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Craps can be an intimidating game for the beginner player. The table seems to have about a hundred different kinds of bets, the players are barking out commands in what seems to be a foreign language, and the tempo is too fast to ever ask a question.

If this is how you view the game we have good news. There is one fundamental bet that almost all players make. You can easily get it by knowing just this bet your first time. As you get more experienced you can add more bets to your list. After just your first five minutes you should feel comfortable with the flow of the game and can start acting natural, like you've been a craps player for years.

Players wager money against the casino on the outcome of one roll, or of a series of rolls of two dice. All bets have a negative expectation, except the "free odds" bet with an expectation of 0, that the player is allowed to make after a point is established on a flat (line) bet. Since there is no correlation between die rolls, there is no possible winning strategy over any given period of time. While experienced blackjack players who learn to count cards can gain a small mathematical advantage over extended playing sessions by diligent study, there is no comparable strategy for craps.

Rarely, players win several bets in a row, and such players are said to be "on a roll." Those who increase their bets during a winning series can rapidly win substantial sums. On the other hand, money can be lost back just as quickly, as there is no statistical likelihood of a "hot streak" continuing for any given duration. To counter this, experienced players take full advantage of "free odds" -- bets on which there is zero house advantage. Maximizing the size of your odds bet in relation to your line bet will minimize but never eliminate the house edge. Many casinos have limitation on how large the odds bet can be in relation to the flat bet, with single, double, and five times odds common. Some casinos offer 3-4-5 odds, referring to the maximum multiple of the line bet a player can place in odds for the points of 4 and 10, 5 and 9, and 6 and 8, respectively. During promotional periods, a casino may even offer 100x odds bets, which renders the house edge to almost nothing but dramatically increases volatility. Horseshoe Casino founder Benny Binion once quipped that if every player took the 100x odds, the house "wouldn't be able to keep the lights on," referencing the overhead required to run casino games.

Critical to the understanding of craps is that it is a game of rounds. The first roll in a round is called the come out roll. Sometimes the outcome of a round will be determined on the come out roll. In particular a 2, 3, 7, 11, or 12 on the come out roll immediately ends a round. If any other total is rolled (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10) that number is called the point. The dealer will place a white puck on an area of the table to designate what the point is, in case you forget. If a point is rolled the dice will be rolled continuously until the same point is rolled again or a 7.

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