Street craps, also called "shooting dice," is a simple gambling game that can be played wherever dice and a flat surface are at hand. Although a relative of the casino game craps, street craps is simpler and faster. Players bet on the likelihood of one player (the "shooter") rolling a certain target number before they roll a 7 on two dice.
Decide on the shooter. This can be the first person who volunteers or the position can rotate. There are no hard rules on who gets to be the shooter. In some games, a winning shooter will continue until they lose, while in others it rotates.
Establish the starting bet. The shooter decides on the amount they wish to bet, and chooses whether to bet on "Pass" or "Don't Pass." "Pass" means that the shooter will hit the target number -- which is about to be established -- before they hit 7, while "Don't Pass" means the reverse. The shooter may offer odds if they are feeling lucky.
Cover the bet. The other players must now bet on either "Pass" or "Don't Pass." Play can't continue until enough players have bet on whatever the shooter didn't bet on to cover, or "fade," the initial bet. Once this is done, though, players can bet on whichever option they choose. If no one covers the bet, the shooter may choose to reduce their original bet until it is covered. Different communities may have different slang for Pass and Don't Pass. For instance, "I do" usually means "I bet on 'Pass'."
Make side bets. Players may bet each other about whatever they choose. Common bets include the first number to be rolled or the number of rolls the shooter will make.
Roll the dice. The shooter rolls both dice toward the curb, wall or other boundary. They should bounce off before coming to rest. As soon as the dice have left the shooter's hand, all betting must stop. This first roll is called the "Come Out" roll.
Read the dice. If the roll is 7 or 11, all Pass bets automatically win. If the result is 2, 3 or 12 (known as "craps"), all Don't Pass bets automatically win. If the result is neither, check the result on the dice. This is the "Point."
Roll the dice again. The goal is now to see whether the shooter rolls the Point again before rolling a 7. If they do, Pass bets win; if not, Don't Pass bets win. For instance, if the result on the Come Out roll was a 9, Pass bets win if the shooter rolls a 9 again. If it's a 7, Don't Pass bets win. If neither result comes up, the shooter rolls again until one of them does.
Pay off bets. Side bets are settled between the players, while bets from the initial betting round are paid to or from the shooter. The amount received is proportional to the original bet.
Things You'll Need
- Two dice
- A flat surface
- A backstop such as a wall or curb
- A way of tracking bets
Because street craps isn't a regulated casino game, variation is common. For example, in some games rolls of 2, 3 or 12 on later rolls end the round, starting a new turn while keeping bets in play. If you're joining an established group, check to see the exact rules they use.
Street craps is a great way to pass the time with your friends, but if you're playing for money it's a form of unlicensed gambling and almost certainly illegal.
- Because street craps isn't a regulated casino game, variation is common. For example, in some games rolls of 2, 3 or 12 on later rolls end the round, starting a new turn while keeping bets in play. If you're joining an established group, check to see the exact rules they use.
- Street craps is a great way to pass the time with your friends, but if you're playing for money it's a form of unlicensed gambling and almost certainly illegal.
Dr James Holloway has been writing about games, geek culture and whisky since 1995. A former editor of "Archaeological Review from Cambridge," he has also written for Fortean Times, Fantasy Flight Games and The Unspeakable Oath. A graduate of Cambridge University, Holloway runs the blog Gonzo History Gaming.