Craps Hero

Craps Rules - Rules for Playing Craps

The articles about craps gambling and how to play craps are excellent introductory tutorial to craps, but there really is a lot more to the game than just the information there.

How to Buy Chips

You can't play craps without chips. But before you buy chips, there is one thing that is an absolute must: look at the sign on the craps table that shows what the table limits are. When you're learning, don't risk your whole bankroll, and bet smaller than you would at a game you know well. Craps is a fast-paced game, and the money can fly away quickly, just as it can flow your way quickly. I recommend starting out at a $5 craps table.

To buy your chips, you simply place your cash on the craps table and say, "Change." Do NOT try to put money into a dealer's hands; they're not allowed to accept your cash this way. The dealer will take your money and give it to the boxman to count. After counting the bills, the boxman will then announce to the dealer how much you just bought, and the dealer places your chips in front of you. There's a groove for you to place your chips in on the table railing. When you need more chips, just call out "Change." again.

How to Make Bets

You can place each of the following bets yourself:

  • Pass-line bets

  • Don't pass bets

  • Come-line bets

  • Field bets

  • Big-6 bets

  • Big-8 bets

To place one of the above bets, just place the amount you want to wager on the appropriately-labeled section of the craps table.

You are not allowed to place your own bets on numbered spots, and you're not allowed to place your own proposition bets. To place a bet in one of those areas, pitch your chips in and call out your bet, and either the stickman or the dealer will put the bet in the appropriate place.

Who's Who

Right and wrong. You'd think that was a question for philosophers interested in ethics, but at a craps table, those words have specific meanings. A player who bets on the shooter to win is called a right bettor. No one's going to think you're immoral or amoral if you bet against the shooter, but if you do bet against the shooter, you're called a wrong bettor. Most people like rooting for a winner though, so most players at a craps table are right bettors.

Besides the players surrounding the table, there are also several employees, usually a team of five:

  • 2 dealers

  • a relief dealer

  • a stickman

  • the boxman

The boxman is a casino exec who sits across from everyone at the table and supervises the game. If there are disputes, the boxman adjudicates. He's also in charge of the cash at the table. Sometimes there will be two boxmen at a table, usually if there are a lot of players, or if there's a really big player playing.

The dealers flank the boxman. They pay off the winning bets, pick up the chips on losing bets, and they make change when a player wants to change chips in for different denominations.

The stickman is the Howard Cosell of the craps table, announcing every dice roll, and shilling the different bet options available. Like the ringleader of a circus, he sets the tone and pace for the game, and his role is very important.

These people rotate into different positions every 20 minutes or so, especially the dealers and the stickmen.

One Last Important Rule

If the dice fly off the table or land on the railing, or if they wind up in the dice bowl or on top of the chips in front of the boxman, the stickman will call a "no roll". That throw of the dice no longer counts. No bets are exchanged, and new dice are given to the shooter to throw. Part of the reason for this is to prevent players from introducing loaded dice into the game when the dice roll off the table. (Believe it or not, some people might want to make a "switcheroo".)