Beginner craps terminology

For many, their first foray into casino games is craps. People love it because it is easy to learn, social, boisterous, and it enforces camaraderie. You’ll find craps in just about every casino in America, and it draws new players all the time. 

Players don’t have to be mathematical geniuses, and whether they are social gamblers or professionals, they find it a game that’s easy to master and provides good odds of winning. The game itself has quite a long history, and its roots can be traced back to Roman times when, according to some historians, soldiers shaped pig knuckles into dice that they threw on their shields. 

Some disagree, insisting that the game was first played in England in the 12th century and was played by soldiers as they waited to seize Hazarth castle. The players would throw two dice and place bets on whether or not they would get certain combinations, and whoever won walked away with the pot. 

Whatever the case, the game is much-loved in modern-day casinos, and just about anyone who has ventured into gambling has tried their hand at craps. 

For those who are just getting started, there are two key things they ought to learn: the rules of the game and the terminology that is commonly used around the table. 


The rules are rather straightforward, and anyone can understand them. Players place their wagers and then a “shooter” throws the dice. 

Players win if the roll ends up in a seven or 11 roll, and they lose if it ends up in a two, three, or 12 roll. If any other number comes up, it becomes the point, and it must roll again before a seven has the chance to win again. 

This is a rather simple explanation of the rules, although some nuances are important for players to learn, and most of them come in the form of craps terminology. 

To become a good craps player, one ought to know the meaning of words like pass-line bet, come-out roll, shooter, point, craps, seven out, field bet, place bet, hardway bet, big six, and big eight, and even snake eyes and horn bet. 

For those who are just getting started, it isn’t important to learn all these terms at once. The best approach is to know what they mean and how they are applied so that they can improve their game over time. 

Pass-line bet

This is a craps terminology that refers to the bet that is placed immediately before the come-out roll. A come-out roll wins if a player wagered on two, three, or 12, and if any other number comes up it becomes the point. 

If a player rolls a different number after a come-out roll and that number comes up again immediately afterward before a seven rolls, they win. If the dice rolls a seven before the player’s number can come up again, they lose. 

Come-out roll

This is the first roll of the dice at the start of the game, or the next roll after a pass-line bet or don’t pass-line bet. During this roll, seven and 11 are winners while two, three, and 12 are losers. 

To place a come-out bet, the player must wait until the point is set, and then they can place their bet on the area of the table that is marked “come.” 

Shooter

The shooter is the gambler whose turn it is to roll the dice. Should they roll a seven or 11 on their first go, they win, but if they roll two, three, or 12, they lose. If the die gives a sum of four, five, six, eight, nine, or ten, this becomes the point, and they continue to roll until they can get the point again (they win) or a seven (they lose). 

While the shooter can’t control the outcome of any throw of the dice, there are some things that they ought to look out for. 

Experienced craps players, for example, will tell you that the shooter should carefully observe how far the dice bounce off the opposite wall. If they move very far, this isn’t good because it means the craps table is quite thickly padded, and this can affect the outcome of the dice. 

Point

If a player rolls a bet for the first time and gets a seven or 11, they win. If they get a two, three, or a 12, they lose, and should they get any other number come up (four, five, six, eight, nine, or ten) this becomes the point. 

If they should land this number again before they get a seven, they win, but if a seven comes up before they can roll the point again, they lose. 

Craps

If you are reading this, you probably already know what craps is; it is a casino game that uses dice, and players win if they get a certain outcome when they are thrown. 

The game itself is easy enough to master, but players who want to be exceptional ought to learn the terminology that is used around the table. 

Seven-out

This is what happens when a player rolls a seven in the come-out roll before a point has been established, and it makes them an instant winner. There isn’t much the player can do to influence this outcome because, like all other casino games, craps is a game of chance. 

Field bet

A field bet is placed on the shooter’s outcome being a two, three, four, nine, ten, 11 or 12. Any of these is a winner, and how much the player wins depends on the likelihood of the number they bet coming up. 

If they get a two, for example, the chance of that being rolled is one in 36, and the payout for this is 2:1. If they bet a five, six, seven, or eight, the chance of any of those numbers coming up is five in nine, and they lose. 

The player ought to know what numbers have what odds and what they stand to win based on how much they bet. 

Place bet

These bets can be placed at any point in the game, but they are mostly placed after a point has been established. Essentially, the player must place a bet on a number that they hope will be rolled before a seven appears, and if that number comes up, they win. 

Again, it is important to understand what the odds are and how they affect the player’s payout. 

Hardway bet

This is a number that is rolled the “hard way,” which means that both dice land on the same number. If a player wants a hard eight, for example, their roll must end up with four on both dice. 

However, to win on this type of bet, the hard bet must appear before the player rolls a seven. 

Big 6 and Big 8

This is a bet that focuses on either a six or an eight. It is a negative progression plan because the wager is raised if the player loses. There are two types of Big 6 and Big 8 bets that a player can place. If they choose a to win bet, it pays 7/6, but if they place a to lose bet, it pays 4/5. 

Why would a player choose to place a bet with such low odds? Because this type of bet has the lowest house edge in craps, which means that the player gets to keep most of what they win. 

Snake eyes

This is when the roll of the dice ends up in double ones. Essentially, each dice comes up with a one, and because it has odds of 2.78%, it isn’t a position that many players are keen to find themselves in. 

However, it all depends on the type of bet that the player had placed, and they can end up taking home a significant win. 

Some bets are more likely to lose if a player scores snake eyes, while others are likely to win. However, there are no certainties, and the player should always be aware that for every bet they place, they are taking a chance. 

Horn bet

This is a one-roll bet on a specific number, and it is placed on the number that’s coming up in the game. 

This puts the player in a tricky position because they are placing a wager on only one roll; if they lose they have to place another wager. The other thing to know about horn bets is that they have a very high house edge, which means that should a player win, they leave a significant portion of their winnings to the house. All this may seem quite complicated, but the best way to master craps terminology is to play craps often, and players should choose renowned establishments like Resorts Casino in New Jersey in which to play. It is one of the oldest in the city, has plenty of games to choose from, and there is always a craps game on offer.

Author: Tanya Fields

Campaign Acquisition Manager Length with RC: 1 year, 9 months Favorite Casino Game: Starburst Background in iGaming: Opened the iGaming Department at Hard Rock Atlantic City in 2018 in both Customer Service, and then CRM, prior to moving over to RC in January 2021 Location: Based in NJ at the RC HQ Content: Occasionally, but only as it pertains to RC