Bonus, which is exactly what it sounds like. Rather than match funds when you add cash to your account, a No Deposit Bonus simply rewards regular play by sending a free bonus gift your way.
You’ll typically receive an email notification when a No Deposit Bonus comes your way, but you can also check your site’s virtual wallet to see if you’ve earned enough player points to claim the instant bankroll booster.
These three bonus types differ in how and when they’re awarded, but they all have one thing in common – playthrough / rollover requirements.
In online gambling parlance, a playthrough / rollover requirement refers to the level of wagering players must put in before their bonus funds become available for withdrawal. Initially, these requirements can feel like a “strings attached” situation, but from an online casino operator’s perspective, requiring playthrough / rollover simply makes sound financial sense.
Think about it for a minute… if you were able to make one deposit with a new site, claim a healthy Welcome Bonus, and then withdraw the funds straight away, online casinos would have no reason to offer the promotion. By adding a playthrough / rollover requirement, sites ensure that you’ll at least stick around for a while playing craps and other games to clear your bonus money.
Now that you’ve been given the good news, let’s talk about the bad. Unfortunately, craps specialists have to get creative when it comes to clearing their playthrough / rollover benchmarks.
Let’s say your online casino of choice shows a playthrough / rollover requirement of 25x. This multiple simply means you’ll need to wager 25x the combined amount of your deposit and its attached bonus (or just the bonus when it’s a No Deposit deal). Using the same $100 deposit + $200 Welcome Bonus example from earlier, the 25x multiple puts your playthrough / rollover finish line at $7,500 in total wagers ($300 combined deposit/bonus x 25 = $7,500).
If you play slots and other high house edge games, you’ll usually see 100 percent of your wagers applied to the playthrough / rollover requirement. A few of the lower house edge table games like blackjack and baccarat might drop that wagering contribution to 20 percent. In other words, for every $1 you put on the line, $0.20 would count towards the playthrough / rollover rate.
But for a low house edge game like craps – which also offers a slower pace of play due to instances when a roll doesn’t settle any of your wagers – most online casinos use a 0 percent wagering contribution.
Yep, if you’re a craps player by trade, you’ll need to find other games to play when trying to unlock a bonus for withdrawal.
Slots are usually your best bet in that regard, but if you’re solely a skill-game player, check your online casinos Wagering Contribution section under the Terms and Conditions page to find out exactly how video poker, blackjack, and other table games stack up.
History of Craps
Humans have played dice games for millennia, with the practice dating back to rudimentary gambling cubes fashioned from shell and bone by the ancient Mesopotamian people in the year 3,000 B.C.E.
But origins of craps as we know it today can be traced to a Western European dice game known as “hazard” which was played in the 18th century. Hazard utilized many of the rules and gameplay features that define modern craps, but players were free to choose their hazard number from 5 to 9 before the roll.
In 1807, a prominent Louisiana family sent their son Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville to London to explore the Old Country, where the young man quickly took up hazard. Upon returning to New Orleans, Mandeville used his mathematical knowledge to pinpoint 7 as the perfect hazard number – thus creating craps as its played today.
As for the game’s unique name, English players referred to the numbers 2 and 3 – the only instant losers on a Pass Line bet at the time – as “crabs.” Cajuns learning the game as it spread throughout the South via Mississippi River gambling boats pronounced the word as “craps,” and the rest was history.
Exactly 100 years after Mandeville imported his favorite dice game to the New World, a dice maker in Philadelphia by the name of John Winn sought a solution to rampant cheating by casino operators. Because players could only bet on the Pass Line back then, unscrupulous casinos would employ “loaded” dice that landed on 2 and 3 more often than not.
Winn created a table layout that allowed players to wager against the Pass Line, which ensured that loaded dice didn’t guarantee the casinos more winners than probability suggested.
The new Don’t Pass Line leveled the proverbial playing field, and Winn’s innovation formed the foundation of fairly played craps for the next 100 years and counting.
Real Money Craps FAQ
“Can I still make all of those fun exotic bets while playing craps online, or are the wagering options streamlined?”
A craps table that didn’t offer exciting exotic bets like the Hardway and Yo-leven wouldn’t be much fun, so rest assured that the best online casinos spread every possible bet. And even better, you won’t catch the side-eye stares from fellow players when you feel like making a “wrong-way” bet on the Don’t Pass Line.
“I’d love to learn craps, but I just don’t feel comfortable risking real money until I learn the ropes, so are there any practice games available online?”
You’re in luck, because the most reputable online casinos on the market today make sure to offer all of their games in both real money and free-to-play practice modes. When you choose the latter, you’ll get to wager play money chips at your leisure, learning everything you need to know before ramping up to real money sessions.
“I know the Las Vegas casinos don’t offer high limits on Odds bets like they used to, so what’s the scoop for online craps?”
Alas, the old days of 100x limits on Odds bets are all but over in Sin City and online. That means you’ll typically see the modern standard of 3x-4x-5x in place for the 4/10, 5/9, and 6/8, respectively.