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Craps Manners Are Important7 December 2006
Interestingly enough I have been receiving letters from craps players who want to know what the rules of the game are. It seems so many different things happen at the tables that the average player doesn't know "what the heck the darn rules are" because different dealers make different calls in the same situations.
This can be disheartening and confusing.
So what are the rules of craps? Are they written somewhere? In fact, in Las Vegas and many other gaming venues, there are no "rules of craps." Since this is an "historic game," the individual casinos generally decide the rules and, while these rules are usually consistent, they don't have to be - even within the same casino.
Here are some questions I have been asked, the answers to which I think you'll find interesting.
Question: "Can a player put down his bet at any time? I thought the dice have to be in the middle of the table. I have seen players making bets while the shooter is shooting, while the dice are in the air. I have seen players throw out hard ways that actually hit the dice in mid-air. I've seen people throw down cash to buy in right in the path of the oncoming dice. What are the rules?"
Answer: It is considered good manners not to make any bets once the shooter has the dice. However, many dealers accept late bets - some bets as late as when the dice are almost midway in the air. Aside from the fact that such late bets can distract a shooter, they can also be confusing and slow down the game when the dealers haven't exactly caught what it is the late bettor is betting.
Question: "Can a dealer call 'no roll' when one die misses hitting the back wall. I had one boxman do this to me. I missed with one die one time. I had played at that table for about two hours, with other boxmen, and the few times someone's dice missed, they would just be told to 'hit the back wall.' How come I was called no roll?"
Answer: Hitting the back wall is a flexible rule. Most good casinos will just remind a shooter who has missed the wall a couple of times to "remember to hit the back wall." However, some boxmen and dealers are very uptight about the missing of the back wall by one or both dice. The boxman or dealer has the right to call "no roll" although that rarely happens. The casino where you were playing should be avoided since uptight staff make for an unpleasant game. Go play craps elsewhere if you can.
Question: "Why does the boxman look at the dice when they go off the table?"
Answer: All dice have serial numbers. The five dice in your game will have the exact same serial numbers and this is what the boxman is looking for. The casinos worry that some players might try to substitute crooked dice into a game and checking for the serial numbers is a way to prevent this from happening.
Question: I like to set the dice but sometimes the boxman gets on me for taking too long. I really don't take any longer than the other shooters. Why do they hassle me?
Answer: A careful dice setter appears to be taking longer with the dice because of his careful setting. However, in a study I did of over 100 shooters, dice setters and non-dice-setters, what I found was that the average time from when the dice were given to the shooters to when the stickman called what number was rolled was the same between both groups. Many dice throwers wing the dice with such force that it takes a while for the dice to lose their energy and come to a halt. For some reason, the boxmen don't understand this situation. The setter does take a little longer to get the dice in the air but his dice come to rest much more quickly than the thrower. My advice is to keep setting the dice because that lends a little style to the game. Any idiot can just throw the dice!
Question: Why does the stick man hawk some bets but not hawk other bets?
Answer: The stick man's job is to get players to make the very worst bets on the table - all those crazy crapper proposition bets in the middle of the layout. Those bets come in with house edges from 9.09 percent to 16.67 percent and are loved by the house and hated by your bankroll. Ignore the stick man in this case.
Question: Where did the name craps come from? If you think about it, the name is somewhat filthy.
Answer: The name of craps was originally crabs and was played by Southern slaves along the Mississippi River. Because of the heavy southern accents, as the game started to get popular among whites from the north, their ears heard the word "craps," not "crabs," and so the game finally became known as craps.
Question: In your book, The Craps Underground: The Inside Story of How Dice Controllers Have Won Millions from the Casinos, you say that there are players who have really hammered the casinos. Okay, so who has won millions in casino gambling?
Answer: The Captain, the Arm, Larry Lee, Tony Lee, the Whale, Vixen, Lola, Jimmy P., and a couple of Golden Touch Craps instructors. These I know personally. I have also heard of one player, called Rainbow, who has won several million but I have never met him and I know very little about him. The winning of millions is not an easy thing because one's betting levels have to be rather high to attain this feat and very few people are comfortable or have the bankroll to make such bets.
Craps is a fun game despite the fact that the rules are not really written down for all to see. It is now the most popular table game with players under the age of 30. Maybe it will make a big comeback because of this!
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at email@example.com.
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