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The language of craps

20 August 2009

(Thanks to Billy the Kid of Golden Touch Craps for his input.)

When a new player walks up to a busy craps game he will sometimes stand and stare wide-eyed at the table, listening to the incessant din of the game, attempting to discern what all of these players are saying and in what language they are speaking. Virtually nothing that is being said seems to make any sense.

This is the first problem that a new craps player has to overcome. What are these people saying, what does it mean and how does it affect me and the game that I am trying to play?

There are many things that are said by the craps crew that do in fact impact the players, and can seriously affect their bets and their bankroll. Some of these are:

  1. coming out
  2. hard ways work unless called off
  3. even up your odds
  4. down with odds
  5. no bet
  6. off and on
  7. your hard six is down

Understanding the words and phrases of the game will help your play, and might save you money. The dealers are there to help you and the better you are at speaking their language the easier it will be for you to play this great game.

What the Dealers Say and Why

Everyone who has walked past a craps game knows that it is a very noisy and confusing corner of the casino. Craps dealers also know this. They know that to run the game properly every one of the dealers must be able to communicate precise instructions, give accurate payoffs, and handle disagreements, and therefore the game has developed a language that helps dealers and players to easily understand each other.

Every word or phrase that the dealers use has a purpose and even though you may have been under the impression that they say some of these phrases to entertain the players — and they are quite entertaining sometimes — these phrases do have a greater purpose than their entertainment value.

Some words and some numbers sound very much alike; an excellent example of this are seven and eleven.

During the heat of battle, the stickman must have a way to differentiate seven and eleven, since a dealer confusing what the stickman said would create a problem so severe between the casino and the players that it would require a United Nations negotiating team to calm everyone.

Thus stickmen will shout out "yo-eleven" so that none of the dealers will mistake that call for the hand-ending seven-out! Five has attached to it "no field five" and nine adds "center field nine" to help the crew tell the difference.

With the exception of conversation on a dead or slow game, everything the dealer says is said to either sell the game or to improve the accuracy and the speed of the game. Listen closely to what the dealers say and you will notice the pace and structure they are giving the game and your enjoyment of the game will also increase.

What You Should Say

Knowing how to say the bet that you want to make will make the dealers' job easier and will help them keep the game at a good pace.

In fact, both players and dealers like the game to progress at a good speed and some superstitious players will become very agitated if the game slows down because of a player not using proper etiquette or proper phrases.

Phrases that Pay

1. Two ways.
Any dealer will tell you that this is the first thing that a new player should learn. When a player makes a bet that is "two ways" they are making a bet for themselves and a bet for the dealers. Casino dealers' pay comes from player's tips or "tokes." By tipping the dealers they will take more interest in your overall experience.

2. Working / Off.
"My bets are off," or "My hardways are off," or "My odds are off." By telling your dealer that any or all of your bets are off, the dealers will put a small disc on them to alert the other dealers and security cameras that you want to suspend play on them. When players tell their dealer that the bets are "working," it means that they want their bets to return to normal play and they will then be at risk. After a player calls his bets off he must tell the dealer they are working when he wants to resume play in that game.

3. Dice out / In the middle.
The stickman will announce "dice out" when he sends the dice to the shooter. This tells the other dealers and the players that betting should stop and the next toss of the dice is coming. After a dice throw, the stickman brings the dice back to the middle of the table, in front of the boxman, and that is the time for the players to make their bets on the next throw. If the stickman tells you to bet when the dice are "in the middle" you probably have tried to make a late bet when the dice were "out."

4. Inside / Outside.

The box numbers 5, 6, 8, 9 are the inside numbers. A craps layout shows the box numbers with the low number, 4, on the left and continues to the right going to the highest box number 10. Players that make place bets will often place all the inside numbers. When you make a bet like this you should tell the dealer how much the total bet will be, as in $22, $44, $110 followed by the word "inside." This tells the dealer how much and where you want your money bet. The box numbers 4, 5, 9, 10 are the outside numbers. As you can see 5 and 9 are considered both inside and outside numbers when they are being bet with either their inside or outside neighbors. Players betting all of the outside numbers should again tell the dealer how much as in $20, $40, $100 followed by word "outside."

Recent Articles
Best of Frank Scoblete
Frank Scoblete

Frank Scoblete is the #1 best selling gaming author in America. His newest books are Slots Conquest: How to Beat the Slot Machines; Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo and Pai Gow Poker!; Beat Blackjack Now: The Easiest Way to Get the Edge; Casino Craps: Shoot to Win!; Cutting Edge Craps: Advanced Strategies for Serious Players; Casino Conquest: Beat the Casinos at Their Own Games! and The Virgin Kiss.

Frank and Casino City Times columnist Jerry "Stickman" teach private lessons in dice control. Frank's books are available at Amazon.com, in bookstores or by mail order. Call 1-800-944-0406 or write to Frank Scoblete Enterprises, PO Box 446, Malverne, NY 11565. Frank can also be reached by email at fscobe@optonline.net.

Frank Scoblete Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com

Books by Frank Scoblete:

Cutting Edge Craps: Advanced Strategies for Serious Players

> More Books By Frank Scoblete

Frank Scoblete
Frank Scoblete is the #1 best selling gaming author in America. His newest books are Slots Conquest: How to Beat the Slot Machines; Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo and Pai Gow Poker!; Beat Blackjack Now: The Easiest Way to Get the Edge; Casino Craps: Shoot to Win!; Cutting Edge Craps: Advanced Strategies for Serious Players; Casino Conquest: Beat the Casinos at Their Own Games! and The Virgin Kiss.

Frank and Casino City Times columnist Jerry "Stickman" teach private lessons in dice control. Frank's books are available at Amazon.com, in bookstores or by mail order. Call 1-800-944-0406 or write to Frank Scoblete Enterprises, PO Box 446, Malverne, NY 11565. Frank can also be reached by email at fscobe@optonline.net.

Frank Scoblete Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com

Books by Frank Scoblete:

> More Books By Frank Scoblete