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Craps School

Craps 101

Craps 101: Beginner Basics
by Wilson of

So you want to try your luck at the craps table eh? Ok, but before you head off to Caesar’s Palace to make your millions there are a few basic rules that mostly all casinos and seasoned craps players follow. Where do I find a table? First of all, craps tables are usually located in the center of the casino gaming area. Why? Well, craps is a very contagious game which can become extremely exciting and loud. The casinos know if the craps tables are centrally located they will draw a much larger crowd of potential players. More players, more money; and they are betting on themselves to win; this is when an educated player can capitalize on a crowded, hot table, and perhaps put a dent in the casinos take.

What are the table limits? Almost all casinos use the same color system to determine the monetary limit at a craps table. When you approach a table you will see a small calendar sized framed sign that will have the title of the particular table game and a table limit to play the game. For example, a table may have a green sign that reads “Craps, minimum bet $25 maximum bet $10,000” as green normally represents a value equal to twenty five dollars. In most casinos the color white signifies a two or three dollar table; red represents a five dollar min. bet table; as mentioned, green is twenty five, and black is a hundred dollar min. bet. There are more colors regarding chip values, but these are the most prevalent.


How do I acquire chips? To receive chips at a craps table simply place your money on the layout just above the pass line and say “chips please.” The dealer will pick up your cash and give you casino chips in return. For example, if you lay down a twenty dollar bill at a two dollar minimum craps table the dealer will usually give you two five dollar chips (red) and ten one dollar chips (white), in some casinos the dealer will give you all white chips due to the low table minimum. The dealer will place your chips on the table in front of you, and you should then pick the chips up and place them in the chip rack which is an engraved wooden rail that runs all the way around the table. Good job, now you are ready to roll the bones (dice).

What do I do when the stickman pushes me the dice? Don't panic! As a beginner I would suggest sticking with the simple pass line bet and single odds. This bet is explained in detail under the article: Craps: The Pass Line Bet. Basically, you put your bet on the pass line and your odds bet directly behind the pass line bet (Odds may be placed once the point has been established). Now that you've placed a bet on the pass line you are eligible to throw the dice and become the new shooter. To become an eligible shooter you must either make a bet on the “pass line” or the” don’t pass line.” The other option you have when the dealer pushes the dice in your direction is to say “no thanks, I pass the dice.” If you are not the shooter, then you don't have to place a bet on the pass or don't pass lines; you may make any bet that is offered as long as you meet the minimum table limit.

Never use two hands to pick up the dice. When the stickman pushes the dice in front of you simply reach down with one hand and pick up only two dice as most casinos usually offer four to six dice to choose from, so grab the two that look like winners! After you have chosen the lucky dice, it’s time to roll’em. Always keep the dice above the table where the dealers can see them, you don’t want the pit boss breathing down your neck. The most common way to throw dice at the craps table is to "toss" them like you would a frisbee or underhand, only using one hand. Pretend like you are tossing water out of a glass. In order to have a legal roll you must toss the dice in a manner which they hit the back wall of the table. If you don’t hit the back wall of the table the dealers may not allow the roll and a lot of players will be upset as their number may be showing only to be taken away for a do-over. The reason for this is because the back wall creates more tumbling of the dice and lessens an astute dice roller's ability to control the dice.

The game of Craps is not as complicated as it looks.It is highly recommended though that you know what all the bets on the table mean, hence why we've broken down every single possible wager you can make at the table.

The best craps players in the world keep the game simple and know when to walk away. You will usually discover a more exciting atmosphere at the craps table due to the nature of the game. Personally, I like the action and suspense which is like no other game in the casino. Remember, craps is not for everyone-just those who like to have a lot of fun! Luck to ya.

Related: Craps Etiquette.


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