Craps Secrets

The First Four Craps Secrets

Secret # 1:

You can stop play - If you have a good reason!

First, let's take a look at how the craps game is managed by the casino. At the tables, there is only one man (or woman) who is seated. He (or she) is called the boxman, and takes care of things, for both the table and the players. He keeps an eye on the payoffs, the bets, and more importantly, the average bets of all the players who want to be rated. He also has little slips of paper, which contain your name and comp card number. On these he enters your buy-in, your first bet and your average bet.

Personally, I've found that if you tip the dealers (more on tipping later) the boxman takes it upon himself to bump up your average bet a little. It always pays to tip the dealers.

Anyway, the boxman also handles player disputes, and is charge of the casino's bank of chips, which is in front of him, in the middle of the table. The boxman is the most experienced casino employee at that particular table. Occasionally an inexperienced dealer might make an unpopular decision, and the boxman can overrule it. The man with the stick is called the stickman. He technically is one ofthe three dealers, and they all rotate shifts around the table, so each dealer takes turns with the stick. The stickman retrieves the dice and pushes them to the shooter, taking care not to display the dreadful seven, which of course, is bad luck. The stickman also takes care of the proposition bets, and helps the other two dealers, who are on the other side of the table (surrounding the boxman) handling all of the players' bets.

Behind the craps tables is an area called the "pit". Players are not allowed walk through this area. In the pit are floorpersons, who are one step above the boxmen. Their primary concern is to watch out for cheaters, and keep track of rated players. When you first check in and ask for casino credit, or when you leave and ask for a comp, or if you switch tables, this all will be handled by a floorperson.

Supervising all of this is the pit boss. He is in charge of all of the casino personnel at all of the tables. You will rarely see this person - usually when you have a dispute regarding ratings or table play you will be speaking with a floorperson, not the pit boss.


So - let's say something strange happens during your play and the dealer closest to you disagrees with what you want. For example you have $10 hard six and the shooter throws wildly and the dice bounce around all over the table and somehow end up sitting on top of each other. If they were separated on the table it would show your hard six, but the dealer calls out "no roll!" Your first appeal would be to the boxman, who could overrule the dealer. If he doesn't, you can yell "Stop Play, I want to talk to the pit boss!" and a floor person will come over and see if he can resolve the situation by talking to the boxman. If he can't he'll call over a pit boss.

Usually, it won't get that far. The boxman knows that it is more important to keep the players at his table in his casino, than it is to pay off a few hundred disputed dollars. Casinos are very competitive these days and they will do a lot to keep you as a regular patron. Remember, you have a lot of power when you play - don't let the dealers push you around!

Secret # 2:

Your best friend is NOT at the craps tables!

The person who is charge of keeping you as a regular patron is not in the pit area, but in his or her own office. This would be your casino host. He really has the final say on your comps (you'll learn lots more on comps and casino hosts in a later article) and is in charge of keeping you happy and satisfied - but he supervises comps only and has nothing to do with table play. You should talk to him about your rating, and make sure you get everything that's due you. If you don't already have a host, just pick up a house phone and ask for one. It's their job to help you, so be sure to take advantage of their services!

Secret #3:

Proposition bet limits are NOT posted!

Now that we know the casino personnel, let's take a quick look at the craps table itself, and learn some things that are often overlooked. There are signs on both sides of the craps table announcing what the minimum and maximum bets are. For example, one sign might say "$10 to $1,000, 2X odds". This means that the minimum flat bet is $10, the maximum flat bet is $1,000 and the casino offers two times odds. There are usually several tables in the pit area, with different stated limits. It is not uncommon to see four tables, each with different minimums - $2, $5, $10 and $25. Usually on weekdays the minimums are lower, and on weekend evenings, the minimums are as high as the traffic will allow. In the evenings, when all the tables are in use, the house will usually raise all of the minimum bets, no matter what they are. The minimum and maximum bets apply to flat bets only, not proposition bets. If you want to bet higher than usual on the 2, 3, 11 or 12 you should ask the dealer what the upper limits are as they are never posted. I've seen people bet progressively on the "Yo" only to have the dealer call "No Bet" when a low limit (sometimes $25) is reached. Be careful, and ask the dealer. Make sure of the prop bet limits before you bet!

Secret # 4:

Use chips to track the table.

On the table, there are grooved chip holders in the sides to hold yourchips. You can also use one of these racks to track the table. Just usea red chip for pass-line winners and a white one for don't pass winners. This way you can see which way the table is going. Instead of tracking the pass/don't pass, you can also track sevens, or inside numbers. Use a red chip to count the sevens and a white chip to track the 5, 6, 8 and 9 rolls. If there were more than six sevens during the last 36 rolls, it's time to increase your place bets. If there were less than 18 rolls of the 5, 6, 8 and 9 (again in 36 rolls), it's time to bet more inside and less outside.

When you do make your bets it is not really necessary to know all of the various odds combinations, as the dealers will readily give you that information if they know it. But a little extra knowledge never hurts - and we'll take a look at exactly how the casino calculates their odds in future articles here on