Craps Etiquette

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Like most gambling activities, the game of Craps has long been the target of cheaters, so various forms of etiquette have evolved to protect both players and casinos from becoming prey. As a case in point, the shooter can use only one hand to handle the dice.

This particular protocol was developed because so many cheaters have attempted to switch “loaded” or unbalanced dice for the approved ones. It also explains why the stickman offers five dice to the shooter initially—to reduce the possibility of crooked dice being introduced to the game.

For much the same reason, players are not allowed to position their chips in certain betting areas of the table. Instead, a croupier must place the chips for them, which discourages “past posting,” the sneaking of chips into a stack or sliding of late bets onto the table after the dice have already been thrown and come to rest.

The following Do’s and Don’ts cover most of the basic types of proper behaviour expected at the Craps table. Adhering to these guidelines should reduce the occurrence of uncomfortable situations arising.

Squeezing In – Most Craps tables feature 12, 14 or 16 betting positions. If all are occupied, don’t squeeze between players to make a wager. Wait for a spot to open up.

Hovering – A player’s hands should only be above the table layout when placing chips or shooting. Never hold chips, drinks or cigarettes over the playing area. Keep them on or behind the table railing.

Betting Right – So-called “Right Betting” means wagering on the shooter to win with Pass Line or Come bets. The opposite, wagering on Don’t Pass or Don’t Come, is thought of as “Wrong Betting” and may be seen as wanting the shooter to fail. Betting right is the hallmark of a “team player.” There is certainly no rule prohibiting “betting on the dark side,” but backing the shooter to win is the custom.

Calling Bets – Some areas of the table require the placement of chips be a croupier. To do so, it is necessary to announce the bet loudly and clearly, such as “Hard 4,” “Buy the 8” or “High Horn.” Chattiness, like “Hard 4 looks good to me; would you place these chips there, please,” is discouraged. It simply wastes time and could lead to a misunderstanding: Where exactly is “there?”

Keeping Pace – Craps can be a very fast-paced game. A typical table may see 100 rolls per hour. Anyone who slows the game down by ruminating over bets or clowning around when shooting simply slows the action and upsets the other players. Wagers are best made while the dice are still on the table, before the shooter picks them up. Don’t be tardy. Identify the rhythm of the betting and get with it.

Never Say “Seven” – Superstitions abound at the Craps table. One of them is that saying the number “seven” is bad luck. So refrain from shouting, “Let’s see a seven!” Instead, use slang, such as “C’mon Big Red” or “Dice be Sweet.” There are literally dozens of nicknames for the “lucky” number.

Never Toss Chips – Throwing chips onto the table is poor manners. What’s more, it may cause them to land in the wrong betting area or roll across the surface of the table, disturbing bets. Instead, carefully place the chips on the layout.

Rolling Cleanly – Most tables have very specific rules regarding shooting the dice. They must be thrown so that they strike the far wall without bouncing off the table. Launching the dice at high-velocity, trying to get big bounces, tossing the dice into stacks of chips or spending too much time setting the dice are examples of bad practices that will annoy other players and the crew. To avoid trouble, always roll the dice cleanly down the center of the table.

Claiming Winnings – It is the player’s responsibility to pay attention to the amount of chips won and ensure that the proper payout has been awarded. Pick them the chips up before the next throw. Any chips on the table after a payout are treated as part of the next bet unless removed. Some croupiers are fond of saying, “If they lay, they play.”

Remember to Tip – It is customary when winning to reward the crew by tipping. This can be accomplished by pushing a chip toward one of the croupiers or the stickman and saying clearly, “For the crew,” so that it is not mistaken as a wager. Another way to tip is to place a bet for them, such as “Two Way Yo” or “Two Way Hard 6,” which means half the bet is “for the boys” and they can collect it if it wins.

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