Craps is a game of chance that has been around for centuries and as such, it has had numerous improvements over time. Some stuck, while others grew into whole new variations. They have developed over the years in different corners of the world and some of them have survived and thrived. Most casinos do not offer more than one variation of craps, however, depending on where it is based, that variation may not be the ‘original’.
Of course, those variations usually carry different names or are obviously alternate in one way or another. Some have different rules, others have different bets, and, even different tables. There have been many variations of the game over the years, including the notorious Floating Craps, but few have actually made it this far in time. That is because not all of them were practical, or developing in the right direction.
The ones that have, are fairly interesting and definitely tempting. Some are very clever while others strive for simplicity. In any case, they are all worth taking a look at if you are a craps enthusiast. Most of the variations we will list here can actually be found online too, along with a ton of articles written about them. Despite that, they are somewhat obscure to the casual gambler, so in this article, we will attempt to bring them to light.
Most Popular Craps Variations
The game of craps itself has an unclear beginning. No one can really tell how far back it dates. However, we know how it became the game we know today. Most of the development that lead to the change of the game’s rules and name happened in the United States of America around 1807. Jean-Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville was the man who first introduced the game to the States, namely Louisiana. The game was not accepted by his peers as he was a nobleman, amongst other things, however, the common people took to it.
The game used to be called ‘hazard’ but that got lost somewhere on de Marigny’s way back home, and people started calling the game ‘crabs’. This was the term Londoners used to refer to the numbers two and three. The common people of Louisiana pronounced that as ‘craps’ and so the name was born. The game has also been referred to as ‘crap’.
From that point on, the so-called Floating Craps tables were invented. Those were illegal craps tables, that were foldable and easily transportable, in case the operator needed to abruptly go for a jog at the sound of police sirens. The Sands Hotel in Las Vegas even placed an actual floating craps table in one of their swimming pools as a joke, during the 1950s and 1960s. So, now let us take a look at some genuine variations of the game of craps.
This is the most common variation of craps and is usually referred to simply as ‘craps’. This is because it has been accepted as the uniform variation by casinos worldwide and was developed precisely for casinos. The game used to be regarded as a cheap trick of street con-artists because it was usually rigged. Some ground rules had to be set, and since this is a game that has been around for a pretty long time, back then there were no uniform dice, so the game was, once again, usually rigged. Be it in the casino’s favor or the player’s – that is, of course, if he brought his own dice – the game was unfair. It kept going this way until, finally, the uniform dice for casinos were created and accepted.
After that, the casinos added some final touches to the game, some distinctive bets, and, of course, the commissions. Additionally, the game was a player versus player type, so when casinos took to it, the game became player versus casino. That is why this version of the game is also called Casino Craps or Vegas Craps. The key points of it are that there are two dice used, a dealer, a stickman, rules and a layout that we all have come to accept as the general standard. (You may go over them in one of our other articles.)
Just by reading the name, you may think that it seems entirely paradoxical – you cannot lose a pass bet on the come out roll. Too good to be true, right? Right. Well, not a lot of people understand why that is, so here we will clarify exactly what you are gaining and how much you are losing by playing this variation of the game.
First of all, there is no ‘don’t pass’ bet in this game. Additionally, the rules for the ‘pass’ bet are different – 11 is not a sure winner. This may not seem like that big of a deal to some but in reality, the odds speak volumes. Basically, what you are doing by playing this variation is giving up one sure winner for 3 losers. Not a great deal. That is not the only issue here, though, on top of that, the house edge in this game is about 5 times higher.
Overall, it may seem like you have won a lot while playing this game but when it is time to cash out you will find that the house edge will cost you. Sure, some features of the game are better but they all come at a price. Additionally, you cannot find this game all that often. You can only find it in one casino in Las Vegas, for instance, which should give you an idea. Nonetheless, this game has grown quite popular and people do seek it out. It is certainly exciting to play but you need to really take into consideration the house edge here.
High Point Craps
This is another variation of the game of craps that seems alluring and more profitable but actually has a higher house edge. To be entirely fair, the house edge is far less high than that of Crapless Craps. The allure here lies in one modification of the rules, which states that if 2 or 3 are rolled on the come out roll, they are ignored. On the other hand, if you roll 11 or 12 you immediately win.
The key difference between the usual game of craps and this one is that in this one, once you have set a point, you have to roll a a higher number in order to win. You can find this version both online and in land-based casinos, though it is also far rarer than the standard game of craps. It is interesting to play, a bit refreshing perhaps, but the house edge of 2.35% takes its toll.
New York Craps
This variation of the game is quite different and even requires a different table. Despite its name, it can actually be traced back to its origin in Yugoslavia. The game is mostly played in the UK and the East Coast of the US. The key difference of this variation is that it does not allow ‘come’ and ‘don’t come’ bets. What players can bet on is directly one of the numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10. If your number is rolled you win, if not – you lose.
As we already mentioned, the table here is different – it is a double-end-dealer table. There are two dealers at the two ends of it, a stickman, and a lookman. The layout of the table is slightly different too as the available bets differ. Other than that, the game pays true odds. As you may have already guessed, the different bets and table are not the only things that set this variation apart – the commission is 5%.
As the name would suggest this is a variation that is far simpler than the regular game of craps. The rules are entirely different, the bets are basically gone, so we can safely say that this is a game for beginners. Though, it is hardly unlikely that it helps someone understand Bank Craps because they are simply light-years away from each other.
The way to win here is by rolling a specific number. Well, numbers. If the player throws 2, 3, 4, 10, 11, or 12, they are a winner, however, if they roll 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9, they lose. That is simple enough, sure, however, if you take into consideration the fact that the most frequently rolled numbers because of the wider range of possibilities to form them are precisely the losing numbers, you may want to reconsider playing it. Not only that, but the house edge is higher in this game too – 2.8%.
Basically, all variations have their positives and negatives and in the end, it is your style of play that will determine which are more. In the end, as long as you are not playing craps in some back alley, you are bound to have some fun, and will still make some money, if you place smart bets, regardless of the house edge.
Some states in the US prohibit games, the outcome of which is determined solely by the roll of dice. Thinking that the casinos there just stopped offering craps? Well, think again. Naturally, cards were included in the game, either in addition to the dice or completely substituting them. There are no distinct separate variations with sets of rules, so we will simply go over the few variations we found. The main distinction between them is whether dice are used at all, so that is how we will categorize them.
One variation includes two shoes that feature 44 decks of only ace through six cards. One card from each deck is dealt and together they represent the roll. However, since a card-counting scheme is easily devised this way, some casinos only deal about 50% of the decks in order to protect the house.
Another variation uses the popular continuous shuffling machines or CSM. They usually hold up to 264 cards which amounts to 44 decks that have been stripped down to only aces through six cards. Despite the constant shuffling, playing with cards still gives the player the upper hand. This way there are only a limited number of combinations possible. So, if a player simply keeps score, it is fairly easy to make some money out of this game.
Craps With Both Cards and Dice
Some variations include both cards and dice – two decks, two dice. In one variation, one of the decks is red, the other is blue and the same applies to the dice. Each deck is usually shuffled by a CSM, and 6 cards are dealt. They are placed in slots that are numbered 1 to 6 and with the roll of the dice, the card choice is determined.
Another variation also uses the colors red and blue but in a different manner. The decks have 36 custom cards. Each has a dice combination, from 1-1 to 6-6. Two cards are removed from the decks and two dice are rolled. The dice are not regular and are made in a way that does not allow for any pairs to occur. One of the dice always has a higher value and that determines which card is to be revealed and used. There is a prop-bet in one such variation – if one of the cards has a 1-1 pair, then the other one has a 6-6 pair. This bet pays out 500:1, though in reality, the chances are 647:1.
Variations You Can Find Online
Usually, you can find only a few craps games at an online casino. The game is still very popular but people prefer the standard variation, which is to say Bank Craps, referred to as simply Craps. You can occasionally find some other variations online too but it is not all that common. Live casinos tend to have more options but at the moment the online craps variety is not so much in variations of the game as it is in software providers.
Each software provider has their own signature as you probably already know, so that makes each game unique in that sense. The rules are always standard, however, the layouts differ as well as other things like animation, graphics, and sound. Naturally, the flow of the game is highly important too.
Playtech is another leader in the industry and has some of the most noteworthy online table games. The craps game by this supplier stands out because it allows players to view their entire roll history. The graphics are great but there is one more thing that sets it apart from other online craps games – the dice. They are enormous for some reason but it is rather fun, as opposed to annoying. This online craps game also has better payouts than the ones in a land-based casino.
RTG or Realtime Gaming has developed a game of craps that has stunning graphics and runs seamlessly. However, if you use the full-screen option, the graphics are lost as the game simply gets magnified. In addition to that, the game has a higher commission than most and lower payouts, though those depend on the casino you are playing at. If you find the right casino, then we recommend giving it a try.
Of course, live games by various software suppliers, including some of the aforementioned, can be found in most casinos. If you are looking for a more life-like craps experience, you can go ahead and try your luck at one of the tables. You will be able to find the odds and the house edge in the game itself. The one big positive of live craps games is that, just like in a land-based casino, you can simply watch and then decide if you want to play or not. On the other hand, you can try most online variations of craps for free, so that is quite the plus side too.
All in all, the variations of craps one can find in both land-based casinos and online are plenty. A large portion of the deviations from the standard have more downsides than the standard Bank Craps. However, some of those variations are more enjoyable or easier to understand as well.
Playing craps online might be a better choice given the odds and payouts but, then again, the allure of craps lies in the excitement the game brings in land-based casinos. That is one of the main reasons players are drawn to it, it has a strong effect on players and the air of euphoria that is carried from the craps tables is simply intoxicating.
Overall, it depends solely on the type of play you are looking for. If you want to just have a good time, any game is good. If you enjoy being one with the crowd, then try playing in land-based casinos. If you want to make some serious money, you will need to either find the right casino or the right online game.
In any case, it is not really down to the variation, it is down to the player and the casino. Consider the key differences between each variation of craps and try the one that seems most alluring to you. Just remember to play responsibly.