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Why craps is so exciting3 January 2017
I know I’ve used something such as that opening many times. How can a gambling writer escape writing something such as that? After all, craps is the most exciting game in the casino! Nowhere do you hear the cries of joy or moans of agony as you do at the craps tables.
There are a number of reasons craps is so exciting. Yes, the game has a multitude of bets (but so does roulette); the game seems to be fast (but so is mini-baccarat); the game has truly dedicated players playing it (but so does blackjack); and big money can be made on hot rolls (but that is true or truer about slot machines).
I think a fundamental reason for craps’ popularity has to do with the generally communal nature of the game. Those betting with the shooter to make his point (which would be the overwhelming majority of the players) have that common interest burning in them. The shooter makes his point and that helps almost everyone at the table and that will be the reason for the communal cheering and high fives.
Most craps players will also have a number of other bets on the table as well. Many of these will be the same bets still other players have. They hit and the players on those numbers all shout and give each other more high fives.
You get the idea: The joint interests of the players create a commonality among them. That commonality creates a bond, and when groups of people bond they – well – they get louder and louder, for good or ill. The moans of joint losses can often be just as loud as the shouts of joint wins.
Of course, not all craps players follow the communal suit. There is a group known as darksiders – also known as “don’t” players – who forgo the commonality and root against the shooter making his point. Instead, they root for the seven during what’s called the “point cycle” of the game. The seven beats the shooter and all of those betting his point; but it wins for the darksider.
Does that make the community of players cheering the shooter a happy bunch? If you have spent any amount of time at the craps tables, you will note that almost all darkside players tend to be quiet, unobtrusive and will often try to be on the corners of the tables nearest the dealers.
Why is that?
The “rightside” or “do” players (those betting with the shooter) usually have a marked disdain and dislike of the darksiders. Some rightside players despise the darksiders, and they find great joy when a darksider loses. Indeed, you will often see a double cheer when a number is hit that many rightsiders are betting; that double cheer is for winning their bet and the darksider losing his bet.
That is about as communal as a game can get. A shared joy, a shared sorrow, a shared enemy.
I don’t deny you can sometimes hear a shout or two at blackjack; sometimes if a slot player hits a big one you can hear that person’s screams. But moment in and moment out, the craps tables are electric. Slot machines have many stagnant moments, some lasting for hours.
Now, for me, the communality of the game can actually cause problems. I’ve often thought of craps as a controlled riot where the rioters forget that what they are betting is real money — hard-earned money, at that. They get so caught up in the thrill of the game that they can often lose their discipline in the emotional electricity they are experiencing.
Losing your cool in a game where it is easy to lose your cool has to be understood for what it is — the game and your fellow players encourage that loss of discipline. I therefore recommend that craps players use a mundane type of betting — no impulse betting. Just make the same low-house wagers time and time again. Then such players can get caught up in the riot without getting clobbered time and time again.
As for you sarksiders, short of having a table for a whole bunch of you, your joy will most likely be singular. You probably won’t be high-fiving other players. You will probably not even want other players to know you are at the table.
I sympathize with you, but — come on, shooter, make that point!
Frank Scoblete’s new books are Confessions of a Wayward Catholic, I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps! and I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack. Available on Amazon.com, Kindle, and Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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