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Last Updated: July 5, 2017

Craps Part 1 - Approaching the Table

Mike Shackleford: Hi, this is Mike Shackleford with the WizardofOdds.com website. I'm here with the lovely Angela Wyman and dealer Dan Lubin. The topic of this video is Craps. All about the rules of the game. Do you have any questions to start me out?

Angela Wyman: I do. I'm really excited about this one. Every time I walk by a Craps table, it looks really fun but I'm so intimidated. I don't know how to start, I don't even know how to approach the table.

Mike: That's a good question. First, what you do is get your money ready. You can approach the table at any time but you have to wait for the dice to be in the middle of the table. That's what you should do to wait to buy your chips. I'll let Dan explain that a little more.

Dan Lubin: When you approach the table, you approach the table looking for an empty spot, you can just stand there. Now, if the dice are in the center of the table, you may put your money in to the 'come' area of the layout and then say "Change, please." and the dealer will either give you change or if the dice are moving out, he will say, "Change after the roll."

One important aspect of Crap game protocol is when the dice are out of the center, basically, you take your hands away from the inside of the tub area. You don't want the dice to hit you, especially if they seven-out which causes a losing effect for most of the players. The other thing is that you should not put late bets in when the dice are out because the dealers cannot go into the tub and set them up. What you do is you wait until the dice are in the center to either get change or either to make one of the many bets. Once the dice are out, you put your hands out of the tub and you just watch the dice and wait for the outcome of the dice to occur.

Mike: Okay. Change please.

Dan: Okay. Change only.The base deal will bring it into the center and the boxman would count it or if the boxman is not present at the table, the dealer will count it and he will see $100 and he will announce "Change 100". Sometimes, saying "one small" if you're buying in with 20's and he will bring out money. For a hundred dollars, he normally brings out a stack of $5 chips called 'nickels,' takes 4 of the chips off and gives you also a stack of singles so you can make prop bets and tip the cocktail waiters and things like that. He then brings it out to you.

Now, very important, your money that he just gave you is not supposed to be sitting on the apron of the layout. Supposed to be brought up and put into the chip rack which is this thing here and any bets you want to make, you can either use the south service area such as the pass line, or the field, or the come.

Anything where there are numbers in the box is the box numbers. You cannot reach into this area. This area is called a cash register and this area is handled only by the dealers. If you want to place a four or a five or a nine, any number that you think is going to come in, you put some money into the come area and you would say, "I would like to place the five for $10 or $15" and the dealer will set you up.

Mike: So, I'm only supposed to have my chips up here and if I have drinks or cigarettes, those go on this ledge below the top here, right?

Dan: Exactly, exactly. The only thing that a player is supposed to have at his area at a Crap table is just his money and chips, that's it. Cigarettes, the cellphone is in the pocket, your drinks, they're all put on a ledge underneath the chip rack and if you want to reach it, you just reach underneath. Anything on top is a no-no except for chips.

Mike:I think we're ready to start talking about the rules of the game. The most fundamental bet in Craps is the pass line bet. Almost every player at the table is going to make this bet. To make this bet, first you have to wait for a 'come out roll'. Dan, how can the player know when it is a 'come out roll'?

Dan: There is a puck marker on a Crap table that marks whether or not a point has been established or if a point is to be looked for or sought for by the shooter. If the puck is on the off side, the black side, and is in this area next to the box numbers in the DC area, the 'don't come' area, that means it is the come out. What you are looking for is for a number in this range to be thrown four, five, six, eight, nine, or 10 and when that number's thrown, the dealer will mark it and that will represent the pass line's winning point number.

With the pass line, you are allowed to make a pass line bet during the come out roll. You can even put a pass line bet when the number is established. However, once you make a pass line bet, it must stay there. It can't be brought down, you can't pick it up and take it off, it is a contract bet.

Mike:Let's try this out. We know it's a come out roll because this says "off" so Angela, make your bet and put it right here on the pass line.

Dan: If she's the shooter, stick-man would slide the dice to the shooter. If the previous hand of the game had been a seven-out, five dice will be brought to the player and the etiquette on this is when a new shooter is ready to select his dice, he or she takes two dice out of the stick of five, and the stick-man retrieves the other three dice and puts it into the dice bowl. At all times, you use only one hand on the dice and you keep the dice in the tub area. You don't use two hands, you do not take the dice and bring it off the table. You keep the dice in the tub area and you pick them up with one hand and you throw them.

Question 1

Angela: Is there a proper way I should roll? I mean, do I just kind of lob them up in the air or flick them down toward that back wall?

Mike: Either one is allowed. Personally, I like to lob them up in the air because it's considered a bad luck if the dice hit chips on the way over there. Of course, it's just a myth but I don't want to make anybody mad so I personally like to lob them in the air and I like to aim for an area where there is as few chips as possible.

Dan: And for a dice to be a valid roll, they have to hit the back wall with the alligator rubber on it.

Mike: I think we're ready to start playing. There's lots of bets on the table and we're going to talk about them one at a time. First, let's talk about the pass bit.